Video: Obama’s speech in Newtown

posted at 8:01 am on December 17, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

While the nation mourned the horrific murders at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, Barack Obama arrived to deliver a message of political action.  What kind of action?  Despite some of the initial reactions to Obama’s speech at the prayer vigil last night, a read of the transcript shows that the speech was as vague on solutions as most of us have felt since the shootings on Friday.  Certainly, one could have some suspicions about the direction that Obama and his administration would like to travel for solutions, but other than promise to study the situation, Obama offered no easy proposals to solve the problems of brokenness, however one defines it:

Here is the most relevant part of the speech:

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. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has 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, I will 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?

But Obama never went any further toward providing his own answers to those questions.  Instead, he returned to the tenor of the vigil service:

All the world’s religions — so many of them represented here today — start with a simple question: Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose? We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain; that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it’s wealth or power or fame, or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that no matter how good our intentions, we will all stumble sometimes, in some way. We will make mistakes, we will experience hardships. And even when we’re trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God’s heavenly plans.

There’s only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have — for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child’s embrace — that is true. The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves, and binds us to something larger — we know that’s what matters. We know we’re always doing right when we’re taking care of them, when we’re teaching them well, when we’re showing acts of kindness. We don’t go wrong when we do that.

In the face of such evil and horror, a little humility isn’t a bad quality to demonstrate.  We’ll see whether that sticks, but the speech itself — on its own terms — expresses the anger, frustration, and grief that all Americans still feel after Newtown: how can we fix this? And perhaps the greater frustration: Is it really in our power to fix it?

Update: I wrote that the shootings took place on Thursday, but they took place on Friday.  I’ve fixed it above.

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Happy Nomad on December 17, 2012 at 1:00 PM

Was there a known threat in CT on Friday morning?

Night Owl on December 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale!”
Melville’s Captain Ahab lostmotherland

rogerb on December 17, 2012 at 1:26 PM

A movie caused the shooting…

… just like Benghazi!

Isn’t that right Mr. President…?

Seven Percent Solution on December 17, 2012 at 1:27 PM

Was there a known threat in CT on Friday morning?

Night Owl on December 17, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Of course there was. Not the way of your snark but Sandy Hook Elementary (and all schools for that matter) had procedures in place to keep the children safe from a variety of known threats. Supposedly the killer had to go through a locked door because of access control procedures. The teachers apparently had enough training to herd their classes into corners and bathrooms in the event of a shooting incident. We know that parents were expected to show ID before being able to enter the school under normal circumstances during the school day. This is how you effectively deal with potential but known threats.

Having armed school patrols or increased police presence on the Monday afterward (unless there is a specific reason to think there is going to be a shooting incident) is nothing more than show.

Happy Nomad on December 17, 2012 at 1:55 PM

I’m pretty sure I read Senator Diane Feinstein applied for a concealed carry permit to carry a 38 handgun a few years back.
I think I read this in my NRA magazine several years ago.

JellyToast on December 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM

2011 – SEVEN YEARS AFTER THE EXPIRATION OF THE ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN EXPIRED: New Report: U.S. Homicide Rate Falls to Lowest Rate in Four Decades

This week, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) announced that in 2010 the U.S. homicide rate fell to 4.2 homicides per 100,000 residents, the lowest U.S. homicide rate in four decades.

Resist We Much on December 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Resist We Much on December 17, 2012 at 2:18 PM

Facts? Facts? We don need no steeenkin facts…. /libtards

Guns have been around for nearly 1000 years.
Semi-automatic guns have been around for over 100 years.
Full-auto guns (which have never been used in one of these shootings) have been around for about 100 years.
And yet these mass shootings rarely, if ever, occured prior to the introduction of “gun free zones”.
How about if we also put on the timeline when movies, TV shows, and video games started glorifying extreme violence?

So which of the above “things” is more likely to be the cause of these kinds of shootings?

dentarthurdent on December 17, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Sounds like a typical Obama speech…..vague on solutions.

