A mass shooter killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. And Republican politicians took to Twitter in the wake of this tragedy to express their condolences. But if you look closely, you’ll notice something odd. Many of the messages were identical, as though they’re all just copying and pasting the same tweets from the last mass shooting.
There seems to be a formula for how right-wing politicians are now responding to mass shootings on social media that goes something like this: I am [HORRIFIED, HEARTBROKEN, ETC] at the senseless tragedy in [LOCATION] today. We are [LIFTING THEM UP IN PRAYER, PRAYING FOR THEM] and thank the heroic efforts of [POLICE, FIRST RESPONDERS, ETC] on the scene.
That’s it. No promise that laws will be passed to help stop these mass shootings from happening again; no recognition that the U.S. is the only wealthy country in the world where mass shootings happen frequently; no acknowledgement that children in other countries don’t have to participate in active shooter drills. The only thing politicians can muster is “thoughts and prayers” and “thank God for our cops.”
Take a look at some of the tweets from yesterday, with an emphasis in the text from Gizmodo to show just how identical these statements really are.
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky:
Horrified and heartbroken by reports of the disgusting violence directed at innocent schoolkids in Uvalde, Texas. The entire country is praying for the children, families, teachers, and staff and the first responders on the scene.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee:
Horrified and heartbroken to learn of the significant loss of life in the shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Please join me in lifting their loved ones up in prayer. Thank you to the local first responders working on the scene.
Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona:
This is heartbreaking and soul wrenching. Our prayers are with the parents, families, students and staff of Robb Elementary in Uvalde, TX at this unimaginable time. Thankful for the heroic efforts of medical pros, law enforcement and community members who responded so quickly.
Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota:
We’re horrified by the news out of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX today. Mikey and I are heartbroken for the families and loved ones of the victims & grateful for the first responders and law enforcement who worked to save lives.
Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia:
Marty, the girls, and I are heartbroken over news from Uvalde, Tx. For children and innocent adults, including the school teacher, to be taken from this world in such a depraved, violent way, it is incomprehensible. We are lifting up the families of these victims, the first responders on the scene, and the entire community in prayer.
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas:
Heidi & I are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde. We are in close contact with local officials, but the precise details are still unfolding. Thank you to heroic law enforcement & first responders for acting so swiftly.
Cruz’s statement was identical to a statement he made back in October 2021 after another school shooting in Texas:
The list goes on and on. And they all use the same formula.
But oddly, it wasn’t just Republicans who used a similar mash-up of platitudes on Tuesday. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a Democrat from Arizona, used language identical to the Republicans:
We are horrified and heartbroken by the senseless tragedy unfolding at Robb Elementary School in Texas and grateful to the first responders for acting swiftly. No families should ever have to fear violence in their children’s schools.
Perhaps all of these horrified and heartbroken politicians could do something about this national tragedy that just keeps repeating itself. Or maybe they can keep those tweets copied on their smartphones and ready to paste because this horror will no doubt happen again sometime very soon.