Barack Hussein Obama Newtown, Connecticut School Shooting Pray Vigil Presented By Cody Bennett 4th Block Honors English II April 11th, 2013
Background Barack Hussein Obama was born on August 4th, 1961 in Honolulu Hawaii. He took office in 2009, and is currently our 44th president. This presidential election was not special because of the number but rather because he became the first African-American president. As a president, within his first five years, he has been able to end the war in Iraq, and take down one of the biggest terrorists know to man, Bin Laden. This was a drastic accomplishment as he became a legendary president. He is married to Michelle Obama, and has two daughters. Member of the democratic party. This speech was given in December 16th, 2012, three days after the shooting occurred. Winner of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to increase international diplomacy and c0-operation.
SOAPSTone Speaker President Barack Obama, started his term in 2009-2012, in which he was re-elected and is currently serving as President in 2013. He has is a father of two girls, which enables him to truly connect with those who lost a child. He has impacted the world greatly with his accomplishments and his ability to stay strong through rough times. Examples “And each time I react not as a President, but as anyone else would, a parent.” “This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them…”
SOAPSTone Subject Barack Obama addressed the nation after a massive school shooting to mourn with the parents and show his care. He tried to bring the nation together, showing that we can make it through anything together. Barack Obama thanked the heroic teachers who stood strong for their students in attempt to save them. Examples: “The majority of those who died today were children – beautiful kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old.” (Shows that he cares as he reaches out to the people who lost a loved one) “So our hearts are broken today – for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children.”
SOAPSTone Occasion Newtown Connecticut, December 16th 2012. This is intended as a prayer vigil for those lost, a Christian service that would provide comfort to those who were lost and their families. 20 children and 6 teachers are pronounced dead after a massive school shooting in an elementary school. America is in shock and dis-belief and wondering why this may have happened. What was the purpose in killing 20 beautiful children? Examples “We gather here in memory of twenty beautiful children and six remarkable adults.” “Here in Newtown…”
SOAPSTone Audience The speech is directed to the families of those lost, the first responders, the community of Newtown, and all the heartfelt Americans in shock and disbelief. The beginning of the speech was directed towards the families as he prayed and mourned with them. But later on he reveals his purpose and directs it straight towards the American people as he wants to ban assault rifles. Examples “To all the families, first responders, to the community of Newtown, clergy, guests” “So our hearts are broken today, for the parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers of these little children, and for the families of the adults who were lost.”
SOAPSTone Purpose President Obama gave this speech in order to persuade Americans into banning assault rifles and truly start the debate and consideration of the violence cause by guns. Another purpose was to comfort the people of Newtown and calm the chaos. Examples: Scripture tells us: “…do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away…inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” “Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting.”
SOAPSTone Tone Sympathetic, Upset, and Encouraging. • Obama was sympathetic because as he was talking to the parents and families your could hear the sorrow in his voice as he provided empathy to them. • Obama was also upset because we have done nothing to prevent this problem of the course of time. • President Obama was also encouraging as he wanted Americans to stand behind him in the fight to ban assault rifles. Examples • “So our hearts are broken today, for the parents and grandparents, sisters and brothers…” • “As a country, we have been through this too many times.” • Before starting the speech you can see Obama wipe away a tear, this shows to me he is upset.
Analysis Paraphrase “This evening, Michelle and I will do what I know every parent in America will do, which is hug our children a little tighter and we’ll tell them that we love them, and well remind each other how deeply we love one another. But there are families here in Connecticut who cannot do that tonight. And they need all of us right now. In the hard days to come, that community needs us to be at our best as Americans. And I will do everything in my power as a president to help.” This paragraph shows that he can relate to Americans and show that he is just like us. It also shows the hardships of these mass school shooting as some parents lost their children. The last sentence shows that he is fully behind us as he will do anything to help. Obama also shows unity, as he says, “ and they need all of us right now.” He wants us to stand together, learn, and prevent this from happening again. Maybe we can even grow strong as a unit from this tragedy.
Paraphrase “…these neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action o prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics. This is where he truly introduces the idea of banning assault rifles. He shows that he doesn’t care about the politics, or what people might think of his actions. Obama is trying to do his job and protect the American citizens.
Paraphrase “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” This truly sets up the entire speech as it is the first words he says. This single quote from a piece of scripture has many meanings. He shows that he is a Christian and has true faith in God. He wants Americans to look past all the tragic scenes, the “earthly tent” we live in and realize that our life now is only temporary and we have an eternal house built by God. Momentary troubles will not matter in the long run but achieving eternal glory is what matters.
Main Idea “As a country, we have been through this too many times. Whether it’s an elementary school in Newtown, or a shopping mall in Oregon, or a temple in Wisconsin, or a movie theater in Aurora, or a street corner in Chicago…We are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.” The examples listed are all mass shootings that happened during his presidency thus far. He is trying to make your realize that this is preventable and we need to take action. The President is also trying to show unity, as we fight through this together.
Ethos “In the coming weeks, I will use whatever power this office holds to engage my fellow citizens, from law enforcement to mental health professionals to parents and educators” This statement appeals to the speakers credibility as he states “whatever power this office holds.” This shows that he is the president, and that the presidential office and executive branch will do everything they can to prevent further shootings. It also shows that he has power over the law enforcement, this shows he is in a position of high power if he can control the lengths officers go to, in order to protect our people.
