Obama: 'Our hearts are broken' after school shooting
___________________________________By JENNIFER EPSTEIN | 12/14/12 1:42 PM
President Barack Obama denounced the “heinous crime” that left at least 26 dead Friday in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., as he vowed “meaningful action” to prevent future tragedies. “We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years, and each time I hear the news, I react not as a president but as everybody else would, as a parent,” Obama said, wiping tears from his reddened eyes as he spoke at the White House. “And that is especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.”
Occasionally, during his brief statement, the president got so choked that up he paused for several seconds before returning to his remarks. The longest pause came as Obama spoke of young lives whose futures were destroyed by bullets. Eventually, he choked out, “They had their entire lives ahead of them — birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own,” and then paused again before continuing.
“Our hearts are broken today for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of the adults who were lost,” he said. “Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children’s innocence has been torn away from them too early and there is no way to ease their pain.”
Obama focused on the emotions of the moment, but did pledge “meaningful action to prevent tragedies like this regardless of the politics.” But as has been the case after other mass shootings, he stayed away from the details of what that action might be.
Just before he spoke, the president issued a proclamation ordering flags to lowered to half-staff through next Tuesday in honor of the victims of the “senseless acts of violence” at the school. The president said he spoke with Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy about the shooting and shared his “condolences on behalf of the nation.”
The president’s call to the Democratic governor came as he continues to get updates on the shooting. At least 26 people were killed there, including 18 children, Connecticut police said.
Obama used the call to “express his condolences and concern for those who have lost loved ones, as well as those who were injured,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters during his daily briefing.
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