Several country music stars who were set to perform at the National Rifle Association’s annual confab, which will be held in Houston this year, are pulling out of the venue following the horrific murders of 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, earlier this week.
On Thursday, legendary singer Lee Greenwood, whose song “God Bless The USA” has become someone of an anthem for conservatives and Donald Trump supporters, announced he was canceling his scheduled appearance.
Greenwood joined “American Pie” singer Don McLean, and country superstar Larry Gatlin in skipping the event, which has taken on heightened controversy as the shooting has reignited the debate over gun control.
“As a father, I join the rest of America in being absolutely heartbroken by the horrific event that transpired this week in Texas. I was scheduled to perform at NRA’s private event on Saturday with my band,” Greenwood said in a statement, according to the Daily Wire. “After careful consideration, we have decided to cancel the appearance out of respect for those mourning the loss of those innocent children and teachers in Uvalde.”
Lee Greenwood Pulls Out of NRA Concert in Houston https://t.co/4wfGeBo4dR
— Variety (@Variety) May 27, 2022
The Daily Wire adds:
The horrific attack occurred just days before the NRA’s annual event, which the association’s website promotes to “showcase over 14 acres of the latest guns and gear.” Former President Donald Trump, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott are expected to attend.
Greenwood, McLean, and Gatlin were among the artists set to perform at the Memorial Day weekend convention. Danielle Peck was also scheduled to perform, but it was unclear if she intended to go through with her show.
The 76-year-old McLean canceled his appearance earlier Thursday, saying the tragedy had cast a pall over the annual event.
“In light of the recent events in Texas, I have decided it would be disrespectful and hurtful for me to perform for the NRA at their convention in Houston this week,” McLean said in a statement. “I’m sure all the folks planning to attend this event are shocked and sickened by these events as well. After all, we are all Americans.”
In addition, the NRA put out its own statement, which noted that the event will still be held.
“Our deepest sympathies are with the families and victims involved in this horrific and evil crime,” the NRA statement read. “On behalf of our members, we salute the courage of school officials, first responders and others who offered their support and services.
“Although an investigation is underway and facts are still emerging, we recognize this was the act of a lone, deranged criminal. As we gather in Houston, we will reflect on these events, pray for the victims, recognize our patriotic members, and pledge to redouble our commitment to making our schools secure.”
There are still details emerging from the tragic incident, including a report Friday that the shooter was arrested four years ago for plotting with another teen to shoot up a school.
Per the UK’s Daily Mail:
Texas Republican Tony Gonzalez claimed on Friday that Salvador Ramos, the gunman in the Uvalde shooting, was arrested four years ago as a minor after telling people he planned to shoot up a school once he turned 18.
“This wasn’t hearsay. I got this late last night: the shooter was arrested years ago, four years ago, for having this plan for basically saying, for saying, you know, when I’m a senior in 2022, I am going to shoot up a school,” he told Fox News.
Fox News’ Bill Melugin, however, reported that Uvalde police have denied it was the same shooter.