Hours after Tuesday’s mass shooting that killed at least 19 students and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy passionately addressed Republicans on the Senate floor in a call for action on gun control. “I’m here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues: Find a path forward here,” said Murphy. “Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.”
AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.
After Tuesday’s massacre that killed at least 19 children, between second and fourth grade, and two fourth grade teachers at Uvalde elementary school in Texas, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy spoke passionately from the Senate floor in a call for action on gun control. Murphy came to Congress representing the district that included Sandy Hook Elementary School, where 10 years ago 26 people — 20 students and six staff — were killed. This is Senator Murphy’s full address.
SEN. CHRIS MURPHY: Mr. President, there are 14 kids dead in an elementary school in Texas right now. What are we doing? What are we doing? Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands. What are we doing? There have been more mass shootings than days in the year. Our kids are living in fear every single time they set foot in a classroom, because they think they’re going to be next. What are we doing?
Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate? Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in a position of authority, if your answer is that, as the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing? What are we doing? Why are you here, if not to solve a problem as existential as this?
This isn’t inevitable. These kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day. Nowhere else do parents have to talk to their kids, as I have had to do, about why they got locked into a bathroom and told to be quiet for five minutes just in case a bad man entered that building. Nowhere else does that happen except here in the United States of America. And it is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue. What are we doing?
In Sandy Hook Elementary School, after those kids came back into those classrooms, they had to adopt a practice in which there would be a safe word that the kids would say if they started to get thoughts in their brain about what they saw that day, if they started to get nightmares during the day, reliving stepping over their classmates’ bodies as they tried to flee the school. In one classroom, that word was “monkey.” And over and over and over through the day, kids would stand up and yell, “Monkey!” And a teacher or paraprofessional would have to go over to that kid, take them out of the classroom, talk to them about what they had seen, work them through their issues. Sandy Hook will never, ever be the same. This community in Texas will never, ever be the same. Why? Why are we here, if not to try to make sure that fewer schools and fewer communities go through what Sandy Hook has gone through, what Uvalde is going through?
Our heart is breaking for these families. Every ounce of love and thoughts and prayers we can send, we are sending. But I’m here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues: Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely. I understand my Republican colleagues will not agree to everything that I may support, but there is a common denominator that we can find. There is a place where we can achieve agreement, that may not guarantee that America never, ever again sees a mass shooting, that may not overnight cut in half the number of murders that happen in America. It will not solve the problem of American violence by itself. But by doing something, we at least stop sending this quiet message of endorsement to these killers whose brains are breaking, who see the highest levels of government doing nothing, shooting after shooting. What are we doing? Why are we here? What are we doing?
AMY GOODMAN: “What are we doing?” Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asks on the floor of the Senate in a passionate call for action on gun control, just hours after the massacre of 21 people at the Uvalde elementary school in Texas.