President delivers consolation

Dear Mr. President …

There. That’s how you do it, sir. You go to a stricken community and you speak solemnly and you offer words of comfort, sorrow and support.

The residents of Las Vegas, indeed the entire nation, are grieving. You spoke to our collective grief today in the wake of the madman’s onslaught Sunday night.

Yes, you surely heard the criticism of your Puerto Rico visit, where millions of other Americans also are grieving — although for entirely different reasons. They faced nature’s wrath in the form of Hurricane Maria. They are hurting, but your remarks there seemed strange, petty and callow. A couple of those photo ops seemed, uh, rather weird. You might want to consider explaining what the paper towel-tossing event was supposed to symbolize.

You then had the chance today deliver another message to our fellow Americans in Las Vegas. I am heartened that you stepped up and said what needed to be said.

I’ll give you a pass for not talking about gun control today. That wasn’t your mission and I understand that. I hope you get around to engaging seriously with all Americans on this matter, even as many of them already have begun debating that issue among themselves.

Today was your time to fulfill your role as comforter in chief. You did that today in Las Vegas. You were right to say, “We cannot be defined by the evil that threatens us or the violence that incites such terror.” Mr. President, we can be defined instead by the heroes of all stripes who rushed to the aid of others stricken by the madman’s evil act.

This is what presidents do, sir. Circumstances sometimes compel you to perform these extraordinary duties. You did so today, Mr. President.

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