A Gun Violence Survivor Took Over a Nashville Briefing: ‘How Are Our Children Still Dying?’
A child weeps on the bus leaving The Covenant School in Nashville after a mass shooting, Mar. 27, 2023. Credit - Nicole Hester—The Tennessean/AP
“Aren’t you guys tired of covering this? Aren’t you guys tired of being here and having to cover all of these mass shootings?”
That’s what Ashbey Beasley asked reporters after taking over a police briefing on the gun massacre at a Nashville Christian elementary school, which left six dead, including three children on Monday.
wow. a woman makes a passionate case for gun control during a press conference about the Nashville school shooting pic.twitter.com/tQDdSrBZZ6
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 27, 2023
Beasley herself is no stranger to gun violence: she and her child survived the July 4, 2022, mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, that killed seven people and injured 48 others. Since then, Beasley has lobbied to more than 100 lawmakers at Capitol Hill for better gun legislation.
She was on a family vacation in Nashville on Monday to visit her sister-in-law when she heard that a shooter opened fire at The Covenant School.
“You guys sick of it?” she asked, as her comments were picked up by local and national media. “We have to do something. We all have to call our lawmakers, and we all have to make our lawmakers make change now—or this is going to keep happening. And it’s going to be your kid, and your kid, and your kid, and your kid next.”
In 2020, firearms became the leading cause of death—more deadly than motor-vehicle crashes—among U.S. children aged 1 to 19 based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. By early March, the Gun Violence Archive had already recorded more than 1,000 children and teenagers killed or injured by gunfire since the start of the year, and the Washington Post has tracked at least 376 school shootings in the U.S.—not including at colleges and universities—since the Columbine High massacre in 1999.
“How is this still happening?” Beasley asked. “How are our children still dying, and why are we failing them?”
Lawmakers have long been divided over more restrictive federal legislation on firearms, and though the debate gets reignited every time there is a high-profile mass shooting, it always seems to end in a stalemate.
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President Joe Biden said at the White House Monday that more needs to be done to stop gun violence. “It’s ripping our communities apart, ripping at the very soul of the nation.”
Beasley is not alone in grieving and questioning the lack of safeguards for children. “WHY ARE OUR CHILDREN BEING MASSACRED IN THEIR SCHOOLS?!,” asks Britney Grayson, a pediatric surgeon who posted on social media that she had just visited The Covenant School to speak to children there about working in Kenya. She said she left the school only minutes before the shooting began.
“I have no idea when this country will have had enough,” Grayson wrote on Facebook and Twitter. “And I’m utterly, completely, totally shocked that, as a nation, we aren’t there yet.”