At 3:15pm ET, President Obama delivered a statement on the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre in Newtown, Connecticut this morning.
The President made an admirable attempt to comfort the nation in a tear-jerking speech that hinted at renewed efforts to fix what’s broken with our gun laws.
Here’s the full statement (Read excerpts below):
We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news I react not as a President, but as anybody else would — as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
The majority of those who died today were children – beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.
(Obama takes a long pause to collect his emotions, flicking a tear from his left eye.)
They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers — men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.
So our hearts are broken today — for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.
Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early, and there are no words that will ease their pain.
As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago — these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.
…Because while nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need — to remind them that we are there for them, that we are praying for them, that the love they felt for those they lost endures not just in their memories but also in ours.
In the run up to the election, President Obama indicated renewed interest in renewing the assault weapons ban.
To start to get a handle on the frequency of mass gun violence, The Telegraph did a retrospective on America’s biggest gun massacres since Columbine. Here are the five most recent the publication listed:
August 2012 – Gunman kills six people at Sikh temple in Wisconsin before being shot dead by police. Suspect is named as white supremacists Wade Michael Page.
July 2012 – Masked gunman opens fire at midnight cinema screen of new Batman film The Dark Knight Rises, killing 12 and injuring 58. Suspect James Holmes is arrested by police and awaiting trial.
January 2011 – a gunman opened fire at a public gathering outside a grocery in Tucson, Arizona, killing six people including a nine-year-old girl and wounding at least 12 others. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely injured with a gunshot to the head.
February 2010 –A professor opened fire 50 minutes into at a Biological Sciences Department faculty meeting at the University of Alabama, killing three colleagues and wounding three others
November 2009 - U.S. army psychologist Major Nidal Hasan opened fire at a military base in Fort Hood, Texas, leaving 13 dead and 42 others wounded.
This is the deadliest shooting since Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at Virginia Tech University in April 2007.
God bless the souls of those who perished today, and those that grieve their loss. God help this nation.