President Barack Obama’s remarks on the fatal shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, which killed nine and injured at least one, is only the most recent time he has had to address a mass shooting since he entered office: there have been six other similar domestic events since 2009.
His remarks on Thursday were also one of countless other statements made about gun violence in the US and abroad.
“I’ve had to make statements like this too many times,” he said.
Thursday’s press briefing most closely echoed his past remarks during a memorial of the 2013 Navy Yard shooting in Washington, DC, when the president stated, “I fear there’s a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is, that this is somehow the new normal.”
Obama, in his remarks about Charleston’s fatal shootings, said that gun violence is preventable because it is “in our power to do something about it.” Here are the president’s six prior speeches:
2009: Remarks on Fort Hood, Texas, shooting
“We knew these men and women as soldiers and caregivers. You knew them as mothers and fathers; sons and daughters; sisters and brothers.”
2011: Memorial speech after Tucson, Arizona, shooting
“You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations –- to try and pose some order on the chaos and make sense out of that which seems senseless.
Already we’ve seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health system.
And much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.”
2012: Memorial speech on Newtown, Connecticut, shooting
“…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.”
2012: Remarks on Aurora, Colorado, shooting
It’s what we do on a daily basis to give our lives meaning and to give our lives purpose. That’s what matters.
At the end of the day, what we’ll remember will be those we loved and what we did for others. That’s why we’re here.
2013: Speech in Washington, DC, on Navy Yard shooting
In the United Kingdom, in Australia, when just a single mass shooting occurred in those countries, they understood that there was nothing ordinary about this kind of carnage. They endured great heartbreak, but they also mobilized and they changed, and mass shootings became a great rarity.
And yet, here in the United States, after the round-of-clock coverage on cable news, after the heartbreaking interviews with families, after all the speeches and all the punditry and all the commentary, nothing happens. Alongside the anguish of these American families, alongside the accumulated outrage so many of us feel, sometimes I fear there’s a creeping resignation that these tragedies are just somehow the way it is, that this is somehow the new normal.
We can’t accept this. As Americans bound in grief and love, we must insist here today there is nothing normal about innocent men and women being gunned down where they work.
There is nothing normal about our children being gunned down in their classrooms. There is nothing normal about children dying in our streets from stray bullets.
No other advanced nation endures this kind of violence — none. Here in America, the murder rate is three times what it is in other developed nations. The murder rate with guns is ten times what it is in other developed nations. And there is nothing inevitable about it. It comes about because of decisions we make or fail to make. And it falls upon us to make it different.
2014: Statement on shooting at Ford Hood, Texas
Any shooting is troubling. Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago. We know these families. We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that they make.