News / USA

Obama Faces Calls for Action After Connecticut Shootings

President Barack Obama pauses as he talks about the Connecticut elementary school shooting, in the White House briefing room in Washington, December 14, 2012.President Barack Obama pauses as he talks about the Connecticut elementary school shooting, in the White House briefing room in Washington, December 14, 2012.
x
President Barack Obama pauses as he talks about the Connecticut elementary school shooting, in the White House briefing room in Washington, December 14, 2012.
President Barack Obama pauses as he talks about the Connecticut elementary school shooting, in the White House briefing room in Washington, December 14, 2012.
Friday's mass shooting at an elementary school in the state of Connecticut - the second worst such incident in U.S. history - was the latest to occur during President Barack Obama's first term.

The entrance to a shopping center in Tucson, Arizona in 2011... a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado last July... and now, an elementary school filled with children in Newtown, Connecticut.

After each tragedy, Obama has offered words of comfort for families of those killed, and traveled to towns and cities to meet with and offer encouragement to survivors.

Emotional plea

A few hours after first receiving word of the shootings in Connecticut, Obama came to the White House briefing room to deliver a statement laden with emotion.

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.
Saying the nation has "endured too many of these tragedies," pausing twice and appearing near tears, he said the country must find a way to put an end to such violence.

"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, and regardless of the politics," said Obama.

Mass shootings

Since Obama was elected in 2008, there have been at least 10 mass shooting incidents, including those he referenced in his statement.  

The Connecticut massacre was the second worst school shooting incident after 32 people were killed and 17 wounded at Virginia Tech in 2007.

After 13 people were killed last July by a gunman opening fire in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, the president urged Americans to reflect.

"I hope that over the next several days, next several weeks, and next several months, we all reflect on how we can do something about some of the senseless violence that ends up marring this country," he said.

In Tucson, Arizona, where a gunman took the lives of 6 people in 2011, and wounded 13, including a U.S. congresswoman, the president urged Americans not to allow that tragedy to intensify national divisions.

"We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other," said Obama.

Gun control issue

The latest incident thrusts questions about gun control in the United States back into the national discourse.

Strengthening gun control laws is one of the most difficult social and political issues in the United States. Powerful lobbying groups such as the National Rifle Association, anti-gun groups, members of Congress, and the president are in the middle of the debate.

Whether Obama, using added political leverage from his reelection, and national anger over the latest tragedy, can move the country forward in the gun control debate, remains to be seen.

After the president's remarks about the Connecticut shootings, gun control advocates gathered for a candlelight vigil outside the White House.

Michael McBride is a pastor from California. He said Obama should use his State of the Union address next year to chart a course on gun control.

"Please lay out a plan of action of how we may address this scourge of gun violence in our communities," said McBride.

Bill Meffords from Virginia brought his two sons to the demonstration. He said the Connecticut shootings present Obama with an opportunity to energize gun control efforts, but he has to move quickly.

"If he waits and allows what has happened time and time again, if he allows the focus to be placed on other things, or the distraction of talking heads like the NRA and everybody else to take us away from what really is important here and that is saving lives, if he moves now I think he can," said Meffords.

President Obama's spokesman, Jay Carney, avoided any statements on the overall gun control debate, saying it was not a time to "engage in the usual Washington policy debates."

But in response to one question, he said the president remains committed to a pledge he made to work to renew the federal ban on assault weapons that was allowed to lapse in 2004.

  • 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.

You May Like

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: US Army Turns Its Best Minds Toward Ebola

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey More

Dissident Venezuelan General Resurfaces in New York

Antonio Rivero has resurfaced after nearly a year in hiding, appearing at United Nations in New York More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: NRA LIFE MEMBER
December 15, 2012 7:55 AM
It is not time to take the guns away from law abiding americans. It is time to arm the citizens and take action against those who plan on doing us harm!

In Response

by: Ian from: USA
December 16, 2012 8:52 PM
Slow down will you.
I do think that people should have the right to bear arms (legally), although I do not own a gun, nor do I want to.
But the suggestion " it is time to arm the citizens and take action..." sounds a little too rash here.
How do the so called "citizens" recognize the bad guys? is there a type of eyeglasses that buzzes when you see a perpetrator? and how do these nice citizens pop-in when & where these random event happens?
ssems your solution just triggers more free for all O.K. Corral here


by: Anonymous
December 15, 2012 6:23 AM
I agree with President Obama. School shootings happen too frequently in the US. We need to take action. I think school officials should be trained and allowed to carry guns in school to protect our kids. I have a 2-year old who goes to daycare and I don't know what I'll do if he doesn't come home to me one day. I grieve for the children and families directly affected by this tragedy.

In Response

by: Ian from: USA
December 16, 2012 9:01 PM
Actually our country gets into this messy situation more after the government cutting funds and closing the mental hospitals & institutions throwing all the mentally ills out on the streets..
I believe this is partially the result of that policy .


by: G. S. JOHAR from: Kanpur
December 15, 2012 5:04 AM
A man of cruelty is God’s enemy. Adam Lamza. is therefore an enemy of God. Hence, people all over the world must pray for the restlessness of the soul of the cruel killer who mercilessly killed so many lovely and innocent kids along with others Lamza’s soul must remain and cry in hell for ever…..for ever.


by: sved from: france
December 14, 2012 11:44 PM
I may be wrong, but isn't the congress supposed to be the one doing something about it? What can Obama do?

In Response

by: Ian from: USA
December 16, 2012 9:06 PM
I am glad that you see it clearer than most americans.
You know, in our country people blame the president for everything..
Sometimes we even vote for those congressmen & senators that go against the president that we put in the white house and wonder why he could not get anything passes..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Goghi
X
George Putic
January 29, 2015 9:43 PM
The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Crowded Republican Presidential Field Off to Early Start for 2016

It seems early, but the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign is already heating up. Though no one has officially announced a candidacy, several potential Republican contenders have been busy speaking to conservative groups about making a White House run next year. Many of the possible contenders are critical of the Obama administration’s foreign policy record. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid