The Colorado incident — Jose Mario De Vega
JULY 24 — I applaud US President Barack Obama’s action of cancelling his campaign events and instead delivering a moving tribute to the victims of the horrendous Colorado shooting and offering his condolences and solidarity to their families, friends and loved ones.
His brief address, yet so eloquent remarks, to the nation concerning the unfortunate event in Aurora, in my view, was one of the most beautiful messages of love and unity in recent history.
Here’s a portion of what the president said:
“Even as we learn how this happened, we may never understand what leads anyone to terrorise fellow human beings. Such violence, such evil is senseless and beyond reason. We never know fully what causes one person to take the life of another. We don’t know what makes life worth living. People in Aurora loved and were loved. Mothers, husbands, brothers, sons, daughters, friends and neighbours — they had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled.
“And if there is anything to take away from this tragedy it is the reminder that life is very fragile. Our time here is limited and it is precious. And what matters at the end of the day is not the small things, it’s not the trivial things that so often consume us and our daily lives. Ultimately, it’s how we choose to treat one another and how we love one another. It’s what we do on a daily basis and to give our lives meaning and purpose. That’s what matters. At the end of the day what we’ll remember is those we loved, and what we did for others. That’s why we’re here.”
As Jason Easley of PoliticusUSA remarked lucidly:
“President Obama’s message of love overcoming hate is one that the nation needs to hear at this moment. Much like Bill Clinton, Obama understands his presidential role in times of grief and crisis. Throughout his time in office, Obama’s message of love and unity overcoming violence, tragedy and hate has been consistent.”
During the memorial address that he delivered on January 12, 2011 in Tuczon for Congresswoman Gilford and the other victims of the Arizona shooting, the president said in part that:
“But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarised — at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do — it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we’re talking with each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds.
“Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job: ‘When I looked for light, then came darkness.’ Bad things happen, and we have to guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.
“For the truth is none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped these shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind. Yes, we have to examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of such violence in the future. But what we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on each other. That we cannot do. That we cannot do.”
During the Trayvon killing controversy, the president made a searingly personal plea for Americans to come together and do some “soul searching” after the shooting death of African-American Florida teenager Trayvon Martin by a neighbourhood watchman, noting:
“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”
He further added that:
“My main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. You know, if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. And you know, I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves and that we’re get to the bottom of exactly what happened.
“All of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen — and that means that we examine the laws and the context for what happened as well as the specifics of the incident.
“Obviously this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this and that everybody pulls together, federal, state and local to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.”
I completely concur with Jason Easley’s observation that:
“Barack Obama has been a fairly reserved president, but on occasions like these we get some insight into his personal priorities and emotions. President Obama appears to define himself as a parent, which is why he empathises with parents who have gone through tragedy so easily.”
Bravo, Mr President and condolence to all the victims of the Colorado shooting.
* Jose Mario De Vega reads The Malaysian Insider.
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.