Singer and American Idol judge Katy Perry went on a tearful rant about gun control after hearing a contestant tell his story about surviving a mass shooting at his Texas high school.
In 2018, a gunman was taken into custody and later confined to a mental hospital after being declared incompetent to stand trial for the murders of eight students and two teachers at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, Texas,
21-year-old blues rocker Trey Louis appeared on the show for a shot at becoming the country's next big pop star and told Perry and her fellow judges about his experience when asked what motivated him to audition for the singing competition.
As it turns out, he was one of the students who survived the Santa Fe High School shooting and his story reduced Perry to both tears and anger.
You can watch their interaction in the video below.
“In May 2018, a gunman walked into my school. I was in Art Room 1; he shot up Art Room 2, before he made his way to Art Room 1. I lost a lot of friends."
"Eight students were killed. Two teachers were killed. And it’s just really been negative, man. Santa Fe’s had a bad rap since 2018.”
There was silence for a short time in the audition room after Louis shared his story—but then Perry broke down.
She proceeded to cry and rail against the country for having "failed us" by not adopting comprehensive gun reform and addressing the growing spate of mass shootings nationwide.
At times, her rant proved so impassioned that American Idol's censors had to bleep out her swearing on air.
“Our country has f***ing failed us! This is not OK! You should be singing here because you love music, not because you had to go through that [bleeped out]."
You didn’t have to lose eight friends! I hope that you remind people that we have to change, because you know what? I’m scared too.”
After Perry's fellow judge, the pop legend Lionel Richie, observed that Americans have "tolerated" a climate of regular mass shootings for "so long," she turned back to Louis and said:
“And we’ve gotta change. And I hope you can just lead."
To that, Louis responded:
“For myself, for my school, for you — you got it. Yes, ma’am."
After Perry shared the clip of Louis sharing his story to her vast social media following, many echoed her frustrations.
Conversations about gun control and reform continue following a string of high-profile and deadly mass shootings.
Earlier this month, a gunman killed three students on the campus of Michigan State University (MSU) before killing himself. The MSU shooting came after two shootings in California dominated headlines for a fortnight.
The MSU shooting disturbed many further once it became all too clear the ubiquity of mass shootings in the United States is such that there's a higher probability that someone who survived one mass shooting might be retraumatized when forced to contend with another.
Senior Jackie Matthews went viral on TikTok after the shooting for sharing she'd survived the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut and found herself reliving the horror and anxiety of the first mass shooting even more directly upon learning the MSU shooting take place directly across from her dorm.