Pathos • “The majority of those who died today were children, beautiful kids between the ages of 5 and 10 years old. They had their entire lives ahead of them, birthdays, graduations, weddings, kids of their own. Among the fallen were also teachers. Men and women who devoted their lives to helping our children fulfill their dreams.” • I think the motive in this was to make you feel sad and remorseful because we have done nothing to prevent it. He wanted to show that we can do something instead of watching it on T.V. take a stand. This would later on set up his statements on gun control to get the people behind him. I believe it was very effective because the war on guns had begun, the debate on guns has began in an uproar since this speech and is being talked about on a daily basis.
Logos Example: “no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world, or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. But that can’t be an excuse for inaction. Surely, we can do better than this. If there is even one step we can take to save another child, or another parent, or another town, from the grief that has visited Tucson, and Aurora, and Oak Creek, and Newtown, and communities from Columbine to Blacksburg before that -- then surely we have an obligation to try. “ This appeals to the logic behind the argument as he states that even though one law may not eliminate these tragedies, we have to try something. Whether we fail, or succeed, we can’t let this become a routine for the people in America. He states the past Mass shooting as a way of using facts to back up his argument which is a logos appeal.
Repetition “These neighborhoods are our neighborhoods, and these children are our children. And we’re going to have to come together…” “And they need all of us right now.” “So our hearts are broken today.” “Our hearts are broken for the parents of the survivors…” “As a country, we have been through this…” - Essentially he is trying to refer to the people of America and himself on an even plain as if we are equal. He is trying to convince people that the American people to trust that he knows the will of the people. This is done to provoke a sense of unity and togetherness to provide help to those hurt from this tragedy.
Phrasing/Meaning “While nothing can fill the space of a lost child or loved one, all of us can extend a hand to those in need, to remind them that we are there for them.” • This means that you may not be able to heal someone’s wound, but just being there to comfort them, help them, and stand by them can bring ease to them. Anything done to help is positive reinforcement that you can make it through tough times together.
Phrasing/Meaning “May God bless the memory of the victims and, in the words of Scripture, heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.” • The meeting for the victims was a prayer service, this was the ending line. He is rounding off his speech and ending with a line of what he believes to be a common faith of Christianity, a religion revolved around God. He is asking God to heal to wounds left by this tragedy and repair their lives.
Phrasing/Meaning • “I can only hope it helps for you to know that you’re not alone in your grief; that our world too has been torn apart; that all across this land of ours, we have wept with you, we’ve pulled our children tight. And you must know that 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. Newtown -- you are not alone.” • This was directed towards the people in Newtown specifically to comfort them and let them know that they are not alone. The President wants everyone to know that we will share the burden with them, ease the load, and help them in any way possible.
Powerful Lines • “As a community, you’ve inspired us, Newtown. In the face of indescribable violence, in the face of unconscionable evil, you’ve looked out for each other, and you’ve cared for one another, and you’ve loved one another.” • This makes the audience feel proud, strong, inspired because he is showing the good in the situation. It makes people realize we should all act this way in the face of evil, united and loving.
Powerful Lines • “Since I’ve been President, this is the fourth time we have come together to comfort a grieving community torn apart by a mass shooting. The fourth time we’ve hugged survivors. The fourth time we’ve consoled the families of victims.” • This makes the audience feel resourceful as they think back on all the times that mass shooting have happened in the last 5 years. As we wonder, what could we have done to prevent this? It leaves America in awe. They think back on the innocent people, children and families, fallen helpless before the mercy of a gun.
Powerful Lines • “There have been an endless series of deadly shootings across the country, almost daily reports of victims, many of them children, in small towns and big cities all across America -- victims whose -- much of the time, their only fault was being in the wrong place at the wrong time.” • This leaves the audience realizing, this can happen in your neighborhood, in your town, in your atmosphere. Most of the victims are innocent, some of them little children with their lives ahead of them. The audience is left a sense of anxiety. This is done so that people start realizing that it can happen to them and want stricter gun laws. They realize they need this for self protection.
Literary Devices Used Imagery: “The joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside of your body all the time, walking around. With their very first cry, this most precious, vital part of ourselves, our child.” • This is imagery because it describes parent hood in a very short phrase. This is done by using the comparison of parenthood, to having your heart out-side your body. The audience is then able to relate to the speaker and it truly draws the reader in. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”” • There is a metaphor in this statement describing what we live in now as an earthly tent. This is a quote from the bible that is meant to tell us that what we live in is only temporary like a tent. A tent is only temporary, when you go camping it is a temporary vacations and family bonding time. This gives him a chance to connect with the audience and let them know this is just a “tent”.
To Follow… Many memorial services were held as people around the world came to leave teddy bears and flowers for the victims in remembrance of them. Assault Rifle Banns were rumored and the prices rose. Every gun store around the nation ran out of ammo. Debates took place on this important topic as some thought it was against the second amendment of the constitution. Assault Rifles are currently not banned because the bill could not make it through congress, so the speech did not serve its complete purpose. Many conspiracy theories were developed saying that the government was just plotting this to ban assault rifles.
Sources: Reilly, Mollie. "Obama Newtown Speech: President Addresses Vigil For Sandy Hook Shooting Victims (FULL TEXT)." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 Dec. 2012. Web. 09 Apr. 2013. "Barack Obama." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 Sept. 2013. Web. 09 Apr. 2013 "POLITICO." POLITICO. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2013 "Obama's Vigil Speech for Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT." YouTube. YouTube, 16 Dec. 2012. Web. 09 Apr. 2013.