Obama on Slaughter of Children: 'These Tragedies Must End'

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U.S. 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 U.S. 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.

Comments 9
Thumb benzona 17 December 2012, 07:34

show us how you'll do it. frankly, there are insane people everywhere...they don't need firearms to kill, knives are enough.

Default-user-icon ASD (Guest) 17 December 2012, 10:03

It's better than no control.

Thumb Captain 17 December 2012, 10:52

1) Strong Family ties
2) Proper Education
3) Bring back God in schools

Thumb benzona 17 December 2012, 11:58

The only kaput one is Bachar....... Yalla kheir. Green thumb for you. Esprit de nawell.

Missing allouchi 17 December 2012, 14:31

It is a human tragedy...gun control will be a good first step...

Default-user-icon Zingo Dollamfy (Guest) 17 December 2012, 15:42

Your ridiculous comments are a human tragedy, too...your stopping them will be a good first step considering that your maturing is hopeless...

Missing allouchi 17 December 2012, 17:10

I see your point but why would one individual buy over 20 guns and thousands of ammunitions!!! If someone loves guns so much he should get a gun collector license....

Thumb beiruti 17 December 2012, 15:48

Touching address from the President, but the problem is a long festering one in the US. It is not just gun laws, but gun mentality. Our culture glorifies violence and killing. Just look at our movies, the new Tom Cruze movie for example. He blows people away and people buy tickets to watch the carnage. We have video games where kids lose themselves all day and all night at cyber war killing off whoever gets into their sites, and then the same kid puts on his book bag and goes to school, probably confusing his cyber identity with his own identity, if he has taken the time to develop one. And then we get this problem in Connecticut.
It is collateral damage from a whole culture and as long as we in the US want to have a violent culture, then the collateral damage of 7 year old children receiving multiple gunshots to the head is the price that we pay for that. An Obama speech is not even the begining of the start of the start to cure this sickness.

Thumb benzona 17 December 2012, 20:04

Mais oui, même si je te châtie de temps à autres c'est parceque je t'apprecie. Parcontre, quelqun ou quelqu'une n'a pas trouvé ton post à son goût. Dommage.

Next Time, essaie de mettre ton numéro de matricule à côté de tes alias ^^°

À bon entendeur...