William Eaton on December 17, 2012 at 11:43 AM

Not only typical in that way, but also regarding the tone. Listening to him during situations like this, when he is at his unctuous, manipulative worst, is more than I can bear. I lasted literally less than 15 seconds before I muted him!

The dictatorial 0dumba lacks empathy, and speaks in a phony, forced, emotionally platitudinous manner that grates on me the way fingernails on a blackboard do. I see rayra noticed what I did, too.

Morrissey’s analysis is pathetic. OBama’s entire speech was a staircase of emotional manipulation and triggers, all to invoke grief, outrage, determination to ‘do’ something, and an expansion of responsibilty that built all the way up to Federal then Presidential action. Sentence by sentence it built a justification for unilateral action by Obama. A work of gramscian art.
It is PATHETIC that people whose business (and paycheck) relies on their analytical skills do not see it.

rayra on December 17, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Anti-Control on December 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

…the man began to ramble after a few minutes, looking as if he desperately needed a tele-prompter.

Imagine if you are the parent of one of these kids or a member of the community…how excited are you going to be to hear President Obama….the guy responsible for arming Mexican Drgug Cartels & a 300+ body count (to include a UC Border Patrol Agent) in an effort to get a high enough body count that one can pass anti-gun legislation… is coming to speak at your child’s memorial service (affectively sucking up a good bit of the attention away from the memorial itself)? How excited are you knowing the man responsible for ABANDONING a US Ambassador & 3 other Americans after 2 previous terror attacks – refusing to provide additional security , for giving the order to a military response team prepping to go to their rescue to ‘Stand Down’, then LIED about it all, is coming to speak on behalf of this tragedy?!

Personally, I would have told the orchestrators of the event NOT to let him to speak &/or warned them that if Obama began to get political I would get up, embarrass him on live TV, then walk out!

I have a serious problem with the Man who armed Mexican Drug Cartels, an act that resulted in over 300 deaths – to include BPA Brian Terry, telling me that law-abiding citizens’ right to bear arms is the problem/reason for these deaths. have a serious problem with the Man who armed Libyan Terrorists to help them take over the country – some of the same weapons used against our own US Ambassador & 3 other Americans on 9/11/12, telling law-abiding citizens THEY can’t be trusted with 2nd Ammendment rights. I am all for limiting weapons access – this administration should not have any access w/out supervision!

easyt65 on December 17, 2012 at 2:49 PM

I don’t think that it makes any sense to, as some advocate, focus on treating ‘mental illness’ as a remedy which ‘might’ have prevented this tragedy.

First, it is untrue that the young man purchased the guns he used himself. Apparently he had tried to purchase a gun and was refused. The guns were legally owned by his mother.

Second, the definition of mental illness is so ambiguous as to be meaningless. This individual had Asperger’s syndrome and violence is not normally concomitant with this, nor could it be really classified as a ‘mental illness’. People with it have managed to have productive and successful lives. That is, if someone is diagnosed with this, you can’t lock them up as deranged!

Furthermore, to conclude that if someone is psychologically dysfunctional, which is what many who are ‘mentally ill’ really are, this does not mean that they are prone to violence. The two are not related.

After all, I classify Obama as a clinical narcissist. Certainly his personal selection of ‘Who Shall My Drones Kill Today’ is, to me, a pathological act and hardly fit for a president.

His fake tears are pure political theater. It makes me feel violent hostility towards him. But I’m not ‘mentally ill’!

Banning guns doesn’t seem to reduce their use and proliferation among people. Gangs and criminals use guns as basic equipment and we can be very sure that none of them are registered. This is obvious in the high gun use in cities which ban them.

Could anything have been done to prevent this tragedy? I am going to say: No.
Having an armed guard at the school might have helped, but in the 40 odd years of that school’s existence, how many times has such a need for security arisen? What about simply having a gun in the principal’s office? Would that individual not also have been shot before he had been able to arm himself?

Evil exists. Chance exists. Mankind can do very little to control the existence of both except to acknowledge their reality and to garner the courage and strength to refuse to accept their dominion.

ETAB on December 17, 2012 at 2:52 PM

It’s really hard to give a crud about the “about the children” BS (never mind there wasn’t any useful content in the excerpts above except to give useless big government generalities, what liberals excel at) of a man who supports partial birth abortions/against protection on born alive abortion attempts.

We should be happy, however, that no T-shirts were given out.

kim roy on December 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM

Maj Hassan brought a weapon to an Army Deployment Processing Center, where guns were prohibited – where he knew he would face no resistance or threat of being shot at – and killed unarmed soldiers. The ‘joker’ took weapons to a theater – where he knew he would face no resistance or threat of being shot at – and opened fire on unarmed civilians. The Ct shooter stole weapons & went to this school – where he knew he would face no resistance or threat of being shot at – and opened fire on school personnel & teachers.

The 1st was a terrorist, a newly sworn enemy of the U.S. The other 2 were mentally ill NUT JOBS. While being ‘clinically’ ‘INSANE, they demonstrated the conscious wisdowm & Intelligence through the targets that they chose. Their desire to inflict damage / kill was matched by their conscious desire NOT to want to get killed before accomplishing their mission, thus they chose the ‘softest’ targets. If the Ct shooter knew the school was protected by armed guards/personnel, would he have chose thant school? Would Hassan have picked the processing center if he knew it was being guarded? History tells us ‘NO’.

None of these guys were law-abiding citizens. There isn’t anything that could have been done to stop Hassan from accessing weapons and going after his targets. One could argue the same for the other 2. Stripping law-abiding citizens of their 2nd amendment rights will only create more ‘soft targets’ and deny Amricans their rights & ability to protect themselves.

easyt65 on December 17, 2012 at 2:59 PM

I do not trust this guy period.

Everything he says, everything he does in my opinion is a means to an end for some political leftist gain.

If that makes me a loon so be it.

gophergirl on December 17, 2012 at 8:37 AM

No, it makes you a person who is paying attention.

kim roy on December 17, 2012 at 3:02 PM

easyt65 on December 17, 2012 at 2:49 PM

The only thing to add is Oblahblah’s support for when a baby survives an abortion attempt…

… he is against a second doctor giving life saving aide.

So much for never celebrating another birthday, graduating, and getting married…

… What should we ban to save these children?

Oh, wait…!

Seven Percent Solution on December 17, 2012 at 3:06 PM

We should be happy, however, that no T-shirts were given out.

kim roy on December 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM


… but the applause and his smug demeanor, like he knew that he was going to exploit this tragedy, almost made me throw up.

Seven Percent Solution on December 17, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Possibly educating people about the signs they should notice, how important it is to understand how critical it is to step up when they suspect someone is under massive pressure…(becoming) unstable…and reporting it would help. Several people have stepped up after-the-fact to say there were signs that were ignored.


One Liberal argued ‘we have to get rid of guns because the killer didn’t use a knife’. Good grief! If he really wanted one he would have gotten a gun no matter what. If h really wanted to kill & there were no guns he would have used an alternative weapon. Last year the news ran a story about a jealous woman waiting on her husband after work & running over him in the parking lot TWICE – with their daughter in the car….funny, I didn’t hear any demands to ban / outlaw cars – a source of many a deaths per year, especially by drunks, in America each year. No – ‘she was crazy’. Cigarettes kill millions of people – instead of banning them the government made it where they can collect billions of these ‘instruments of death’! Perhaps Liberals would be OK with these ‘massacres’ if they are allowed to do what they insisted for cigarettes – put warning labels on the stocks & force gun makers to pay them millions a year in ‘fines’?! (My point is if the givernment was serious about ending ‘needless death’ in this country they would go ahead & BAN / OUTLAW cigarettes!)

easyt65 on December 17, 2012 at 3:09 PM

Love me some Texas thinkin’.

pambi on December 17, 2012 at 3:11 PM

Seven Percent Solution on December 17, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Most awesome post!

easyt65 on December 17, 2012 at 3:14 PM

To hades with this charlatan and all of his supporters.

tom daschle concerned on December 17, 2012 at 3:16 PM

Hmmm over 60 shootings in the past 30 years and your country is 0 for 60 in having “those discussions should be held only after the victims have been buried and the facts known”

If you refuse to address the mental health elephant in the room then there will be more people murdered.

