12 mass shootings, 12 speeches: How Obama has reacted – USA TODAY
WASHINGTON â President Obama’s comments following aÂ mass shooting generally follow a familiar pattern:
Thoughts and prayers to the families.
We don’t yet know all the facts.
Mass shootings are all too common.
Congress could do something about it.
Obama followed that pattern again Wednesday in a CBS News interview on the shootings in San Bernardino. But despiteÂ escalating attention on mass shootings over the course of his presidency, it wasn’t until his second term â after the 2012 shooting atÂ Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.Â âÂ that Obama has focused attention onÂ guns as a root cause of the violence.
A look what Obama has said, in the immediate aftermath of mass shootings over the years:
Fort Hood shooting
Nov. 5, 2009
Tucson congressional event shooting
Jan. 8, 2011
“Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine. She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring. She is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her constituents. Her husband Mark Kelly is a Navy captain and one of America’s valiant astronauts. It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does: listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.”
Aurora movie theater shooting
July 20, 2012
“Even as we learn how this happened and who’s responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It’s beyond reason. But while we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living. The people we lost in Aurora loved, and they were loved. They were mothers and fathers. They were husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future, and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled.
“And if there’s anything to take away from this tragedy, it’s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited, and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things, which so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another.”
Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting
Aug. 6, 2012
“I think all of us recognize that these kinds of terrible, tragic events are happening with too much regularity for us not to do some soul searching and to examine additional ways that we can reduce violence. ..
“We don’t yet know fully what motivated this individual to carry out this terrible act. If it turns out, as some early reports indicate, that it may have been motivated in some way by the ethnicity of those who were attending the temple, I think the American people immediately recoil against those kinds of attitudes, and I think it will be very important for us to reaffirm, once again, that in this country, regardless of what we look like, where we come from, who we worship; we are all one people, and we look after one another, and we respect one another.”
Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting
Dec. 14, 2012
“We’ve endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. And each time I learn the news, I react not as a President, but as anybody else would: as a parent. And that was especially true today. I know there’s not a parent in America who doesn’t feel the same overwhelming grief that I do.
“The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful little kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them: birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers, men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.”
Navy Yard shooting
Sept. 16, 2013
“So we are confronting yet another mass shooting, and today it happened on a military installation in our nation’s capital. It’s a shooting that targeted our military and civilian personnel. These are men and women who were going to work, doing their job protecting all of us. They’re patriots, and they know the dangers of serving abroad, but today they faced the unimaginable violence that they wouldn’t have expected here at home.”
Fort Hood shooting
April 2, 2014
“Any shooting is troubling. Obviously, this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. We know these families. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers were â are with the entire community. And we are going to do everything we can to make sure that the community at Fort Hood has what it needs to deal with the current situation, but also any potential aftermath.
“We’re heartbroken that something like this might have happened again. And I don’t want to comment on the facts until I know exactly what has happened, but for now, I would just hope that everybody across the country is keeping the families and the community of Fort Hood in our thoughts and in our prayers. The folks there have sacrificed so much on behalf of our freedom. Many of the people there have been on multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. They serve with valor, and they serve with distinction. And when they’re at their home base, they need to feel safe.”
Kansas Jewish Community Center shooting
April 14, 2014
“That this occurred now â as Jews were preparing to celebrate Passover, as Christians were observing Palm Sunday â makes this tragedy all the more painful. And today, as Passover begins, we’re seeing a number of synagogues and Jewish community centers take added security precautions. Nobody should have to worry about their security when gathering with their fellow believers. No one should ever have to fear for their safety when they go to pray.”
Charleston church shooting
June 18, 2015
“Michelle and I know several members of Emanuel AME Church. We knew their pastor, Reverend Clementa Pinckney, who, along with eight others, gathered in prayer and fellowship and was murdered last night. And to say our thoughts and prayers are with them and their families and their community doesn’t say enough to convey the heartache and the sadness and the anger that we feel. Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy. There is something particularly heartbreaking about the death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace, in a place of worship.
“We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that, once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hands on a gun.”
Chattanooga recruiting center shooting
July 16, 2015
“My main message right now is obviously the deepest sympathies of the American people to the four marines that have been killed. It is a heartbreaking circumstance for these individuals who have served our country with great valor to be killed in this fashion. And although the families are still in the process of being contacted, I want them to know that I speak for the American people in expressing our deepest condolences and knowing that they have their full support â our full support as they try to overcome the grief that’s involved here.”
Roseburg community college shooting
Oct. 1, 2015
“There’s been another mass shooting in America, this time in a community college in Oregon. That means there are more American families, moms, dads, children, whose lives have been changed forever. …
“We talked about this after Columbine and Blacksburg, after Tucson, after Newtown, after Aurora, after Charleston. It cannot be this easy for somebody who wants to inflict harm on other people to get his or her hands on a gun.
“And what’s become routine, of course, is the response to those who oppose any kind of common-sense gun legislation. Right now, I can imagine the press releases being cranked out: ‘We need more guns,’ they’ll argue, ‘fewer gun safety laws.’ Does anybody really believe that? …
“And of course, what’s also routine is that somebody somewhere will comment and say, ‘Obama politicized this issue.’ This is something we should politicize. It is relevant to our common life together, to the body politic….
“I hope and pray that I don’t have to come out again during my tenure as president to offer my condolences to families in these circumstances. But based on my experience as president, I can’t guarantee that. And that’s terrible to say. And it can change.”
San Bernardino shooting
Dec. 2. 2015
“Obviously our hearts go out to the victims and the families. The one thing we do know is that we have a pattern now of mass shootings in this country that has no parallel anywhere else in the world. And there are some steps we could take not to eliminate every one of these mass shootings, but to improve the odds that they don’t happen as frequently: common-sense gun safety laws, stronger background checks.
“And for those who are concerned about terrorism, some may be aware of the fact that we have a no-fly list where people can’t get on planes, but those same people who we don’t allow to fly could go into a store right now in the United States and buy a firearm and there’s nothing that we can do to stop them. That’s a law that needs to be changed.
“And so my hope is that we’re able to contain this particular shooting, and we don’t yet know what the motives of the shooters are, but what we do know is that there are steps we can take to make Americans safer, and that we should come together in a bipartisan basis at every level of government to make these rare as opposed to normal. We should never think that this is something that just happens in the ordinary course of events, because it doesn’t happen with the same frequency in other countries.”