President Obama returned to Fort Hood Wednesday to pay tribute to the victims of another mass shooting at the Texas military installation, saying U.S. officials should do more to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.
“Part of what makes this so painful is that we’ve been here before. This tragedy tears a wound still raw from five years ago,” Obama said at a memorial service for the three soldiers killed at the military base last week.
Obama’s remarks came just days after Specialist Ivan Lopez killed three others and himself in the wake of a dispute over leave time.
For his part, the president said the incident — and a spate of high-profile mass shootings in recent months — should force leaders to do more to boost services for combatting mental illness.
“We can never eliminate every risk, but as a nation, we can do more to help counsel those with mental health issues, to keep firearms out of the hands of those who are having such deep difficulties,” Obama said.
It was a scene that has become all too common for the president: playing comforter-in-chief in the wake of a horrific tragedy.
Obama was forced to make similar remarks after shootings at a Colorado movie theater and Connecticut elementary school, among others. Just hours before the president spoke, a high school just outside Pittsburgh was the scene of a mass stabbing.
But Obama’s remarks at Fort Hood were particularly somber, given that he had spoken there just five years earlier, following another mass shooting.
“It is love, tested by tragedy, that brings us together again,” Obama said.
"To the parents of these men: As a father, I cannot begin to fathom your anguish," he added.
Obama now heads to Houston for a pair of fundraisers. Conservatives have blasted the money-raising efforts, however, saying they are inappropriate on a day that should be devoted to mourning the victims at Fort Hood.