Here we are again. Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX marked the 213th instance of gun violence in the United States this year. This occurred days after the brutal murder of ten innocent civilians at Tops market in Buffalo, NY. It feels as if we’ve been witnessing non-stop tragedy since gun violence hit its peak in 2020 and there have been zero significant efforts for prevention made. We talk, write, report and retweet. Nothing changes.
We must wait — as we have been for years — until the people with power are finished with their negotiations. Republican and Democrat officials — the same people who experienced a life-threatening lockdown in the Capitol a little over a year ago — discuss which bandaids to place over the bullet holes this time.
The solutions they offer are calculated in that they never admit one iota of past failure. Even though it is the responsibility of these officials to act in our best interests, they always place the onus on potential victims to protect themselves from the future dangers they may suffer in our “great” nation.
Their ideas convey a disturbing level of denial as they seem to be rattling off anything but the solution we’ve seen succeed for countless other nations that faced similar tragedies.
Deflection is the name of their game. Republican officials have stated they want to:
- Arm and train teachers to defend their own classrooms.
- Improve mental health care (how nice of them to finally come around).
- Eliminate all doors except for one main entrance with an armed guard for every single school in the country.
Yes — that last one was actually proposed by Senator Ted Cruz.
To require teachers to be on the front line — to add ‘risk life’ to their job descriptions while they are already severely underpaid and providing their own classroom supplies — is the definition of neglect. No wonder public school teachers are abandoning their positions in droves.
There is also no evidence to support the claim that the Buffalo and Uvalde murders were caused by mental illness. There is only evidence of hatred, bigotry, and radicalization. Neither of the two shooters were ever diagnosed with a mental health disorder.
“While it is understandable that most people cannot fathom slaughtering small children and want to attribute it to mental health, it is very rare for a mass shooter to have a diagnosed mental health condition.”–Lori Post, Ph.D.
As for the brilliant door removal idea? I’m going to let that one speak for itself.
When the police are called to an emergency but wait over forty minutes to act because they fear the 18-year-old with an AR-15, can a logical argument against gun control even exist?
In forty-seven minutes, parents of students outside of Robb Middle School screamed and begged the police to let them go in and protect their babies themselves since they weren’t doing their jobs. These parents were handcuffed, tackled, pepper-sprayed, and tasered.
Why do we call the police?
The gunman, who was eventually killed by Border Patrol Agents, was previously arrested in 2018 when it was discovered that he and his 13-year-old friend were planning a Columbine-inspired shooting in Uvalde.
Their original plans were to commit this crime in their senior year on the anniversary of the Columbine shooting. That would be 2022. These boys were arrested for conspiring to commit a future crime with a very specific date outlined.
This was not a random, non-preventable act of violence. There is always a trail.
Yet, it makes sense that the police were afraid. 18-year-olds should not have access to weapons that are designed to obliterate targets in mass. Nobody should.
Many of the victims’ bodies were left completely unidentifiable due to disfigurement from the innumerable bullet wounds. Texas officials had to retrieve DNA swabs from grieving family members in order to accurately connect the bodies to their loved ones.
The same pundits who will boast their pro-life label when it is convenient will ignore the hundreds of deaths as a direct result of their standing in the way of sensible gun laws.
Gun violence has been on the rise since 2014. Eight years, and zero progress to show for it. Where is the accountability for those who have the power to save lives but actively choose not to?
How much can they truly value life if they remain unaffected and unmoved by mass casualties?
Obviously, I know there is value in reporting, talking, and writing about societal injustices. But for this one, it feels particularly ineffectual. Because it’s been the same recurring cycle over and over again. A shooting occurs, we are outraged, we talk about it, and then next month it’s like it never happened. Until the next one. Repeat.
It’s not our fault that our elected officials are failing us. But we must not give in to feeling powerless. The people with the most power want us to feel like there’s nothing we can do, which is why I suspect our voices grow quieter as we lose hope. We start to believe them and give up early because we don’t know what to do in order to get results.
I think we just need to keep doing.
If you are unsure of how you can contribute, I’ve listed a few fundamental actions that are a good place to start.
- Tweet, email or call elected U.S. Senators and Representatives via the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202–224–3121 and let them know why you support a federal ban on assault weapons. Tell them how you feel about their consistent inaction.
- If you live in a state with lenient gun laws, call, email, or write a letter to your senator about the importance of the Background Check Expansion Act which, if passed, would expand federal background checks to all gun sales.
- Donate to the following fundraisers to support the victims of the shooting at Tops in Buffalo, NY: Victim Margus D Morrison’s Family and Children, Funds for the family of Deacon Hayward Patterson, Funds for Andre Mackniel’s family, Funds for Aaron Salter Jr’s family, the survivors of the shooting, The Buffalo Survivors fund.
- Donate on GoFundMe to individual fundraisers for victims of the Uvalde shooting, and donate to this fundraiser organized by VictimsFirst to support the collective victim base.
- You can donate or volunteer your time to the following organizations: Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Sandy Hook Promise, the Brady Campaign, Newtown Action Alliance, Violence Policy Center, and States United to Prevent Gun Violence.
Keep calling. Keep emailing. Even if you’re just saying the same things over and over again. Keep doing.
I don’t know for sure if we can change the cycle, but I know that if we want to, we have to work together. There is strength in numbers. These politicians are motivated into action only by the threat of losing profits or power. Our deaths will never move them.
They will allow gun violence to continue until we inconvenience them. Let’s talk about how we can possibly accomplish this together. We owe it to ourselves and our community members to try. And to keep trying. Do not let this issue fade into the background again. The people with power are counting on that.
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