President Obama Addresses the Nation after Sandy Hook School Shooting

504_NewtownAn atrocious act of gun violence occurred today – just 12 days before Christmas. A twenty-year old opened fire Friday on children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. The gunman, Adam Lanza, committed suicide after massacring 28 people. The children killed were 5 to 10 years old. It is one of the deadliest school shootings to date – seconded by the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre in which 32 people were killed.

The unspeakable horror of the chilling initial shots could be heard over the school’s public intercom system as the children and faculty were preparing for what was expected to be a relatively uneventful morning. As of yet, there is no known motive; however Adam Lanza’s mother was a faculty member of the school and was found shot dead in her home, presumably by Adam Lanza.

In one of the most heartrendering moments of his presidency, President Barack Obama addressed the nation hours after the shooting. A transcript of the press conference can be found on The New York Times website, however, I will add it here for your convenience:

 President Obama’s Address to the Nation:

“This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.

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. 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 is 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.

This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter, and we’ll tell them that we love them, and we’ll remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight, and they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans, and I will do everything in my power as president to help, 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.

May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

 

 In this dark time, searching for some semblance of goodness and forgiveness may feel downright hopeless. We must draw strength, however, from despair. Let us find a positive mindset for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all the people affected by this horrifying event. Count your blessings each and every day and go out in the world making the most of yourselves and each other so we can work together to prevent these tragedies from happening in the future.

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