U.S. reels from deadly Texas shooting, need for gun restriction more dire than ever

The+shooting+at+Robb+Elementary+School+took+the+lives+of+19+children%2C+two+teachers+and+left+six+in+critical+care.+

Design by Clare Kirwan

The shooting at Robb Elementary School took the lives of 19 children, two teachers and left six in critical care.

Clare Kirwan, Page Editor

“It takes a monster to kill children. But to watch monsters kill children again and again and do nothing isn’t just insanity—it’s inhumanity,” -American poet and activist Amanda Gorman

According to CNN, at least 19 students and two teachers were shot and killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022. This is the deadliest school shooting since the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012. The suspected shooter was an 18 year-old student from Uvalde High School, Salvador Ramos, who was killed by law enforcement.

According to NPR, as of May 24, the Uvalde school shooting is the 27th school shooting and the 212th mass shooting in the U.S. in 2022. A mass shooting is defined by NPR as an incident in which five or more people are shot and killed. May 24 marks the 144th day of 2022, meaning there have been 68 more mass shootings than days in the U.S. this year. The issue of gun violence in the U.S. is an epidemic, a public health crisis, so the only question that remains is ‘Why?’.

 

Why is this happening?

Normalized use of guns and gun ownership: According to Everytown Research, the U.S. has weaker gun laws, but higher rates of gun ownership making the rate of homicide 25 times more likely in the U.S. than other higher-income or well-developed countries. There are 110 deaths by guns every day in the U.S., 99% of which is made up by non-mass shootings. This has created the normalized use of guns and therefore an increase in gun violence.

Domestic Violence: According to Everytown Research, in 53% of mass shootings (from 2009-2020) the attacker shot an intimate partner (current or former) or family member. Incidents involving domestic violence are connected to three out of every four children/teen deaths in mass shootings. Domestic violence is an issue deeply rooted in mass shootings.

Assault Weapons: Everytown Research describes an assault weapon as a high powered firearm that allows a shooter to shoot rounds at a higher velocity especially when paired with a high-capacity magazine. Assault weapons are used in 25% of mass shootings and cause 76% of injuries. States with magazine restrictions experience less than half the number of mass shootings and studies show that if federal restriction of assault weapons/high-magazine were to happen, deaths by mass shootings would decrease by 70%. If restrictions were placed on assault weapons, the number of mass shootings and casualties would greatly decrease. 

 

What can we do to help?

  1. Push for the creation of legislation that will require background checks on all sales of firearms. (Everytown)
  2. Work to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers. (Everytown)
  3. Look for warning signs and report suspicious/threatening behaviors or acts.
  4. Push for the restriction of manufacturing as well as the purchase and possession of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. (Everytown)
  5. Push for the Extreme Risk Laws which would temporarily remove firearms from individuals that are at risk to harm others and/or themselves. (Everytown)
  6. Call and text your representatives to put legislation in place to restrict guns and end the gun lobby.
  7. Sign petitions, go to protests, donate to organizations, educate yourself

 

What are the warning signs?

Everytown reported that in 56% of mass shootings the attacker displayed warning signs, meaning 56% of mass shootings could have been prevented. Ramos displayed a number of these warning signs.

  1. Engaging in acts or threats of violence (Everytown)
  2. Withdrawing from loved ones, family and friends (Sandy Hook Promise)
  3. Bullying, especially towards a specific group (Sandy Hook Promise)
  4. Irritability (Sandy Hook Promise)
  5. Recruiting people or an audience for an attack (Sandy Hook Promise)
  6. Chronic feelings of loneliness/social isolation (Sandy Hook Promise)
  7. Bragging about accessibility to guns (Sandy Hook Promise)

The image of tiny humans screaming for their mothers and running for their lives circles through my brain. They were born only eight to ten years ago, with so much life still left to live. When will enough be enough? When will the people elected to serve and protect us actually protect our lives?

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National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Teen Line: 800-TLC-TEEN

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Hotline: 1-800-985-5990

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Relief for Family and Community Members: GoFundMe