President Obama: “We are horrified over these events”


Last night 7/7/2016, law enforcement officers in Dallas, Texas who were keeping people safe during a peaceful protest were targeted and attacked.

This morning, President Obama offered a statement on these tragic attacks and made it clear that we as a nation stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas.

“I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events, and that we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas … Let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement. The FBI is already in touch with the Dallas police, and anyone involved in these senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.”

Watch the President’s statement, or read it below.

President Barack Obama delivers a statement to the press regarding the police shootings in Dallas, Tex., from the Marriott Hotel in Warsaw, Poland, July 8, 2016. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

With your understanding, I want to begin with a few words about the situation back in the United States, specifically the situation in Dallas, Texas.

My team has been keeping me updated throughout the morning of the evening in Dallas. I spoke this morning with Mayor Rawlings of Dallas to convey the deepest condolences of the American people. I told him that the federal government will provide whatever assistance Dallas may need as it deals with this tremendous tragedy.

We still don’t know all the facts. What we do know is that there has been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement. Police in Dallas were on duty, doing their jobs, keeping people safe during peaceful protests. These law enforcement officers were targeted, and nearly a dozen officers were shot. Five were killed. Other officers and at least one civilian were wounded — some are in serious condition, and we are praying for their recovery.

As I told Mayor Rawlings, I believe that I speak for every single American when I say that we are horrified over these events, and that we stand united with the people and the police department in Dallas. According to police, there are multiple suspects. We will learn more, undoubtedly, about their twisted motivations. But let’s be clear: There is no possible justification for these kinds of attacks or any violence against law enforcement. The FBI is already in touch with the Dallas police, and anyone involved in these senseless murders will be held fully accountable. Justice will be done.

I will have more to say about this as the facts become more clear. For now, let me just say that even as yesterday I spoke about our need to be concerned, as all Americans, about racial disparities in our criminal justice system, I also said yesterday that our police have an extraordinarily difficult job and the vast majority of them do their job in outstanding fashion. I also indicated the degree to which we need to be supportive of those officers who do their job each and every day, protecting us and protecting our communities.

Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices that they make for us. We also know that when people are armed with powerful weapons, unfortunately it makes attacks like these more deadly and more tragic. And in the days ahead, we’re going to have to consider those realities as well.

In the meantime, today our focus is on the victims and their families. They are heartbroken. The entire city of Dallas is grieving. Police across America, which is a tight-knit family, feels this loss to their core. And we’re grieving with them. I’d ask all Americans to say a prayer for these officers and their families. Keep them in your thoughts. And as a nation, let’s remember to express our profound gratitude to our men and women in blue — not just today, but every day.

Watch the President’s statement here.

Public Health Emergency Weekly


From the ASPR Blog:  Take precautions to avoid Zika virus infection during trips abroad

Many people travel during the summer, whether to visit family and friends, to take a vacation, or for business. This summer, we urge people to consider the risks that travel may pose due to the growing spread of Zika, especially if you are or your partner is pregnant or trying to get pregnant. If you are planning to travel to a place where Zika is spreading, there are some important steps you should take during your trip and after you return.  Learn More >>

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Build your own Zika Prevention Kit

If you live in a state or area with the mosquito that spreads the Zika virus and you are concerned about Zika, learn how to build your own Zika Prevention Kit.  Building a kit is pretty simple – you need a few basic supplies and the know-how to use them effectively. Your kit should include items to help keep you from getting Zika or transmitting it to someone else.  Take some time today to learn what needs to be in your kit and what actions you can take to stay healthy.  Learn More >>

mosquito net

From the ASPR Blog:  Stay safe in the summer heat

Over the last few weeks, just about everybody has been feeling the heat. Cities and towns from across the country have been coping with heat advisories and trying to find ways to stay cool. By knowing how to prevent heat-related illnesses, spotting the warning signs, and being ready and willing to act, you could protect your own health or even help save someone’s life.Learn More >>

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Watch, Listen and Learn:  My Preparedness Story

Disasters come in all shapes and sizes and they can cause a lot of damage. Roxanne Scott, 22, of Sierra Vista, Arizona artfully described steps each person can take to prepare for disasters of any size. She reminds us that you can protect yourself by learning about preparedness, making a kit, and planning with your loved ones. Learn More >>

YouTube: My Preparedness Story

Condemnation Not Celebration


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Saddam Hussein’s Reign of Terror Demands Unequivocal Condemnation, Not Trump’s Praise

Donald Trump’s dangerous ignorance was exposed again on Tuesday night when he praised Saddam Hussein for being tough on terrorists. The truth is that Saddam was a state sponsor of terrorism who paid $35 million to the families of suicide bombers and provided sanctuary to numerous terrorists, including one who bombed two U.S. airliners. Saddam’s reign of terror must be condemned—not praised—by anyone seeking the presidency.

Trump has attempted to minimize the horrors of Saddam Hussein’s regime before. In October 2015, he claimed that the regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons that killed tens of thousands was merely “throw[ing] a little gas.” Trump’s latest comments, however, have sparked more outrage than his earlier pro-Saddam statements. In a speech Tuesday night, Trump said that “[Saddam] killed terrorists. He did that so good.” No, actually, he didn’t.

Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a designated State Sponsor of Terrorism from 1990-2003. Iraqi intelligence agents were directly implicated in the assassination attempt on former President George H.W. Bush in 1993. Iraq gave sanctuary to numerous terrorists and terrorist groups, including the head of the May 15 Organization, who attacked two Pan Am airliners during the 1980s. Beginning in 2000, Hussein began a program pay the families of suicide bombers, ultimately distributing $35 million during the Palestinian uprising that saw 117 suicide attacks kill nearly 500 people.

BOTTOM LINE: The Iraq War was a horrific mistake that has took tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives, cost trillions of dollars, and destabilized the entire region. None of that changes the fact that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a state sponsor of terrorism that supported terrorist groups across the Middle East. With model’s like Saddam Hussein, it is truly frightening to imagine what America would look like under a President Donald Trump.

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Standing Together to Stop the Violence


Joe_Biden_official_portrait_crop
Vice President Biden: “This violence has to stop”

This has been a trying week for America.
 
As Americans, we are all wounded by the targeting of the police force in Dallas and the deaths in St. Paul and Baton Rouge. 
 
Now, I know a lot of you might ask, “What can I do?”
You can do a lot—right now, this weekend.
 
This weekend, it is on each of us to be a visible force in our communities for non-violence.  Join together online, in your neighborhood, in your houses of worship, around your kitchen table. For all of you community leaders, use your platforms to heal and unite. Talk and listen, see and hear each other during this moment for our country that requires profound introspection and dialogue. To find helpful resources in your community, visit the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service atwww.justice.gov/CRS.
 
For if not you, then whom? If not now, then when?
 
In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll continue offering our thoughts and prayers to provide comfort to the broken-hearted families. But they will only be redeemed by the courage of our actions that honor their memories.
 
I believe the Dallas Police Department is one of the finest in the nation—and this incredibly diverse city can bridge any divide. To paraphrase Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, let us use our words carefully. Let us act with unity, not division. As Dallas Police Chief David Brown—one of the leading chiefs in America—said, “there are no words to describe the atrocity that occurred to our city, all I know is that this must stop, this divisiveness between our police and our citizens.”
 
This violence has to stop. It is not normal. And it is not who we are.
 
So while we’re being tested, we can’t be pulled apart.
 
We are America, with bonds that hold us together.
We endure, we overcome, we stand together.


Joe Biden
Vice President of the United States