Obama Looks to Quell Anger Stirred by Ariz. Shooting
President Barack Obama gave a somber, eloquent speech Wednesday at a memorial service for the victims of this weekend's tragic shooting in Arizona, urging Americans to "make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds."
TUSCON, Ariz. ( TheStreet) -- President Barack Obama gave a somber, eloquent speech Wednesday night at a memorial service for the victims of this weekend's tragic shooting in Arizona, urging Americans to "make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds." Six people were killed and 14 were wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in the sudden shooting at a shopping center in Tuscon, Ariz. The attack occurred at a "Congress on Your Corner" meet-and-greet event being held by Giffords, a Democrat elected to her third term in the House of Representatives in November's mid-term elections. Jared Lee Loughner, 22 years old, has been arrested in connection with the crime. Obama spent a good portion of his speech addressing the rhetoric that's flared up in the wake of the shooting, calling for Americans to come together and cooperate better in the future. "What we cannot do is use this tragedy as one more occassion to turn on each other," he said. "That we cannot do." The attack has sparked criticism of Arizona's gun laws, the mental health system, the tone of political talk radio hosts in the area, and even former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who has been criticized for her use of a map with crosshairs over certain hotly contested congressional districts, including Giffords, while campaigning for the Tea Party during the mid-term elections. Palin has issued a video statement on her Facebook page, voicing her disgust with the attack, sympathy for the victims and rejecting the criticism she's received. In his remarks, Obama looked to temper the anger that's fueled the rhetoric, calling for the nation to hopefully move towards a "more civil and honest public discourse." "As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility," he told the crowd, which was reported to be around 14,000, that gathered in a gymnasium at the University of Arizona. "Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together."