US PRESIDENT Barack Obama, pictured below, has given a stern message for an America in mourning: "These tragedies must end. And to end them, we must change.
"In Christina, we see all of our children," he said, lamenting the death of nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green, urging America to forge "a country that is forever worthy of her gentle, happy spirit".
Solemnly reciting the names of the fallen children, he left silences between each one long enough for the country to consider its failures.
The US was not meeting its basic obligation to keep its children safe, he warned, and "we can't tolerate this any more". He repeated: "We will have to change," as quiet sobs emerged from his audience. "It's our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right."
Meanwhile, two US senators became the first of America's pro-gun advocates to break ranks as they called for a ban on assault weapons following the Sandy Hook elementary school shootings.
The two senators, Joe Manchin and Mark Warner – both Democrats with previous endorsements from the powerful NRA gun lobby group – argued publicly that the death of 20 children was a "game-changing" moment for America's divisive gun debate. (© Daily Telegraph, London)