President Biden Expresses Sorrow at Maine Shooting Site with Floral Tribute

by Gabriel Martinez
Biden Maine Visit

In a solemn display of sorrow, President Joe Biden, alongside First Lady Jill Biden, placed a spray of white flowers at the temporary memorial outside Schemengees Bar and Grille on Friday. This establishment was one of the locations struck by Maine’s most lethal shooting incident to date.

Pausing in silent homage, the Bidens then embraced Kathy Lebel, the proprietor of the bar, where eight individuals tragically lost their lives in the onslaught of October 25. Additional fatalities included seven at Just-In-Time Recreation, a nearby bowling alley, and three who succumbed to their injuries at medical facilities.

The presidential visit to Lewiston embodies the role presidents often assume during such tragedies—providing solace to bereaved families and bolstering a community in shock. Unfortunately, this type of presidential visit has become a frequent occurrence, even following the enactment of bipartisan gun safety legislation and a succession of presidential executive orders aimed at curbing gun violence.

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, speaking before the Bidens’ visit, remarked on the distressing regularity of such events, stating, “We cannot become desensitized to this as the new norm.”

The massacre also left 13 individuals wounded.

Joni Ramos, a resident of Lewiston, dedicated her time to affixing ribbons to posts around the town as a tribute to the victims and with the hope that President Biden would take notice.

Ramos expressed her community’s eagerness to have the President witness their display of solidarity and recognize the profound effect the tragedy has had on them, underlining the importance of his presence during such a difficult period.

As part of his commitment to addressing gun violence in America, President Biden has established the inaugural White House office dedicated to gun violence prevention, tasked with devising strategies and ensuring the comprehensive implementation of critical gun safety laws passed the previous year. His advocacy for the prohibition of so-called assault weapons continues unabated.

The President has previously visited other locales marred by similar tragedies, including Buffalo in New York, Uvalde in Texas, and Monterey Park in California, all within approximately the last year.

In a prior address on gun violence, President Biden lamented, “Our schools and daily venues have turned into scenes of conflict and bloodshed in America.”

As reported on Friday, the United States has experienced no less than 37 mass killings this year alone, resulting in the loss of at least 195 lives, excluding the assailants, as per a database compiled by The Big Big News and USA Today, in collaboration with Northeastern University.

Community members gathered at the memorial outside Schemengees to mourn throughout the day. John Murphy from New Gloucester visited to pay his respects and believed that while President Biden’s visit might aid the city, it was regrettable that such a visit was necessitated by tragedy.

Murphy, at 70, expressed his sadness over the circumstances prompting Biden’s visit and anticipated a prolonged recovery for the community.

The somber scene extended to Just-In-Time, the bowling alley where the shooting commenced, with media and law enforcement present. Pumpkins lined the road leading to the bowling alley on a brisk, sunlit autumn day, serving as another homage to the victims.

Elizabeth Seal, who lost her spouse Josh in the Maine shootings, shared via text about President Biden’s impending visit, expressing a desire to hear what he would say to their community.

Earlier in the week, Seal expressed her frustration upon learning that semi-automatic weapons were involved in the shootings, questioning the necessity of such firearms’ availability through a sign language interpreter. She urged lawmakers to address this uniquely American crisis, noting the absence of such issues in other nations.

A majority of Americans, regardless of their state’s gun laws, favor stricter gun control, as indicated by an AP/NORC poll. This sentiment is likely influenced by the belief that stricter gun laws could lead to a reduction in mass shootings.

The perpetrator of the Maine shootings, Robert Card, a 40-year-old firearms instructor, was found deceased from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a multi-day manhunt. Officials revealed that concerns about Card’s mental health had been communicated to the sheriff’s office by his family five months prior to the tragedy. Following erratic behavior at a training session last summer, he had undergone a mental health evaluation.

Vigils for the victims over the weekend saw attendance by several thousand, and residents began to return to their daily routines after stay-at-home directives were lifted on Monday.

President Biden was briefed about the shooting while hosting an official White House event honoring Australia, stepping away to confer with Maine Governor Janet Mills and congressional representatives of the state by telephone.

Governor Mills emphasized the significance of President Biden’s visit, suggesting that it conveys the nation’s empathy with Maine and ensures the support of the president.

This report involved collaborative efforts, with Long contributing from Washington and Big Big News writer David Sharp from Portland, Maine.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Biden Maine Visit

What was the purpose of President Biden’s visit to Maine?

President Biden’s visit to Maine was to provide comfort to the families of the victims and support to a community devastated by the state’s deadliest mass shooting.

Where did President and First Lady Biden place flowers?

The President and First Lady placed flowers at a makeshift memorial outside Schemengees Bar and Grille, one of the locations of the mass shooting.

How many people were killed in the Maine shootings?

Eight people were killed at Schemengees Bar and Grille, seven at Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, and three at hospitals, totaling eighteen fatalities.

What has President Biden done to address gun violence?

President Biden has passed bipartisan gun safety legislation, issued a series of executive orders aimed at reducing gun violence, and established the first White House office of gun violence prevention.

How many mass killings have occurred in the U.S. in 2023 so far?

As of the report, there have been at least 37 mass killings in the U.S. in 2023, resulting in at least 195 people dead, not including the perpetrators.

What actions have been taken by the community in Maine following the shootings?

The community in Maine has held vigils, tied ribbons around the town as tributes, and began returning to normalcy after the lifting of stay-at-home orders.

What are the American public’s views on gun laws according to recent polls?

According to an AP/NORC poll, a majority of Americans favor stricter gun laws, regardless of the gun laws currently in place in their state.

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Mike Johnson November 3, 2023 - 9:39 pm

really a tragic event, makes you think about where we are headed with gun control, the President’s visit is important but action is what we really need now.

Jess89 November 3, 2023 - 10:27 pm

my heart goes out to the victims’ families, can’t imagine what they must be going through, this is becoming way too common, isn’t it?

GregH November 4, 2023 - 5:23 am

Biden’s efforts on gun violence are noteworthy but it seems like there’s a long way to go.. its like these shootings just keep happening.

Sarah_k November 4, 2023 - 4:30 pm

Sad to see another shooting, those poor people in Maine, looks like the gun laws are not really working, when will this change?

RonTheMan November 4, 2023 - 7:41 pm

So many vigils i’ve seen this year alone…it’s becoming a norm to mourn, shouldn’t we be preventing instead of just grieving after the fact.


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