The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

President Joe Biden Visits Lewiston to Grieve With Those Affected By Mass Shootings

President Joe Biden speaks outside of Just-In-Time Recreation in Lewiston on a Nov. 3 visit to meet with families and mourn with Maine after the state’s deadliest mass shooting. This image comes from a live-stream of his remarks.

At approximately 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3, President Joe Biden paid his second visit to the Lewiston-Auburn area of 2023, this time to mourn the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s history. Biden focused his visit on meeting privately with the families of the 18 people murdered, thanking first responders and visiting the scenes of the violence. His first stop was Schemengees Bar and Grille, one of the two sites of the mass shooting. The president and First Lady Jill Biden spread a memorial bouquet of white flowers outside of the bar. 

Biden’s second stop was the local bowling alley Just-In-Time Recreation, where he, Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline, United States Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, United States Representative Chellie Pingree and Governor of Maine Janet Mills all delivered messages of hope, empathy and unity while also emphasizing the resilience and strength of the Lewiston-Auburn community. 

Journalists from around the country, Bates students, locals and police surrounded Just-In-Time Recreation. Protesters were also present and could be seen with Trump signs plastered on their vehicles; one sign had a photo of a gun with the words “death penalty for pedophiles.” Federal Secret Service agents and state troopers were scattered all over the parking lot and the surrounding area, and business owners were outside their establishments taking in the events. 

Lewiston Mayor Carl Sheline speaks on Nov. 3 in this screenshot from the press conference live-stream.

Sheline began by acknowledging the bravery of the first responders, some of which were assembled behind the podium. These included members of the Lewiston Police and Fire Departments, United Ambulance Service and local medical staff. Sheline continued, describing Lewiston as “a city known for its grit,” characterizing its residents as “resilient, strong, and used to putting [their] shoulder to the wheel.” He acknowledged the tragedy of the shooting and the power of the city’s response, but concluded by telling residents, “Our collective strength is greater than any number of bullets.”

Sheline then introduced Biden to give his remarks, in which he said that he and the First Lady were in Lewiston “on behalf of the American people, to grieve with you and to make sure you know that you aren’t alone.” The President described his visit to the memorial at Schemengees Bar and Grille earlier that day and his meetings with some of the first responders, expressing gratitude for their service. 

Biden paid tribute to the victims, saying, “We also remember the survivors who forever carry the memories of the physical and emotional scars of this.” He added that “[the survivors] should be embraced. I know you will, I know you do.” 

The President also expressed sadness and exhaustion at the many instances of gun violence across the nation, naming the recent shootings in Uvalde, Texas; Monterey Park, Calif.; and Buffalo, N.Y. “This is about common sense, reasonable, responsible measures to protect our children, our families, our communities. Because regardless of our politics, this is about protecting our freedom to go to a bowling alley, a restaurant, a school, a church without being shot and killed,” the President stated. 

Biden has used previous statements on other mass shootings to convey hopes for a decrease to gun violence, and has advocated strongly for gun law reform. In the wake of the Uvalde school shooting in May of 2022, Biden made public remarks in favor of greater regulation on firearms: “What in God’s name do you need an assault weapon for except to kill someone?” he asked. “Deer aren’t running through the forest with Kevlar vests on, for God’s sake. It’s just sick.”

In Lewiston, Biden remained mostly focused on comforting victims, addressing community leaders and advocating for healing, including reading from the Scripture: “The Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.” He said that the nation’s prayer is that “the crushed in spirit survive this more rapidly than otherwise.” 

“We know your hearts are broken, but we also know your spirits are strong. The way this community has come together, the way this state has come together, has been a marvel to the rest of the country,” Biden said. “God bless those we have lost and those who have been wounded.”

The president ended by directly addressing the emergency and medical personnel behind him: “May God bless the first responders as well as the nurses… thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Additional reporting was provided by Carly Philpott.

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Zoe Schaedle
Zoe Schaedle, Managing News Editor
Zoe is a Sophomore from Philadelphia, PA. She is currently undecided, but is leaning towards a double major in History and Classical and Medieval Studies. In her free time, Zoe enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, volunteering, going to the beach, cooking, or playing/watching sports.    Previously, Zoe served as a staff writer for The Student as a first year. She is also on the Bates Women’s Lacrosse team, and is an active mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maine.
Lucy Green
Lucy Green, Managing Sports Editor
Lucy is a sophomore from Southern California, majoring in Sociology with a Law and Society concentration. In her free time, Lucy enjoys going to the beach with her friends, running, and journaling. Previously, Lucy was a staff writer for The Student in her first year.
Zach Marchick
Zach Marchick, Assistant Sports Editor
Zach is a sophomore from Washington D.C. majoring in Politics. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing basketball, baseball, tennis and cheering on D.C. sports teams.
Zach has written for the Sports section of the Bates Student for one year and the Sports section of his high school's newspaper for three years. He aspires to pursue a career in the sporting industry.

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