Your choice.

Dave Rywall on December 17, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Who’s refusing, dingbat? The ACLU and liberals, who are more worried about hurting someone’s feelings rather than getting people the help they want or because it might go against their privacy rights.

It’s the liberals who have opened up the mental health facilities and let the ill out, not the conservatives.

No wonder you dump and run. You’re too stupid to actually have a discussion – you just toss out useless statements and run away.

kim roy on December 17, 2012 at 3:19 PM

We should be happy, however, that no T-shirts were given out.

kim roy on December 17, 2012 at 2:57 PM


… but the applause and his smug demeanor, like he knew that he was going to exploit this tragedy, almost made me throw up.

Seven Percent Solution on December 17, 2012 at 3:09 PM

There was applause?



Liberals are demented.

kim roy on December 17, 2012 at 3:20 PM

It was YOU that claimed that the entire investment banking industry would have collapsed without AIG. It was an incredibly stupid claim that you climbed down from later. It was part of your factually inaccurate emotional rant.

blink on December 17, 2012 at 10:34 AM

The actions taken by The Fed, Treasury Secretary, etc. were due to AIG’s possible collapse posing systemic risk. Any financial institution with enough counter-party exposure to derivative positions insured by AIG would have been unable to function. Hank Paulson told congress with regard to TARP, “Unless you act, the financial system of this country and the world will melt down in a matter of days.” They apparently believed him. That seems inconsistent with your assertion that most areas of investment banking “don’t need anything AIG has to offer at all”.

dedalus on December 17, 2012 at 3:36 PM

The President realizes further discussion of “gun control” is pointless. That is mostly because the arguments have been litigated ad nauseum and found to be contra-factual as a remedy of reducing violent crime. Gun ownership has risen astronomically and violent crime has dropped. Period.

There is no correlation between the types of restrictions being discussed and a decrease in these incidents.

If anything there is a mental health crisis because the system of identifying and treating these people has been corrupted under the guise of “civil rights”.

If any protest is to be had, it should be outside the ACLU headquarters and offices of like-minded people who have coddled emotionally disabled people to their/our detriment, stopped their labeling under some misguided effort to help them feel “normal” and kept them from getting treatment because forcing them to do so was against their “civil right”. Nonsense.

This murderers mother successfully navigated her son around the appropriate label and treatment. She pulled him out of public school and into home-schooling to avoid the regime. She then loaded her home with firearms, knowing full well her son was emotionally unstable. Unfortunately she and other paid for it with their lives.

You want to have a national discussion? Let’s talk about that.

Marcus Traianus on December 17, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Is it really in our power to fix it?

President Obama had the legitimate power to protect our diplomats and others in Benghazi. He chose not to. So why would we trust him or Government to protect our children?

LetsBfrank on December 17, 2012 at 4:11 PM

Jeff Greenfield feeding on carrion

Schadenfreude on December 17, 2012 at 4:15 PM

Our 2nd Ammendment IS what it IS and that had better be that or this country is in big trouble. If O doesnt want to protect and defend our Constitution, like his oath of Office says, then he needs to resign.

johnnyU on December 17, 2012 at 7:44 PM

“Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?”

No, but apparently denying medical care to babies who survived botched abortion attempts, is the price our souls must pay to have this man as president.

Maybe these shootings simply reflect the absolute disdain for human life that our president has championed.

Maybe the “one thing” he could do would be to resign and remove the exposure to evil that is portrayed in front of us every day in the form of one of the greatest hypocrites to ever walk on the face of this earth.

Come on Mr. President, step up and engage in a little self-examination, a little soul-searching and then do us all the great favor of resigning – TODAY!

Fatal on December 17, 2012 at 9:48 PM