Obama condemns gun violence at Navy Yard service

U.S. President Barack Obama hugs a family member of a victim slain in the Washington Navy Yard shooting during a memorial service in Washington, September 22, 2013. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. President Barack Obama hugs a family member of a victim slain in the Washington Navy Yard shooting during a memorial service in Washington, September 22, 2013. Credit: Reuters

 

President Barack Obama made an impassioned plea on Sunday for Americans to overcome their “creeping resignation” about gun violence and demand tougher gun laws following the country’s latest mass shooting.

“I’m here today to say there’s nothing routine about this tragedy. There’s nothing routine about your loss,” Obama told families at a memorial service for 12 people killed by a gunman last week at the Washington Navy Yard.

“Sometimes I fear there is a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is,” he said at the outdoor service at Marine Barracks Washington, less than three blocks from the base where three women and nine men died in the attack.

“We must insist here today there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work,” Obama said.

Authorities have identified the shooter as Aaron Alexis, 34, a former U.S. Navy reservist working as an information technology contractor. He was killed in a gun battle with police.

There were signs that Alexis had untreated mental health issues. Rhode Island police had warned the Navy in August that Alexis had reported “hearing voices” and said he believed people were following him and “sending vibrations into his body.”

Obama said the U.S. military needs to do more to secure its facilities, and he said the country must also make mental health treatment more available.

But he also railed against lax gun laws that he blamed for murder rates in the United States that are three times higher than in other developed nations.

“No other advanced nation endures this kind of violence. None,” he said.

“What’s different in America is it’s easy to get your hands on a gun,” he said.

‘OUGHT TO OBSESS US’

Before the service, Obama and first lady Michelle Obama met privately with families of the victims, all civilians who worked at the complex not far from Capitol Hill.

“These are not statistics,” Obama said, after he spoke about the lives and loves of each of the victims.

But to honor the lives of the victims, Obama said Americans must do more than extend thoughts and prayers to their families.

“It ought to obsess us. It ought to lead us to some sort of transformation,” he said, noting this was the fifth time in his presidency he had spoken at a memorial service after a mass shooting.

Obama proposed new gun laws early this year after a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

But Congress rejected his proposals to restrict sales of certain types of guns and require background checks for more types of gun sales.

The measures were fought by the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups, which said the proposals would infringe on Americans’ constitutional rights.

An NRA leader criticized the Washington Navy Yard on Sunday for not having more personnel carrying guns, saying it left the base “unprotected.”

“This is a tragedy that should not have happened, a memorial service that should not be taking place, and victims that should not be victims,” Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program.

Obama on Saturday told supporters that the fight for tougher gun laws is not over and “we’ve got to get back up and go back at it.

But that fight, like Obama’s other policy priorities, is likely to be sidelined by a battle with Congress over the budget that threatens to shut down the government.

Obama told the memorial service that he “cannot accept” that politics are too “frozen” to change gun laws, and urged Americans to demand change.

“By now, though, it should be clear that the change we need will not come from Washington, even when tragedy strikes Washington,” he said.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Best nature spots for kids in New York…

When it comes to kids and nature, most U.S. parents agree: children should be spending more time outdoors. According to a recent survey by The…

Local

Man dead, another injured after stabbing during fight…

One man was killed and another was stabbed in the back after a fight broke out inside a Brooklyn McDonald's on Sunday night, police said.

Local

Man survives shooting in Bronx apartment building lobby

A man survived a shot to his abdomen on Sunday after authorities say an unknown suspect fired off inside the Bronx apartment building lobby.

News

Easter Egg hunt horror as skydiver plummets to…

A FAMILY Easter egg hunt ended in horror when a skydiver plummeted to his death in a New York garden after his parachute failed to…

The Word

Peaches Geldof's coffin featured a painting of her…

Sob. The coffin of 25-year-old Peaches Geldof featured a painting of her young family.

The Word

Terry Richardson tried to trade Vogue spread for…

Last night, model Emma Appleton tweeted a screenshot of a text that appeared to be a proposition from Terry Richardson.

Television

‘Mad Men’ recap: Season 7, Episode 2, ‘A…

Peggy and Lou are horrible, Bert's racist, Don is honest(ish) and Roger and Pete are frustrated. "A Day's Work" not quite worthy of "This Will Be Our Year."

Television

'Game of Thrones' recap: Season 4, Episode 3,…

The problem with the devil you know is that ignoring them doesn’t mean they simply lie in wait. It allows them time to do things…

NHL

Rangers let chance at victory slip away in…

All the Rangers had to do was hold serve in a raucous Madison Square Garden — roaring in anticipation of putting a hated rival in a 2-0 series hole.

MLB

Yankees place Ivan Nova on DL with partially…

Yankees starter Ivan Nova was diagnosed with a partially torn UCL in his throwing elbow Sunday.

NHL

Rangers never thought opening round would be 'an…

You might have thought the Metropolitan Division semifinal series was going to be a rout after watching Game 1 Thursday night. The Rangers did not.

NHL

Rangers blow two-goal lead in Game 2 loss…

The Rangers got out to an early 2-0 lead in Game 2 and the Garden was rocking. But it went downhill quickly from there.

Travel

Packing: The one thing you need in your…

A new survey that looks at the travel habits of 50,000 people around the world has revealed that Western and Asian globetrotters have different priorities…

Home

Is your chair making it hard to talk?

Ever wished there was an office chair that could make impromptu meetings and discussions more private? The Cristiana Wing Chair is an asymmetrical armchair which…

Travel

Live large at these luxury hotels

From Thai boxing lessons and macabre Dracula tours to the Australian Outback, the Four Seasons hotel chain launched a series of new travel packages this…

Parenting

4 things that every summer camp should have

Alan Saltz, director of the 92nd street Y program lists things that every summer camp should have.