‘These tragedies must end’ says President Obama as Connecticut community copes in aftermath of shooting

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Memorials sprang up, and U.S. flags were flown at half-staff a day after 28 people, including 20 children, were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. On Sunday, President Barack Obama, Conn. Governor Dannel Malloy, and a united clergy spoke at an interfaith vigil to console a community and nation shaken by tragedy.

Obama consoles Connecticut town, vows effort to tame violence
Jeff Mason and Emily Flitter | Reuters
11:20 p.m. EST, December 16, 2012

NEWTOWN, Connecticut (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Sunday demanded changes in the way the country dealt with gun violence, though he avoided the use of the word “gun” itself in consoling the Connecticut town shattered by the massacre of 20 young schoolchildren.

Obama said the world would judge the nation by the way it cared for its children, and that Friday’s slaughter left that judgment wanting.

“Can we say that we’re truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? I’ve been reflecting on this in the last few days. And if we’re honest with ourselves the answer’s no,” Obama told a packed auditorium at Newtown High School at the end of a somber multi-faith service.

“We’re not doing enough and we will have to change.”

The emotional prayer vigil capped a day when worshippers sought solace in churches to mourn the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, where a gunman used a military-style assault rifle to kill six adults and 20 first-graders before committing suicide.

A more detailed picture of Adam Lanza’s stunning attack emerged on Sunday. Police said he was armed with hundreds of bullets in high-capacity magazines of about 30 rounds each for the Bushmaster AR 15 rifle and two handguns he carried into the school. He had a fourth weapon, a shotgun, in his car outside.

All the dead children were either 6 or 7 years old, feeding more emotion into a revived debate about whether stricter gun laws could prevent future mass shootings in the United States.

Obama noted it was the fourth time in his presidency he had needed to console a community after such an attack, following the shootings in Tucson, Arizona in January, 2011; Aurora, Colorado in July; and Oak Creek, Wisconsin in August.

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