Saturday, December 15, 2012

Obama calls for 'meaningful action' after school shooting

More than 20 killed in Connecticut school shooting 14 DEC 2012 20:43 - REUTERS A heavily armed gunman has opened fire on school children and staff at a Connecticut elementary school, killing at least 26 people. MORE COVERAGE Two people killed in Empire State shooting Six killed in US Sikh temple shooting Batman shooter faces 142 charges over massacre A heavily armed gunman opened fire on school children and staff at a Connecticut elementary school on Friday, killing at least 26 people, including 18 children, in the latest in a series of shooting rampages that have tormented the United States this year. The gunman was found dead inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, state police Lieutenant Paul Vance told a news conference. "The shooter is deceased inside the building," said Vance, at a press conference outside the school. "The scene is secure." Vance declined to confirm the number of dead. "There were several fatalities at the scene, both students and staff," he told reporters. Police were called to the school at 9:30am local time, Vance said. The holiday season tragedy follows a series of shooting rampages in the United States this year that have killed multiple victims, and it was certain to revive a debate about US gun laws. The principal and school psychologist were among the dead, CNN said. Witnesses reported hearing dozens of shots with some saying as many as 100 were fired. The suspected shooter was armed with four weapons and wearing a bullet-proof vest, WABC reported. There were unconfirmed reports of a second shooter. Another person was being held in police custody after he was detained in the woods near the school wearing camouflage pants, CBS reported. Sandy Hook Elementary School teaches children from kindergarten through fourth grade - roughly ages 5 to 10. "It was horrendous," said parent Brenda Lebinski, who rushed to the school where her daughter is in the third grade. "Everyone was in hysterics - parents, students. There were kids coming out of the school bloodied. I don't know if they were shot, but they were bloodied." Television images showed police and ambulances at the scene, and parents rushing toward the school. Parents were seen reuniting with their children and taking them home. "This is going to be bad," a state official told Reuters, requesting anonymity because the scope of the tragedy remained uncertain. President Barack Obama was notified and would receive regular updates throughout the day, White House spokesperson Jay Carney said. Carney called the event "tragic" and said there would be time later for a discussion of policy implications. Obama remains committed to trying to renew a ban on assault weapons, Carney said. All Newtown schools were placed in lockdown after the shooting, the Newtown Public School District said. Lebinski said a mother who was at the school during the shooting told her a "masked man" entered the principal's office and may have shot the principal. Lebinski, who is friends with the mother who was at the school, said the principal was "severely injured". Lebinski's daughter's teacher "immediately locked the door to the classroom and put all the kids in the corner of the room". Danbury Hospital, about 18 kilometres west of the school, had received three patients from the scene, a hospital spokesperson told NBC Connecticut. The mayor of Danbury, Mark Boughton, told MSNBC: "They are very serious injuries." A girl interviewed by NBC Connecticut described hearing seven loud "booms" as she was in gym class. Other children began crying and teachers moved the students to a nearby office, she said. "A police officer came in and told us to run outside and so we did," the unidentified girl said on camera. One child was carried from Sandy Hook Elementary School by a police officer, and the child appeared to have been wounded, the town's weekly newspaper, the Newtown Bee, said on its website. Connecticut State Police said its officers were at the scene with local police but provided no additional details. Newtown, with a population about 27 000, is in northern Fairfield County, about 70 km southwest of Hartford and 130 km northeast of New York City. Sandy Hook is one of four elementary schools in the district. The United States has experienced a number of mass shooting rampages this year, most recently in Oregon, where a gunman opened fire at a shopping mall on Tuesday, killing two people and then himself. The deadliest attack came in July at a midnight screening of a Batman film in Colorado that killed 12 people and wounded 58. – Reuters Developing story Mail & Guardian Obama calls for 'meaningful action' after school shooting 15 DEC 2012 06:43 - MARK FELSENTHAL, MATT SPETALNICK "We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years," Obama said during a somber televised appearance in the White House briefing room. OUR COVERAGE Indian Sikhs voice anger over US temple shooting MORE COVERAGE More than 20 killed in Connecticut school shooting Aurora shooting: Poignant details of young film fans killed in massacre US charges 'troubled' man with Arizona shootings Choking up and wiping away tears, President Barack Obama said on Friday that "our hearts are broken" for the victims of a deadly shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school and called for "meaningful action" to curb gun violence. "We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years," Obama said during a somber televised appearance in the White House briefing room just hours after one of the worst mass shootings in US history. Pausing to collect himself as he expressed "overwhelming grief" as a parent, Obama deplored the "heinous" attack by a