Washington: US President Barack Obama today described the shooting in a Colorado theater this week that claimed 12 lives as an “act of evil”, as he visited Aurora – the city of tragic incident – to meet the victims’ families.
“I come to them not so much as President as I do as a father and as a husband,” Obama told reporters after he met the family members and friends of the victims.
“I tried to assure them that although the perpetrator of this evil act has received a lot of attention over the last couple of days, that attention will fade away and in the end, after he has felt the full force of our justice system, what
will be remembered are the good people who were impacted by this tragedy,” he said.
Obama offered hugs, tears and sympathy to survivors of the shooting rampage and to families whose loved ones were shot dead during the premiere of new Batman movie ‘The Dark Knight Rises‘ at an Aurora theater in Denver, Colorado.
The President paid visit – one by one – to families gathered at a hospital and wounded patients recovering in intensive care. He appeared before the TV cameras and kept his focus on the lives of the victims and the survivors, not the sole shooting suspect or his “evil act”.
“I think that the reason stories like this have such an impact on us is because we can all understand what it would be to have somebody that we love taken from us in this fashion — what it would be like and how it would impact us,” he said.
Obama said he confessed to the victims’ families and friends that “words are always inadequate in these kinds of situations”.
The President said his main task was to serve as a representative of the entire country and let them know that they are thinking about them at this moment and will continue to think about them each and every day, and that the awareness that not only all of America but much of the world is thinking
about them might serve as some comfort.
Obama said his meetings with family members were filled with memories of brothers, sons and daughters who had left their mark on others.
Describing the recovery of some victims, he said this reminds one that even in the darkest of days, life continues and people are strong and people bounce back and people are resilient.
“Out of this darkness a brighter day is going to come,” he said.
This was Obama’s first public appearance after the Friday’s tragic incident in which a lone gunman went on a rampage in a theater in Aurora in Colorado, following which the President had given a pause to his reelection campaign.
Accused James Holmes, a postgraduate student who police say bought guns and stockpiled 6,000 rounds of ammunition in the months leading up to the gun attack, is currently being held in the jail adjacent to the court.
Police said he has been uncooperative, and it is not known if he will say anything during the short hearing at the Arapahoe County Justice Centre.
After his Colorado visit, Obama travelled to San Francisco to continue with his pre-scheduled five State election campaigns. However, in his brief speech Obama avoided discussion on the contentious issue of gun control.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney earlier in the day told reporters travelling with him that the US President was focused on preventing gun crimes using existing laws.
“So the President is focused on doing the things that we can do that protect Second Amendment rights, which he thinks is important, but also to make it harder for individuals who should not, under existing law, have weapons to obtain them,” Carney said.