Virginia Swimmer Claire Tuggle Speaks On Gun Violence In Emotional Instagram Post

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 81

November 20th, 2022 ACC, College, National, News

On Saturday, University of Virginia freshman swimmer and U.S. Junior National team member Claire Tuggle posted a statement on Instagram speaking out about gun violence in light of the recent shooting at her school that took the lives of three UVA football players—DeSean Perry, Lavel Davis, and Devin Chandler—and injured two other individuals.

In her post, Tuggle highlighted the grief that she and her peers experienced following the shooting, as well as the prevalence of mass shootings in the United States. Her full statement is below:

These past few days have been full of tears, consoling, hugs, remembrance, support and love. Never did I think that the school I love so much would be ridden with something so terrible. The community of UVA and especially the athletic community of UVA lost three lives to the bullets of a gun. This is a terror that I wish upon no one. Watching some of your closest friends break beneath the weight of loosing the people they call their best friends and teammates has been something that broke my heart in a way I did not know was possible. Holding someone in your arms that just lost someone so dear to them because of a senseless act of violence is something that no one should have to experience. My heart does not only hurt for the friends of theirs I know, but the friends and family members I do not know as well, this is just simply unfair and wrong. Along with the grief that has come from this event comes the realization of how messed up it is that this keeps happening again and again in this country with no change. The realization that this was one of 8 mass shootings in the United States that took place in those 48 hours. The realization that the governor of Virginia is more worried about critical race theory and the NRA, than putting policies in place that would have help those three innocent boys. The realization that when I wake up tomorrow I will see another mass shooting on the news. The grief of this incident is close to all consuming, but that little part of me that isn’t full of grief and sadness is full of anger. This should have never happened to these boys, my friends should have never lost the people they call their brothers and I should have never had to hold people I love while they were sobbing in my arms. This will never sit right with me and it shouldn’t with you either. Rest in peace Lavel, D’Sean and Devin.

Tuggle also references Virginia Governer Glenn Youngkin, saying that he “is more worried about critical race theory and the NRA” rather than implementing policies that would prevent the deaths of Perry, Davis, and Chandler.

Youngkin, who was elected governor in 2021 and took office in early 2022, has generally been quiet on tighter gun control legislation and instead has reacted to school shootings around the country with calls for more security in schools and better safety plans. During his campaign, he said he would not sign any law that limited Second Amendment rights and would consider rolling back existing gun laws. In spite of this, the NRA did not endorse Youngkin in his 2021 campaign, even though they endorsed several other statewide candidates for office in Virginia.

“We had a horrific tragedy overnight at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, and there were lives lost,” Youngkin said in an emailed statement after the shooting at Virginia. “And families changed forever. And I just ask everybody this morning to lift up those families, the entire community in prayer… And it is an extremely, extremely sad, scary horrific moment.”

Earlier this year, The Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund ranked Virginia 14th for the strength of its gun laws, most of which were enacted under former Governor Ralph Northam.

The shooting at Virginia occurred around 10:30 PM on the night of November 13, 2022, when suspect and former UVA football player Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. allegedly opened fire in a campus parking up on a bus returning from a field trip in Washington DC. Perry, Davis, and Chandler were shot and killed, and UVA football player Mike Hollins and another female student, Marlee Morgan, were both injured. Hollins, who had originally gotten off the bus when Jones opened fire, was shot in the back after returning into the bus to help other students.

Jones was arrested and taken into custody at 11:24 AM in Henrico County, Virginia—approximately 80 miles from the Virginia campus. His arrest ended an almost twelve-hour shelter-in-place order.

Since the shooting occurred, UVA, particularly its athletics community, has made tremendous efforts to honor the memories of Perry, Davis, and Chandler. Several of the school’s sports teams have worn apparel with the numbers 1, 15, and 41 (the numbers of the three football players who died) on them. In addition, many of Virginia’s rival schools such as Virginia Tech have shown gestures of support towards the Cavaliers.

