Following a press conference by the U.S. Attorney General launching a hate crime investigation into the shooting at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina, the president described his feelings on the matter.
“Until the investigation’s complete I’m necessarily constrained to the details of the case, but I don’t need to be constrained about the emotions that tragedies like this raise,” President Obama said during a press conference where he looked tired and solemn. “I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.”
“We don’t have all the facts, but we do know that once again innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand’s on a gun.
He continued parroting his comments on other mass shootings like Sandy Hook Elementary School and at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.
“Now is the time for mourning, for healing. But let’s be clear at some point we as a country will have to reckon with the fact this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency and it is in our power to do something about it,” he said. “I say that recognizing the politics in this town. Foreclose a lot of those avenues right now. But it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it. At some point it’s going to be important of the American people to come to grips with it and for us to be able to shift how we think about the issue of gun violence collectively.”
He did not specifically mention particular legislation or an effort to combat gun violence, but instead continued discussing a “dark part” of U.S. history.
“This is not the first time that black churches have been attacked and we know that hatred across races and faiths pose a particular threat to our democracy and our ideals,” he said.