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“What are we doing?” asks Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy after a mass shooting in Texas kills 19 children

Almost a decade after Sandy Hook Sen. Murphy pleads with his Republican colleagues to act on gun control to prevent the senseless death of school children

UNITED STATES - MAY 24: Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn.,  is seen in the U.S. Capitol before the senate luncheons on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
Tom WilliamsGetty

Nineteen children under eleven and two adults have been killed, after a gunman opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Twenty-seven mass shootings have occurred in the United States in 2022 leading to the deaths of twenty-one people and injuring more than forty students, teachers, and school staff.

“What are we doing? Why are you here? If not to solve a problem as existential as this? This is not inevitable. These kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country. Nowhere else does this happen. Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day,” said Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy from the floors of Congress just after news of the shooting at Robb Elementary school broke.

Being able to graduate from high school without having been shot dead as a child should not be a privilege in the United States of America. Going to the movie theaters or the grocery store and not being the victim of gun violence should not be a privilege in the wealthiest country on earth. The world looks upon the United States with confusion and terror as each year that passes the federal government refuses to take action to prevent the senseless deaths of its own people...its own children.

Sen. Murphy who represents the community scarred by the tragedy that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. The senator called upon his Republican colleagues to make substantive change, in an attempt to protect the nation’s most vulnerable residents.

Murphy described the toll the events at Sandy Hook took on the surviving students. He told his colleagues about how those who survived, children as young as six, had to develop a safeword to alert their teacher when they were having flashbacks to the event.

After those kids came back into those classrooms, they had to adopt a practice in which there would be a safeword that the kids would say. If they started to get thoughts in their brain about what they say that say if they started to get nightmares during the day reliving stepping over their classmates’ bodies as they tried to glee the school. In one classroom that word was money. ANd over and over and over through the day, kids would stand up and yell money. And a teacher or a paraprofessional would have to go to that kid, take them out of the classroom, talk to them about what they had seen, work them through their issues.

Chris Murphy, Senator (D-CT)

I am 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.

Since Sandy Hook no fundamental changes to US gun laws at the federal level have been made.

“It is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue.”

Chris Murphy (D-CT)

Each year children die in their classrooms, in the hallways as they move between periods, or in their lunchrooms as they eat their lunches; lunches often packed by parents whose greatest fear is receiving a call that their child was the victim of gun violence.

Since the Columbine attack in 1999, more than 300,000 students have experienced gun violence at school. Those who haven’t have been taught the techniques that will give them the greatest chance of survival in the case a gunman enters a campus.

Murphy ended his speech, begging his Republican colleagues to join Democrats in finding common ground.

“I am 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.”

Murphy ended his speech, begging his Republican colleagues to join Democrats in finding common ground.

“I am 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.”

There is no reason to subject the children, the next generation of our country to this violence, to this trauma, to the threat of gun violence. Protecting the innocence of children should not be controversial.