Full Text Obama Presidency June 18, 2015: President Barack Obama’s Statement on the Charleston Church Shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Statement by the President on the Shooting in Charleston, South Carolina

Source: WH, 6-18-15

James S. Brady Press Briefing Room

12:20 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  This morning, I spoke with, and Vice President Biden spoke with, Mayor Joe Riley and other leaders of Charleston to express our deep sorrow over the senseless murders that took place last night.

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.

Mother Emanuel is, in fact, more than a church.  This is a place of worship that was founded by African Americans seeking liberty.  This is a church that was burned to the ground because its worshipers worked to end slavery.  When there were laws banning all-black church gatherings, they conducted services in secret.  When there was a nonviolent movement to bring our country closer in line with our highest ideals, some of our brightest leaders spoke and led marches from this church’s steps.  This is a sacred place in the history of Charleston and in the history of America.

The FBI is now on the scene with local police, and more of the Bureau’s best are on the way to join them.  The Attorney General has announced plans for the FBI to open a hate crime investigation.  We understand that the suspect is in custody.  And I’ll let the best of law enforcement do its work to make sure that justice is served.

Until the investigation is complete, I’m necessarily constrained in terms of talking about the details of the case.  But I don’t need to be constrained about the emotions that tragedies like this raise.  I’ve had to make statements like this too many times.  Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.  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.  Now is the time for mourning and for healing.

But let’s be clear:  At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries.  It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.  And it is in our power to do something about it.  I say that recognizing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those avenues right now.  But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it.  And at some point it’s going to be important for the American people to come to grips with it, and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.

The fact that this took place in a black church obviously also raises questions about a dark part of our history.  This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked.  And we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals.

The good news is I am confident that the outpouring of unity and strength and fellowship and love across Charleston today, from all races, from all faiths, from all places of worship indicates the degree to which those old vestiges of hatred can be overcome.  That, certainly, was Dr. King’s hope just over 50 years ago, after four little girls were killed in a bombing in a black church in Birmingham, Alabama.

He said they lived meaningful lives, and they died nobly.  “They say to each of us,” Dr. King said, “black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution.  They say to us that we must be concerned not merely with [about] who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers.  Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American Dream.

“And if one will hold on, he will discover that God walks with him, and that God is able to lift you from the fatigue of despair to the buoyancy of hope, and transform dark and desolate valleys into sunlit paths of inner peace.”

Reverend Pinckney and his congregation understood that spirit.  Their Christian faith compelled them to reach out not just to members of their congregation, or to members of their own communities, but to all in need.  They opened their doors to strangers who might enter a church in search of healing or redemption.

Mother Emanuel church and its congregation have risen before –- from flames, from an earthquake, from other dark times -– to give hope to generations of Charlestonians.  And with our prayers and our love, and the buoyancy of hope, it will rise again now as a place of peace.

Thank you.

END
12:28 P.M. EDT

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Full Text Campaign Buzz October 21, 2012: Paul Ryan’s Statement On Today’s Shooting Tragedy In Brookfield, Wisconsin

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Statement By Paul Ryan On Today’s Tragedy In Wisconsin

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 10-21-12

Paul Ryan made the following statement on today’s shooting in Brookfield, Wisconsin:
“Janna and I were shocked and saddened by the news from Brookfield today. As our community continues to heal from August’s tragic violence, our thoughts and prayers are with today’s victims and their loved ones. Our gratitude also goes to the first responders who rushed to save lives and secure the scene.  We will not allow the evil responsible for this heartbreaking event to triumph over the spirit of the people of Wisconsin. I ask all Americans to keep those affected by this event in their hearts, minds, and prayers today.”

Full Text Obama Presidency July 22, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Honoring Victims of Aurora, Colorado Movie Theater Shooting after Visiting Victims at University of Colorado Hospital

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama Consoles Aurora as City Begins Healing

Source: NYT, 7-22-12

President Obama came to Aurora, Colo., to meet with survivors of a rampage at a movie theater. The police said they had finished collecting evidence out of the suspect’s apartment….READ MORE

Source: WH. 7-23-12

President Barack Obama hugs Stephanie Davies (July 22, 2012)President Barack Obama hugs Stephanie Davies, who helped keep her friend, Allie Young, left, alive after she was shot during the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado. The President visited patients and family members affected by the shootings at the University of Colorado Hospital July 22, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

On Sunday, President Obama traveled to Aurora, Colorado to meet with the survivors of the movie theater shooting and offer solace to families of the victims.

“I had a chance to visit with each family, and most of the conversation was filled with memory,” the President said. “I confessed to them that words are always inadequate in these kinds of situations, but that my main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that we are thinking about them at this moment and will continue to think about them each and every day.”

During his visit to University of Colorado Hospital, the President had a chance to meet Allie Young and Stephanie Davies, and speaking to reporters, he described their story.

During the film, Allie and Stephanie were seated near an aisle and when the gunman began his attack by tossing a canister of gas into the crowd, Allie, just 19 years old, stood up to warn those around her. She was hit in the neck by a bullet, which punctured a vein.

Stephanie, the President said, dropped to the ground beside her friend, applied pressure to Allie’s wound to slow the bleeding, then dialed 911 with her cell phone. Even after Allie told Stephanie to run, the 21 year old stayed by her friend — and when first responders arrived, Stephanie helped to carry Allie to a waiting ambulance.

Doctors expect Allie to make a full recovery.

