Couldn’t agree more.
CHICAGO – President Barack Obama offered a personal reflection on gun violence here Friday, tackling the issue not as a policymaker or parent, but as a black man himself who knew how close he’d come to a very different fate.
Obama’s talked frequently about gun violence since the Newtown massacre, but never in these terms. Straying from a speech meant to discuss initiatives from his State of the Union address aimed at supporting poor communities, the president reflected instead on the group of at-risk male teens he’d met with just before he took the stage.
“I had more of a safety net, but these guys are no different than me,” Obama said at Hyde Park Academy, where the teenagers are in school. “I had issues too when I was their age. I just had an environment that was a little more forgiving.”
Speaking of the economic struggles and broken homes that he identified as the root causes, Obama talked about his own experiences as a young African-American man, causing trouble and, later, trying to affect change on the streets here.
“Don’t get me wrong, as the son of a single mom … I turned out OK … but at the same time I wish I had a father who was involved, around,” Obama said.