I went to bed last night with a heavy heart, having not yet recovered from the shootings in Buffalo and Southern California last week, and then processing the news that there was another devastating and senseless shooting at a school yesterday. The Uvalde shooting is the second-deadliest shooting at an elementary, middle or high school on record in the United States, with at least 19 students and two adults dead. This is also the 27th school shooting in 2022 in the U.S. and the 77th incident of gunfire on school grounds. These statistics are equally infuriating and heartbreaking, and it makes me so angry that parents can’t send their kids to school to learn without a guarantee that they will come home. In a country that is supposed to be an exemplar of the world, this kind of preventable tragedy should not be happening.
It is time for policies to change. An estimated three million children in the US are exposed to shootings every year. Witnessing shootings – whether in their schools, communities or homes – has a devastating impact. It’s been almost a decade since Sandy Hook and all that has changed is that children practice drills to prepare them for school shootings and the amount of gun ownership has grown. Neither change is what we truly need to prevent further deaths of our children.
Responses to this tragedy are pouring in from leaders across the United States and around the world, but I wanted to share a couple that have personally resonated with me:
- Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors, spent his air time at the news conference ahead of yesterday’s game delivering a passionate plea for gun reform. He said, “When are we going to do something? I am so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m so tired of the excuse, I’m so tired of the moments of silence. Enough!”
- Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), who came to Congress representing Sandy Hook’s district, reacts on the Senate floor after the shooting. He said, “This isn’t inevitable. These kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country and nowhere else. It is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue.” Please watch the full speech here.
Yesterday the California Senate passed a bill to allow private citizens to file suit for at least $10,000 against makers or sellers of untraceable ghost guns or illegal assault weapons. California has the toughest gun safety laws in the nation and one of the lowest gun death rates in the nation – these two facts aren’t a coincidence. However, there is so much more work that needs to be done on a federal level. It’s imperative that we come together and turn this anger into action, to do whatever we can to make sure our children are safe. Here are a few ways to help end gun violence:
- Donate to organizations like Moms Demand Action, a movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence, and Everytown, a movement of more than eight million moms, mayors, survivors, students, and everyday Americans working to end gun violence.
- Donate directly to the families affected at NationalCompassionFund.org
- Call or send a letter to Senators and Representatives urging them to support expanded background checks to reduce gun violence in the United States. Did you know background checks are supported by over 90% of all Americans? Be sure to remind your Representatives. Find your Representatives here.
- Sign this petition demanding Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer bring a law requiring universal background checks for gun owners to the Senate floor for a vote.
- Text REJECT to 644-33 to speak with a Representative on rejecting the NRA’s agenda
We are not designed as humans to process this much grief. I woke up this morning and held my daughter tight and made a blueberry crumble for breakfast so she would have something special to start the day. As I watched her eat away with glee, protected by her young age to not comprehend what is happening, I wished I could protect her and every other child so that the innate joy and kindness in them can flourish and sustain them through their childhood. If you are talking with a child about what has happened, here is a resource that may help.
I don’t know what the rest of my day will look like as this weight sits on my chest making it hard to breathe, but I am sending lots of strength your way as we as a city in this country of possibility, navigate this grief and find a path forward together towards a better and safer future.