In the Absence of Action on Guns, All We Have Are Celebrity Reactions

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Photo credit: Tom Pennington - Getty Images
Photo credit: Tom Pennington - Getty Images

Another day in America, another mass shooting. More heartfelt prayers, more shock, more awe, more sadness. But never legislation, never meaningful change. In what is becoming something of a post-tragedy tradition, Senator Schumer has vowed to bring one of several languishing gun control bills to a vote. It won't pass. Why? Because guess what: Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema still don't support the filibuster. But Sinema is "horrified and heartbroken by the senseless tragedy" and Manchin thinks the senseless tragedy is "horrifying." Can we stop interviewing these assholes already?

In the absence of any actual action, all we have are reactions. There are good reactions and bad reactions, hypocritical ones and heartfelt ones. And then there is the parade of celebrity social media posts. Lebron James, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez. If you care what the Kardashians think about gun control, here you go. Reactions are a lousy substitute for action. They are also all we have. Here are some more of them.

Steve Kerr

Shortly after the shooting in Ulvade, Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, sat down in front of reporters gathered for a pre-game news conference and announced he would not be speaking about basketball. “Any basketball questions don’t matter,” he said, before listing out recent shootings including the hate crime that occurred in Buffalo last week and an additional church shooting in Southern California earlier this year. He then spoke directly to American lawmakers who oppose gun control legislation. "I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings and supermarket shootings, I ask you, are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers? Because that's what it looks like."


Chris Murphy

"This isn’t inevitable," said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy on Tuesday night in an impassioned speech on the Senate floor. "These kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country, and nowhere else.

"Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day," the Connecticut lawmaker continued. "Nowhere else do parents have to talk to their kids, as I have had to do–about why they got locked into a bathroom and told to be quiet for five minutes just in case a bad man entered that building. Nowhere else does that happen but here in the United States of America. And it is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue."

Murphy, who as a member of the House represented the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, then clasped his hands together and pleaded with his colleagues to come together to pass meaningful gun legislation: “I am here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees to beg my colleagues: find a path forward here,” he said.

Beto O'Rourke

Beto O'Rourke, who is running for Governor in Texas, wasted no time putting his political opponent, Greg Abbott, in the hot seat. He called on the current governor to withdraw from the NRA convention this weekend and force them to relocate the event. Governor Abbott is yet to respond to O'Rourke's demands. He is still scheduled to speak at the convention on Saturday. Meanwhile Texas Senator Rob Cornyn and Representative Dan Crenshaw have both tepidly announced they will no longer attend the event, telling NBC5 they canceled before Tuesday's massacre.

Amanda Gorman

The activist and poet whose poem "The Hill We Climb" became a bestseller after her reading at Biden’s inauguration in 2021, used her to pen to express grief over the tragedy. On Tuesday evening, shortly after the shooting, Gorman posted a poem and a series of couplets on Twitter.

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey—an Ulvade native who has publicly entertained the idea of running for office in his home state of Texas—posted a lengthy statement to his Twitter account. He called for immediate action and acknowledged that enacting meaningful change will require “a renegotiation between our wants from our needs.” In what reads as a direct appeal to gun enthusiasts, McConaughey asks, “What small sacrifices can we individually take today to preserve a healthier and safer nation, state, and neighborhood tomorrow?”

In reality, an overwhelming majority of Americans are willing “to make sacrifices” to preserve a safer nation. Perhaps McConaughey should've tagged the NRA and the politicians in their blood-stained pockets in his post.

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