This weekend, at the 2022 Tennessee Invite, the UVA swimming and diving team wore t-shirts honoring the three players. Notably, Tuggle was not at this invite, being out of the meet for health-related reasons. In addition, at the Ohio State invite, the Virginia Tech swimming and diving team posted a photo with a “Hokies For Hoos” flag in support of UVA.

On Saturday night, there was a memorial service for the three Virginia football players. The team’s football game against #23 Coastal Carolina, their last home game of the season, was canceled.

One Virginia student, who is not affiliated with the swimming program, told SwimSwam that campus was “depressing” and a “ghost town,” and described a sort of delayed collective reaction to the shooting that didn’t come until days after the shooting.

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GoodMorning:)
12 days ago

Just interested on if SwimSwam would have reported on their site if a relatively well-known swimmer would have posted on their social media accounts about protecting the Second Amendment? If not, then it appears that SwimSwam cares only about woke athletes voices and does not represent all athletes of the sport.

Swam
Reply to  GoodMorning:)
12 days ago

Is wanting to make sure student athletes aren’t murdered in school woke?

lefthandup
Reply to  GoodMorning:)
12 days ago

Claire had a direct connection to the shooting. I’m sure if a UVa swimmer said “in spite of the shooting, it’s still important to continue to overstate the rights afforded by the 2A of the US Constitution,” they’d report it. Or maybe if there was a swimmer at the Colorado Springs night club, who wanted to emphasize that they felt they were a member of a “well regulated militia,” and that they should be allowed to keep their semi-automatic weapon because of that. Or someone who had a friend or family there.

Swimmers have made lots of statements about gun rights on social media for years. But this is different because Claire is directly connected to a newsworthy event. The… Read more »

Claire Right
Reply to  GoodMorning:)
12 days ago

The 2nd amendment is why children are slaughtered every day. It needs to be ended not protected

Last edited 12 days ago by Claire Right
bobthebuilderrocks
Reply to  Claire Right
12 days ago

That’s idiotic

SKOOOOOO
12 days ago

After reading this whole comment thread, I stand by my original statement:
“Stick to swimming”
Everyone loves the Coleman and Mel interviews and the amazing meet recaps.
It’s awesome young athletes like Tuggle want to share their messages on social media.
It just has zero place on a swimming website (as evidenced by how ridiculous this comment section is).

Eouai
Reply to  SKOOOOOO
12 days ago

Breaking News:
Anonymous Internet forum poster, when presented with views contrasting to their own, further dug in their heels.

-_-
13 days ago

not a mass shooting but heard

Randee
Reply to  -_-
12 days ago

Mass shooting;
noun
a single incident involving the shooting with one or more firearms of a number of people, but more than two, and typically a large number, especially when the victims are random.

Yikes
13 days ago

White women 🤝 Virtue signaling on social media anytime a tragic event happens

NoFastTwitch
Reply to  Yikes
13 days ago

So, Yikes, you’re saying white women should just keep quiet when tragic events occur? Any other demographic groups that you would like to single out here? Or do you just object to white women speaking up?

Yikes
Reply to  NoFastTwitch
13 days ago

Yes that is exactly what I am saying, thank you for putting the words in my mouth! 🤡

Jimmyswim
Reply to  NoFastTwitch
13 days ago

Don’t worry, it’s not just white women. AOC has already been told countless times to go back to bartending when she tweeted about it.

Apparently a congressperson attempting to make policy change through legislation is also ‘virtue signalling’… if it comes from a person from the wrong party.

mahaney
Reply to  Yikes
13 days ago

nomen est omen

Swimmer
Reply to  Yikes
13 days ago

I actually heard she was very good friends with the men who were lost. So please be thoughtful about your comments when you talking about 19 year olds losing their friends.

Bossanova
Reply to  Yikes
13 days ago

It’s not “virtue signaling” when she genuinely cares. Just because you don’t care about victims doesn’t mean no one else does.

Boxall's Railing
Reply to  Yikes
12 days ago

Ah shoot…so if I have an emotional/traumatic event in my life and want to share with others, you might point at my skin tone/gender, and say I don’t get to talk? Got it.

Othello
13 days ago

I would be interested in the policies Ms. Tuggle speaks of that would prevent this. What are they? It is illegal to kill people, illegal for a felon to carry a gun, illegal to discharge a firearm in the public, illegal to threaten, illegal to [insert choice crime here]. The issue is a lack of resources for parents in need in the formative years of their children’s lives, and a lack of recourse for committing crimes.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  Othello
13 days ago

The issue is a lack of resources for parents in need in the formative years of their children’s lives, and a lack of recourse for committing crimes.

Yes, people are too poor in America. I agree with that first point! It would be nice if we were able to, oh, I don’t know redistribute our resources in a manner that would be beneficial for everyone.

I don’t know how anyone can think that America doesn’t put enough people in prison and jail, though. We’re #1 in that! By a lot!

Virtus
Reply to  Steve Nolan
12 days ago

Based

Jimmyswim
Reply to  Othello
13 days ago

Every single developed country that has introduced gun control has seen a decrease in gun violence and most of them saw sharp decreases in overall violent crime.

Making guns harder to access significantly reduces gun violence. The evidence is insurmountable.

maverick1993
Reply to  Jimmyswim
13 days ago

Gun control is a mild way to put it. it is almost impossible to get a gun.

Rich
Reply to  Othello
3 days ago

It appears that you believe that poverty and, I think, mental health of developmental youth, are core issues, quite beyond gun yes/no on an absolute basis. I agree. So perhaps those are social policies that should be addressed urgently, since both are major underfunded issues in this country, and in some states tragically so. As to recourse, bear in mind that the victims are dead, so mere retribution (and associated $50k a year incarceration cost to you as a taxpayer) doesn’t bring the victims back to life.

Rich
13 days ago

There is a very deep sense of sorrow and shock, and immense grief, over the killings of these wonderful and terrific kids. The entire community is shaken, so it’s understandable that student athlete would express herself on Insta and pour her thoughts and feelings out. I think that deserves respect, not a political debate.

Dave
Reply to  Rich
13 days ago

The last half of this post is very definitely a political post with so I’m not sure who you’re blaming for sparking a “political debate”.

Rich
Reply to  Dave
10 days ago

Other than than the use of the word political, how so? And where do you see one word of “blame”? I’k jst supporting a kid who’s been traumatized.

NoFastTwitch
13 days ago

Tremendous. Another reason to root for Claire Tuggle.

WestCoastRefugee
Reply to  NoFastTwitch
13 days ago

All except the Glenn Youngkin dig. He hasn’t even had a general assembly session convene yet..he’s been in office only 9 months. It’s not fair to gang up on him so early. That’s just partisanship rearing it’s ugly head.

Joel Lin
Reply to  WestCoastRefugee
13 days ago

No. The Virginia state legislature was in full session this year. Youngkin’s 🤡 posse in the Virginia Senate ran all the own the libs playbook bills through votes & didn’t get anything done because the other party still has a thin majority in the other state legislative chamber. That’s the only thing keeping Virginia away from being the Banana Republic that Florida & Texas have become under equally cringeworthy governors.

Joel Lin
Reply to  Joel Lin
12 days ago

https://abc13.com/city-of-austin-district-texas-legislature-legislative-session/12469021/

Blink once & you might miss it (again). Texas state legislature wants to revoke Austin as a capital city & replace it as a district reporting directly to the lieutenant governor’s office.

Don’t get me wrong, love the Longhorns, all respect to their student athletes & coaches but…the University of Not Woke at Austin doesn’t have a good ring to it.

Steve Nolan
Reply to  WestCoastRefugee
13 days ago

lol, will someone please think of poor Glenn Youngkin. (The real victim!!)

Thunderbolt
Reply to  WestCoastRefugee
13 days ago

Yeah, not fair for a 19-year-old freshman to “gang up” on him

John
13 days ago

Is this why she didn’t compete this weekend?

swimmer
Reply to  John
13 days ago

she got covid

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming through scoring countless dual meets, being a timer, and keeping track of her teammates' best times for three years as a team manager. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in …

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