The carnage at Robb Elementary was so horrible that children had to be identified with D.N.A., like soldiers on a battlefield.
This weekend, when Americans are supposed to be memorializing fallen servicemembers, the child casualties in Uvalde will be at the center of our broken hearts. As taps play for lost soldiers, many of us will hear the cries of the Texas parents and the wrenching words of the elementary school children who lived through the tragedy.
Twenty-eight school shootings, 60 children dead, and countless classmates’, teachers’, other lives forever affected just since 2018. The threat of gun violence in our classrooms is so real that students of all ages have been doing active shooter drills for years, including in Uvalde. Sadly, children need to steel themselves to go to school because, in the war over guns, kids are dying on the battlefield.
Children were hunted down and killed by teenage gun owners at Robb Elementary, Columbine, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and Sandy Hook because, in America, an 18-year-old can legally purchase a military-grade long gun (i.e., automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns).
Eighteen-year-olds actually are prohibited from buying a handgun, thanks to advocates who lobbied hard for that change. But that doesn’t worry the NRA or their fat cat gun corporations because they have long made their profits from long guns. They argue that long guns aren’t weapons of crime, they’re essential tools of a hunter.
In order to protect their extreme political agenda, the NRA has to to stoke resistance from hunters over any effort to raise the age to legally purchase long guns. For example, U.S. Rep. Tim Cassidy (R-LA) echoed twitter bait claiming that citizens need automatic weapons to respond to the rising menace of feral pigs in residential communities in Louisiana. Sure, but is it really 18-year-olds out there culling the porcine threat?
The same ilk suggests that the best remedy to protect children from being murdered in schools is to arm teachers or add armed guards to schools. At the Buffalo supermarket and at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, armed professionals at the scene could not stop the gunmen.
Until we get guns out of our communities, schools are sitting ducks and school administrators will clamor for any resources to keep students safe, like safer entry and exit systems. This profligate federal spending will be released to protect the NRA’s lock against gun reform while spurring public acceptance that schools are likely to be scenes of carnage.
Ninety percent of the American public supports reasonable background checks. Overwhelmingly Americans, including most gun owners, want to keep guns out of the hands of teenagers and those who are mentally unstable. And there seems to be 100% agreement that schools need counselors and mental health services.
Yet, the corporate complex of gun manufacturers and their lobbying infrastructure see nothing wrong with children having access to weapons. Just look above at the ad marketing the exact make of the gun that mowed down 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde. These guns and handguns are used to take the lives of children as they walk to and from school or just go out to play.
Gun violence happens because there are far too many guns and because we have failed our children, short-changed their schools, ignored their pleas for mental health supports, and disinvested in their communities, leaving them too little hope to value life.
We must win the battle against the NRA because if we don’t, our kids may have to start wearing dog tags.