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After Uvalde, ‘Horrified and Heartbroken’ is the New ‘Thoughts and Prayers’

I guess that sounds better than "we still aren't going to do anything about gun violence."

A sign says my kids safety trumps your gun rights at a protest

Yesterday, another tragic mass shooting occurred in Uvalde, Texas. An 18-year-old male shooter left at least 19 children and 2 adults dead. Reports say that most (if not all) children were in the same 4th-grade classroom. Much of America, and the world, are devastated by what happened at this small Texas elementary school.

In times like these, we look to our leaders and elected officials for guidance. I know as I dropped my 4th-grader off at school today, all I could think about it is what our government is going to do to make sure something like this won’t happen again.

Over the last few years, issuing the classic “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families” statement became a point of contention, pointing out that people are sick of being placated in times of tragedy and no action. So now, the same politicians who can curb gun violence yet refuse to do it or even pass practical, hugely popular safety measures have a new phrase—”heartbroken and horrified.”

On Twitter, @thejasonkirk shared a post highlighting three senators whose public statements on the recent shooting were almost identical about feeling “horrified and heartbroken” instead of sending “thoughts and prayers.”

One is from Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, who has famously spent her time in office siding more with Republicans than her own party. The other two are from Republicans Marsha Blackburn (AK) and Mitch McConnell (KY). Their statements offer no mention of any planned action to help end gun violence, such as voting on and passing multiple bills from the House of Representatives that would ensure better background checks and close dangerous gun loopholes. And Twitter isn’t buying it.

But I guess the inaction shouldn’t surprise us. According to a survey, in 2019 alone, the NRA (National Rifle Association) spent $1.6 million to convince Congress to vote against gun safety laws. Over his time in office, McConnell received $1,249,967 from the NRA, while Blackburn also received a hefty $1,306,130 since being elected.

To be honest, actor Matthew McConaughey (who is from Uvalde, TX), issued a better statement than all Republicans combined. He asked Americans to look at ourselves and ask what we truly value in this country.

American politicians have a long history of picking cash from the NRA and staying in office over the lives of the people who elect them. This weekend the NRA is holding a conference where both Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Texas Senator Ted Cruz are attending and billed to speak. A fun fact—the NRA is not allowing guns during a certain portion of the events. Probably because guns are dangerous and white men commit most mass shootings—also known as the NRA’s key audience.

America has a gun problem, and a gun violence problem that has gone unchecked while thousands die and millions are impacted. We also have a greedy politician problem with an unhealthy amount of toxic masculinity to combat. We need a lot more than just being “heartbroken and horrified” to fix things. Do better, Congress. Just do something.

(image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Staff)

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D.R. Medlen (she/her) is a freelance pop culture writer at The Mary Sue. After finishing her BA in History, she finally pursued her lifelong dream of being a full-time writer in 2019. She expertly fangirls over Marvel, Star Wars, and historical fantasy novels (the spicier the better). When she's not writing or reading, she lives that hobbit-core life in California with her spouse, offspring, and animal familiars.