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How Obama’s reactions to mass shootings evolved from grieving to angry — to this

President Obama's speech today announcing his new executive action on guns was very different from the kind of speeches he'd been giving time and time again after mass shootings.

He spent time recounting the mass shooting during his term: "Fort Hood, Binghamton, Aurora, Oak Creek, Newtown, the Navy Yard, Santa Barbara, Charleston, San Bernardino. Too many." But he turned from that sadness and frustration, which was also present during the speeches after mass shootings, and spent time going point by point on the specifics of his executive action.

It is an evolution in the way Obama has talked about guns. During his first year as president, a gunman shot and killed 13 people at Fort Hood in Texas. Obama's remarks afterward were largely to the families — and largely about the American way and justice.

"We are a nation of laws whose commitment to justice is so enduring that we would treat a gunman and give him due process, just as surely as we will see that he pays for his crimes," Obama said after the first Fort Hood shooting. There was a second in 2014.

There have been dozens of mass shootings since, including ones last month in San Bernardino and at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado. And the president's remarks went from sympathy and sadness to anger and frustration. He started pointing out how frequently these shootings happen.

As early as the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Obama held back tears at the podium as he talked about the children who were killed. But he quickly pivoted, saying, "As a country, we have been through this too many times."

It's the last three responses to mass shootings that have drawn more poignant anger and frustration from the president. After the October 1 shooting at an Oregon community college, he said, "Somehow this has become routine. The reporting is routine. My response here at this podium ends up being routine."

After the Planned Parenthood shooting, he didn't deliver a response from the podium but released a statement: "This is not normal. We can’t let it become normal."

But today's gun speech was decidedly different in tone, despite how much time he spent grieving again for gun victims.

The graphic below goes through more than a dozen mass shootings during Obama's term and gives a taste of how he's responded:


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