“Michelle and I know several members of Emanuel AME Church. We knew their pastor,” Obama said. “To say our thoughts and prayers are with them… doesn’t say enough.”
“Any death of this sort is a tragedy. Any shooting involving multiple victims is a tragedy. There is something particularly heartbreaking about a death happening in a place in which we seek solace and we seek peace. In a place of worship.”
“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times. Once again, communities [were harmed] because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no problem getting their hands on a gun.”
“Let’s be clear: At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this type of frequency. It is in our power to do something about it. I say that recognizing the politics in this town… but it would be wrong for us not to acknowledge it.”
Obama added that the fact that a black church was attacked evokes America’s disturbing history on race, but that the outpouring of condolences from people of every race and creed gave him hope that the past would not be the future.