On Newtown anniversary, Obama says ‘these tragedies must end’
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama light 26 candles, honoring the 26 students and teachers killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, in the Map Room of the White House (photo credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
December 14th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
5 years ago

On Newtown anniversary, Obama says ‘these tragedies must end’

Updated 9:45 a.m., 12/14/2013

(CNN) – One year after a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, killed 20 first-graders and six adults, devastating a community and shocking the nation, President Barack Obama said we haven’t done enough to keep our country safe.

"More than the tragedy itself, that’s how Newtown will be remembered," the President said Saturday in his weekly address.

Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama marked the anniversary Saturday by lighting 26 candles at the White House - one for each of the victims at Newtown - and a moment of silence.

"And on this anniversary of a day we will never forget, that’s the example we should continue to follow. Because we haven’t yet done enough to make our communities and our country safer.”

Obama continued: “We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily. We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for."

Change, he said, must come from the American people, not lawmakers in Washington.

"Beneath the sadness, we also felt a sense of resolve – that these tragedies must end, and that to end them, we must change."

Efforts to enact stricter gun laws fizzled in April when a bill that included stronger federal background checks for gun purchases failed to pass the Senate.

Obama’s address comes after another shooting at a school in Centennial, Colorado, on Friday. Three were rushed to hospitals after a student with a gun entered Arapahoe High School with an intention of harming a specific faculty member, officials said.

The shooting at Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012, marked the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history, after the April 2007 slaying of 32 people at Virginia Tech. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook gunman, also killed his mother and himself.

Shortly after the Newtown massacre, Obama said in an interview on NBC that the shooting was the worst day of his presidency.

Filed under: Gun control • President Obama
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. Tony in Maine

    This sort of abomination will not end until Wayne LaPierre says they'll end, and that's about as likely as the sun rising in the west. Unfettered access to the testosterone enhanced phallic symbol of choice makes Wayne a rich boy – that children have to die as a result is not a concern to him.

    December 14, 2013 06:52 am at 6:52 am |
  2. don in albuquerque

    This past year the parents of two children purchased a small caliber rifle for a son just a few years beyond being a toddler. He proceeded to use that weapon to then kill his little sister. This Christmas I will light a candle for that little girl I guess just to show myself she is not forgotten. Then I will light a candle for the little boy and pray for peace in his little soul. Will I pray for his parents? No. The irresponsibility they showed can only receive forgiveness and peace from a higher power then me. These were legal, law abiding gun owners. Neither one of them was intelligent enough, or mature enough to have children, much less own or be able to purchase a gun.

    December 14, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  3. Minnie Mouse

    Our country has the most gun violence than anyone. Everyone needs to stop talking and do something about it. It's a shame that it has gone on for so long and still ongoing.

    1. Remove all guns and ammunition from online sales. You have no clue who you are really selling to as far as age wise and what state of mind the person is in or not in.

    2. Start finger printing, showing picture ID and require all guns to be registered before ammunition can be bought. At least this way if the gun is not registered to the person buying ammunition, the unauthorized person cannot purchase anything.

    3. There needs to be recovery centers for people who leave the mental facilities, because most of them don't have any support and are tossed out into the streets. This leaves them going back and forth in and out of mental facilities and shelters to where they are not getting the treatment and attention they so badly need. These facilities are only set up to where the people can only be an inpatient for a certain number of days and once time is up, they are shipped off regardless if they are ready or not.

    The entire country just needs to come together and say enough is enough, and do something!! It's a sad country when you have to always be concerned about your safety, your Childs safety and those around you.

    As a country we need to take more pride in our lives, our family and those around us rather than our guns.

    December 14, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  4. Mr. M

    Why haven't we seen one single security camera picture, cell phone picture, or any kind of picture of the event? Sandy Hook 2-months before the shooting had a new security system put in. Are we suppose to believe they had no cameras? Or that the ones they put in didn't record?

    Who were the two men caught behind the school running in the woods? Why were they let go? Who were they? Why were they there dressed in camouflage?

    There are a thousand more questions about Sandy Hook that has not been answered or even addressed.

