Our nation is devastated for the families of Uvalde, Texas, after an 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary School and shattered the lives of countless families. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said the gunman “shot and killed, horrifically, incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher.” The toll is now at least 18 students. Let’s talk about that. 

The death of innocent children and their teacher is indeed horrific and incomprehensible, but let’s be honest, the horrors have been compounding all around us.

Barely a week after a white supremacist targeted African Americans and killed 10 people at a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y., America now confronts another deadly mass killing. That is horrific and incomprehensible.

Our political system is so paralyzed, and our politicians are so timid, that we are unable and unwilling to take the most reasonable of measures to help prevent these mass shootings. That is horrific and incomprehensible. 

Parents cannot send their children to school, or a movie theater, or a concert hall, or even to a house of worship, without worrying whether they will come home alive. That is horrific and incomprehensible. 

An 18 year-old man is barely old enough to vote, and not yet old enough to buy a beer, but in too many cases can easily acquire a weapon capable of killing a dozen people. That is horrific and incomprehensible. 

Sandy Hook. Pulse Nightclub. Tree of Life. Mother Emanuel. Sutherland Springs. Parkland. Las Vegas. Virginia Tech. None of these were enough to shake us from our apathy and complacency. Sadly, Uvalde may not be enough, either. That is horrific and incomprehensible.

If we cannot summon the moral courage to look honestly at the sickness in our society, to face the truth and to change our ways, that will be horrific and incomprehensible. If the death of innocent children does not shake us from our slumber, there is only one way to describe the future we are building for ourselves: horrific and incomprehensible. 

There is too much despair, too many guns, too few mental health resources. For too many, when they have nowhere else to turn, they turn to violence. 

We need to repent from our apathy and our paralysis. We have talked and talked and talked. But now is the time to act.

We have become numb to the violence all around us. We are failing our children and each other. May God have mercy on the families of Uvalde – and may God have mercy on us all. 


The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith
Dean, Washington National Cathedral

The Rev. Canon Leonard L. Hamlin Sr.
Canon Missioner, Washington National Cathedral