Sunday, December 16, 2012

President Obama Visits Newtown And Consoles Mourners

The president speaks to mourners at Newtown
For the fourth time in his presidency, President Obama has visited the site of a mass shooting to comfort mourners.  

The parents and other relatives of those 20 small children and 6 adults, gunned down by a madman with an assault rifle and multiple 30-round high-capacity ammo clips, were present in the audience.  All the victims were shot with the assault rifle carried by Lanza.  From an article:
The unthinkable bloodshed might even have been worse. Gov. Dannel Malloy said Lanza shot himself when he heard police coming. Authorities said they found multiple 30-round magazines and hundreds of bullets at the school, enough ammunition on him to carry out significant additional carnage. 
"There was a lot of ammo, a lot of clips," State Police Lt. Paul Vance. "Certainly a lot of lives were potentially saved.".... 
Lanza had two handguns, a Glock 10 mm and a Sig Sauer 9 mm, and a Bushmaster rifle. Police also found a shotgun in his car. 
All the victims at the school were shot with the rifle, at least some of them up close, and all were apparently shot more than once, Chief Medical Examiner Dr. H. Wayne Carver said. There were as many as 11 shots on the bodies he examined. .... 
Asked how many bullets were fired, Carver said, "I'm lucky if I can tell you how many I found."

As before, President Obama said he was shocked and saddened, that the nation mourns, and that he and others would pray.  But this time things were different.  This time, he indicated that real changes were coming to regulate guns in the coming days.  And for the first time, I believe.  

As Sarah Brady wrote, the time for debating is over -- we need action:
NRA leaders are hunkered down, fully expecting the American people to move on when the media furor dies down. I implore you not to let that happen this time. In this great nation of ours, six- and seven-year-olds shouldn't be shot multiple times at school. Teachers shouldn't die trying to save them. Frankly, no one should be killed with firearms in the U.S. No one.
It's sad that it took this horrible, horrible act to finally wake up America, the President, and other leaders.  84 deaths a day weren't enough.  The near-death of a congresswoman wasn't enough.  An attack on a Sikh temple wasn't enough.  The slaughter of a movie-theater full of people wasn't enough.  16 mass shootings in 2012 weren't enough.  Will the massacre of 20 little children and six adults be enough?  

I think so, finally.

So today the President visited Newtown, Connecticut and gave his speech.  HERE you can find the full video of his moving speech to the mourners and the nation.  HERE is the transcript for his speech and prayer.

The excerpt from his speech in which he calls for action:

We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, 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 whose -- much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time. 
We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.
We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society, but that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this. 
If there’s even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief that’s visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try. 
In the coming weeks, I’ll use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement, to mental health professionals, to parents and educators, in 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’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? 
Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?

Thank you, Mr. President.  I and the rest of the nation are ready to help enact changes to finally bring a new trajectory for our nation away from gun violence.