Cornell West: We can’t just shed tears for those on the vanilla side of town when they’re middle class. They are precious but they are no less or more precious than our poor brothers and sisters on the Indian reservations who are killing each other – or be they Black or Brown, or what have you. But, it’s a good thing that we now have a discussion on gun control. We need one on drone control. But think of Father Flagon, Reverend Hatchet of the Chicago tried to get the White House to talk about gun control not a peep, not a mumbling word when the Black folk getting shot, but Newton CT, the vanilla side, low and behold we got a major conversation. That’s wonderful, each life is precious but it just upsets me when we’re so deferential and I know that’s part of the deep insight of your courageous piece, “Blood on Our Hands” brother.”
Tavis Smiley: What’s your sense of why the president in the first term was so silent? There were a number of massacres, a number of mass killings that happened on his watch in the first term and we are not the first person[s] to make this observation. In the days since the shooting, everybody has been asking him why he was so silent in the first term and whether or not he will now step up. Barack Obama received a grade of F from the Brady Campaign. It’s named for James Brady, who as you know doctor was shot and almost killed, when the assassination attempt was made on Ronald Reagan’s life back in 81 when he was president. We will see whether or not the president improves his grade in the second term. I say all of that as background to ask what you make of the fact that even though he has been pushed by father Flager, and brother Hatch and so many others in Chicago and elsewhere why has the president – why was he so silent on this issue in the first term?
Cornel West: It’s a crucial issue. I think it’s not just Barrack Obama, it’s our politicians across the board, across color, across class. They’re either cowards or hypocrites when it comes to this issue of our precious children. By cowards I mean that they care but they don’t have the courage to move forward and act or they’re hypocrites, which is to say that they say they care, but deep down they really don’t care, especially when it relates to [the] South Side of Chicago, Harlem, children across the border. It’s those simple moral truths that we loose, especially when it comes to these kinds of moments when everybody’s weeping these genuine tears of grief. You saw the brother, what was it basketball coach got all fired up. Did you see him?
Tavis Smiley: Kevin McHale
Cornel West: And I was glad to see it but then I said to myself, wait a minute folks, young kids been getting shot for a longtime, why wasn’t he fired up then?