Washington might have a gun control bill now were it not for President Barack Obama's overreach. The Great Divider has again lived up to the moniker by refusing to embrace a compromise position and refusing to embrace compromise in general.

After all, compromise is in the realm of governing. Obama stays in the realm of politics, the perpetual campaigner who will try to win back the U.S. House by demonizing the gun lobby and Republicans for dishonoring victims of the Newtown massacre.

The U.S. Senate's rebuff of gun legislation came on the week when Boston grieved its dead, police moved swiftly to find and arrest the marathon bombing perpetrators and Oklahoma City remembered the victims of its own massacre. These were reminders that evil and demented people are among us who will kill by whatever means, be it "assault" weapons or "assault" pressure cookers.

Obama and pro-gun control Democrats had opportunities to reach a compromise, most notably in the area of background checks. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, suggested one such compromise. The Democrats weren't interested. Other Democrats joined Republicans in refusing to embrace the overreach, which was predicated on the belief that Newtown justified any means to an end.

Was the gun lobby dishonest about the bill restricting weapons transfers to relatives? You bet. Were any mistruths the reason for its defeat? No way. Americans want sensible, fair and constitutional gun restrictions debated with reason and restraint. Obama consistently refuses to back legislation that has a chance to win bipartisan support before a vote is taken. Sometimes he gets his way, as with Obamacare. Often he doesn't, but The Great Divider still notches a victory in defeat because it becomes part of his campaign strategy going forward.

We're still waiting for him to have a governing strategy. It's pretty shameful that he seems less interested in running the country than in running a campaign.

—The Oklahoman, April 23


Muslim community deserves credit for thwarting Toronto terror plot

As the shock of Canada's brush with an alleged Al Qaeda-directed terror plot recedes, it's comforting to learn that a prominent Toronto Muslim cleric played a key role in foiling the attack. More than a year ago he alerted the authorities to someone he felt was an extremist who was radicalizing young people.

That speaks to something very Canadian: The sense that we can count on each other to do the right thing for the wider community, that we are all in this together. The VIA Rail passenger trains that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police say the alleged plotters had in their sights might just as easily have been carrying innocent Muslim passengers as anyone else. The imam who spoke up was motivated by a sense of civic duty and a concern for human life values the vast majority of Canada's 650,000 Muslims share with their neighbours, but for which they are not always given credit.

"Since 9/11 the Muslim community has been working very closely with government agencies, including the RCMP and police forces," says Yusuf Badat, an imam and director of religious affairs for the Islamic Foundation of Toronto.

Or as another Toronto Muslim leader, Muhammad Robert Heft, put it, Canada is "our country . our tribe. We want safety for all Canadians regardless of their religion."

Despite this good faith, some feared an angry backlash and demonization of the community after reports that Raed Jaser of Toronto and Chiheb Esseghaier of Montreal had been caught plotting to derail a VIA Rail train between Toronto and New York.

Tough laws, good policing and vigilant courts all have their role in thwarting jihadist violence. But as the VIA Rail case reminds us, an alert Muslim community and raised voices are the key. If the police have it right, a Toronto cleric's concern saved the day.

—The Star, Toronto, April 24