As the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas was unfolding, as the numbers were growing and no one knew for certain just how many children, teachers, and school personnel were injured or dead, community leaders responded in very different ways.
Some sent thoughts and prayers, others pleaded for change, and several used the event for purely political purposes. Greg Abbott, Governor of Texas and arguably the political figure most responsible for the tragedy — well, he went to a fundraiser.
Congresswoman Susan Wild (D) from Pennsylvania’s 7th district walked into a room full of constituents for a previously scheduled town hall.
Republican Lisa Scheller, Wild’s opponent in the 7th district, is a member of the “Young Guns” program, a poorly named group of GOP newcomers selected by the NRCC for special attention in this campaign cycle.
As one might expect, Scheller made no public statements on the day of the attack, but tweeted the day after using the kind of generic “thoughts and prayers” language that has become the standard GOP response to preventable mass death.
On her campaign website, Scheller declares that she is a strong defender of the 2nd Amendment, again using the standard language that one can find on any Republican campaign page. Concern for the epidemic of gun violence, however, is nowhere to be found.
At the town hall event Tuesday night, Congresswoman Wild addressed many questions and concerns, including the NRA-driven accusations that Democrats want to take guns away from lawful gun owners.
“I don’t have any interest in [taking your guns away],” she said. “I don’t know of any of my colleagues who do, but that seems to be the pervasive message that is being communicated.”
Other constituents at the event told emotional stories about the gun violence they experienced in their past, and expressed fears about what could happen in their children’s schools.
Congresswoman Wild listened and took questions on a variety of topics for just over an hour, streaming the event live and ending by thanking attendees for participating in the democratic process as the crowd applauded the event to a close.
It would be another 17 hours before her opponent released a 33-word statement on Twitter.