Over the last 48 hours, many Arizonans have offered words reacting to the horrific school shooting at Robb Elementary School in Texas. They mainly follow the themes of those who expressed condolences, reflection, and anger at the continual inaction from the former Party of Lincoln immediately after the shooting.
Perhaps the most on point recent comment was the social media post by educator and former State Legislature candidate Eric Kurland who posted:
“It is weird that the people so vocal about the adverse effects of children wearing masks are so silent about the adverse effects of children being slaughtered by assault weapons.”
Voters should consider Kurland’s words when considering which candidates to vote for this November.
Other comments included:
Phoenix Councilwoman Yassamin Ansari
“Like millions of Americans, I’m feeling heartbroken, angry, and sick to my stomach knowing that targeted acts of violence continue to happen in this country — recently, weekly.
And we cannot become numb to it as the days pass. Gun violence is a public health crisis, and as one of the most developed countries in the world, we need to do better.
We need gun control now. Assault rifles, designed to kill people almost instantly, have no place on our streets, neighborhoods, or in our communities. When we passed an assault weapon ban in 1994, mass shootings went down. When the law expired, they tripled. They should absolutely be banned today.
Further, commonsense gun safety legislation is the bare minimum our federal leaders can deliver at this moment.
Invest in mental health resources. Fund our schools. Fight for everyday Americans – not a gun lobby that you’ve let wreak havoc on our country for decades.
19 children and 2 teachers were murdered. They will not get to grow up or grow old, and the devastation and trauma in the community will endure forever.
❤️ My heart goes out to the families and friends of these victims in Uvalde,Texas.
Nothing can justify a tragedy like this one and nothing can justify inaction.”
State Representative Jennifer Pawlik
“As a former elementary school teacher, the mass shooting in Texas really hit me hard. Schools (grocery stores & churches) should be safe places for people to be. Readers need to know that at the state level, Arizona Democrats have been engaged. One can search BSI* with the keyword firearms to see the bills introduced this session. Note the bills that we fought fiercely against which include Rep. Parker’s HB 2414 which allowed LOADED firearms on school grounds and Rep.Nguyen’s HB2447 & HB 2448 which would allow conceal carry on college campuses, and required firearms training for all students. Conversely, a BSI sponsor search of Asst. Leader Longdon’s bills shows seven bills relating to firearms including a background check bill. These bills were offered this session (and each of the 4 sessions she has held office), but they were not given a hearing. This late in the session, we CAN use legislative procedures to hear these bills, and really we must.
What can readers do? They can contact their Republican legislators and ask that Assistant Leader Longdon’s bills are given a hearing. They can contact our U.S. Senators and Congressmen for federal action. They can reach out to local campaigns to help do the work at doors or they can make donations to campaigns. Everytown publishes a list of candidates who are designated as “Gun Sense Candidates.”
*BSI=Bill Status Inquiry
State Representative and CD Six Congressional Candidate Daniel Hernandez
“The biggest impediment to tackling gun violence in the US has been the influence of the Gun Lobby. Hundreds of lives are impacted every single day in our country because of gun violence. Children shouldn’t be in fear of going to school. We must stop accepting this as normal. We need more gun violence survivors in Congress who will have the courage to stand up and pass meaningful gun legislation to save lives.”
Former State Senator and CD Six Congressional Candidate Kirsten Engel
“It’s a call no parent should ever receive. But I’ve received it, and countless other parents have as well. That call from your child whispering on the other end of the phone crouching under her desk in lockdown because a suspected armed gunman has approached the school. Thank God in my situation no harm ensued. The same cannot be said for the families of the children and adults murdered yesterday by an armed 18-year old in Texas or the families of the Sandy Hook child-victims, or those of the dozens upon dozens of senseless tragic shootings that make up the epidemic of gun violence in our nation. Because it is an epidemic. And we can take action against an epidemic. Congress MUST pass common sense gun safety laws that a large majority of Americans support, whether they are Democrats or Republicans or gun-owners or not. These include universal background checks, closing the “gun show” and “boyfriend” loopholes to background checks, and an assault weapons ban. I hope that these are all passed before I am elected to Congress. But as a Gun Sense candidate endorsed by Moms Demand Action, I will fight to pass these common sense gun violence prevention laws if they have not.”
Arizona Children Alliance Head and former Democratic Legislative Leader David Lujan
Elementary schools should not be scary places.
— David Lujan (@DavidLujan) May 24, 2022
Creighton School Board President Sophia Carrillo Dahl
“What occurred in Texas was preventable and is reprehensible. We live in a society that is more worried about corporate money than saving a child’s life. We live in a country where politicians fight for a 6-week-old unborn fetus but will do nothing to protect children from firearms. According to the Everytowns website, 18,000 children and teens are shot, killed, or wounded by a gun. This cycle will continue as long as we elect the same corporate greed politicians who do not care about our dying children. Change is long overdue, and it starts with you. Get involved, research your candidates, and vote down the ballot. The transformation begins at the bottom, and the time is now. Let the anger and desperation of feeling hopeless fuel you to be the change.”
Creighton School Board Member and Technology Coach at Balsz Elementary Lindsey McCaleb
“But honestly, I don’t even know what to say. Every time this happens I flash back to being a teacher and thinking about where I could safely hide kids in my classroom. I don’t understand how even after the collective trauma we have endured the last 2 years through the pandemic, we still aren’t able as a country to put mental health as a priority. It’s shameful, saddening, and angering all at the same time.”
Educator and LD Four State Senate Candidate Jeanne Casteen posted:
“I am heartbroken by the news out of Uvalde, Texas. As a teacher, I was involved in multiple active shooter drills and lockdowns due to a gun by campus. Schools should be a place for students to learn and grow.”
