Kerr’s fervent comments on the Uvalde shooting

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr was not prepared to talk basketball ahead of Game Four of the Western Conference Finals Tuesday evening. Not even with his team up 3-0 on the Dallas Mavericks and one game away from reaching another NBA Finals.

“Any basketball questions don’t matter,” said Kerr.

Instead, the GSW coach launched into an emotional salvo, pleading with lawmakers and officials to enact change after a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas earlier that day that left at least 19 children and two adults dead.

“Since we left shootaround, 14 children were killed, 400 miles from here. And a teacher,” Kerr said, citing figures from the time. “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, and now we have children murdered at school.”

The suspect in the school shooting is 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, a local student at Uvalde High School. He was supposed to graduate High School on Friday, one day after the Elementary kids began their summer break.

The gunman acted alone, using a pistol and potentially at least one rifle; he bought at least two assault weapons shortly after his 18th birthday, revealed Texas Senator Roland Gutierrez.

“He had no problem accessing those weapons,” Gutierrez said to CNN. 

Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated that the shooter abandoned his vehicle and walked into the school heavily armed. He later barricaded himself in a classroom and shot the nearby students before he too was then shot and killed by police.

Abbott also shared that the suspect allegedly shot his grandmother before departing for the school. She was seriously injured but remains alive in critical condition.

All of the information left Kerr visibly shaken in a human representation of many sentiments that flooded the internet. 

“When are we going to do something?” Kerr shouted as he pounded his fists on the table in front of him. 

“I’m tired— I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families… I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough!”

A history of support 

Kerr has been an outspoken proponent of gun control for a long time. His father, Malcolm Kerr, was slain in a terrorist attack in Beirut, Lebanon in 1984. 

Malcolm Kerr had been teaching at the American University of Beirut, specializing in the Middle East and Arab world. He was shot twice in the head by two gunmen using suppressed weapons in the hallway outside of his office. He was 52.

The gunmen’s identities and motives are still unknown to this day.

Kerr has not backed down from voicing his opinion on controversial topics either; he has been especially active in campaigning for different social justice issues and went so far as to openly oppose and condemn then-president Donald Trump on different occasions.

The pioneer of Golden State’s dynasty has cited H.R.8, a measure that would increase the strength of background checks on private parties purchasing firearms, on several occasions, including in his recent dialogue. H.R.8 passed through the House of Representatives but never went before a vote in the Senate.

“There’s 50 Senators right now who refuse to vote on H.R.8,” said Kerr. “There’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold onto power. So I ask you, [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you Senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings and supermarket shootings, I ask you: are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of our children, and our elderly, and our churchgoers? Because that’s what it looks like.”

Kerr later referred to the Senators as “holding [American citizens] hostage” because “they want to hold onto their own power.” 

Other voices chime in

Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd echoed Kerr’s sentiments with a brief pregame presser of his own.

“We will truly play with heavy hearts tonight for the community, for the school of Robb Elementary School,” Kidd said. “As coaches, as fathers, we have kids, people in this room have kids, elementary school; you can just think about what could take place with any of your family or friends at a school.”

The game that was played with a heavy heart, in Kidd’s words, was a big one— the Mavericks scored their first win in the series after they had lost a couple of heartbreakers and were on the brink of being eliminated in front of their home fans. Many expected more from a team that had just eliminated the Phoenix Suns, who had the league’s best regular-season record, in seven games.

Warriors guard and former two-time MVP, Stephen Curry, shared that he and his teammates had trouble focusing on the task at hand, given what had happened just over 350 miles away.

“I got kids,” Curry said. “Send them to school every day. Drop them off. And you feel for the parents that are going through what they are going through.”

Damion Lee, Curry’s teammate and brother-in-law, highlighted the unfortunate irony of the situation.

“It’s easier to get a gun than baby formula right now,” said Lee. “That’s unbelievable in this country that we live in.”

Robb Elementary enrolls around 600 students in grades two-four and serves a mostly Hispanic community of about 16,000. It is roughly 85 miles West of San Antonio and 132 miles North of the Nuevo Laredo border crossing.

The San Antonio Spurs shared their condolences via Twitter:

“Uvalde, there are no words,” the organization tweeted. “Our hearts are with you and all of our neighbors impacted by today’s horrific shooting.”

The Houston Astros and Cleveland Guardians also held a moment of silence in memory of the victims before their game .

Dallas Wings’ guard Arike Ogunbowale doubled down on Kerr’s comments after her team defeated the Connecticut Sun 85-77 in Connecticut later in the evening.

“We can’t just keep saying ‘Rest in peace’ to people every week and every day, every other day,” said Ogunbowale. “Yes, we’re playing sports … but that’s heavy on our hearts because these are kids. These could be our future kids. We’re going to be in Texas for a while; that could have been our kids in the future.”

Tuesday’s massacre was the 27th school shooting in 2022 and the deadliest at a school since 28 lives were lost at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut 10 years ago. It also resulted in the third-most casualties in a school in American history, a list infamously topped by the 33 deaths in a 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech.

Tuesday’s events were also just 10 days after a gunman live-streamed himself murdering 10 Black shoppers and employees at a Buffalo, New York supermarket in what was officially labeled an attack born from racism.

Two days after Buffalo, one person was killed and five others were shot in an event at a Taiwanese church in Laguna Woods, California. The Orange County Sheriff described the shooting as a “politically motivated hate incident.”

Wrapping up his press conference, Steve Kerr presented a moment of reflection to the media members.

“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?” Kerr questioned the media. “We can’t get numb to this.”

“It’s pathetic! I’ve had enough.”

 


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