The tragic school shooting that ended in the death of at least 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School Tuesday has left the community of Uvalde, Texas, reeling.
It’s also left the entire nation struggling to make sense of such an unthinkable act — once again.
The event, the deadliest school shooting in Texas history, inevitably stirs up memories of similar attacks at other schools, past horrors that didn’t lead to changes that might have helped prevent this one.
On Wednesday morning, TODAY’s Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager took a moment to reflect on the staggering loss of life in Texas and to ponder whether this sad event might be the one that alters the course for the country.
“To watch what happened and to hear the reaction, I feel weirdly that this might be a tipping point — finally,” Hoda said on the fourth hour of TODAY. “Because there’s only so much — you can sit, as a bystander, and watch something happen. It’s like we’re all witnesses. All of us in the country, we are witnesses."
And witnesses have a responsibility.
"If you sit on your hands and say, ‘Well, that’s OK, because that’s the way it has to be,' then we’re all guilty by association," she said. "We all have something that we can contribute or do."
Jenna agreed about the need for urgent action.
“We do (have something to contribute), and we have to,” she responded, holding back tears as she spoke. “Because here’s the thing, we have little kids — your kids are at least about to go to kindergarten next year, my girls are in the same age group as these kids that were brutally murdered. We can’t just say, like, 'OK, but those kids live there.' That’s not enough anymore.”
According to Hoda, who earlier in the hour referred to this as a "watershed moment" for the nation, it's also not enough to simply look away from the darkness.
"How many times have you said, ‘I can’t look at that anymore. I can’t look over there'?" she asked. "But you know what? There are parents who had to identify their child by their shoes, because that’s what they had left. So think about your kid for a second, for all of us. I’m not being preachy, I’m just thinking like, what would I feel like?'"
That’s why Jenna believes that the ones who may be able to effect the most change right now are other parents like them.
"We’re moms! Let’s come together!" she insisted. "It’s doesn’t have to be, ‘I believe this,’ ‘You believe that.’ ... Where is the middle? I’m sorry, but I feel this way. But I’m sure all the moms out there right now feel the same way. I’m sure you do. You can’t not.”