Later, she commented to Blog for Arizona:
“We all know exactly what it’s going to take to stop these kinds of mass shootings from happening. But instead, yesterday, our State Legislature in both chambers, decided to focus more on culture wars and false narratives.
I heard state senators blaming this on a lack of religion and prayer, as well as a call for teachers to be armed.
In the House of Representatives, the discussion was focused on SB 1412 which will only result in more teachers leaving the classroom because it won’t allow teachers to be trusted to do their jobs.
The only way that these mass shootings will ever stop happening is to elect a new legislature, elect a new Congress, and keep voting progressive Democrats into public office from school boards all the way to the top of the ballot.
The GOP are not advocating for the common good. They care about lining their pockets and maintaining power and control even if it means children’s lives will be lost.”
LD 12 State House Candidate Patty Contreras
“I am so dismayed and saddened by the shooting in Texas where young, bright children and their teachers were murdered. Once again our schools have been attacked by a man wielding a weapon of war. What will it take for our elected officials to finally do something to stop the slaughter of innocents in America? A majority of Americans agree that gun laws should be stricter yet our state legislators would rather arm teachers than limit purchases of an AR-15 assault rifle. This weapon has only one purpose, to kill people; and it has been used time and time again to kill civilians going about their daily routines in America.
I am with the majority of Americans who believe stricter gun laws must be enacted. I am not advocating taking guns away from anyone who wants to own a rifle or handgun for hunting, target practice, or personal safety. I am advocating for common sense laws that won’t allow an 18 year old to purchase a weapon of war. I am in favor of anyone purchasing a gun having a thorough background check and a mandatory waiting period. Gun owners should be licensed and trained on their proper use and storage. In addition, guns should be registered, high capacity magazines should be banned, and the assault weapons ban needs to be reinstituted.
We shouldn’t be afraid to send our children to school. We shouldn’t be afraid to go to work, go to church, go to a movie, or go shopping. We need to do something NOW, before this happens again. Wringing our hands again in dismay and offering lame words of solace to grieving parents, children, brothers, and sisters will not make this problem go away. Let’s encourage our leaders to FINALLY recognize that this a problem in our country and insist on common sense reforms.”
Educator and LD 13 State Senate Candidate Cindy Hans
“Grief doesn’t begin to cover my reaction to the massacre at Robb E.S. There are 2 issues that need to be addressed: unfettered access to weapons of war and how we support the schools and parents who raise our children.
I’m livid but sadly not surprised at the refusal to even consider that restricting access to weapons of war just might be part of the solution. Tuesday evening while the body count was still rising, I sat at a forum while 2 men running for office said they didn’t see any reason for changes in the gun laws; another gentleman said there should be a license. Let’s change the focus on the 2nd Amendment “will not be infringed” and embrace the opening words of 2A, “well-regulated.” To say “thoughts and prayers” but refusing to restrict access to 30 round magazines is performative and hypocritical. If the majority of citizens want common sense gun law reform, we need to stop keep electing politicians who are certain that guns are not the problem.
People who feel safe, secure, and loved do not become mass murderers. What makes people feel safe and secure? Connection. How do we make connections in schools: we fund them so that we have manageable class sizes and provide services to give every child the tools for success intellectually, physically and emotionally. Schools cannot provide every solution: but they can part of the referral service to the professionals who can diagnose and treat—and that needs to be funded, too. Let’s stop saying this is a mental illness and then not fund mental health treatments.”
Educator and LD 18 State House Candidate Nancy Gutierrez
“As a public school teacher, I am at the point now where every time the announcements come on in my classroom, I cringe. I cringe because I wonder if this will be the announcement of an active shooter on campus. We have a gun problem and more guns will not make it better. We need safer schools, fewer guns and more counselors and social workers. I want to know how many of our Arizona lawmakers have taken money from the NRA. You should have to put that on your campaign signs. I want to know how many people campaigning right now say that they are “pro life”, but won’t pass sensible gun legislation. We must change who is in our Legislature NOW. I am a Moms Demand Action Gun Sense Candidate. I suggest to everyone to look for these candidates and vote for them. No more school shootings, EVER.”
LD 12 State House Candidate Paul Weich
This is inanity added to the insanity. All murderers violate laws; do we therefore give up on passing commonsense laws to make our children (and, all) safer?
— Paul Weich (@PaulWeichAZ) May 25, 2022
Phoenix City Council Candidate Joan Greene
“Our families have a right to be safe in schools, shopping, houses of worship and concerts. Elected leaders from local, state and federal offices have a duty to protect its citizens.
Overwhelmingly 90% of Americans want common sense gun reform that include background checks and laws that require weapons to be stored safely and out of reach of children.
We can’t wait another minute to enact life-saving reforms.”
Scottsdale Unified School Governing Board Candidate Mary Gaudio
“Another day. Another mass shooting at a school.
There were, of course, the hollow offering of thoughts and prayers by our members of Congress and state lawmakers to the families of the children gunned down at school. Again. Vows were made by Democrats to enact legislation that would prevent such tragedies in the future, while Republicans called for arming teachers and fortifying school buildings. Again. Predictably, the media’s focus turned to the gunman’s mental health. Again. We are living in a horror movie loop with no end in sight.
Nothing is going to change until voters decide enough is enough. We need to elect politicians brave enough to pass common sense gun laws. We need to address the underlying contributors to gun violence, and expand access to mental health resources.
Addressing our students’ social-emotional needs has come under fire by the radical right, claiming Social Emotional Learning is the implementation tool for critical race theory. Will the culture war against public education please stop? Our kids are dying. Our teachers are dying.
Please, make it stop.”
Yes, Legislators, PLEASE MAKE IT STOP.
As Mr. Lujan wrote, elementary schools (actually all schools) should not be scary places.