'We are devastated': Connecticut reacts to deadly mass shooting at Texas elementary school
Across Connecticut, there was condemnation of the deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas. At least 19 children and two adults were killed Tuesday in Uvalde, about 80 miles west of San Antonio.
The shooting resonated deeply across Connecticut, where in Newtown, 20 children and six adults were killed in 2012 in a mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Groups founded in Newtown after the shooting reacted quickly to what happened in Texas.
“The thought of these families not being able to see their children right now because they were killed in the classrooms is just heartbreaking and so unfair,” said Po Murray, chair of the Newtown Action Alliance. “There was no justice for the Sandy Hook families and those children for the last decade, and I’m very, very angry.”
Speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate shortly after the mass shooting, Sen. Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat, asked Republicans to work across the aisle for a legislative response to this latest mass shooting.
“Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate, why do you go through the hassle of getting this job, of putting yourself in a position of authority, if your answer is that as this slaughter continues, as our kids run for their lives, you do nothing?” Murphy said.
Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook, Connecticut's U.S. senators have focused on gun control measures like expanded background checks and bans on so-called ghost guns that lack serial numbers. Republican senators have routinely used the filibuster to block gun control legislation.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, wrote on Twitter: “No words can capture my wrenching sadness for the Robb Elementary School families & for our great nation that continues to be torn apart by horrendous gun violence—taking so many beautiful lives & spreading anguish & horror.”
Blumenthal also wrote: “My heart breaks as I re-live the shock & grief of Sandy Hook ten years ago, knowing the infinite pain that will hit these families in Texas. This senseless violence will stop only when Congress matches thoughts & prayers with action.”
Flags are being lowered to half-staff in Connecticut and across the country.
In a statement, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said the string of recent mass shootings across the U.S. is “out of hand.” He called gun violence a public health crisis.
“We cannot forget the true cost of these numbers – lives lost,” Lamont said. “They’re our friends, fathers, kids, teachers and neighbors. They’re worth the effort to find a diligent, pragmatic and hopefully bipartisan solution before we lose any more of them.”
'Our children are not safe'
Sandy Hook Promise, among the advocacy groups formed after the Newtown shooting, wrote on Twitter: “We are devastated about reports that multiple people are dead, including children. Our hearts are with the families and community as this tragic story unfolds.”
Murray, with the Newtown Action Alliance, also issued a statement: “We are devastated by yet another heart-wrenching school shooting incident in America – this time in Uvalde, Texas, nearly 10 years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting tragedy.”
The alliance called on Congress to pass various gun control bills, including a federal assault weapons ban.
“For the past decade, we have warned all Americans, including elected politicians across the nation, that if a mass shooting can happen in Sandy Hook, then it can happen anywhere," Murray wrote. "We have begged presidents, all Members of Congress, Governors and State Representatives to strengthen the federal and state gun laws to keep our families and our communities safe.”
Murray went on to write: “Until more Americans hold their local, state and federal elected representatives accountable in the ballot box, our children are not safe in stores, malls, schools, movie theaters, places of worship or any public space.”
When it comes to coping, no 'one size fits all'
Dr. Javeed Sukhera, a psychiatrist with Hartford Hospital, wants to remind people to take time for themselves in processing the tragedy.
“We can’t pretend like every day is a regular day when these horrible things continue to happen, and when people are continuing to heal from the trauma of the previous thing,” he said.
Sukhera says recent events can be especially sensitive for Connecticut communities that feel the echo of the Sandy Hook shooting.
“Some people are doing to shut down, some people are going to start going into hyperdrive, going through the motions even quicker, because there’s also no one size fits all when it comes to coping.”
Connecticut Public's Matt Dwyer, Nicole Leonard, Cassandra Basler and Eric Aasen and WSHU's Davis Dunavin contributed to this report. This is a developing story, which will be updated.