President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora (July 22, 2012) President Barack Obama makes a statement to the press at University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colo., July, 22, 2012, following his meetings with families of victims killed in last Thursday’s shootings. Standing with the President, from left, are: Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., Police Chief Dan Oates, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

“I don’t know how many people at any age would have the presence of mind that Stephanie did, or the courage that Allie showed,” President Obama said.  “And so, as tragic as the circumstances of what we’ve seen today are, as heartbreaking as it is for the families, it’s worth us spending most of our time reflecting on young Americans like Allie and Stephanie, because they represent what’s best in us, and they assure us that out of this darkness a brighter day is going to come.”

Read his full remarks here.

Remarks by the President After Hospital Visit

Source: WH, 7-22-12 

University of Colorado Hospital
Aurora, Colorado

6:40 P.M. MDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  I want to begin by just thanking all the state, local, and federal officials who have responded magnificently to this tragedy.

Governor Hickenlooper, who has already been dealing with a range of natural disasters here in the state, has been an extraordinary example of strength.  The Mayor, who has only been on the job seven months, and obviously has responded with great strength and leadership.  The Police Chief, who — we had an opportunity to speak over the phone — Chief Oates has been dealing with as difficult a set of circumstances as any law enforcement officer deals with, and he and his officers have done everything right, by the book, with great courage and great determination.  And so we are very proud of them.  And I think I speak for the entire congressional delegation who is here as well.

Scripture says that “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more.  Neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  And when you have an opportunity to visit with families who have lost their loved ones — as I described to them, I come to them not so much as President as I do as a father and as a husband.  And I think that the reason stories like this have such an impact on us is because we can all understand what it would be to have somebody that we love taken from us in this fashion — what it would be like and how it would impact us.

I had a chance to visit with each family, and most of the conversation was filled with memory.  It was an opportunity for families to describe how wonderful their brother, or their son, or daughter was, and the lives that they have touched, and the dreams that they held for the future.  I confessed to them that words are always inadequate in these kinds of situations, but that my main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that we are thinking about them at this moment and will continue to think about them each and every day, and that the awareness that not only all of America but much of the world is thinking about them might serve as some comfort.

I also tried to assure them that although the perpetrator of this evil act has received a lot of attention over the last couple of days, that attention will fade away.  And in the end, after he has felt the full force of our justice system, what will be remembered are the good people who were impacted by this tragedy.

And I also had a chance to give folks some hugs and to shed some tears, but also to share some laughs as they remembered the wonderful lives that these men and women represented.

I also had a chance, fortunately, to visit some folks who are going to be okay, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the staff at this hospital.  And I just want to thank everybody who’s worked tirelessly here to deal with this tragedy.

Some of the stories are remarkable.  You see young people who’ve come in and just two days ago, or 36 hours ago, or even 24 hours ago, it wasn’t certain whether they’d make it.  And now suddenly, their eyes are open, they’re alert and they’re talking. And it reminds you that even in the darkest of days, life continues, and people are strong and people bounce back and people are resilient.  And particularly, given the fact that so many of the victims were young, it is a great blessing to see how rapidly they’re able to recover from some pretty devastating injuries.

There’s one particular story I want to tell because this was the last visit that I had and I think it’s representative of everything that I saw and heard today.  I had a chance, just now, about five minutes ago, to visit with Allie Young — Allie is 19 years old — and I also had a chance to visit with Allie’s best friend, Stephanie Davies, who’s 21.  Stephanie was actually downstairs with Allie as well as Allie’s parents when I walked into the room.

And I don’t think this story has been heard — at least I hadn’t read it yet — but I wanted to share it with you.  When the gunman initially came in and threw the canisters, he threw them only a few feet away from Allie and Stephanie, who were sitting there watching the film.  Allie stood up, seeing that she might need to do something or at least warn the other people who were there.  And she was immediately shot.  And she was shot in the neck, and it punctured a vein, and immediately she started spurting blood.

And apparently, as she dropped down on the floor, Stephanie — 21 years old — had the presence of mind to drop down on the ground with her, pull her out of the aisle, place her fingers over where she — where Allie had been wounded, and applied pressure the entire time while the gunman was still shooting.  Allie told Stephanie she needed to run.  Stephanie refused to go — instead, actually, with her other hand, called 911 on her cell phone.

Once the SWAT team came in, they were still trying to clear the theater.  Stephanie then, with the help of several others, carries Allie across two parking lots to where the ambulance is waiting.  And because of Stephanie’s timely actions, I just had a conversation with Allie downstairs, and she is going to be fine.

I don’t know how many people at any age would have the presence of mind that Stephanie did, or the courage that Allie showed.  And so, as tragic as the circumstances of what we’ve seen today are, as heartbreaking as it is for the families, it’s worth us spending most of our time reflecting on young Americans like Allie and Stephanie, because they represent what’s best in us, and they assure us that out of this darkness a brighter day is going to come.

To the entire community of Aurora, the country is thinking of you.  I know that there’s going to be a vigil and an opportunity for everybody to come together.  And I hope that all those who are in attendance understand that the entire country will be there in prayer and reflection today.

So thank you.  God bless you.  God bless all who helped to respond to this tragedy.  And I hope that over the next several days, next several weeks, and next several months, we all reflect on how we can do something about some of the senseless violence that ends up marring this country, but also reflect on all the wonderful people who make this the greatest country on Earth.

Thank you very much, everybody.

END             6:50 P.M. CDT

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