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The President's Weekly Address

July 21, 2012

As many of you know, early on Friday, at least 12 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Dozens more are being treated for injuries at local hospitals. Some of the victims are being treated at a children's hospital.

We're still gathering all the facts about what happened, but we do know that the police have one suspect in custody. And the Federal Government stands ready to do everything necessary to bring whoever is responsible for this heinous crime to justice. We will take every step possible to ensure the safety of all our people. And we will stand by our neighbors in Colorado during this extraordinarily difficult time.

Even as we come to learn how this happened and who's responsible, we may never understand what leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings. Such evil is senseless, beyond reason. But while we will never know fully what causes someone to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living.

The people we lost in Aurora loved, and were loved. They were mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and dreams that were not yet fulfilled. And if there's anything to take away from this tragedy, it's a reminder that life is fragile. Our time here is limited, and it is precious. And what matters in the end are not the small and trivial things which so often consume our lives. It's how we choose to treat one another and love one another. It's what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose. That's what matters. That's why we're here.

I'm sure many of you who are parents had the same reaction I did when you first heard this news: What if it had been my daughters at the theater, doing what young children enjoy doing every day? Michelle and I will be fortunate enough to hug our girls a little tighter this weekend, as I'm sure you will do with your children. But for those parents who may not be so fortunate, we need to embrace them and let them know we will be there for them as a nation.

This weekend, I hope everyone takes some time for prayer and reflection: for the victims of this terrible tragedy, for the people who knew them and loved them, for those who are still struggling to recover, and for all the victims of less publicized acts of violence that plague our communities on a daily basis. Let's keep all these Americans in our prayers. And to the people of Aurora, may the Lord bring you comfort and healing in the hard days to come.

Note: The address was recorded on the afternoon of July 20 in the Roosevelt Room at the White House for broadcast on July 21. In the address, the President referred to James E. Holmes, suspected gunman in the July 20 shootings at the Century 16 multiplex in Aurora, CO. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on July 20, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on July 21.

Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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