The mass school shooting Tuesday in Uvalde, Texas, that killed at least 19 children and two adults prompted a swift response on social media from public officials, law enforcement, and gun safety advocates in Massachusetts, who expressed horror, sadness, and frustration at the nation’s lack of gun control measures.
Members of the state’s congressional delegation, the Legislature, Boston city councilors, local police departments, and others spoke out on Twitter and elsewhere about the Texas tragedy and the litany of mass shootings that have preceded it, each one followed by calls for change that has not come.
Governor Charlie Baker said he was “horrified by the senseless act of violence and lives lost at Robb Elementary School.”
“All kids deserve to feel safe, and I am heartbroken that these acts of violence continue to happen in schools,” Baker a Republican, said on Twitter.
My thoughts are with the students, teachers and families as they cope with this tragedy.— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) May 25, 2022
Senator Ed Markey said he was “horrified by news of another mass shooting and my heart breaks for the families of the young children and teacher killed in Uvalde.”
“Congress has a moral responsibility to end gun violence now,” Markey, a Malden Democrat, said on Twitter. “To those who refuse to act, there are no excuses. Only complicity and shame.”
I am horrified by news of another mass shooting and my heart breaks for the families of the young children and teacher killed in Uvalde. Congress has a moral responsibility to end gun violence now. To those who refuse to act, there are no excuses. Only complicity and shame.— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) May 24, 2022
A short time later, Markey posted another tweet calling for the end of the filibuster so that Democrats in Congress can pass gun control legislation without Republican support.
Abolish the filibuster and pass gun safety legislation now.— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) May 24, 2022
US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who grew up in neighboring Oklahoma, said her “heart goes out to all the families in Uvalde, Texas, whose lives were shattered.”
“The Senate must pass gun safety legislation and protect our children,” the Cambridge Democrat said on Twitter.
It's heartbreaking and sickening how routine mass shootings have become in America. Fourteen babies and a teacher. My heart goes out to all the families in Uvalde, Texas, whose lives were shattered. The Senate must pass gun safety legislation and protect our children.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) May 24, 2022
US Representative Jim McGovern, a Worcester Democrat, blamed the National Rifle Association’s influence in Washington for the latest mass shooting, saying that “some in Congress care more about the NRA’s money than about kids getting shot at school.”
I'm sick & tired of the excuses. As an American. As a Congressman. As a dad. I'm disgusted by this senseless violence—and by the fact that some in Congress care more about the NRA's money than about kids getting shot at school.— Rep. Jim McGovern (@RepMcGovern) May 24, 2022
Thoughts & prayers aren't enough. We need ACTION! https://t.co/Twenyp3xMc
Representative Jake Auchincloss, a Newton Democrat, pointed his finger squarely at Republicans.
“We have the power to stop this,” Auchincloss wrote on Twitter. “Too many Republicans lack the political courage. Enough is enough.”
Representative Lori Trahan said she had just picked up her daughters from the school bus stop and called the mass shooting “every parent’s worst nightmare.”
“Shame on anyone who says we can’t do more to prevent school shootings, especially elected officials who oppose even the most basic, commonsense gun safety legislation,” the Westford Democrat said on Twitter.
I'm at a loss. I just picked up my girls from the bus stop. This is every parent's worst nightmare.— Congresswoman Lori Trahan (@RepLoriTrahan) May 24, 2022
Shame on anyone who says we can’t do more to prevent school shootings, especially elected officials who oppose even the most basic, commonsense gun safety legislation. https://t.co/8l0WdEUA8v
Representative Seth Moulton said “it is too easy for the wrong people to get guns and commit murder. We have to stop this. There is much more we can do ... and we must.”
In a tweet from his official account a short time later, the Salem Democrat asked, “Beyond the thoughts and prayers, where is the political courage to actually do something?”
Representative Katherine Clark, a Revere Democrat and the House’s assistant speaker, said simply, “We can’t allow our children to grow up in a country that allows this to happen again and again.”
Attorney General Maura Healey called the shootings “incomprehensible and sick” in a Twitter post from the account for her gubernatorial campaign. She said her “heart aches for the victims and their loved ones” and called for action to protect Americans.
