Uvalde city worker says they've been bombarded with abuse from angry callers after the Texas school shooting: 'Our phones are ringing off the wall'
Uvaldegovernment employee said the city has been swarmed with calls after Tuesday's shooting.
- A city administrator told Insider many people have called with "hateful" and "threatening" remarks.
A Uvalde city worker said she and her colleagues have been bombarded with abuse from angry callers in the wake of Tuesday's deadly mass shooting at a
Susan Anderson, the city's director for planning and development, told Insider on Thursday that departments across the city's government have been fielding calls since an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two adults at Robb Elementary School.
"Our phones are ringing off the wall," she said, explaining that callers are blaming the city for Tuesday's tragedy and taking out their anger on its employees. "We have been getting all kinds of calls that are very foul language, calling us names, saying blood is on our hands, and that sort of thing."
She described some calls as being full of expletives, "hateful," and "threatening," and said that while some of the calls have come from elsewhere within Texas, many have come from other parts of the country.
She said in some circumstances, she's able to reason with a caller and it might end well. Other callers, however, won't even let her get a word in.
"It's really disturbing in that. They don't know us and they don't know who we are or what we're going through," Anderson said.
Anderson said Uvalde — a city of about 15,000 people in south Texas — is a "small town." When people call city workers, they could be talking to a relative of a victim and simply have no idea.
To underscore this, Anderson said one of her coworkers, who coaches a children's baseball team, has been called "vile names" and is fielding some of the angry calls. She said that same coworker being berated by callers lost three children who were associated with the team in the shooting.
Anderson said the government building she works in has been locked, and people are only allowed in one at a time. Notably, she said families of the shooting victims have had to walk through the building to coordinate their child's burial, and they have had to endure the "cacophony" of phones ringing.
"In addition to dealing with this horrific thing that happened to our community, we're dealing with people that are just hateful," Anderson said.
But Anderson said many people have also called to make donations, offer counseling services, and express general support.
Anderson said one woman from Boston even called just to return a favor from years earlier. After the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings, a stranger from New York called a random Boston line just to say they were keeping the city in their thoughts. That woman decided to do the same with Uvalde.
"There are a lot of good people in this country that are trying to help in whatever way they can," she said.
Anderson said after any mass shooting that happens in the US, the suffering "community needs to be treated with care and not attacked," adding that people need to let the community "come together and heal" and not "make it worse."
She said if callers are angry about issues like mental health or gun control legislation, they should call congresspeople instead of local officials who have no say over federal law if they want to make progress.
"We are gonna get through this, but if we can make it better for the next time there's some sort of horrific disaster, that people think twice before calling to harass that city, then, let's do it," Anderson said. "Nobody — nobody, deserves this."
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