Monday, Dec. 17, 3:04 p.m. EST: NBC pre-empted the first quarter of Sunday night's football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots to televise President Obama's speech at the Newtown, Conn., memorial for victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. That riled several football fans who were so upset about the delay that they expressed their disdain for the president on Twitter.
One in particular — Bradley Patterson, a University of North Alabama football player — tweeted, "Take that [n—ger] off the tv, we wanna watch football!"
Sunday, Dec. 16, 11:38 p.m. EST: On Sunday evening, President Obama visited Newtown, Conn., for an interfaith vigil, where he delivered the following remarks to the families of the victims and first responders, according to the White House press secretary:
THE PRESIDENT: To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests — Scripture tells us: " … do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away … inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands."
We gather here in memory of twenty beautiful children and six remarkable adults. They lost their lives in a school that could have been any school; in a quiet town full of good and decent people that could be any town in America.
Here in Newtown, I come to offer the love and prayers of a nation. I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depths of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts. I can only hope it helps for you to know that you're not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we've pulled our children tight. And you must know that whatever measure of comfort we can provide, we will provide; whatever portion of sadness that we can share with you to ease this heavy load, we will gladly bear it. Newtown — you are not alone.
As these difficult days have unfolded, you've also inspired us with stories of strength and resolve and sacrifice. We know that when danger arrived in the halls of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school's staff did not flinch, they did not hesitate. Dawn Hochsprung and Mary Sherlach, Vicki Soto, Lauren Rousseau, Rachel Davino and Anne Marie Murphy — they responded as we all hope we might respond in such terrifying circumstances — with courage and with love, giving their lives to protect the children in their care.
We know that there were other teachers who barricaded themselves inside classrooms, and kept steady through it all, and reassured their students by saying “wait for the good guys, they're coming”; “show me your smile.”
And we know that good guys came. The first responders who raced to the scene, helping to guide those in harm's way to safety, and comfort those in need, holding at bay their own shock and trauma because they had a job to do, and others needed them more.
And then there were the scenes of the schoolchildren, helping one another, holding each other, dutifully following instructions in the way that young children sometimes do; one child even trying to encourage a grown-up by saying, “I know karate. So it's okay. I'll lead the way out.” (Laughter.)
As a community, you've inspired us, Newtown. In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you've looked out for each other, and you've cared for one another, and you've loved one another. This is how Newtown will be remembered. And with time, and God's grace, that love will see you through.
But we, as a nation, we are left with some hard questions. Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around. With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves — our child — is suddenly exposed to the world, to possible mishap or malice. And every parent knows there is nothing we will not do to shield our children from harm. And yet, we also know that with that child's very first step, and each step after that, they are separating from us; that we won't — that we can't always be there for them. They'll suffer sickness and setbacks and broken hearts and disappointments. And we learn that our most important job is to give them what they need to become self-reliant and capable and resilient, ready to face the world without fear.
And we know we can't do this by ourselves. It comes as a shock at a certain point where you realize, no matter how much you love these kids, you can't do it by yourself. That this job of keeping our children safe, and teaching them well, is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, the help of a community, and the help of a nation. And in that way, we come to realize that we bear a responsibility for every child because we're counting on everybody else to help look after ours; that we're all parents; that they're all our children.
This is our first task — caring for our children. It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. That's how, as a society, we will be judged.
And by that measure, can we truly say, as a nation, that we are meeting our obligations? Can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children — all of them — safe from harm? Can we claim, as a nation, that we're all together there, letting them know that they are loved, and teaching them to love in return? Can we say that we're truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose?
I've been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we're honest with ourselves, the answer is no. We're not doing enough. And we will have to change.
Since I've been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. The fourth time we've hugged survivors. The fourth time we've consoled the families of victims. And in between, there have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America — victims whose — much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change. We will be told that the causes of such violence are complex, and that is true. No single law — no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society.
But that can't be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that — then surely we have an obligation to try.
In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens — from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators — in an effort aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. Because what choice do we have? We can't accept events like this as routine. Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?
All the world's religions — so many of them represented here today — start with a simple question: Why are we here? What gives our life meaning? What gives our acts purpose? We know our time on this Earth is fleeting. We know that we will each have our share of pleasure and pain; that even after we chase after some earthly goal, whether it's wealth or power or fame, or just simple comfort, we will, in some fashion, fall short of what we had hoped. We know that no matter how good our intentions, we will all stumble sometimes, in some way. We will make mistakes, we will experience hardships. And even when we're trying to do the right thing, we know that much of our time will be spent groping through the darkness, so often unable to discern God's heavenly plans.
There's only one thing we can be sure of, and that is the love that we have — for our children, for our families, for each other. The warmth of a small child's embrace — that is true. The memories we have of them, the joy that they bring, the wonder we see through their eyes, that fierce and boundless love we feel for them, a love that takes us out of ourselves, and binds us to something larger — we know that's what matters. We know we're always doing right when we're taking care of them, when we're teaching them well, when we're showing acts of kindness. We don't go wrong when we do that.
That's what we can be sure of. And that's what you, the people of Newtown, have reminded us. That's how you've inspired us. You remind us what matters. And that's what should drive us forward in everything we do, for as long as God sees fit to keep us on this Earth.
“Let the little children come to me,” Jesus said, “and do not hinder them — for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”
Charlotte. Daniel. Olivia. Josephine. Ana. Dylan. Madeleine. Catherine. Chase. Jesse. James. Grace. Emilie. Jack. Noah. Caroline. Jessica. Benjamin. Avielle. Allison.
