Fear and Loathing in America
As of now there are 19 children and two adults dead from the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. One of those adults was a teacher that was trying to protect her students from gunfire. There are also 20 people in the nearby hospitals. The shooter was 18-year-old Salvador Ramos who shot his grandmother before he went to the school. Gun laws are clearly not doing much to protect kids in schools. Here is a list of school shootings in America from 2000: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States
The fear of this rampage epidemic has gotten into the heads of many families, including mine. Though we have thankfully not experienced a shooter on the campus of our daughter’s school in Washington, D.C., there was a shooter a few months ago in the area who was shooting from his apartment balcony. It makes my wife and I not want to send our child to school for fear of her own safety. As hard as this is for “normal” kids to grasp, kids with disabilities will have an even more of a difficult time understanding why this is happening.
We have been talking about ending gun violence in America for a long time now, and the reason why it hasn’t happened -- even though 90 % of Americans want universal background checks before people buy firearms -- is because many politicians are afraid of enacting laws that will diminish their power. It’s pathetic. It seems like the hashtag for school shootings is #enough. The one thing I have been hearing on the news, and even President Joe Biden has asked the question, why is this happening in America more than any other country? I think one of the answers is that when people run for office and get elected, they eventually forget that they work for the people of the United States to help keep the people in their country safe.
Part of the problem is that our government has failed us. Social Services has failed. Our Health Care Services in the area of dealing with mental health is failing us. According to Johns Hopkins University, it is estimated that 26% of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or dysthymia, in a given year. This must be addressed in our Health Care System.
I have also noticed that a lot of these shooters come from poor to middle class families who are being bullied at school, or are not being listened to or cared for at home or in school. In the worst cases, these kids feel the need to shoot up schools. My wife, Fabiola, asked me, “Has the bullying at schools really become that bad? Why are these victims of bullying not going to talk to the teachers/advisors, like the way we used to when we were kids?” Moving forward, there has to be more training for school staff, more training for social workers, more training and resources to keep our children safer. But there also have to be measures taken now. Until there is gun reform, schools will have to play defense. If I had it my way, I would put camera systems in every school, along with metal detectors at the entrances, at least two security guards (which would create jobs for some people), and one police officer who can call for help if there is an incident in progress. We just cannot stand by and do nothing.
Here are two powerful statements about how those in power aren’t doing enough:
Golden State Warriors Coach Steve Kerr:
Senator Christopher Murphy: