President Obama: Aurora shootings call for a day of ‘prayers and reflection’

Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images Obama supporters bow their heads after President Obama called for a moment of silence for the … Continued

Mandel Ngan

AFP/Getty Images

Obama supporters bow their heads after President Obama called for a moment of silence for the victims of the Aurora, Colo., shootings at what was scheduled as a campaign event at Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers, Fla., on Friday.

President Obama canceled campaign events in Florida and declared Friday a day for prayer and reflection in light of the news of a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

“There are going to be other days for politics. This is a day, I think, for prayers and reflection,” the president told the crowd which had gathered in anticipation of a campaign rally, The Post’s David Nakamura reported.

At least 12 people have died and dozens more were wounded in the late-night shooting. “Law enforcement authorities identified the alleged gunman as James Holmes, 24, and said he was taken into custody in a parking lot behind the Century 16 theater after the attack,” Sari Horwitz and Debbi Wilgoren reported. Follow The Post for live updates throughout the day.

“We may never understand whatever leads anyone to terrorize their fellow human beings … we do know what makes life worth living,” the president said before leading the crowd in Florida in a moment of silence.

“I hope all of you will keep the people of Aurora in your hearts and minds today,” the president said. “May the Lord bring them comfort and healing in the hard days to come. … I hope that as a consequence of today’s events, as you leave here, you spend a little time thinking about the incredible blessings that God has given us.”

A White House statement read:

Obama’s Republican rival Mitt Romney also put out a statement Friday:

Standing outside a business in New Hampshire Friday afternoon, Romney evoked prayer and God as he commented about the killings.

Charles Dharapak

AP

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, speaks at a campaign event in Bow, N.H., Friday, July 20, 2012.

He remarked about grief and the helplessness victims, their families and the Aurora community must feel, adding, “But there is something we can do. We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy-laden. And we can mourn with those who mourn in Colorado.”

Peggy Fletcher Stack at the Salt Lake Tribune said that that sentence seemed “straight out of Mosiah 18:8-9 in the Book of Mormon.”

“Romney has not been known to throw out LDS references in his speeches, though has noted Bible passages before. (h/t to Daniel Burton.),” Stack wrote. “In fact, ‘mourn with those who mourn’ can also be found in the New International Version of the New Testament in Romans 12:15: ‘Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.’”

Daniel Burke at Religion News Service has a Storify up with early responses from religious leaders and other spiritual reflections on the killings. Read them below:

Elizabeth Tenety
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  • CoffeeAndTea

    Why does the Christian God allow shooters to kill innocent people? God is a horrendous and abject failure for allowing this act of violence, as well as the other deaths he brings about via natural disasters (acts of God), wars, disease, and rhetoric that promotes hate and violence perpetrated by Christian extremists. I hope you truly think about why God would allow a shooter to kill innocent people while you are praying and reflecting on this absolute tragedy.

  • nkri401

    Well, you see, it’s about the free will of the shooter to shoot and God cannot stop the free will. But then, why did the God not allow my free will not to shot?

    My will is weak and my free will is even weaker.

    Thus I was excommunicated…

  • THEPROPERNEWS

    More campaigning on the citizens DOLLARS! The Commander and Chief is the one that made it possible for this too to happen. As one politician said on a news show 7/22/12. “They know what perfume I wear ! I buy it on the internet, Why didn’t they know that!” Why couldn’t they have stopped that? NSA pleasuring themselves listening and watching innocent citizens lives! Who’s responsible for that, Commander and Chief? YOU!