"Let's call it like it is," declared Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Friday in response to the mass shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas that left at least nine students and one teacher dead. "The horrifying inaction of Congress, slaughter after slaughter, has become a green light to would-be shooters, who pervert silence into endorsement."
In placing blame for the gun violence crisis that continues to inflict communities nationwide on inaction at the highest levels of the US government -- where the National Rifle Association (NRA) holds tremendous sway, particularly over President Donald Trump and the Republican Congress -- Murphy echoed the reaction of many students, activists, human rights groups, and progressive lawmakers to Friday's massacre, which was the 22nd school shooting of 2018.
America's gun crisis has become so severe that Santa Fe High School student Paige Curry told an interviewer on Friday that she has "always felt" a mass shooting "would eventually happen here too."
Interviewer: "Was there a part of you that was like, 'This could not happen at my school?'"— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) May 18, 2018
Santa Fe High School student: "No. It's been happening everywhere. I've always felt it would eventually happen here, too."pic.twitter.com/MPxVScd3QE
"This says it all," Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) wrote in response to Curry's interview, which quickly went viral as students from Parkland, Florida -- where another high school shooting took place in February -- shared the clip and expressed solidarity.
"Those with the power to stop these shootings have let our children down," Jayapal added.
The Parkland shooting, which left 17 people dead at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, sparked a national movement of students demanding that Congress and the president confront the NRA head-on and pass strict gun control measures.
Friday's massacre -- allegedly carried out by 17-year-old student Dimitrios Pagourtzis, who was reportedly armed with a shotgun and a pistol -- sparked another upsurge of calls for lawmakers to directly take on the NRA or be replaced.
"Enough is enough!" wrote Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) following Friday's shooting. "There's little left to be said about the horrific school shooting tragedies that we've seen over and over -- today in Texas. These are very sick acts. Congress and Trump must finally have the courage to stand up to the NRA and do what the American people want."
Other progressive members of Congress also slammed their fellow lawmakers' refusal to act in the face of America's "national epidemic of gun violence":
My heart breaks for the students at Santa Fe High School and their loved ones.— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) May 18, 2018
Again, we see another community devastated by this national epidemic of gun violence. Congress's inaction in the face of this horrific, constant violence is a betrayal of our kids. #DoSomething https://t.co/8sAUEtQJJn
It's never "too soon" to talk about the continued inaction of Congress to pass gun safety measures. A failed generation of political leadership continues putting Americans at risk and young people need to take the reins.— Ro Khanna (@RoKhanna) May 18, 2018
Describing the US as a "nation that allows its gun laws to be written by gun lobbyists," Shannon Watts, founder of the gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action, concluded on Friday: "We should all be outraged by the lack of action from too many lawmakers who do nothing to stop this school shootings crisis."