President Barack Obama said at an interfaith prayer service in this mourning community this evening that the country is "left with some hard questions" if it is to curb a rising trend in gun violence, such as the shooting spree Friday at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School.
After consoling victims' families in classrooms at Newtown High School, the president said he would do everything in his power to "engage" a dialogue with Americans, including law enforcement and mental health professionals, because "we can't tolerate this anymore. These tragedies must end. And to end them we must change."
The president was not specific about what he thought would be necessary and did not even use the word "gun" in his remarks, but his speech was widely perceived as prelude to a call for more regulations and restrictions on the availability of firearms.
The grieving small town hosted the memorial service this evening as the the nation pieces together the circumstances that led to a gunman taking 26 lives Friday at the community's Sandy Hook Elementary School, most first graders.
"Someone once described the joy and anxiety of parenthood as the equivalent of having your heart outside your body all of the time, walking around," he said, speaking of the joys and fears of raising children.
"So it comes as a shock at a certain point when you realize no matter how much you love these kids you can't do it by yourself," he continued. "That this job of protecting kids and teaching them well is something we can only do together, with the help of friends and neighbors, with the help of a community, and the help of a nation."