The words came up: “Shooting at school”.
Again? I hope it’s not bad. Please don’t let this be bad. As if a school shooting could be anything but bad. As if there should be varying degrees of such a thing.
Then the words: “elementary school”.
Then, “two dead, maybe a dozen wounded”.
My god, they are children.
Then, in the evening: “19 children and two adults from a small elementary school in Texas were killed by a gunman on Tuesday”.
News of the shooting went from bad to worse
If you were near a computer, cell phone, or TV, that’s how the latest gun massacre happened in the United States, quickly going from bad (common) to worse (common) to even worse (also common) and finally to horrible (still tragically common).
Ten days after a racist mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people, an 18-year-old would have opened fire inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. At least 19 children and two adults are dead.
Nineteen primary school children, gone in a few moments. If you’re not grieving, you have no heart. And if you’re not angry, you don’t have a shred of common sense.
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As used to it as we’ve grown – to the point where we hear “school shooting” and hope this time it won’t be so bad – we don’t have to accept it. We don’t have to raise our arms and surrender to the crowd that sends thoughts and prayers after every violent eruption, then berates those of us who talk about guns, lamenting that it is “too soon”.
My son never came back from Sandy Hook. My heart bleeds for Texas as I relive Dylan’s murder.
There is no more “too soon”. We can barely raise our voices after a mass shooting before another hits our news feeds. “Too soon” is supposed to soothe, and I’m done being soothed. We should all be done.
“It only happens in this country”
Hours after the shooting, Democratic US Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said from the floor of the Senate“It’s not inevitable. These children were not unlucky. It only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little children go to school thinking they might be shot that day.
Read Senator Chris Murphy’s speech: ‘As the killings increase, as our children run for their lives, we do nothing. What do we do?’
He is right. You can shout all you want about your rights and freedoms, but Murphy’s words cannot be disputed: It only happens here.
Two things are present in every mass shooting in America, whether in an elementary school, a church, a movie theater or a mall. The bullets pass through the bodies and firearms are used to fire those bullets.
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You can say what you want about motives, about ideologies, about a shooter’s politics, about social media posts, about online screeds, or about sanity. But if you remove bullets and guns from the equation, that shooter isn’t a shooter, and there aren’t as many deaths or injuries.
Weapons and Monsters
I don’t know what prompted the 18-year-old who Texas officials say killed all those little kids. I don’t care, to be honest. It’s a monster.
What matters to me – what we should all care about – is that the monster was able to get its hands on a weapon that could wipe out 21 lives in a short time.
Is this the price you are willing to pay for your hobby? Is this a fair trade-off for the freedom to carry a gun that the founding fathers could never have imagined?
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Like so many Americans who testify to what has become a routine massacre, I find our gun laws incomprehensible.
Last year in Texas, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that allows Texans will carry handguns without license or training. It’s insane, in every way.
But an elementary school shooting in America? It is now predictable. That, in a completely perverse way, makes sense. When you rain guns across the country, what do you think will happen?
No one in power is blameless
Shortly after the shooting, Republican U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales of Texas, who represents the district where Robb Elementary School is located, tweeted: “Jesus said ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not forbid them not, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such. Let’s pray together.”
In March 2021, Gonzales tweeted: ‘I voted NO on two gun control measures in the House today. I am a proud supporter of the Second Amendment and will do whatever I can to oppose gun grabs by the ‘leftmost.”
Do whatever you want with it. And keep in mind that Democrats, who control the White House and both houses of Congress, have done very little to address national gun laws when they should be using every tool at their disposal. We have an epidemic of gun violence in this country. No one in power is blameless.
As we mourn the 19 children murdered by this gun-toting monster, we owe it to them to be angry – rightly, furiously angry – at a system that seems to value guns more than it ever valued them.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: School shooting in Uvalde, Texas is another American tragedy