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Uvalde

USA is too weak to end murderous gun culture

Uvalde is the latest site of mass murder in America

The massacre of innocents in Uvalde, Texas, continued a disturbing, almost uniquely American stretch of two decades of mass gun violence. 

A common occurrence after these mass slaughters is the discussion of the events and the impact on the surrounding community over social media. A word frequently used in the discussion is “strong.” The word is added to the end of the city name where the tragedy transpired to convey unity. There’s been a #BostonStrong and #ElPasoStrong. Lamentably, there’s now a #UvaldeStrong.  

While communities like Uvalde might be strong for their resiliency in overcoming tragedies eventually, we collectively are #USAWeak. That was evident Tuesday when 19 students and two teachers were murdered by an 18-year-old gunman at Robb Elementary in Uvalde.

In #USAWeak we commit resources to protecting a democracy for Ukraine and their children. But we can’t even do that for our own. In fact, we clearly need to save ours from American democracy.

Uvalde is latest site of gun violence

The frequency of these violent acts as well as our ineffectiveness in dealing with gun violence is what makes us #USAWeak. 

This is a weak place where parents send their children to school with a fear that they might be slaughtered. It’s #USAWeak when violence happens repeatedly at schools, churches and grocery stores. It’s weak when large gathering places are not safe, and nothing is done. 

Peak #USAWeak is to offer “thoughts and prayers.” The idea that closing one’s eyes and thinking really, really hard is going to be what we need to prevent another tragedy fails miserably as a strategy. It serves no purpose other than to give the appearance of being good because one feels bad. 

Thoughts and prayers are wholly devoid of action and no match for man’s barbarism. At this point, “thoughts and prayers” is a euphemism for “good luck.” And luck is what it takes to survive here. 

In #USAWeak we have created the conditions for the possibilities of the commissions of these slaughters. Lax gun laws, glorification of violence, and pro-gun boosterism reshaped as “culture” are all significant contributing factors. 

These massacres are often referred to as acts of “senseless violence.” It actually makes sense that people intent on harming others would take the opportunity to do so, considering they have easy access to weapons that can extinguish lives within seconds. 

Senseless inaction

The only thing that is senseless is our inaction, especially considering we have seen decades of these types of slaughters. 

Some of my first memories of living in #USAWeak are from July 18, 1984, when a gunman who proclaimed he was intent on “hunting humans” walked into a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, Calif., and killed 21 and wounded another 15. Most of the victims were Latino, a significant number of them, school-age children. 

I was 6 years old in a neighboring city. I was a frequent visitor to the location prior to the massacre. The number of mass gun tragedies has, of course, skyrocketed since then. 

Sadly, #USAWeak was on full display in Uvalde after the massacre. In a post-massacre press conference, elected officials and others in the community joined forces to shoot off their thoughts and opinions. There may have been prayers, after all, it is Texas. 

The usual cast of characters was there, and they discussed what needed to happen to prevent another shooting. Some of the enlightened suggestions were to close doors at schools. Meanwhile at a high school in Richardson, Texas, officials discovered a semi-automatic gun and replica AR-15 style pellet rifle in a student’s car.

‘#USAWeak’

Some in the public lament that this has been politicized. Of course, it’s political. Why wouldn’t it be? Guns after all are both a federal and state issue and one that politicians campaign on. Politicians take photos with their guns and boast of their ownership and marksmanship. This is what happens in #USAWeak. 

States and municipalities have their own unique approaches. It’s obvious that we have mislabeled gun ownership. They should be called weapons of mass destruction. These have and will continue to destroy lives and futures in #USAWeak.  

There’s an obligation to speak candidly of what occurred. 

But in #USAWeak, we distort the facts. Everyone is heroic until it’s demonstrated that they flinched. It’s just a few days removed from the events, and already the narrative is changing. It appears that the police department acted in a way that fell short of the public’s expectations and far from the original representations of their actions. 

People need to know the truth of what happened as inglorious, horrifying and graphic as it can be.

Perhaps it’s in that discussion and analysis that people can collectively learn so as to attempt to reduce the number of lives lost at the next #USAWeak massacre.

We are protected from having to see the crime scene. Should we be? I argue that it’s important to see what type of havoc these guns wreak on individuals and communities. 

Uvalde victims must be remembered

Show the heinousness of the slaughters in Uvalde. After all, it’s a byproduct of what happens when people use guns. 

Uvalde
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 26: Gun rights activists, including the group Youth Over Guns, participate in a rally in Foley Square to demand an end to gun violence on May 26, 2022 in New York City. Across the nation, individuals and gun control advocates are protesting and demanding that politicians take action after an 18-year-old gunman killed 21 people at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

In California high school drivers education, we watched a video about fatal accidents to educate drivers about being cautious. Similarly the dissemination of gun violence carnage would make real to many people what guns do. It would no longer be an abstraction. 

There would be a deeper analysis of whether they really want to live in a world where the cost of having these guns is the butchering of little kids and other innocents. It appears though that right now people are prepared to make that exchange.  

It’s no surprise though. After all, #USAWeak children were ripped from their mothers. There’s a long history of barbarism here. 

I’m not particularly hopeful. History is a guide. We don’t value children here. 

Thus the best recommendation and course of action we give to people in #USAWeak is “good luck.” I’ll add the preemptive “Thank you for your service.” After all, that’s what we say to valorous combatants, which is what our children unknowingly have become. 

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