Where Ronald Reagan acted the role, yesterday Barack Obama lived it. The President of the United States addressed the world in his most moving speech since taking office four years ago. "Our hearts are broken," said Obama, in response to the tragic massacre which took place in the sleepy town of Newtown, Connecticut, at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Twenty children and six teachers died in the mass-shooting taken by twenty-year-old Adam Lanza, the son of a teacher who had worked at the primary school. Just seventy miles from Manhattan which has a reputation as a fast-paced and lively neighbourhood, last Friday's event could not have been more shocking in the quiet, idyllic town of Newtown. However, when such a travesty takes pace, the President is the first to lead the nation in mourning. This was achieved by Obama who stood in a state of genuine shock, whilst delivering his most heartfelt and sincere address to date.
Responding to the event in Newtown just hours after it had taken place; Obama ordered the United States' flag to be flown at half-mast around the world in remembrance of those who had died at the hands of Lanza. Speaking as a parent rather than a President, Obama left a series of long silences during his speech and visibly wiped tears from each of his eyes, highlighting his shock and the effect it had had on his role as a father.
"The majority of those who died today were children - beautiful little kids between the ages of five and ten years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them - birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own," he continued.
In hearing such words from the President, one could feel his emotion and imagine the pain that those families involved were going through. Although always open for debate, this event has raised further concerns on America's current laws on gun possession. Given such a tragic event where Lanza's possession of such weapons was not illegal, Obama yesterday hinted that a review on the nation's gun law policy may be in the pipeline. This is not the first time that America has been left startled by the potential consequences of gun crime; however, measures need to be taken to ensure that this is one of the last. Having had the opportunity to visit parts of America, I confess I have always felt self and secure, though it only takes an event such as this to put that into question. As the President stated, hearts have been broken in America and indeed around the world, as we come to terms with one of the most devastating consequences of gun crime in the history of the United States.
By Emily Stacey