While I was waiting for a train home, surrounded by signs about service on Inauguration Day, I was reading a news story about President Obama's impending proposals to stem the tide of gun violence in the country.
I started to wonder about something, so I began searching Bartleby.com's collection of inaugural addresses.
As best as I can tell, no President has ever mentioned gun control in an inaugural address.
Not Lyndon Johnson after assuming office amidst the national tragedy of the Kennedy assassination, even as he began to lay the groundwork for gun control reforms.
Not Reagan in his second inaugural, after taking a bullet and seeing his press secretary--who remained his official press secretary during his entire administration--get shot in the head.
Not Bill Clinton, who sacrificed much of his political capital to pass two major gun bills: the Brady Bill and the original Assault Weapons Ban. (He did come closest, saying in his second inaugural that "Our streets will echo again with the laughter of our children, because no one will try to shoot them or sell them drugs anymore," in what he called our "land of new promise." But that was it.)
Not even Herbert Hoover, lamenting the crime and destruction caused by the gangs controlling the black market in liquor, mentioned the weapons used by those gangsters.
The reason I bring this up is because the President will make his statement on new gun control measures tomorrow, January 16th. He will likely issue several executive orders, and spend much time explaining them, over the next few days. On the 21st--a holiday celebrating an American icon assassinated with a gun--he will be sworn in. On February 12th--the birthday of an American icon assassinated with a gun--he will deliver his State of the Union Address.
Sandy Hook is still a fresh wound in America's psyche and needs to be addressed, and gun control is going to be the dominant national issue for the foreseeable future as the states and Congress take up debate on new measures. I really can't see how the President avoids mentioning the need for gun control during his inaugural address.
I'm curious what that's going to look like.