Connecticut U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy made an impassioned speech on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday following the tragic shooting of 18 children and three adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, about 83 miles west of San Antonio.
"What are we doing? Why are we here?" he asked. “Why are we here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?"
“This isn’t inevitable, these kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country and nowhere else," he said. "Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking they might be shot that day.”
“Nowhere else do parents have to talk to their kids about why they got locked into a bathroom and told to be quiet just in case a bad man entered that building,” he continued, before touching on the aftermath the students of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting had to go through.
Murphy represented Newtown, Connecticut, as a U.S. congressman when a gunman killed the nearly 26 elementary school students and educators. He is also the author of “The Violence Inside Us: A Brief History of an Ongoing American Tragedy.”
“Sandy Hook will never, ever be the same, this community in Texas will never, ever be the same. Why? Why are we here if not to try to make sure that fewer schools and fewer communities go through what Sandy Hook has gone through, what Uvalde is going through,” he said.
“I'm here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues, find a path forward here,” he stated. “Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.”
Murphy added that he understands his Republican colleagues might not agree on everything. But he said they have to find common ground and “achieve agreement.”
Gov. Greg Abbott confirmed the deaths on Tuesday afternoon. According to NBC News, the suspected shooter was fatally wounded amid law enforcement response. In a news briefing, Abbott shared that they believed the shooter might have had a handgun and rifle.
“The investigation is leading to tell us the suspect did act alone during this heinous crime,” Pete Arredondo, chief of police at the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District, said during a news conference.
President Joe Biden was briefed on the attack and addressed the nation Tuesday evening.
“I’d hoped, when I became president, I would not have to do this again,” Biden began from the White House Roosevelt Room. “Another massacre. Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful, second, third, fourth graders.”
“To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” he also said. “There’s a hollowness in your chest, you feel like you’re being sucked into it and it’s never quite the same.”
Biden’s first wife, Neilia, and their baby girl, Naomi, died in a 1972 car crash. In 2015, his son, Beau, died of brain cancer.
The Associated Press reported that Congress has been unable to pass substantial gun violence legislation since the collapse of a bipartisan Senate effort in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Newtown.
With the Democrats' currently slim control of Congress, gun violence bills have stalled without support of the GOP.
Two bills that would have expanded background checks on firearms purchases that were passed by the House last year stalled in the Senate, where they couldn't secure enough Republican votes to overcome the filibuster.
According to NBC News, Tuesday’s mass shooting was at least the 51st deadly school shooting in the U.S. since 2013.