News / USA

    Obama: 'Our Hearts Are Broken Today'

    President Barack Obama wipes his eye as he speaks about the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, in the briefing room of the White House.
    President Barack Obama wipes his eye as he speaks about the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Friday, Dec. 14, 2012, in the briefing room of the White House.
    Kent Klein
    U.S. President Barack Obama wiped away tears Friday, as he offered government support and emotional support to the families of those killed in a mass shooting in a school in Connecticut.  Obama said he was reacting as a parent, not a president.

    As the father of two daughters, the president said “our hearts are broken,” and he spoke of parents across the country hugging their children tighter tonight.

    “We have endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years.  And each time I learned the news, I react not as a president, but as anybody else would, as a parent,” he said. "And that was especially true today.  I know there is not a parent in America who does not feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.  The majority of those who died today were children - beautiful little kids between the ages of five and 10 years old.”

    • A boy is comforted outside Sandy Hook Elementary School after a shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012.
    • A police officer keeps guard from a hill top over looking Sandy Hook Elementary School. At least 20 people, including children, were killed on Friday when a shooter opened fire.
    • Parents leave a staging area after being reunited with their children following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School.
    • This satellite image provided by Google shows the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
    • A woman waits to hear about her sister, a teacher, following a shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
    • The scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, December 14, 2012.
    • White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that President Barack Obama is receiving updates on the situation in Connecticut during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington.
    • Family members embrace each other outside Sandy Hook Elementary School.

    Mass killings, like Friday's schoolhouse slaughter in Connecticut, have become a troubling and recurring fact of life in the United States.

    Other recent mass shootings include:

    *  August 2012:  An Army veteran kills five men and a woman at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin.

    *  July 2012:  A  student opens fire at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie at a Colorado theater, killing 12.

    *  January 2011: U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 18 other people are shot outside a supermarket in Arizona.

    *  November 2009:  An Army psychiatrist kills 13 soldiers and civilians on the Fort Hood Army base in Texas.

    *  April 2007:  A students kills 32 people on the campus of a large university, Virginia Tech.

    *  April 1999: Two students at a Colorado high school kill 12 classmates and a teacher.

    The Mother Jones magazine says that since 1982, there have been at least 61 mass murders in the U.S., which U.S. authorities define as an assault in which a gunman kills four or more people, typically in a single location.
    The president spoke several hours after children and adults were gunned down at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.

    Obama paused several times during his short statement and struggled to keep his composure when he described the victims.

    “They had their entire lives ahead of them - birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” he said.  "Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.”

    This is at least the 10th mass shooting in the United States since Obama took office in January 2009, with several taking place in previous years.

    The president mentioned several of the incidents, including the killings of three people at a shopping mall in the northwestern state of Oregon just three days earlier.  

    He said something must be done to stop further violence in public places.

    “These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children," he said. "And we are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.”

    Obama did not discuss specific steps that might be taken.  Social media in the United States were full of demands Friday for tougher gun control legislation.

    Earlier in the day, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the president remains committed to renewing the federal ban on assault weapons, which lapsed in 2004.

    Out of respect for the shooting victims, Obama has ordered the flag atop the White House flown at half-staff, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, has done the same at the U.S. Capitol.

    Speaker Boehner has released a written statement, calling on Americans to “lock arms and unite as citizens…to rise above unspeakable evil.”

    You May Like

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora