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. Those were the opening remarks from President Obama at the Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers, Fla., on Friday morning.
That tragedy of which he speaks happened in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater just a few miles outside of Denver. At least 12 people were killed when a gunman opened fire. Dozens more are being treated for injuries at a local hospital.
“We’re still gathering all the facts about what happened in Aurora, but what we do know is that the police have one suspect in custody. And the federal government stands ready to do whatever is necessary to bring whoever is responsible for this heinous crime to justice. And we will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all of our people,” Obama told the crowd.
The president vowed to stand by the people of Colorado during this difficult time. Obama said he spoke with the mayor of Aurora and the governor of Colorado to express how heart broken he and his wife, Michelle, are.
“Now, 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. 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,” Obama said.
“The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved. They were mothers and fathers; they were husbands and wives; sisters and brothers; sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled.
“And if there’s anything to take away from this tragedy it’s the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the 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.”
Obama admitted when he heard the news, he thought of his daughters, who also go to the movies. He thought, “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. 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 then paused for a movement of silence for the victims of the Colorado mass shooting, for the people who knew them and loved them, for those who are still struggling to recover, and for all the victims of less publicized acts of violence that plague American communities every single day.
“I hope all of you will keep the people of Aurora in your hearts and minds today,” Obama said. “May the Lord bring them comfort and healing in hard days to come.”