By Isabel Song Beer
Long Island and New York State lawmakers and education advocates expressed sadness and outrage over Tuesday’s school shooting in Uvalde, Texas in which 19 elementary school children and two educators were shot and killed by an 18-year old perpetrator.
An additional 15 children and one police officer were injured, making this shooting the deadliest school shooting since Sandy Hook and the deadliest ever in Texas.This was the 27th mass shooting in 2022, and shortly followed a mass shooting in Buffalo which occured on May 14.
Educators and lawmakers expressed their deep sorrow at the tragedy, while also pleading for change in gun laws to ensure these mass shootings never happen again.
“Our hearts are broken,” said New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta in a statement on May 24, the day of the shooting. “In New York, our emotions are still raw from the senseless mass murder at a Buffalo supermarket just more than a week ago, and now we watch as our colleagues in Texas, the students they devote themselves to and their families are forced to grapple with yet another horrific mass shooting. What will it take to put a stop to these hateful, sickening acts of violence? Our schools must be a safe place for all. As we mourn those who have lost their lives, we must also stand up and demand better for children, for parents, for educators and for communities across the nation.”
Both Nassau and Suffolk County executives shared brief condolences on social media to the families who lost their children.
“Join me in praying for Texas, and the innocent children and victims of today’s terrible school shooting,” Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman wrote. “Although there are NO known local threats, I am intensifying Nassau County Police Department patrols near our schools out of an abundance of caution.”
“In response to the horrific tragedies in both Buffalo and Texas, today I gathered with our brothers and sisters of faith, along with my colleagues in local government, to pray for healing, love, unity and peace,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone wrote. “My thoughts are with the families and loved ones of all the innocent people who have lost their lives to senseless gun violence.”
Gov. Kathy Hochul also strongly condemned the attack and called for gun control legislation to prevent future shootings.
“You should be able to go to school, and to church, and to the grocery store without needing to worry that you’re not going to come home,” Hochul tweeted. “It’s past time to put an end to these needless tragedies.”
Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove) also spoke out against the National Rifle Association (NRA), which is holding its annual conference in Texas this week.
“The NRA simply has no conscience,” said Suozzi. “The gun manufacturers that fund them, the members that tolerate their extremist views, and the politicians that pander to them have allowed our country to be flooded with guns and have fueled domestic terrorism. I am furious with many of my colleagues in Congress. Predominantly Republicans, and some Democrats, too, are held hostage by the NRA and stand down when faced with common sense gun reform. What is wrong with them? Why don’t they see they are helping to perpetuate the misinformation by the NRA that leads to tragedy after tragedy? Or do they see and don’t care because they are desperate to get re-elected? When will the gun manufacturer enablers wake up? To the Members of Congress who have voted against common sense gun violence prevention legislation I say, ‘do your jobs.’”
–With Briana Bonfiglio
This story first appeared on amNY.com.