President Obama gave a speech tonight in which he dedicated himself to taking a lead position in the post Newtown political debates. Full transcript of speech.
But we as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. ...
This is our first task, caring for our children. Itís our first job. If we donít get that right, we donít get anything right. Thatís how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that weíre meeting our obligations?
Can we honestly say that weíre doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm?
Can we claim, as a nation, that weíre all together there, letting them know they are loved and teaching them to love in return?
Can we say that weíre 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?
Iíve been reflecting on this the last few days, and if weíre honest with ourselves, the answerís no. Weíre not doing enough. And we will have to change. Since Iíve been president, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by mass shootings, fourth time weíve hugged survivors, the fourth time weíve consoled the families of victims.
And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and in big cities all across America, victims whose -- much of the time their only fault was being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
We canít 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 canít be an excuse for inaction. Surely we can do better than this.
If thereís even one step we can take to save another child or another parent or another town from the grief thatís visited Tucson and Aurora and Oak Creek and Newtown and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that, then surely we have an obligation to try.
In the coming weeks, Iíll 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 canít accept events like this as routine.
Are we really prepared to say that weíre 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?