Obama On Baton Rouge Attack: We Must Temper Our Words And Open Our Hearts

Posted: Jul 17, 2016 5:35 PM

President Obama just offered more words on the horrific shooting in Baton Rouge, where police were targeted. Three officers have been killed, with an additional four officers wounded. One is fighting to live as we speak.

The president said that attacks on police are attacks on all of us and the rule of law that allows our society to function. We don’t know the motive of the shooter, but he reiterated his full support for law enforcement in Baton Rouge and police officers across the country. The FBI is already on the ground, with the president promising that swift justice will be handed down.

Obama extended his sympathies and prayers to the families, who are grieving, especially the officer in critical condition. The president added that he’s surrounded by the best of the best every day and he sees the hurt when these heinous events happen to their colleagues who wear a badge. He reiterated his and the nation’s gratitude for all the work law enforcement does to keep us safe every day.

As we enter the aftermath of this tragic shooting, the president warned that we don’t need inflammatory rhetoric to score political points, or to advance an agenda. We need to temper our words and open our hearts. We need to come together.

The president cited a saying, and I’m paraphrasing here, that someone once said, a bullet need happen only once, but for peace to work—we need to be reminded of its existence again and again. He added that only through words and deeds can we show that we will not be divided, and that we will have to keep on growing together again and again every day. 

He closed by asking God to bless our law enforcement, those who have died today, along with their families, and the United States of America. The president steered clear of making any references to gun control in his remarks. 

Below was the president's statement at the outset of this attack:

I condemn, in the strongest sense of the word, the attack on law enforcement in Baton Rouge. For the second time in two weeks, police officers who put their lives on the line for ours every day were doing their job when they were killed in a cowardly and reprehensible assault. These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.

I’ve offered my full support, and the full support of the federal government, to Governor Edwards, Mayor Holden, the Sheriff’s Office, and the Baton Rouge Police Department. And make no mistake – justice will be done.

We may not yet know the motives for this attack, but I want to be clear: there is no justification for violence against law enforcement. None. These attacks are the work of cowards who speak for no one. They right no wrongs. They advance no causes. The officers in Baton Rouge; the officers in Dallas – they were our fellow Americans, part of our community, part of our country, with people who loved and needed them, and who need us now – all of us – to be at our best.

Today, on the Lord’s day, all of us stand united in prayer with the people of Baton Rouge, with the police officers who’ve been wounded, and with the grieving families of the fallen. May God bless them all.