Obama: ‘These tragedies must end’



US President Barack Obama walks across the tarmac with Col. Mike Minihan,Commander, 89th Airlift Wing, Joint Base Andrews to board Air Force One on December 16, 2012 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Obama is heading to Newtown, Connecticut to attend a memorial service for victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. AFP/MANDEL NGAN

NEWTOWN, Connecticut – President Barack Obama vowed Sunday to use all his power to stop gun massacres like the slaughter of 20 little children at a Connecticut school, saying “these tragedies must end.”

Obama vented passion and anger as he told the grief-stricken community of Newtown, reeling from the unspeakable horror of Friday’s rampage, that he was consoling victims of the fourth mass shooting of his presidency.

“Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?” he said, as 26 candles burned by his podium to remember the victims.

“I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We are not doing enough, and we will have to change.”

Obama’s remarks, though impassioned and appearing to set a new mission for his presidency of curtailing rampant gun violence, did not propose specific solutions, in keeping with the somber tone of the apolitical vigil service.

Heartrending sobs broke the silence as Obama slowly read the names of six heroic adults who died trying to protect their innocent charges as gunman Adam Lanza, 20, unleashed terror with a military-style assault rifle.

Later, in an incredibly poignant moment, the president read the names of the children, all aged six or seven, whose lives were taken.

“Charlotte, Daniel, Olivia, Josephine, Ana, Dylan, Madeline, Catherine, Chase, Jesse, James, Grace, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, Jessica, Benjamin, Avielle, Allison, God has called them all home…”

“We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end, and to end them we must change,” Obama said, implicitly rebuking those who argue that efforts to introduce more gun control laws would do little to stop killings.

“Surely, we can do better than this,” the newly re-elected president said, appearing to set up a new political battle with America’s powerful gun lobby with the potential to define his second term.

Obama promised to use “whatever power this office holds” to engage Americans, law enforcement and health professionals to try to prevent more tragedies like the one that struck Newtown.

“Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we are powerless in the face of such carnage?”

Obama will face the tough task of manipulating Washington’s stalemated politics to enforce change, against entrenched interests and under a constitution that enshrines gun rights.

On several occasions, for instance with his vows to close Guantanamo Bay war on terror camp, or to transform US relations with the Muslim world, Obama has set high stakes with rhetoric only to find the stated goal impossible to achieve.

Earlier, the voices of Jewish, Christian and Muslims faith leaders united in grief, at the multi-denominational prayer service, as mourners grasped for meaning amid unbearable loss.

First responders, called to Sandy Hook Elementary School after the fusillade, who arrived to find classrooms of dead children, were applauded as the crowd stood when they entered the room.

Local councilor Patricia Llodra, tried to offer solace to grieving families, who had also earlier spent several hours with Obama.

“The horror that was visited on our Sandy Hook school was not deserved, it was the angry and desperate act of a confused young man.

“I know that Newtown will prevail, that we will not fall to acts of violence. It is a defining moment for our town, but it does not define us.”

Earlier, officials formally identified Lanza, 20, as the shooter who ran amok in the picture-postcard town and confirmed that he shot his mother several times in the head at the house they shared before going to his old school and embarking on a gruesome killing spree.

Lanza used his mother’s Bushmaster .223 assault rifle to kill 26 people at the school, including the 20 young children, before taking his own life with a handgun as police officers closed in and sirens wailed.

Connecticut’s Chief Medical Examiner Wayne Carver has said the bodies of the child victims were riddled with as many as 11 bullets, but police are yet to give a number for rounds fired.

Grief mixed with new calls Sunday for action with the re-elected Obama under rising pressure to lead a charge to renew a ban on assault weapons and fast-firing ammunition.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, promised to introduce a bill to ban assault weapons on the very first day of the next Congress, January 3.
An assault weapon ban was passed in 1994 under president Bill Clinton but it expired in 2004 and was never resurrected. Obama supported restoring the law while running for president in 2008 but did not make it a priority during his first term.

Many states, including Connecticut, already have strict laws on the purchase of firearms, but with no federal statutes, there is little to stop the traffic of guns from other states where fewer restrictions apply.

