CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In 2009, President Obama flew to Fort Hood, Texas, to console survivors after a fanatic officer killed 13 soldiers and wounded 29 others in a gun bloodbath.
In 2011, the president went to Tucson as comforter-in-chief after a deranged man with 30-shot pistol clips gunned down 18 people, killing six of them and leaving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords debilitated by a head wound.
In July this year, Obama flew to Denver to speak after a psychotic in battle gear opened fire in a suburban movie theater, killing 12 and wounding 58.
Sunday night, at a mass mourning service in tragedy-marred Newtown, Conn., Obama said:
"Since I've been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, the fourth time we've hugged survivors, the fourth time we've consoled the families of victims. And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America -- victims who, much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. We can't tolerate this any more. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change."
The president vowed to use "whatever power this office holds" to clamp down on danger posed by millions of murder weapons in America. He promised to lead "an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this, because, what choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we are powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard?"
The president's reaction is echoing around America, especially among Democrats determined to act against the nation's terrible toll of 10,000 to 12,000 gun murders yearly. It's a shameful loss, much worse than the body count in other nations.
Surprisingly, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. -- a longtime supporter of the right to bear arms -- called for gun reform Monday morning. On the "Morning Joe" television show, he said it's "time to move beyond rhetoric" about guns. He implied that he may vote to restore the ban on military-style assault weapons of the sort used in the Connecticut massacre.
"I don't know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena who goes out with an assault rifle," Manchin said. "I don't know anybody who needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting."
The former West Virginia governor said the Connecticut massacre of school tots has changed America's mood.
"Never before have we seen our babies slaughtered," he said. "It's never happened in America that I can recall, seeing this carnage." He added that law-abiding gun owners and hunters "understand this has changed where we go from here."
Bravo. We're proud of Manchin. We hope this reform spirit snowballs, and America finally attempts to protect people from the world's worst level of gun murders.