DALLAS — Another day, another mass shooting in the United States — this time Robb Elementary School in Texas, with the death toll rising by the hour.
If it’s easy to become numb, Warriors coach Steve Kerr was anything but — filled with rage, sadness and emotion, calling out U.S. senators, Mitch McConnell (R.-Ky.) by name, to take action on gun control.
“When are we going to do something? I’m tired,” Kerr yelled in his pregame availability before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
His voice quivered and cracked at times, but he looked firmly into the cameras some 30 feet away with an impassioned plea.
“Since we left shootaround, 14 children were killed 400 miles from here, and a teacher. In the last 10 days, we’ve had elderly Black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, we’ve had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California, now we have children murdered at school.”
By the time Kerr addressed the media, the number rose to 19 students and two adults in Uvalde, which is more than 300 miles away from Dallas, closer to San Antonio. Kerr’s father, Malcolm, was assassinated in Beirut in 1984, when Steve was in college at Arizona — so the issue hits close to home for the Warriors coach.
Draymond Green’s college teammate, former NBA player Adreian Payne, was killed due to gun violence on May 9 in Orlando. He was attempting to help a friend with a domestic situation. His funeral was a few days ago in Ohio.
“I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m so tired,” Kerr said. “Excuse me. I’m sorry. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough.
“There’s 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on HR8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago. It’s been sitting there for two years. There’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold onto power.
“I ask you, Mitch McConnell, all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence, school shootings, 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. That’s what we do every week.”
Ahead of tonight’s game, both teams observed a moment of silence for the victims and families of today’s tragic shooting. pic.twitter.com/9faQcehdNR
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 25, 2022
Since the Sandy Hook Elementary School (Connecticut) shooting in December 2012, there’ve been numerous instances of mass shootings where children were targeted and killed. One can easily rattle off 10 mass shootings due to either race or victims being selected randomly.
Most recently in Oxford, Michigan, four students were killed and several others injured in a shooting at its high school.
It’s become almost commonplace to hear of such things, but as Kerr pointed out, the gun control debate hasn’t gone anywhere.
“We can’t get numb to this,” Kerr said. “We can’t sit here and just read about it and go, well, let’s have a moment of silence. Go Dubs. C’mon, Mavs, let’s go. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go play a basketball game.
“Fifty senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. Do you realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want background checks, universal background checks? Ninety percent of us.”
Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd read a prepared statement in his media session 10 minutes before Kerr did, but was clearly shaken. He didn’t know about the shooting until he got to the arena hours before.
“What’s going on is a little bit more important than basketball,” Kidd said. “It’s tough. You know, as coaches or fathers, we have kids. People in this room have kids. Elementary school. You just think about what could take place with any of your family or friends at a school.
“The news of what’s happening, not just here in Texas but throughout our country, is sad.”
Kerr kept the focus on the senators, hoping it’ll stir some action beyond the usual performative “thoughts and prayers.”
“I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, mother or father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?
“We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we the American people want.
“They won’t vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough.”