However, with gun ownership protected by the constitution and firearms popular among a broad base of Americans, especially conservative Republicans, gun bans have long been seen as a vote-losing proposition.

Back in Newtown, nerves remained on edge. One Catholic church where people attended services – Saint Rose of Lima – was evacuated due to an undisclosed threat. Armed police searched a house next door.

In ways big and small, tributes were paid – from candles lit and teddy bears left at the elementary school crime scene, to gestures at the cavernous football stadiums that usually fixate Americans’ attention on Sundays.

Before the day’s games around the country, the National Football League had teams observe a minute’s silence in memory of those killed.

Newtown was the second deadliest school shooting in US history after the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007 in which South Korean student Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others before taking his own life.

In the most notorious recent incident, a 24-year-old, James Holmes, allegedly killed 12 people and wounded 58 others when he opened fire at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado, in July.

Originally posted at 07:17 am | Monday, December 17, 2012

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPSXDLCQEZGZDJSX32G7PYHNCI Noel

    First time we witnessed Obama broke down during the press conference.

    • sanjuan683

      Masyado liberated ang US sa mga handgun, may state na madali makabili ng gun. Ipekto na rin yan ng mga US movies na may eksena na biglang mamaril kaliwa’t kanan at mga sumasabog pa. Naku Amerka kasalanan mo rin yan masyado kayo malupit sa paggawa ng mga pelikula na kadalasan patayan o hayan umaani kayo ng bagyo. Mga pinoy huag ninyo gayahin yan hindi lahat ng bagay sa US ay maganda. Sila ang prumutor ng mga kalokohan sex marriage, lesbian at homosexual.

  • carlorocci

    It is very sad indeed, but it is true. What you sow is what you reap.
    It is not only about gun control but also the state of mind of many Americans…..
    Is America MAD? or Its people are insane……..

    • $18209031

      They are in virtual world of fantasy and surrealism. Ang daming  schizo paranoid cases at  
      autistic kids who are not in touch with reality.  If not helped , they will go dodo shzt just like what happened. It seems to appear the mom is an alcoholic frequenting the local pubs. Her appearance was bizarre typical of defective genepool. She must be lacking in parenting skills, too, and didnt care for her son that much.  SHe could also have a history of mental shztdom.

  • kilabot

    if obama looks at mirror, he will see evil perversion. 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/E422KEFIWEQBOVJ54ALRSBJB24 JACK

    per capita…the US leads in number of psychopaths in her citizenry…how can you shoot such innocent children is beyond comprehension…pure evil!!!…

    • $18209031

      Autistic mga itong mga anak nila. Living in their own world of violence and full of fantasy. No concept of right and wrong. Family bonding and values are non existent .

      • tukmoldinako

        killing the mother show’s show a person with lack of respect, no morals, no principle, non educated, love violence whatever you call it.

        the option of the american,s will be stricter ban on assault gun, but they don’t seems ready to accept their mostly  forgotten issue on morality to teach to their children.  Maybe they can limit the number of people killed next time, but it will just be the same as killing with no reason.  

  • PCD_2012

    The American education is good in Science and Technology but deteriorating in Morality!

  • $18209031

    Violent videogames , sex , gun culture, drugs, violent hollywood movies glorying bad people and criminal guns . Ang labas ng mga puti ay sirang ulo at katok. Arrogante . They feel they are invincible as long they have the best guns on planet earth.

    Dati pinag initan nila ang mga cheap Chinese AK 47 imports so Clinton banned Norinco made products. So now the crazy idiots are using US made AR 15s to kill innocents. From the 2002 DC sniper to the latest shootings in CO, OR and CT. Maybe they need to ban this , too ?

    Obama, act now for the good of the American people. Ban the sale of violent videogames and hollywood movies. You are creating a nation of killers with no regard to human lives even little ones. Dios Ko Santisima….

    Katok mga utok , bumabalik rin sa kanila !! The irony here is, they go out to foreign lands to kill and maim people by dropping bombs and missiles like videogames high above in unmanned aerial planes causing many collateral damage to innocent families. Now their very own crazy idiot killed their little ones. Ngayon nag iiyakan na sila. Dios ko santisima, balik balik rin ang mga karantaduhan nila.