    December 14, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. Carl

    You want these tragedies to end, Mr. President? The go do SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

    December 14, 2013 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. johnk

    One of he problems is the bombardment of violent video games and Hollywood violent movies. This is one of the big catalysts to promote shooting by young people. Also the music industry especially rap, look at the role models and what they portray. This is like putting gas on a fire. Also the pressures to succeed, yet the peer pressure in schools. Facebook, Twitter and the like all add a dimension to cutting down self esteem of young people by slander and accusations. Finally with the growing population this is going to be a given since more people do create more problems.

    December 14, 2013 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  7. Farrok

    What of the 17 innocent children the drone killed in Yemen yesterday? They were attending a wedding party and were blown to peaces by a drone and not one word of condolences from President Obama? They were murdered by madmen too. But that's ok?

    December 14, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. ann

    This is all for show. He has destroyed our economy, which has stressed people out. Obama should be sitting in jail. He stole so much of our money it's sinful.

    December 14, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Cuthbert Allgood

    The only way - the ONLY way - these tragedies will end is passing laws forbidding the media from sensationalizing them. Gun control, mental health care, it's all a waste of time. Confiscation of guns is the only thing that would make a difference, and that will never happen. Few of these people would have been identified for mental health care ahead of time, and even then, it's voluntary. It won't stop anything. We've had guns around for 100+ years. What has changed is mass media allowing these people to become immortal through their actions.

    When the mentally ill people stop hearing about these people, they will lose the desire to mimic them.

    December 14, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. Carl Kravis

    But can you imagine if those unfit people didn't have any guns. What a great world it would be for all. Come on Senate have a heart.

    December 14, 2013 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  11. James D Crawford

    As if Obama REALLY understands anything about American life! He's just another totalitarian control freak...using victims as tragedy in a manner that further victimizes them and others as well.

    December 14, 2013 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  12. ora pike

    then resign so we can get our nation back.

    December 14, 2013 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Obama talks trash, and DOES nothing. The problem is.........no one is addressing mental illness in America...........and even a year later........they are barely recognizing the true problem.

    December 14, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. IndyMike

    Obama talks too much and never really says anything. Perhaps he ought to talk less a do more.

    December 14, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. bdby

    Here we go again. The administration is taking aim at the lawful owners of weapons again. Why can't they just enforce the laws now on the books and things would take care of itself?? The people in this administration are idiots.

    December 14, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. Bob

    Does Obama even matter anymore? Or is he an empty chair?

    December 14, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  17. Elmo

    Then Mr. Obama should focus on the gangster culture and its incipient predatory life style that accounts for more fire arm murders than all the Sandy Hooks combined. Stop with the emotional games, playing up on sensational events and focus on the cultural problem at hand that is at the root of the problem.

    December 14, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  18. Peppy

    Thank you for the lip service. Hows that Obamacare working out for you ????

    December 14, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. Carl Kravis

    You another thing is that all the policies, doctrines and laws are created and destroyed by just a few. Why not get the whole country involved in what should be and what shouldn't be. A bureaucratic regime is actually the origin of any slipped blood.

    December 14, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. Peppy

    Congrats to the pres for winning the BIGGEST LIE OF THE YEAR !!

    December 14, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  21. lou

    all the lies must end.

    December 14, 2013 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  22. Van Krunk

    Oh no, lets place blame instead of addressing the problem. Hint, FIX THE MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM!

    December 14, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  23. bs1

    "these tragedies must end" – They will never end unless we focus on their cause rather than trying to blame inanimate objects and vilify 100,000,000+ people who have not commited a single crime. If there were no guns anywhere in the entire world these tragedies would still occur since it is not guns, nor access to guns that is behind these incidents. Where there is a disturbed person intent on harm they will find a way, and lack of firearms is no impediment. We have numerous examples of this, however the media burries them in favor of sensationalizing the falsely named "gun crime".

    December 14, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. ThinkAgain

    @Mr. M: "Why haven't we seen one single security camera picture, cell phone picture, or any kind of picture of the event? Sandy Hook 2-months before the shooting had a new security system put in. Are we suppose to believe they had no cameras? Or that the ones they put in didn't record? Who were the two men caught behind the school running in the woods? Why were they let go? Who were they? Why were they there dressed in camouflage? There are a thousand more questions about Sandy Hook that has not been answered or even addressed."

    The paranoia is strong in this one ...

    December 14, 2013 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    Has anyone begun to notice the fact, that these events usually occur in Democratic Party, urban socialist areas?

    Doesn't that tell people anything?????

    December 14, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
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