by: Molly Clark
A gunman by the name of Salavador Ramos, opened fire on Tuesday, May 24, 2022 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. It was the state's deadliest school shooting in modern history and the nation's third mass shooting within weeks. The 18-year-old male, armed with a rifle, shot his grandmother before driving to Robb Elementary School and overpowering a school officer, authorities said. The incident resulted in 21 deaths and 17 others injured.
According to news reports, such as CBS News, Ramos revealed his intent multiple times through the media and expressed his plan to a girl who he did not know through Instagram direct messages. Prior to the attack Ramos killed his grandmother and proceeded to bring his aggression to the school when overtaking the school's armed officer. A district police officer engaged the gunman when he arrived at the school, but the shooter was able to enter a back door, travel down two short hallways and enter a classroom, which was connected internally to another classroom. The gunman then barricaded himself in the classroom.
The gunman purchased two semi-automatic rifles and ammunition at a local sporting goods store, one of which he brought with him into the school. It was confirmed he bought the weapons on May 17 and May 20. When asked about gun restrictions at a press conference, governor Greg Abbott stated that he did not plan to implement gun restrictions like in other states because that hasn't stopped the shootings. Abbott repeatedly cited mental health, telling reporters that "the ability of an 18-year-old to buy a long gun has been in place in the state of Texas for more than 60 years. And think about the time, over the course of that 60 years, we have not had episodes like this."
Regarding Abbott's argument, the world is changing constantly. Laws that worked 60 years ago, cannot apply today. We are living in a completely different society with different norms and realities. Views have changed, people are different, illnesses have developed, and our society is different from prior generations. We are living in a whole new world. Mental illness has also been an issue but 60 years ago the idea of a school shooting was not introduced. Now that mass shootings are sometimes used as a relief to a person suffering from a mental illness – the type of mental illness that could cause this extreme violence, and it needs to be addressed with regards to our current society. Time has nothing to do with this issue and until we start focusing on our current society and our citizens' futures, we will continue to go backwards and not make any progress. As a high school student from Newtown, where a tragic incident like this occured, I have observed the change in my town and my peers when it comes to the school system. Getting an education should never have deadly repercussions nor should teachers and students be afraid to go to school. Until we create a safe environment for our citizens to learn we will continue to go backwards, causing our future generations to fear an academic environment. As a society we need to stop trying to justify the actions of violent individuals and instead need to work towards preventing future incidents.