God has called them all home. For those of us who remain, let us find the strength to carry on, and make our country worthy of their memory.
May God bless and keep those we've lost in His heavenly place. May He grace those we still have with His holy comfort. And may He bless and watch over this community, and the United States of America.
Sunday, Dec. 16, 11:27 a.m. EST: AOL reports that one of the Sandy Hook shooting victims was the daughter of jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene, 6-year-old Ana Marquez-Greene. According to AOL, the grieving father and his family, including a young son who was present during the shooting but is reportedly fine, had just relocated to Newtown, Conn., from Winnipeg, Canada, in July. "As much as she's needed here and missed by her mother, brother and me … Ana beat us all to paradise … I love you, sweetie girl," Greene posted on Facebook.
In addition, according to the Daily News, Connecticut police have released a list of the victims:
1. Charlotte Bacon (DOB 2/22/06)
2. Daniel Barden (9/25/05)
3. Rachel Davino (7/17/83)
4. Olivia Engel (7/18/06)
5. Josephine Gay (12/11/05)
6. Ana M. Marquez-Greene (4/4/06)
7. Dylan Hockley (3/8/06)
8. Dawn Hocksprung (6/28/65)
9. Madeleine F. Hsu (7/10/06)
10. Catherine V. Hubbard (6/8/06)
11. Chase Kowalski (10/31/05)
12. Jesse Lewis (6/30/06)
13. James Mattioli (3/22/06)
14. Grace McDonnell (11/04/05)
15. AnneMarie Murphy (07/25/60)
16. Emilie Parker (5/12/06)
17. Jack Pinto (5/6/06)
18. Noah Pozner (11/20/06)
19. Caroline Previdi (9/7/06)
20. Jessica Rekos (5/10/06)
21. Avielle Richman (10/17/06)
22. Lauren Russeau (6/1982)
23. Mary Sherlach (2/11/56)
24. Victoria Soto (11/4/85)
25. Benjamin Wheeler (9/12/06)
26. Allison N. Wyatt (7/3/06)
Saturday, Dec. 15, 10:53 a.m. EST: State police Lt. Paul Vance told reporters during a press conference that the shooter, Adam Lanza, forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School, according to Fox News. It was previously reported that Lanza may have been let into the school. Police are still trying to uncover a motive for the shooting and have asked media to let the families affected by Friday's massacre grieve in peace.
Friday, Dec. 14, 6:50 p.m. EST: While many outlets initially identified the gunman in today's shooting as Ryan Lanza, officials now say the crime was in fact carried out by Adam Lanza, Ryan's brother. According to the Huffington Post, Lanza was carrying Ryan's identification, which led to the initial misidentification.
Friday, Dec. 14, 6:17 p.m. EST: The NAACP released a statement about today's shooting, offering condolences as well as offers to assist the community. "Our hearts are with the families of Newtown today," said NAACP Connecticut State Conference President Scot X. Esdaile. "The NAACP will do everything in its power to help the community in its time of need. The Greater Danbury NAACP has been working to make sure that everyone in the area is safe, and the state conference leadership is offering our resources as well."
The Rev. Al Sharpton, in his formal statement, made a call to eliminate gun violence. "Our prayers are with those devastated by this horrific shooting, and we appeal for people to unite in prayer to end the bloodshed across the country," he said. "I hope that our nation's leaders from all backgrounds and walks of life can come together in the weeks ahead to forge a path where these terrible, senseless gun violent tragedies are eliminated from our society."
Friday, Dec. 14, 3:56 p.m. EST: CNN is now reporting that 20 children, 6 adults and the shooter are dead. Eighteen students were pronounced dead at the scene, and two others died at the hospital, while the six adults died at the scene, said Lt. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police.
Updated Friday, Dec. 14, 3:52 p.m. EST: As a mark of respect to the victims of today's shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama has issued a proclamation ordering all American flags to be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds of the federal government.
Friday, Dec. 14, 3:24 p.m. EST: In remarks on today's shooting, a visibly emotional President Obama said, "As a country, we've been through this too many times," listing previous sites of mass shootings, as well as Chicago. He urged that the nation must take "opportunities to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics," and said "Michelle and I will hug our children a little tighter tonight," while lamenting that the parents of those killed today would not be able to do the same.
Friday, Dec. 14, 2:45 p.m. EST: USA Today is now reporting that the 27 people killed in today's include 18 children and the gunman himself. The Associated Press and local media reported that the shooter is a 24-year-old male identified by CNN as Ryan Lanza. State police Lt. Paul Vance said there were "several fatalities," but would not confirm the number of victims until relatives had been notified.
One official says that Friday's shooting at a Connecticut elementary school left 27 people dead, including 18 children, the Associated Press reports. Another official said that the gunman, who apparently had two guns, was killed.
Stephen Delgiadice said his 8-year-old daughter heard two big bangs and teachers told her to get in a corner. His daughter was fine.
"It's alarming, especially in Newtown, Connecticut, which we always thought was the safest place in America," he said.
The superintendent's office said the district had locked down schools in Newtown, about 60 miles northeast of New York City. Schools in neighboring towns also were locked down as a precaution.
A dispatcher at the Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps said a teacher had been shot in the foot and taken to Danbury Hospital. Andrea Rynn, a spokeswoman at the hospital, said it had three patients from the school but she did not have information on the extent or nature of their injuries.
State police said Newtown police called them around 9:40 a.m. A SWAT team was among the throngs of police to respond.
The White House said that President Barack Obama was notified of the shooting.
Read more at the Washington Post.