heavily armed gunman who killed at least 27 people, including 20 children and himself, at a school in Newtown, Connecticut. Obama, who has responded to previous shooting massacres by citing the need for a national conversation about gun violence, again stopped short of calling for tougher gun-control laws, considered politically risky in a country known for its flourishing gun culture. But, little more than a month after his decisive re–election to a second term, he suggested that in the aftermath of Friday's tragedy he might be open to considering a less cautious approach. "As a country, we have been through this too many times," Obama said, ticking off a list of recent shootings. "And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," he said, in an apparent reference to the influence of the National Rifle Association, a powerful pro–gun lobby, in Congress. 'No more lives shattered' Obama avoided making direct calls for gun control during his bitterly fought campaign for a second term, which he secured in the November 6 election. But New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who co-chairs a coalition of mayors on gun-control policy, urged the Democratic president to tackle the issue despite likely opposition from Republicans who control the US House of Representatives. "We have heard all the rhetoric before. What we have not seen is leadership – not from the White House and not from Congress. That must end today," Bloomberg said in a statement Outside the White House gates, about 200 people rallied Friday evening in favor of gun restrictions. " by gun violence," read one placard. Meantime, partisan bickering in Washington, divided as much as ever before by a battle over a looming "fiscal cliff" of tax hikes and spending cuts, was put on hold on Friday amid mourning for the dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Obama ordered flags at federal buildings to be lowered to half-mast and he canceled an official trip to Maine scheduled for Wednesday. There was no immediate word from the White House on when the president might visit Connecticut to console grieving families. "Our hearts are broken today, for the parents, and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children and for the families of the adults who were lost," Obama said, his voice cracking with emotion. Soul-searching "Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors as well, for as blessed as they are to have their children home tonight, they know that their children's innocence has been torn away from them too early and there are no words that will ease their pain," he said. Obama, who has two young daughters, looked grim when he entered the briefing room, and he paused and blinked hard after mentioning the ages of the dead children – from 5 to 10 years old. "I know there's not a parent in America who doesn't feel the same overwhelming grief that I do," he said. Obama raised a finger and dabbed at the corner of his eye on several occasions. While speaking, he set his jaw several times. At the end of his statement, there was a tear visible below his left eye and that side of his face was slightly wet. Obama has issued public statements before in the aftermath of shooting massacres. Following the killing of six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin in early August, he said such incidents should prompt soul-searching by all Americans. But when asked then whether he would push for further gun–control measures in the wake of the shootings, Obama said only that he wanted to bring together leaders at all levels of American society to examine ways to curb gun violence. The president has said he supports the reinstatement of a ban on assault weapons sales, but he did little in his first term to advance it. Asked about gun control on Friday, White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters that the immediate aftermath of the Connecticut shooting was not the right time for policy debates. – Reuters Mail & Guardian - - - - COMMENTS BY SONNY - - Why do legal gun owners always have to suffer because of "Urban Terrorists in our Midst?" It's the same situation in South Africa! Why are these "Psycho's" allowed to roam society with impunity? If they have defective genes, then, they should be "snuffed' before birth! They should have been sent to Afghanistan or Iraq where they could have been "REAL Soldiers!" They are probably too young for enlistment! Was this incident also because of "PEER PRESSURE?" DRUGS OR EGOTISTICLE PERSONALITIES?


  1. Billy Graham's words still ring in my ears, spoken over the TV long ago while he visited South Africa: "If we can only have the Ten Commandments against the walls of our classrooms, so that our children may know: thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill..." - it is AGAINST THE LAW to do that in the USA!!! God is a Gentleman - He is not obtrusive - He leaves places where He is not welcome ...

  2. My Life had stood - a Loaded Gun -
    In Corners - till a Day
    The Owner passed - identified -
    And carried Me away -
    And now We roam in Sovereign Woods -
    And now We hunt the Doe -
    And every time I speak for Him -
    The Mountains straight reply -

    And do I smile, such cordial light
    Upon the Valley glow -
    It is as a Vesuvian face
    Had let its pleasure through -

    And when at Night - Our good Day done -
    I guard My Master's Head -
    'Tis better than the Eider-Duck's
    Deep Pillow - to have shared -

    To foe of His - I'm deadly foe -
    None stir the second time -
    On whom I lay a Yellow Eye -
    Or an emphatic Thumb -

    Though I than He - may longer live
    He longer must - than I -
    For I have but the power to kill,
    Without--the power to die--