Update: Obama spoke with Aurora's police chief.
Obama spoke moments ago from Ft. Myers, Florida (I updated with video below). Earlier he made a statement:
Michelle and I are shocked and saddened by the horrific and tragic shooting in Colorado. Federal and local law enforcement are still responding, and my Administration will do everything that we can to support the people of Aurora in this extraordinarily difficult time. We are committed to bringing whoever was responsible to justice, ensuring the safety of our people, and caring for those who have been wounded. As we do when confronted by moments of darkness and challenge, we must now come together as one American family. All of us must have the people of Aurora in our thoughts and prayers as they confront the loss of family, friends, and neighbors, and we must stand together with them in the challenging hours and days to come.
As might be expected, people on the internet are calling for gun control. Mayor Bloomberg is calling on Romney and Obama to talk about gun control. The time to talk about gun control isn't directly after a shooting. A better time is when people aren't as emotional. But talk of tighter gun laws always moves to the back burner. The NRA has pretty much won the debate, owns Congress.
I'm not sure that gun laws would help. You have to stop people from wanting to shoot each other. If this guy or any other person is set on mass killing they'll find a gun, legal or not. They'll make a weapon if they have to.
Soon people will be calling for better mental health access. Note to the media: anything can be fuel for a mentally ill person to go on a killing spree. This is not about a movie.
Republicans and the media are reporting that the shooter is an occupy protester. Other media reported he's a democrat. ABC linked the shooter to the tea party and has now retracted that.
People are posting information about the wrong James Holmes. I feel bad for anyone with that name today. NPR has a good wrap on a personality sketch of Holmes.
For certain, James E. Holmes put a lot of planning into what he did. No normal person goes on a killing spree. Some things should transcend politics. It's probably a good day to stay off the internet.
Obama was at a campaign event in Ft. Myers, Florida. The clapping during his statement is a bit unsettling. Obama cancelled the event. Both Obama and Romney took down their political ads in Colorado.
Joe Biden's statement:
Jill and I were shocked to learn of the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado this morning. The reason this is so deeply felt by all Americans is that, but for the grace of God, the victims could have been any one of our children, in any one of our towns. It is every parent’s worst nightmare to receive ‘that phone call’ and to sit by their child’s bedside, praying. We know what it’s like to wait and wonder and the helplessness a parent feels at this moment. Our hearts go out to each and every person who is suffering right now as a result of this terrible event. The prayers of an entire nation are with the victims and their families. We stand with the city of Aurora and the state of Colorado in mourning.Obama issued a proclamation:
As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 25, 2012. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twentieth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
I really liked what Romney had to say today: