America’s most dangerous Mayor used his commencement address at Kenyon College in Ohio as a political opportunity to slam members of Congress for failing to pass background check legislation.
“Have courage to act on your hopes, don’t be paralyzed by your fears,“ Mayor Bloomberg told the graduating class. “Have the courage to think for yourself and to believe in your ideas. That kind of idea lies in the heart of human invention and progress. And a lot of it lies in the heart of our political problems today.”
The mayor then spent the better part of his 15 minute address on gun control, celebrating the occasion by attacking the NRA and highlighting recent gun violence.
“Too many members of Congress did not have the courage to stand up for the increasingly extremist views of the NRA’s Washington lobbyist,” he said. “Many of them feel that voting for common sense policy would lead to someone challenging them in a primary or hurt their chances to win their party’s nomination to higher office.”
Bloomberg told the graduates that since they were freshmen four years ago, more than 40,000 American people have been murdered with guns. He referenced a shooting last year by a 17-year-old who opened fire at an Ohio high school, killing three and injuring others.
“It was national news — for a day or two. Then came mass shootings in Pittsburgh, Miami, Oakland, Tulsa, Seattle, Wilmington, Aurora, Milwaukee, Texas A&M, Minneapolis, Brookfield, Portland, and after each one, those in Washington just shrugged,” he said.
“Then Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut -- 20 children, six faculty members, all gunned down,” Bloomberg continued. “As a parent I can tell you it is just unthinkable if it happened to one of your children. After Newtown, President Obama and some congressional leaders finally, finally stood up and said something has to be done.”
Bloomberg, co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said Congress's failure to pass the gun control bill was "Washington at its worst -- the worst thing that it's ever done."
He justified politicizing the commencement address by reiterating that the theme was "courage."
“Why? Why do I tell you this?” Bloomberg asked. “Number one, this is one of the great tragedies happening in America and two, because I believe it comes down to one word, and that word is courage.”
The New York City mayor spent more than $14 million in support of legislation that would have required universal background checks for all gun-buyers, although the bill died in the Senate on April 17, but the mayor insists the battle isn't over.
“I believe we will win — sooner or later—because I believe in all of you,” he said.
One could have reasonably assumed that Bloomberg’s address would center around career advice for the class of 2013 due to the fact that he is after all a billionaire media mogul.
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