On Friday, speaking to a crowd of supporters in Fort Myers, Florida, President Obama cancelled his prepared remarks and instead discussed the horrific movie theatre shooting that left at least 50 people wounded this morning in Aurora, Colorado.
“[Times like these] remind us of all the ways we are united as one American family,” he said.
He also informed the audience that, according to the most recent news reports, at least 12 Americans had been killed. In addition, he reaffirmed the federal government’s full commitment to aiding local and state agencies in any way possible.
“What we do know [is] we 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. We will take whatever steps possible. We are going to stand by our neighbors in Colorado,” he said.
He continued, “even as we learn how this happened and who’s responsible, we may never understand what leads [some people to] terrorize other human beings. Such evil is senseless… [But] we do know what makes life worth living.”
He also took a few moments to reflect on the tragedy.
“If there’s anything to take away from this tragedy is that life is very fragile [and] our time here is limited and is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is the small things. It’s not the trivial things that so often consume us in our daily lives. It’s how we treat each other and love one another."
“At the end of the day what we’ll remember is those we loved and what we’ll do for others. That’s why we’re here,” he intoned.
In a gesture of solidarity, President Obama somewhat unexpectedly spoke about his own two children, reaching out to the victims and their bereaved loved ones.
“My daughters go to the movies,” he said, “what if Malia and Sasha had been at the theatre?” Adding, “Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our children [tonight]...and for those who might not be as lucky we’ll be here for them as a nation.”
After thanking the audience for their continued support throughout the 2012 campaign -- just before issuing a brief moment of silence – he concluded “there will be other days for politics.”