President Obama told a Sunday night vigil in Newton, Conn., that the country is left with “some hard questions” after Friday’s massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six adults.
As parents, Obama said, “we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.”
“And we know we can’t do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can’t do it by yourself,” he continued. “That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation.”
These remarks prefaced the president’s intent to make unspecified changes in the wake of the tragedy.
“Can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we’re doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?… I’ve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we’re honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We’re not doing enough. And we will have to change.”
“Since I’ve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting,” Obama said. “We can’t tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction.”
Obama promised that in the coming weeks he’d use “whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this.”
“Because what choice do we have? We can’t accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we’re powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?” he said.