Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Obama consoles grieving families of shooting victims

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New York: Consoling the grieving families of the victims of the deadly Connecticut school shooting, US President Barack Obama on Monday said the nation has failed to keep its children safe and vowed to use all his power to prevent such “tragedies”.

“Can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we are doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm?,” asked Obama, who attended an emotional inter-faith memorial service held at the Newtown High School in Connecticut.

“If we are honest with ourselves, the answer is no,” he said. “We are not doing enough, and we will have to change.”

Obama travelled to Newtown, where a young man gunned down 26 people, including 20 first-graders at the Sandy Hook Elementary School before committing suicide last week. The police said accused Adam Lanza, 20, used a long rifle and shot the 6-7 year olds multiple times in the carnage that shocked the world and left the America searching for answers.

Telling a packed auditorium that the town was not alone in its grief, Obama said he offers the love and prayers of the nation but added that the country is failing at its “first task” to keep its children safe. “It’s our first job. If we don’t get that right, we don’t get anything right,” he said.

Obama said he realises that mere words of condolences are not enough to heal the “wounded hearts” of the parents and friends of those killed in the carnage, which has left the nation “with hard questions.”

As the tragedy reopens the debate on the country’s gun laws, Obama said, “no single law or set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our societies. That cannot be an excuse for inaction, surely we can do better than this.”

“In the coming weeks I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens,” he said, adding “in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have?”

The shooting is the fourth incident during Obama’s term as President and the President said, “we cannot accept events like these” as a routine.

People lit candles and left flowers, teddy bears and angel figurines on the various memorials that were set up across the town in memory of the victims.

A day after the carnage, more details emerged of the shooting and the way Lanza carried out the attack.

Connecticut police said he had shot his mother Nancy Lanza multiple times in the head before he drove to the elementary school armed with semiautomatic pistols, an assault rifle and a large supply of ammunition.

Connecticut State Police spokesman Paul Vance said most of the shots were fired from the .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic rifle.

Lanza had fired several rounds of shots still had hundreds of rounds left when he killed himself. (PTI)

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