In a later tweet from her official account, Healey again called for “action now.”
Few words can begin to describe what it’s like to read another headline like this. Heartbreaking. Devastating. Infuriating. But nothing compares to the unimaginable pain felt by families in Uvalde today.— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) May 24, 2022
Our country needs more than thoughts and prayers. We need action now. https://t.co/yhTuv5pmxp
Members of the Massachusetts Legislature also weighed in, calling for schools across the nation to be safer.
State Senator Sonia Chang-Diaz, a former public school teacher who is running for governor, said her “heart is breaking for the families & loved ones of these victims.”
“Our children deserve to go to learn in safety, not worry whether their school’s next lockdown is a drill or not,” the Jamaica Plain Democrat said. “We need national action to end gun violence now.”
Over 14 lives lost to senseless gun violence. My heart is breaking for the families & loved ones of these victims.— Sonia Chang-Díaz (@SoniaChangDiaz) May 24, 2022
Our children deserve to go to learn in safety, not worry whether their school's next lockdown is a drill or not.
We need national action to end gun violence now. https://t.co/6oJwPVgaAs
State Senator Jamie Eldridge, an Acton Democrat, called the Uvalde tragedy the “worst grade school shooting since Sandy Hook, Connecticut.”
“Think about that sentence,” Eldridge said on Twitter. “WE NEED MORE THAN WORDS.”
State Senator Adam Gomez, a Springfield Democrat, posted three tweets reflecting on his feelings as a parent of young children and his belief in the “importance of comprehensive background checks for firearms, the need for parents to properly secure any weapons they may own, and better mental health services.”
As the father to young children, it is incomprehensible to me to even think about what it must feel like to send your child to a place they are supposed to be safe just for them to never return home. (1/3)— Senator Adam Gomez (@AdamGomezMA) May 24, 2022
Words don't come close to capturing this tragedy but my thoughts and heart are with all those who were affected. (3/3)— Senator Adam Gomez (@AdamGomezMA) May 24, 2022
State Senator Patrick O’Connor said he was “devastated” when he learned of the mass shooting.
“During my time as a State Senator, I have had to comment way too many times on tragedies like this happening at our schools,” the Weymouth Republican said on Twitter. “Schools need to be safe. Period.”
State Senator Julian Cyr, a Truro Democrat, called the school shooting “Absolutely horrifying and heartbreaking.”
Mayor Michelle Wu of Boston and several city councilors shared their reactions to the tragedy.
Wu said the city “grieves with families in Uvalde & across our nation,” and she called for “sweeping gun reforms to protect our children & communities.”
Boston grieves with families in Uvalde & across our nation. Thoughts & prayers are not enough. Our country must act urgently to pass sweeping gun reforms to protect our children & communities.— Mayor Michelle Wu 吳弭 (@MayorWu) May 24, 2022
Councilor Kenzie Bok was critical of the wide availability of guns, writing, “A culture that values gun access above child safety is a culture of death. To let this happen again & again without gun law reform puts the blood on America’s hands too.”
Mourning all the dead in Uvalde, and praying for the families & friends living through this wrongful tragedy.— Kenzie Bok (@KenzieBok) May 24, 2022
A culture that values gun access above child safety is a culture of death. To let this happen again & again without gun law reform puts the blood on America’s hands too.
Councilor Ricardo Arroyo pointed to the recent supermarket mass shooting by an alleged white supremacist that killed 10 people in a predominantly Black Buffalo, N.Y., neighborhood, saying Americans “haven’t even begun to heal from the tragedy in Buffalo.”
“This shouldn’t be our normal,” Arroyo, who is running for the Suffolk district attorney’s office, said on Twitter. “We need to change the fact that in this country it is easier to buy guns than it is to access healthcare.”
No one should ever experience loss like this.— Ricardo Arroyo (@RicardoNArroyo) May 24, 2022
We haven’t even begun to heal from the tragedy in Buffalo. This shouldn’t be our normal.
We need to change the fact that in this country it is easier to buy guns than it is to access healthcare.
We shouldn’t have to live like this.
