by Elizabeth Sponaugle

On Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. President Barack Obama came on air to address the nation for only the third time since he has taken office. His speech was regarding the San Bernardino shooting, the threat of terrorism, mass shootings, gun control, and how to protect the country. Since the Sandy Hook shooting, there have been over 1,044 mass shootings, with shooters killing at least 1,327 people and wounding about 3,784 more. Some of these, have been results of ISIS or radical Islam related violence. President Obama said the shooting in San Bernardino “was an act of terrorism, designed to kill innocent people.” In his speech, the President got right to the point, “The threat from terrorism is real, but […] we will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless, and by drawing upon every aspect of American power.”

He went on to give a detailed outline of his steps in the fight against ISIL. In his plan, the military will continue to search for terrorists anywhere in the world. In Iraq and Syria, airstrikes are already killing ISIL leaders and destroying heavy weapons, oil tankers, and buildings. Secondly, Obama announced America will continue to provide training and equipment to Iraqi and Syrian forces fighting ISIL on the ground. In Iraq and Syria, America is deploying Special Operations Forces and will continue approaches that are working on the ground. Thirdly, America is working to stop ISIL’s operations and  plots by cutting off their financing and by preventing the recruiting of more fighters. Since the attacks in Paris, November 13th, America has increased activity with allies and is working with Turkey to close its border with Syria. America is also currently cooperating with Muslim-majority countries and communities to “counter the vicious ideology” that ISIL promotes and spreads online. And fourthly, America and its allies are working to establish a political resolution including a ceasefire in the Syrian war. The end of this war will allow Syria and its neighboring countries to focus on the common goal of dismantling and destroying ISIL. This is America’s strategy to destroy ISIL, it was designed and is supported by America’s military commanders and experts, along with the 65 countries that have joined the American-led fight.

Regarding homeland security, the President gave another detailed explanation of how safety inside the country can be increased. To begin, the president called on Congress to act to ensure the safety of American people by making sure no one on the no-fly list is able to buy a gun, by making it harder for people to purchase assault weapons, and to put in place stronger screening for those who wish to come to America by looking into whether they’ve traveled to war zones. As Obama said, “Finally, if Congress believes, as I do, that we are at war with ISIL, […] I think it’s time for Congress to vote to demonstrate that the American people are united, and committed, to this fight.”

He ended his speech that night with, “Let’s not forget that freedom is more powerful than fear; that we have always met challenges — whether war or depression, natural disasters or terrorist attacks — by coming together around our common ideals as one nation, as one people. So long as we stay true to that tradition, I have no doubt America will prevail.”

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The President Addresses the Nation on Terrorism. 12/6/15                             AP Image