Powerful moment lawmaker gets emotional on Senate floor over Texas school shooting
"Why are you here if not to solve a problem as existential as this?"
A Democratic Senator has gone viral following his powerful and emotional speech to Congress in the wake of the Texas elementary school shooting.
On Tuesday morning, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos went into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde with a rifle.
He opened fire on classrooms and killed 19 children and two teachers, before he was killed by police. He is also suspected of shooting his grandmother before the rampage.
There are fears the death toll could yet grow.
The horrific massacre has sparked more pleas and demands for tighter gun control laws in the US.
For Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, the tragedy is particularly significant.
Murphy has demanded legislative action on gun laws for years, and his home state of Connecticut is where one of the most infamous school shootings took place at Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 young people were killed in 2012.
Hours after the news of the Texas shooting broke, he returned to the Senate floor to plead with his colleagues to take action.
He began by repeatedly asking: “What are we doing? What are we doing?
"Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons, we have another Sandy Hook on our hands."
Visibly emotional, he continued: "Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate? Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job, getting to this position of authority if your answer, as this slaughter increases, as ours kids run for their lives, we do nothing?
"Why are you 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.
Senator Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT): "The 14 kids dead in an elementary school in Texas right now. What are we doing? What are we doing? Just days after a shooter walked into a grocery store to gun down African American patrons we have another Sandy Hook on our hands." pic.twitter.com/IALrVON2mV
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 24, 2022
“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 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 except in the United States of America and it is a choice.
"It is our choice to let it continue.”
With his voice breaking, he said he was there to "beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues" to find a "path forward" and a way to "pass laws that make this less likely."
He finished by saying: “There is a place where we can achieve agreement, that may not guarantee that America never ever again sees a mass shooting, that may not overnight cut in half the number of murders that happen in America, that will not solve the problem of American violence by itself, but by doing something, we at least stop sending this quiet message of endorsement to these killers whose brains are breaking, who see the highest levels of government doing nothing, shooting after shooting.”
The Independent reports that in 2016, Senator Murphy led a 15-hour filibuster on the Senate floor in a bid to introduce legislative action on gun control after the Orlando nightclub shooting that saw 49 people killed.