Councilor Kendra Lara called for “sweeping gun reform.”
“No amount of thoughts and prayers will suffice,” Lara wrote on Twitter. “What could possibly be a balm for the 14 families who have just lost their child?”
I am inconsolable. No amount of thoughts and prayers will suffice. What could possibly be a balm for the 14 families who have just lost their child?— Kendra Lara (@CllrKendraLara) May 24, 2022
Nothing short of sweeping gun reform will do. Not one more.
Councilor Julia Mejia also called for action and “No more thoughts and prayers.”
Councilor Gabriela Coletta said she was “sickened by the lack of action of those in LEADERSHIP positions across the Country.”
Councilor Ruthzee Louijeune’s message was concise, saying in part, “We, as a nation, are not OK.”
14 children & 1 teacher, dead.— Ruthzee Louijeune (@Ruthzee) May 24, 2022
We, as a nation, are not OK.
Weeping for these families.
Former councilor Andrea Campbell, who is running for attorney general, said that as a mother, she found reports of the shootings to be “spirit crushing,” and she is “praying for these families and their community.”
“What more needs to happen for leaders to wake up and do what’s necessary to end these cycles of violence?” Campbell wrote on Twitter. “The sense of urgency is crystal clear to me.”
What more needs to happen for leaders to wake up and do what’s necessary to end these cycles of violence. The sense of urgency is crystal clear to me. I'm praying for these families and their community.— Andrea J. Campbell (@AndreaForAG) May 24, 2022
Cambridge Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui said she was “heartbroken for the children and the families” and asked, “What will it take for Congress to wake up and end gun violence?”
Massachusetts State Police said they “join the rest of our nation in mourning the loss of numerous children —18 as of this writing — and a teacher to an act of unimaginable evil today in Uvalde, Texas.”
“We stand, also, in solidarity with the emergency personnel who responded to the scene, including the officers and tactical units that ended the threat, and the paramedics and medical personnel who worked valiantly to save lives,” State Police said in a Facebook post.
The Boston Police Department said on Twitter that its members were “devastated to hear of the mass casualty shooting incident” and their “thoughts are with the victims, their families, fellow students, staff members and the first responders on scene.”
The men and women of the #BPD are devastated to hear of the mass casualty shooting incident earlier today at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families, fellow students, staff members and the first responders on scene.— Boston Police Dept. (@bostonpolice) May 24, 2022
MBTA Transit Police offered their prayers.
Seekonk police said they were saddened by the deaths and will have an increased presence at local schools for the near future.
We are saddened to hear of the tragic incident that took place today at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Texas. As a precaution,we will have an increased presence at all Seekonk Schools for the near future. There is no threat to Seekonk. This is only a precautionary measure.— Seekonk Police Dept. (@SeekonkPD) May 24, 2022
Canton Police Chief Ken Berkowitz said he was praying for the victims and their families and shared a photo of police responding to the shootings in jeans and casual shirts, suggesting they were called in while off-duty to help address the violence.
Thinking and praying for the 14 victims and their families at the Robb Elementary School shooting. In case your wondering, the cops below dressed in their jeans are no doubt responding from their houses and everywhere else to help save lives. #Uvalde #Enough pic.twitter.com/FT3thUy5ZL— Chief Ken Berkowitz (@ChiefBerkowitz) May 24, 2022
Jaclyn Corin, a Harvard University student who cofounded the antiviolence group March 4 Our Lives, offered prayers for Uvalde and reflected on how common mass shootings have become.
Prayers to the Uvalde community today and always.— Jaclyn Corin (@JaclynCorin) May 24, 2022
Innocent children will only continue to die if we don’t end the gun problem in America.— Jaclyn Corin (@JaclynCorin) May 24, 2022
Each and every one of us has a role to play in ending this madness.
There have been over 200 mass shootings in the U.S. this year.— Jaclyn Corin (@JaclynCorin) May 24, 2022
It’s still May.
The Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence called the shootings “horrifying” and said people must work to make sure every child, and every person, is safe.
Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him @jeremycfox. Maya Homan can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @MayaHoman. Madison Mercado can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.