President Obama Reacts To Church Shooting, Says 'It Raises Questions About a Dark Part of Our History’'

President Barack Obama on Thursday addressed the horrific South Carolina church shooting in emotional remarks that invoked America’s turbulent racial history and the heated politics over gun CONTROL“I don’t need to be constrained about the emotions tragedies like this raise,” the president said. “I’ve had to make comments like this too many times. Communities like this have had to endure tragedies like this too many times.”

“Now is the time for mourning and healing, but let’s be clear: At some point as a country, we have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries,” the president said. “It is in our power to do something about it… I say this knowing the politics in this town foreclose a lot of those OPPORTUNITIES.”

The president said he and first lady Michelle Obama have relationships with many of the church’s parishioners — including its slain pastor. “The fact that this took place in a black church also raises questions about a dark part of our history,” the president said. He went on to invoke Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s eulogy for four little girls who died in a church firebombing in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, saying, “‘They lived meaningful lives and they died nobly.'”