As the deeply dismaying news broke of the shooting at Nashville's Covenant School, a range of country artists - many of whom live in Music City - shared their heartfelt reactions.
On Monday morning, a 28-year-old shooter opened fire inside the school, killing three children and three adults. Any incident of this kind is always harrowing, but the fact that it happened on the doorstep of so many artists has instigated a particularly stark response from across the country music community.
Carly Pearce penned an emotional tweet, reading, “Pray for Nashville. A shooting at a school has occurred. Three children dead. Praying for these babies & their families. Absolutely devastating”.
Cole Swindell echoed this sentiment in his acceptance speech at the iHeartRadio Music Awards, during which he won the Best Country Song of the Year award for ‘She Had Me At Heads Carolina’.
Swindell expressed his sympathies for all the families, teachers and Nashvillians involved, “Before I say anything, I just want to send my prayers and lots of love back to our community in Nashville, Tennessee. It's hurting beyond belief right now”.
Margo Price, another prominent figure in the genre, wrote an impassioned message aimed at Tennessee's Governor, whose recent policies have drawn criticism from a number of directions.
John Osborne, one half of chart-topping duo, Brothers Osborne, shared a similar message for the Governor in an emotional video he posted to his Instagram page.
In the clip, Osborne questioned Governor Bill Lee's decision to ban drag shows, instead of focussing on changing gun laws.
Kelsea Ballerini posted a tribute to those who had died at The Covenant School in her Instagram stories, writing, “i’m heartbroken i’m triggered i’m angry and i’m terrified for the loss we continue to have in this country due to guns. three fucking kids. what are we doing”.
Ballerini has opened up in the past about her own experience of surviving a school shooting in Knoxville, Tennessee, and how the trauma that has stayed with her since.
Country icon Sheryl Crow also expressed her horror at the news, “No words… The Covenant School. Our children deserve better. Praying for all affected. Tragic America”.
Mickey Guyton, Brett Young, Chris Janson and Jason Isbell were among others that shared their condolences, shock and frustrations at the news of yet another tragic school shooting in the US.
School shootings can have an enormous impact on people, including survivors, first responders, eyewitnesses and even those who watch related media reports on television. The Disaster Distress Helpline, at 1-800-985-5990, can provide immediate counseling to anyone who has been affected by the school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. The Helpline immediately connects callers to trained and caring professionals from the nearest crisis counseling center in the nationwide network of centers.
The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has set up a special Caring for Covenant Fund, which aims to provide support to those affected by the shooting. You can donate to the fund below: