July 20th, 2012
11:40 AM ET
9 years ago

Obama, after shooting, tells supporters 'Such evil is senseless'

(CNN) – President Barack Obama, speaking Friday at a modified campaign event in Florida, urged a crowd of supporters to set aside politics on a day when the nation's attention was focused on a deadly shooting at a movie theater in Colorado.

"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," Obama said. "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."

"I know many of you came here today for a campaign event," Obama continued at the event in Fort Myers. "I was looking forward to having a fun conversation with you about some really important matters we face as a country, and the differences between myself and my opponent in this election. But this morning, we woke up to news of a tragedy that reminds us of all the ways that we are united as one American family."

Obama was on the second day of a campaign swing through Florida, a key battleground in November's general election. He was informed of Friday's shooting by his counterterrorism adviser John Brennan early in the morning.

Obama's campaign said Friday it was canceling the second of two campaign events following the shooting, which took place at a midnight screening of the latest installment of the Batman film franchise. The campaign said Obama would return to the White House following the Fort Myers rally.

Vice President Joe Biden and first lady Michelle Obama also both cancelled scheduled campaign events Friday. The campaign of presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney said it would comment on the shooting at an event in New Hampshire.

On Friday, Obama invoked his own children, saying the Colorado incident reminded him of the importance of family bonds.

"My daughters go to the movies. What if Malia and Sasha had been at the theater, as so many of our kids do every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter tonight, and I'm sure you will do the same with your children," the president said. "But for those parents who may not be so lucky, we have to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation."

Obama said one message to take from the Colorado shooting was a "reminder that life is very fragile."

"Our time here is limited and it is precious," Obama continued. "And what matters at the end of 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."

READ MORE: Romney calls for unity following Colorado shooting

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. stefany

    Well said, glad to see that although Obama is going through a campaign that is very important for his career as a president he takes a step back to acknowledge reality and have condolences to the tragedy that has currently occur in this country.

    July 20, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. cali girl

    To all the families I will be praying for you. Very sad day, another Colorado tragedy, like the Columbine school shooting.

    July 20, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  3. Cyg

    Nice to see you GOP haggler dirtbags out there can't shut your traps for five seconds when someone is addressing a serious issue of the country or the community. Shows exactly how our children shouldn't be raised for future generations to come. GOP – the worst this country can offer.

    July 20, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. i want a mega rich Mormon who hidvilvies money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    Thank God we have a great man in Mr Obama, instead of a cold hearted, Mr Howell and lovie as his side kick trying to score cheap political points in death. Wonder how long it takes before mittens pins this tragedy on Obama.

    July 20, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  5. gayAgendaWatch

    Typical pandering for votes. Why don't you just be honest and admit that you're just a vulture feeding off the deaths of others!!!! Quit pretending that you care you don't give a damn!!!!

    July 20, 2012 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  6. Katz

    So sad, my prayers to the families. Although it is nice to see that the president shows such compassion considering, an innocent border patrolman and many innocent Mexicans were killed with guns given to the Mexican gangs by the US (Holder). Guess he didn't feel like those families were owed explanations and compassion. Guess he doesn't have the same compassion for the innocent kids getting shot everyday on the streets in Chicago. The deaths in Chicago on a daily basis is more than the deaths in Afghanistan. Nice that he can separate himself on who gets his compassion and who doesn't.

    July 20, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Unapologetic American

    Translation: We'll put aside politics today, but we're going to work on undermining the Second Amendment tomorrow.
    So, why doesn't the "private sector" come up with a solution? An arms race to have more firepower than the next guy is not the answer. That's the problem. It's too easy for the wrong people to obtain guns. What does the NRA plan to do about keeping guns out of the hands of the wrong people? If it were up to the NRA, they would gladly sell such people all the weapons they desire for no better reason than the fact that it is profitable.

    July 20, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. Thomas

    "The only way to have a peaceful society is to have a well armed society." people who think this are idiots.

    July 20, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  9. Lola G

    This country tends to have no real punishment for individuals who commit crimes of this nature. Who knows what the motive may have for such a diabolical. act. These days the average criminal receives amenities such as Three Hots and a Cot, Cable, Cell Phones,Monies Placed on their books for spending, Medical Treatment Paid for by the taxpayers, and the list goes on. This country caters more to the criminal than the innocent citizens that try to make a life here in whats supposed to be Called The Good Ole USA. I call it A shame.Now we Cower unto the Criminal, while we hope that we,re not next.

    July 20, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |

    Our president always showing true statesmanship in the face of tragedy! He is a true leader and we want & need him to continue to LEAD this great nation! ~Our hearts, prayers & love goes out to the families of those that lost their lives and was hurt in this awful situation. May GOD bless & keep us all!

    July 20, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. Ganan

    Good-maybe he'll shut up for at least ONE day.

    July 20, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. C-Rob

    First, my thoughts and prayers go to the victims, families, and friends of this CO community. I can't imagine why a coward would commit such treason on his fellow Americans. The killer was 24, if I remember correctly, which further leads me to believe that my generation is in trouble and doesn't value life as a precious commodity. I believe we need stricter gun control laws because guns don't kill people; idiots who use the guns kill people. We need to control who can get guns.

    Secondly, "Johnny DC," you're an idiot! They should also have stricter controls on freedom of speech and reserve that privilege for people who have intelligent things to say.

    July 20, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. pitt04

    Obama is a gift.

    July 20, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. maximusvad

    Puts priorities into perspective. People are greater than money.

    July 20, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  15. Essie

    There are ignorant comments being posted about our president! You all should be greatly ashamed & embarrassed for your rants! May GOD BLESS our president and may he stay our president for the next 4 years! ~He genuinely care for the American people and we want him to keep his job!

    July 20, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Name. chang.a

    This is another reminder on how fragile and limited our life is. Please take a moment to hold your loves and pray for those who are in mourning.

    July 20, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. Thomas

    Canadians have less guns per capita and have significantly less gun violence per capita.

    July 20, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  18. Albert

    Obama sure know how to use any opportunity. What has this anything to do with the politcis?

    July 20, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  19. Taran

    It has been statistically proven that extremely strict gun control laws just assist the criminals, because they don't care about the laws anyway and will have guns no matter what the law says. They will know their victims will be unarmed. Statistics show that where conceal and carry exists, the crime rate drops.

    July 20, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Time for sharing the grief and condemning "senseless violence" is over. Time for trying to understand why. Time now for action. Laws need to be changed to PREVENT such acts and they can be. Every mass shooter has shown signs of mental illness to somebody and spoken or blogged about plans to do harm to self and/or others. Friends, family, neighbors, Facebook "friends" etc. need to report these signs and threats to police and be taken seriously. The individual should be taken into protective custody immediately and held for psych evaluation AND police should be permitted to legally search the person's home for weapons. Any weapons should be confiscated and not returned. Every measure should be taken to ensure that the individual is never able to buy a gun again, if released. Mentally ill people with guns are just as dangerous as political terrorists with guns. Let's stop the hand-wringing and start protecting innocent Americans.

    July 20, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. Jon

    I find it so sad ... liberal or conservative ... shame on all of you. This happens and you are all trying to blame someone of make it into a political advantage. Shut your traps ... if you need to say something ... say a prayer.

    July 20, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. Miroslava

    An act of insanity. Deliberate insanity. Just punishment must be meted out.
    I think those who go on killing spree should pay for it with their life.
    But even that doesn't seem enough.

    July 20, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. Taran

    The only way to have a peaceful society is to have a well armed society." people who don't think this are naive.....and idiots.

    July 20, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  24. Gary

    Have some respect for the office of the President, folks. Now is not the time for your dribble.

    July 20, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  25. thejosephsolution

    and what will [Romney's] message be? same/same [america is still great] - NOT really! really not, really

    July 20, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
1 2 3