  • wakats

    Are you kidding me, barrack?  How can you end tragedies like the Connecticut horrendous massacre of kids when the US Constitution allows the citizens “to bear arms”

    The PH Constitution doesn’t have such liberty but tragedies continue with impunity, like the maguindanao massacre, among many.

    Just say protect yourself at all times, like in boxing.

  • robertcarino

    this case forwarded a very important fact.  the perpetrator breached physical obstacles, killing 26 and wounding more in less than 17 minutes.  you can’t do that with just a bolo or a truncheon.

  • $18209031

    American soldiers committed the massacre of a Vietnamese hamlet known as My Lai Massacre in 1968. ABout 400 men ,women children  were killed in cold blood.

    I guess this incident in CT school is but a miniscule in comparison. 

  • poltergeist_fuhrer

    it is when this president favors abortion, divorce, same sex marriage, euthanasia that morality subsided….

    how will it end when the president himself favors such immoral acts…

    this president destroyed the foundations of the essence of humanity that evidently manifested by his people as if lives are nonsense…

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/YOQGNNPLWH3PHXCDXMGN57GDNM Jhon

      Abortion is legal in the whole of the US since 1973.  Divorce is legal long before that and its rules became more liberal in the 1980s.  Divorce are also governed by the state and not by the federal government.  Euthanasia, sorry to tell you, is still illegal in the US (physician aid in dying is legal in three states).

      I am sorry to tell you, but it is you who is not making any sense.

      • poltergeist_fuhrer

        as a ptresident, he should lead…lead on what is moral…

      • http://profile.yahoo.com/YOQGNNPLWH3PHXCDXMGN57GDNM Jhon

        But Obama is married to a woman, to the same woman for 20 years, and have not suggested euthanasia when his mother was suffering from ovarian cancer.  

      • poltergeist_fuhrer

        his political stand is he favors it…

  • pinsky

    Obama, this bemoaning episodes in your lives as americans will persist to wracked your country until your people shall improved the moral fiber of your institutions and upbringing at home for it’s at home where value formation that breeds good character starts.

    Your morality had decayed to a negative norm whereby everything that is called immoral by the teachings of the Bible is now legalize one after the other by your legislators with you as the final approving president who signed it into law. The recent same sex marriage now practiced all over the US of A is one paradigm of defiance to the words of God..

     Perverts like homosexuals and lesbians, can’t enter the Kingdom of God yet your government which was established through God’s grace and guidance got transformed to be a pillar of immorality, to craft a law that permits same sex marriage.

    By this willful immoral acts, the greatness of the US of A now etched in the annals of world history irreversibly shall soon fade with their government foreseen to crumble to dust one of these days as a lesson and a punishment to disobedience.

    To repeal these said laws, repent and extensively reform from indulging in all kinds of perverted acts could be a sound and pleasing undertaking that these Americans can do as a proof to appeal for clemency from God       

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YOQGNNPLWH3PHXCDXMGN57GDNM Jhon

    The US is the largest Christian nation in the world.  And their Christians are not the nominal kind but the active, church-going kind.  Among the developed countries they are also considered to be the most socially conservative.  How come then this happened to them instead of, say, The Netherlands.  In that country the number of church goers went down so badly that the churches were sold and transformed into theatres, museums or bars (they just take down the cross, but they still look like churches from the outside).  They have legalized prostitution and marijuana is not illegal.  They have same-sex marriage, divorce, abortion and euthanasia.  They even have members of parliament representing animals!  In some people’s minds they are the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.  And yet, they have one of the lowest homicide rate in the world — 1.1 per 100,000 compared to the US’ 4.2 and to the Philippines 5.4.

    Just like in boxing, religion has nothing to do with this.

  • $18209031

    Americans love to blow each others up bec thats the most convenient way.   Two centuries ago, they blew the brains of native Indians and stolen their lands that is North America. The westward movement to conquer the WIld West as they called it called for these white pioneers to be ruthless. Its always been their culture , power using the barrel of the gun.

    YEs, the so called God fearing pioneers were but a bunch of killers and thieves. And now they are trying to champion themselves as advocates of  human right s.

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