In an address to police officers Monday, Vice President Joe Biden focused almost exclusively on the heroism displayed in the aftermath of last week’s deadly shooting in Colorado, saying law enforcement officers and ordinary citizens who rushed to help victims of the massacre “define who we are as a nation.”
“They make us proud of our country, and maybe more important at this moment, they make us confident that this country is made of that sterner stuff and there is reason to be hopeful and confident,” Biden told the National Association of Police Organizations, meeting in Manalapan, Florida.
Biden avoided any mention of politics or policy, saying he originally intended to discuss those topics but that events on Friday made him reconsider. He praised the group, saying they understood what citizens of Aurora, Colorado were dealing with because they had been in similar situations.
“There’s no group of Americans who understand, who have internalized, who have had to deal with every day of their life the national tragedy that we’re coping with now more than all of you,” Biden told the police officers.
Quoting William Butler Yeats, Biden laid out the different emotions he saw coming from Americans: “Pray we will, sing we must, and yet we weep.”
“We must sing of the courage and the heroism that was on display late Thursday night,” Biden continued, retelling several anecdotes from the scene in the Aurora auditorium of ordinary movie-goers helping save lives following the rampage.
Biden said the entire nation was indebted to police officers like the ones assembled.
“God only knows what makes you tick, but thank God you tick the way you do,” Biden said. “Thank God there are people like you, in this moment of grief the entire nation is reminded of how grateful we are for what you do. And I truly believe, notwithstanding all of the political chatter we will hear, I truly believe the vast majority of the American people are as committed as I am to not letting you down.”
Biden’s remarks come one day after the White House said Obama was not looking to advance at any new gun control regulations in light of Friday’s shooting.
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