MANALAPAN, Florida -- In a somber address to police officers Monday, Vice President Joe Biden mourned those killed Friday at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and praised the people--both in uniform and civilian--who came to the aid of the victims.
"We as a nation have been there before--Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson, September 11 and so much more," Biden said during a speech at a convention of the National Association of Police Organizations. "And just like before, we refuse to yield. We refuse to give in to our darker side."
Biden quoted William Yeats, "Pray I will and sing I must, And yet I weep." He urged the audience to remember the heroism of those in the theater: a young man who was killed sheltering his girlfriend with his body, a group of people who carried one of the injured to safety, and a woman who stopped to help a stranger who had been shot.
"Why do we sing, when faced with all this tragedy?" he asked, returning to Yeats. "We sing because these are the people who define who we are as a nation, they are the hymns of our hope, because they remind us of the goodness. Sometimes we forget the goodness, the decency, the bravery."
Biden emphasized the importance of thanking the first responders in Colorado and praised the Aurora police force for arriving on the scene within minutes.
"There is a hell of a lot more good out there than the evil that you're sworn to take on," he said.
Biden, who was a staunch supporter of increasing regulations on gun ownership during his tenure in the Senate, did not discuss whether the shooting should lead to further restrictions on assault weapons and guns with high-capacity magazines. Biden has also called for increasing funding for police officers to combat violence.