In his eloquence, President Obama’s grief and anger was palpable last night when he spoke in Newtown, Connecticut. He told the parents and community of the 20 children and six adults who were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School that the nation he leads “will have to change.”
But the question remains: How much is he willing to risk to make that change happen?
By sheer volume, the mass shootings that have occurred during his first term force him to take some type of action at this point. Just like a spate of violence in a city moves the media and citizenry to scream out for the mayor to do something, these tragedies in his country now beg for the nation’s leader to make moves.
As the Los Angeles Times pointed out, these speeches of Obama’s have become so frequent that they have taken on a pattern.
Such presidential visits have become a grim routine for the nation’s mourner in chief. He has delivered speeches after several mass shootings during his term, including the 2009 shooting at Ft. Hood, Texas, the 2011 shooting outside a grocery store in Tucson and the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo., in July.
“The president often begins with a quote from the Bible. He notes his personal, emotional reaction to the tragedy — often speaking as a parent. He names and honors the dead and tells a hopeful story, often of a survivor,” the Times wrote.
The president also met with family members and spoke after the 2009 serial killings at Fort Hood, Texas, which killed 13 service members; the 2010 shooting in Tucson that killed six people and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and the July shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., that left 12 people dead.
During his speech, Obama laid responsibility for these tragedies at the feet of every American, by pointing out that each of is bears responsibility for every child.
“We come to realize that we bear responsibility for every child, because we’re counting on everybody else to help look after ours, that we’re all parents, that they are all our children,” he said. “This is our first task, caring for our children. It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right. That’s how, as a society, we will be judged.”
“And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we’re meeting our obligations?” he continued. “Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we’re all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return? 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? I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer’s no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.”
Names and ages of the victims:
– Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female
– Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male
– Rachel Davino, 7/17/83, female.
– Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female
– Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female
– Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female
– Dylan Hockley, 3/8/06, male
– Dawn Hochsprung, 06/28/65, female
– Madeleine F. Hsu, 7/10/06, female
– Catherine V. Hubbard, 6/08/06, female
– Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male
– Jesse Lewis, 6/30/06, male
– James Mattioli , 3/22/06, male
– Grace McDonnell, 12/04/05, female
– Anne Marie Murphy, 07/25/60, female
– Emilie Parker, 5/12/06, female
– Jack Pinto, 5/06/06, male
– Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male
– Caroline Previdi, 9/07/06, female
– Jessica Rekos, 5/10/06, female
– Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female
– Lauren Rousseau, 6/1982, female (full date of birth not specified)
– Mary Sherlach, 2/11/56, female
– Victoria Soto, 11/04/85, female
– Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male
– Allison N. Wyatt, 7/03/06, female