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Former NASCAR Cup Series champion and Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano was 22, plenty old enough to understand the horror of the December 2012 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in his home state of Connecticut. Logano and his family are from Middletown, about 45 minutes from Newtown, where 20 school-age students and six adults at the school were killed two weeks before Christmas. (The shooter, as it turns out, had killed his mother before going to the school; when cornered by law enforcement, he killed himself).
On Saturday, four days after a teenager with a military-style DDM4V7n rifle allegedly murdered 19 fourth graders and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, Logano was asked about his initial thoughts when he heard about the latest act of domestic terrorism in a school building.
Now 32 and a 28-time Cup Series winner eventually headed for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, he took a few seconds to ponder the question before answering in a calm, thoughtful manner.
“I guess my perspective has changed over the years because now I have kids,” he said. (He and wife Brittany have a four-year-old son, Hudson; a two-year-old son, Jameson; and an infant daughter, Emilia). “When the Sandy Hook shooting happened (late in 2012) I was married, but we definitely didn’t have kids yet. That was obviously very close to home for me, so we definitely took that to heart.
“But I think now being a parent and thinking about your child in that position in a school knowing that that’s going on, and then those poor families that happened to and thinking about how do you even live after that? I have no idea. I don’t know how you can possibly do it. I feel so bad for everyone involved in that.”
Shortly after the shooting, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr addressed the Texas massacre during an NBA-mandated press conference. Kerr knows first-hand the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence: his father, Dr. Malcolm Kerr, was shot dead in January of 1984 in a classroom building while president of the American University in Beirut, Lebanon.
Steve’s team was just hours from a Western Conference finals playoff game with Dallas, but instead of talking basketball, he made an emotional statement about the senselessness of yet another school shooting. “When are we gonna do something?” he yelled, slamming his hand on the table. “I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough,” he said before stalking from the room.
Logano’s words were no less compelling, but he spoke more softly in getting his points across. While Kerr’s emotional rant has made the rounds of various sports- and news-related shows, Logano’s thoughtful, soft-spoken message likely won’t find nearly as large an audience … which is a pity.
“I feel sad, and I feel furious at the same time,” he said. “I’m so mad that that even happens in our country (because) it shouldn’t. We have to do something about it. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know what goes through someone’s mind to even think about doing something like that.
“But also (he paused to collect himself) … how can we let that happen? We’ve got to do something. There’s a lot of young minds (lost to gun violence). That’s our future in those schools. I don’t have the words to explain it any differently.”