As I helped my kindergartener get ready for school this morning, he chattered on excitedly about his class graduation tomorrow and our upcoming summer beach trip. His whole face lit up with the excitement of his day, but I couldn’t help feeling heavy-hearted. Today is the one-year anniversary of one of the deadliest school shootings in the country that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, leaving 19 fourth-grade students and two teachers dead, and 17 others shot and wounded. Those families will never have a normal morning again … and not enough people seem to care.
Watching my son run to school with his marker-stained hands and too-big Buzz Lightyear backpack bouncing behind him, I have to fight back the dread of wondering when the next mass shooting will occur. Especially living in Texas, a state with weak gun laws.
“Almost a year now, and honestly nothing has changed,” Jesse Rizo, the uncle of one of the Uvalde victims, told the Uvalde school board recently, per The New York Times.
I would argue that things have changed — for the worse.
Uvalde, Texas, Marks One Year Anniversary Of Deadly School Shooting
After more than 370 officers from local, state, and federal agencies responded to the scene in Uvalde and waited 77 minutes before finally rushing in to kill the gunman, I heard mixed reactions from friends and family. People said it was a door problem, and schools needed more locks. Others said we should arm teachers — never mind the fact that hundreds of trained law enforcement officers were armed and were still too scared to take action.
But what solution did lawmakers take in Texas? They blocked legislation that would raise the purchasing age of assault weapons and pushed legislation to teach 8-year-olds how to do tourniquets “approved for use in battlefield trauma care by the armed forces.” Yes, you read that right.
According to Everytown for Gun Safety, Texas also forces colleges and universities to allow guns on their campuses, lets school personnel carry guns in K-12 schools, and has no requirement to get a permit before carrying a concealed gun in public, among other dangerous laws.
There Have Been 48 Mass Shootings in Texas Since Uvalde
There have been 48 mass shootings in Texas since the Robb Elementary School shooting, including a deadly shooting at the Allen Outlet Mall on May 6, 2023, leaving eight victims killed and seven injured. This particular shooting hit extremely close to home, as my family shops here often. Kids and adults died on a Saturday morning, shopping in the beautiful spring weather a week before Mother’s Day.
And the reaction from friends and family this time? I heard an onslaught of “we need more prayers” and “only faith will stop this evil.” I believe in prayers and faith too, but we need more than that to protect our kids from the incredibly dangerous activities of going to school and the mall. Like, damn, how can you be serious right now?
People Will Ban Anything But Guns
As a country, we have no problem banning books from schools, or removing LBTQ+ clothing from Target, but we can’t seem to ban guns.
On May 21, 2023, actor Mario Lopez tweeted, “A rock in bad hands killed Abel. A rock in good hands killed Goliath. It’s not about the rock.”
Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg responded to the insensitive tweet, writing, “If the shooter at my high school used a rock instead of a semiautomatic rifle I think it’s safe to say the armed cop we had would have done something.”
It’s so true! Cops are scared to take action with shooters wearing body armor and carrying an armory of semi-automatic rifles in their trunks, and you really think it’s comparable to banning rocks? Or you say banning things won’t do anything, yet you pass legislation to ban abortions? The reasoning doesn’t make sense, and the infuriating complancency around gun restrictions is hurting our children.
Change Is Coming
It’s not all bad news, though.
John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement today, “One year after 19 children and two teachers were murdered, the gun safety movement is coming together to remember the victims and survivors — and rededicate ourselves to the fight for common-sense gun laws. The pain and perseverance shown by survivors of the shooting at Robb Elementary helped push Congress to pass the first major gun safety bill in 30 years, and they continue inspiring our work to forge a safer future.”
In June 2022, President Joe Biden passed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, “a historic gun safety, mental health, and school safety law,” according to Everytown for Gun Safety, and “the first major federal gun violence prevention law to pass Congress in nearly 26 years.”
This law passes many common-sense measures, including increasing the background check process for gun buyers under age 21, providing federal funding for state Red Flag laws, disarming domestic abusers, and funding community violence intervention programs.
Additionally, voters are ready to see some gun restrictions put in place, too. An April 2023 Fox News poll found that most voters are in favor of the following measures:
– Requiring criminal background checks on all gun buyers (87%)
– Improving enforcement of existing gun laws (81%)
– Raising the legal age to buy a gun to 21 (81%)
– Requiring mental health checks on gun buyers (80%)
– Allowing police to take guns from those considered a danger to themselves or others (80%)
– Requiring a 30-day waiting period for all gun purchases (77%)
Clearly, the American people are ready; we just need lawmakers to take action!
Mamas, Hold Your Babies Tight & Fight for Gun Safety
The above picture was taken on May 25, 2022, one day after the shooting at Uvalde. I was already nervous dropping my children at preschool, and when I heard about a suspicious person hanging out in the parking lot, I immediately came back to pick them up. My husband and I took our three kids to the zoo, where I held them tightly, cried, and just cherished their lives.
It’s so freaking hard to be a parent right now, and to know the right thing to do to protect our kids. Homeschooling may be an option for some, but that still doesn’t guarantee the safety of your kids out in public. Instead of living in fear, hold your babies tight and stand up for gun safety. It’s time politicians listened to moms and did something to actually protect the babies they claim to care so much about.
Visit Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for more information on how you can help. Choose an action to take, and keep doing it until we can send our babies to school without fear.
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