As we all know as we keep up with the news, tragedy struck Robb Elementary, Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday. No one saw it coming, no one was expecting this incident to happen. Families sent their children to school knowing that at the end of the day they were going to be in their arms again. But that was not the case for many in this incident. 19 students and two teachers were killed in the shooting at Robb Elementary School. 19 children were murdered and two teachers gave their lives to protect the children.
These children were just days away from their summer vacation. They were probably excited for the summer, thinking of all the things they could do before the school year started again. No one was thinking that something so tragic would happen mere days before students were home full-time. Today would have been the last day of school for Robb Elementary and students would have been celebrating the beginning of summer break. Instead, students, teachers, and families are mourning the loss of the children and the teachers in this event. Instead of seeing their students get handed awards for their accomplishments throughout the year, they are planning funerals.
This is even more devastating for the Latino community as these children were our people. These children whose lives have been taken too early are our children. This is not to say that the other shootings aren’t important or hold no value or we do not think about the children in that incident. No, we value those children’s lives and adults who were face to face with gun violence. However, in the case of Uvalde, Texas, many of the children who died were of Latino descent. Nuestros pequeñito has witnessed death and sadness. Immigrant parents come to the United States to see their children graduate from school and accomplish the impossible not to be killed in school. They come to America with the idea of this country being the land of happiness, riches, and a place to accomplish things that are impossible in their home country. Yet they are faced with the gruesome truth of America being a nation in which you send your children to school afraid that it might be the last time you see them.
Almost 27 school shootings have occurred in the first five months of 2022. According to Gun Violence Archive, there has been a total of 213 mass shootings in 2022. More than 640 children under the age of 17 have been killed in these incidents. Children are dying left and right because of gun violence and guns falling into the wrong hands. According to CNN, the shooting in Uvalde, Texas has been added to the list of the deadliest US school shootings since 2008. This is the second school shooting that had the highest death toll of 21 following Sandy Hook Newton, Connecticut 26 killed.
In the wake of the events which occurred in Uvalde, Texas, many debates on gun control have sparked. In the Senate, a bill called the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2022 designed to combat domestic terrorism was blocked by Republicans. This bill was designed to set up offices that focused on domestic terrorism at the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the FBI. The offices would track any domestic terrorist activity to prevent things such as school shootings from happening again. This bill would require biannual reporting on threats. In order for this bill to be based, the Senate would need 10 votes from the Republican side which was not provided this morning. Instead, it was blocked. Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky criticized the bill and said, “Today we will have a bill before us ostensibly titled and ostensibly about the subject of domestic terrorism. But this bill would be more accurately called the Democrat plan to brand and insult our police and soldiers as White supremacists and neo-Nazis — how insulting.”
The issue should not shift to pointing fingers and saying this is Democrat’s Plan to insult so and so. That is not the current issue right now; the current issue is making sure this tragedy does not happen again. Pushing reforms and policies to stop school shootings and prevent students from dying in a place they should feel safe and comforted. The issue should not be on pushing an agenda but rather on making sure no more students and teachers die. Make sure the events that happened on Tuesday do not repeat themselves.
As stated above, 27 school shootings happened in the first five months of this year. How many more until we see action? How many students have to be killed for the government to do something and take accountability? How many more parents have to deal with the scars and pain it comes with losing a child to see policies being pushed?
The action following this event should not be pointing figures but rather the action should be putting a stop to school shootings, to gun violence. To make schools feel safe again. No child should go to school feeling afraid of what might happen. Parents should not have to buy bulletproof book bags. Change must happen immediately.
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