Obama: Fort Hood Shooting 'Tears a Wound Still Raw'

Carolyn Kaster/AP

For the second time in five years, the president of the United States spoke at a memorial for shooting victims at Fort Hood in Texas.

"It is love, tested by tragedy, that brings us together again," President Obama said Wednesday afternoon, acknowledging that he—and the entire nation—have been through this before. "This tragedy tears a wound still raw from four years ago."

In 2009, after a military psychiatrist who proclaimed jihad shot and killed 13 people at the same military post, Obama also spoke at a memorial for the victims. "These are trying times for our country," the president had said, adopting the role of what the Associated Press's Josh Lederman calls "comforter-in-chief."

The president was in Texas on Wednesday to eulogize three sergeants killed in the shooting last week: Daniel M. Ferguson, 39, Timothy W. Owens, 37, and Carlos A. Lazaney-Rodriguez, 38. The sergeants had nine overseas deployments between them. The president and first lady met with the victims' families before the service.

"For you, for your families, no words are equal to your loss," Obama said. "We are here on behalf of the American people to honor your loved ones and offer whatever comfort we can."

Last Wednesday, a 32-year-old Army truck driver, Ivan Lopez, opened fire at the military post before taking his own life. Sixteen others were wounded in the shooting, and four remain hospitalized in stable condition.

"Those who survived foreign war zones were struck down here at home where they are supposed to be safe," Obama said, echoing his statements at Fort Hood five years ago. "We still do not know why."

Since the 2009 shooting, the president has delivered similar remarks in Tucson, Aurora, Newtown, and Washington Navy Yard—all sites of mass shootings. "We can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end," Obama said during his memorable 2012 speech after a shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school claimed 26 lives.

But Wednesday's speech did not push heavily for legislative action on gun control, as some of his previous eulogies have. This time, Obama focused on the need for increased access to mental-health services.

"As commander in chief, I have determined that we will continue to step up our efforts to reach our troops and veterans who are hurting, to deliver to them the care that they need and to make sure we never stigmatize those who have the courage to seek help," he said.

Investigators say Lopez, who had served in Iraq and was being evaluated for several mental health conditions, had an argument with another soldier before the shooting.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.