Moulton to Paul Ryan: ‘How many Americans have to die before you do your job?’
Political and religious leaders in Massachusetts on Monday condemned the shooting rampage that claimed the lives of more than 50 people Sunday night at a country music festival in Las Vegas.
“Thinking of everyone in #LasVegas, and praying Congress will have the courage to do more than stand in silence to commemorate them,” US Representative Seth Moulton, a Salem Democrat, said in a Twitter message.
Moulton was apparently referring to efforts to strengthen gun control laws in the United States that have stalled after mass shootings in recent years.
He also tweeted that he will not join colleagues in a moment of silence on the House floor, saying that ‘‘becomes an excuse for inaction’’ and now is ‘‘a time for action.’’
And to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Moulton wrote, “How many Americans have to die before you do your job? Allow us to have a debate and a vote. You’re letting America down.”
Moulton struck a similar note Monday when he told a Boston.com reporter, “I don’t know how many innocent Americans have to die before Republican leadership has the courage to have a debate about this.”
Ryan called the shooting rampage “heartbreaking news” and an “evil tragedy” in a statement, adding that “we are with” the victims and their families. “The whole country stands united in our shock, in our condolences and in our prayers,” said the speaker, who ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff over the Capitol.
Like Moulton, US Senator Elizabeth Warren called for action in the wake of the killings.
“Thoughts & prayers are NOT enough,” Warren tweeted, adding that she felt “heartsick” for the victims. “Not when more moms & dads will bury kids this week, & more sons & daughters will grow up without parents. Tragedies like Las Vegas have happened too many times. We need to have the conversation about how to stop gun violence. We need it NOW.
Senator Ed Markey, her Massachusetts colleague in the upper chamber, called for renewing an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.
“These are weapons of war and should be used in combat, not in our communities,” the Malden Democrat tweeted. “And once and for all, we need to make NRA stand for “Not Relevant Anymore” in American politics.”
US Representative Michael Capuano, a Somerville Democrat, pledged to work to change the status quo on guns.
“Horrific news of mass murder, this time in Las Vegas,” Capuano tweeted. “I pray for the victims and families, and pledge to keep fighting for stronger gun laws.”
The comments came after Stephen Paddock allegedly fired a hail of bullets from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas casino, killing more than 50 people during the Route 91 Harvest Festival. A motive for the attack hasn’t been disclosed. Police say Paddock fatally shot himself, and that responding officers had used explosives to gain entry to his hotel room.
Governor Charlie Baker also offered condolences Monday morning after he addressed the state Health Policy Commission about health care costs. He told reporters that he had called Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval after learning of the attack.
“I just called him to basically tell him I was devastated by what happened and that I just wanted him to know if there was anything we could do here to help him, we would do it,” Baker said. “If he needed folks to help with the investigation, if he needed folks to help with some of the follow-up work that they need to do on either the law enforcement side or something else to just let us know. But my basic point was just to call him and tell him how sad and sorry I was about what happened.”
Baker had said earlier on Twitter that Massachusetts was “praying for the victims, families & 1st responders in #LasVegas. Deeply saddened & horrified to learn of this senseless mass shooting.”
US Representative Katherine Clark, a Melrose Democrat, echoed the Republican governor’s comments.
“I can’t adequately express my despair over the senseless terror and loss in Las Vegas,” Clark wrote. “Sending love, healing and sympathy to all affected.”
Congressman Joe Kennedy III also responded somberly.
“My heart breaks for the families of all those lost in Las Vegas,” Kennedy tweeted. “Sending thoughts and prayers to the victims and everyone impacted.”
Mayor Martin J. Walsh offered the support of his entire city in the wake of the attack, the deadliest mass shooting by a lone gunman in US history.
“Our hearts break for the victims and loved ones of those in Las Vegas,” Walsh tweeted. “Boston’s thoughts and prayers are with you.”
Walsh’s opponent in the upcoming mayoral election, City Councilor Tito Jackson, also tweeted about the devastating attack.
“Prayers up for Las Vegas, the families of those lost last night in the shooting and those injured too,” Jackson wrote.
Attorney General Maura Healey called the killings a “tragically familiar story.”
“Today, I offer my deepest sympathies to the victims of this latest heinous attack and to all those in mourning,” Healey said in a statement. “I extend my deepest gratitude to our brothers and sisters in law enforcement and the first responders who once again rushed toward danger to save lives. ... In Congress and states across this country, every option must be on the table and every strategy to end these tragedies must be considered. We don’t know what inspired this horrific attack. All we know is that, unless we respond with meaningful action, it will happen again.”
In New Hampshire, Governor Chris Sununu said in a statement that flags would be flown at half-staff until sunset on Oct. 6.
“Valerie and I join all Granite Staters in extending our thoughts and prayers to the people of Las Vegas and the families of the victims,” Sununu said. “We are grateful for the first responders who put themselves in harm’s way every day to keep us safe.”
Cardinal Sean O’Malley of the Boston Archdiocese offered words of solace to those killed and their families.
“Grant strength and faith to families affected by last nights violence; Lord welcome the dead into your loving embrace,” O’Malley wrote on Twitter.
Responses also poured in from the world of sports and entertainment.
Former Red Sox pitcher Mike Timlin said Monday that he was at the Vegas concert when the gunfire erupted. The affable reliever urged people to pray for the hundreds of victims who were wounded.
“Was at the #route91harvest please pray for all who have been wounded,” Timlin tweeted. “All my group is ok. #Godisalmighty.”
New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman also urged a prayerful response to the violence.
“Everyone take a minute today to keep those affected in the shootings last night in your prayers,” Edelman tweeted.
Amanda Palmer, a Lexington native who helms the rock band the Dresden Dolls, tweeted that she could hardly make sense of the news on Monday.
“People. guns. death. i don’t even know today,” Palmer wrote. “ ... it’ll stop when we figure out how to take care of each other. we are in a dark time.”