More Mass Shootings Than Days: The Predicament of Gun Violence

It happened again. Another tragedy. Another shooting. On May 24, the Uvalde shooting became the third deadliest school shooting after the Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook shootings, as twenty-one, innocent people lost their lives (nineteen students and two teachers). Sadness has made a place in the close-knit town of Uvalde, as Robb Elementary School lost students who could have lived meaningful lives and teachers so dedicated they would sacrifice their lives for their students. What is worse is that better gun restrictions and police response could have prevented these deaths.

Last September, the gunman behind the Uvalde shooting had asked his sister for help buying a gun, but she refused. However, his family did not see this much as a red flag since, according to an interview conducted with them, he always had an interest in war, guns, and mass murders and made it clear in his painfully detailed stories. Moreover, according to his father, he lost his only friend before the shooting due to a falling-out. This March, the shooter posted a picture on Instagram, supposedly of a gun, and the caption read “ten more days.” When a concerned user commented on the post asking what it meant and if he would “shoot up the school or something,” the shooter denied the statement and said he would see. About four to eight days before the shooting, the shooter turned eighteen, allowing him to purchase an assault rifle.

On the day of the shooting, the gunman messaged a girl in Germany about his plans. He then went on to shoot his grandmother, whose car he would steal to drive to Robb Elementary School. He then crashed it in a ditch nearby the school and shot down two witnesses who were said to be approaching the crash and calling 911. Then, a teacher at Robb Elementary saw the car crash from her classroom and noted that the person had a gun, so she called 911, too. Meanwhile, the shooter climbed the fence into the parking lot and entered the school through an unlocked side entrance.

Around this time, the police arrived at the crash site, but they got lost and started following a teacher’s car, mistaking him for the shooter. Later, more police officers arrived, but they waited outside for other teams to join them. Even though both students and parents made calls to the police begging them for help, they did not listen. Parents even tried to break windows to get their children to safety, but the police stopped them and threatened to arrest them. The shooter entered a classroom by shooting down the door, and the students became very frightened and frantically called the police. “I can hear the police next door, please send the police now, ” pled one student. After this, the students were moved outside of the classrooms, and then finally, after hours, a border patrol officer fatally shot and killed the gunman.

In this case, there were many times when police could have taken action, but they did not. Was it because they feared the shooter? Then again, is it not a part of their job to deal with situations like these? These students were let down by those they considered their “heroes.” The students knew they were in danger, so they called on the police force to save them, only to meet disappointment. Their arrival at the scene was at the perfect time, but upon arriving at the school, they just stood outside and refused to enter. It was even filmed by an onlooker, as it was shocking to see that so many officers were not doing anything to help the children, and they did not even allow the parents to attempt to save their children. One child even had to rub her friend’s blood on herself and play dead to survive due to the inadequate police response.

Currently, mass shootings are becoming a daily occurrence, as there have been more mass shootings than days in 2022. It is almost as if it is becoming a trend. Not even a week after the Uvalde shooting, there have been eighteen mass shootings, including a hospital shooting that happened on June 1 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a murderer stole five lives. Because of the rise of shootings, schools are employing active shooter drills that are becoming as normalized as fire drills, while students are now coming to schools fearing their safety. This rise in gun violence has not only called on the unfortunate necessity of active shooter drills but also brought attention to the stupidity of the accessibility of firearms in the US.

It is impossible to understand how an 18-year-old can own a weapon when he is not old enough to drink. If someone is not allowed to drink alcohol, it is completely unreasonable for that person to have assault weapons. And please, do not take this as a sign to lower age restrictions regarding drinking. In the past, there have been attempts by various government officials to increase the age limit to buy an assault weapon, such as the Age 21 act that was proposed over three years ago, but yet, no action has been implemented. The Uvalde shooting happened because an 18-year-old was allowed to buy an assault weapon, and no one acted upon the concerning statements he made publicly. Therefore, to prevent these tragedies from happening in the future, we need stricter laws regarding having access to firearms, including having proper background checks, firearm training, and more, and increasing the minimum age to possess a firearm.

And you know, it should be saying something as countries like Canada are now dealing with firearms even more carefully after seeing our situation here, while we are still hesitating to take action. According to Trevor Noah, Canada recently announced a significant bill that would ban the sales of handguns and allow the government to forcefully buy back assault rifles. But even before, Canada has always tried its best to restrict access to firearms as opposed to the US. In our country, to purchase a gun, one only needs to pass a quick background check that only considers criminal convictions, domestic violence, and immigration status. However, for our neighbors in Canada, they must first be a part of a shooting club or range. Next, they must pass a safety course with both a written and practical test. Afterward, they need two references to show safety and responsibility. Then, they need to apply for a permit and wait 28 days before processing begins and also wait for the processing. Finally, they will need to pass a background check which includes criminal record, mental health, addiction, and domestic violence history, and if that is approved, they can buy a gun. And while one can start talking about how Canada has issues regarding smuggling firearms from the US, that is not the point right now.

The point right now is that we need more gun restrictions. The Bill of Rights gave Americans the right to bear arms. But now, times have changed, and firearms should not be necessary to maintain your safety. In this country, the gun laws and regulations are too lax despite numerous mass shootings that targeted children. The second amendment protects the right of Americans to bear arms, but we should also put in place new laws that minimize the damage that unhinged gun holders could cause. Stricter laws and better education on the impact of firearms can save many lives. We can make it so that young students never have to anticipate a gun to their head.

During an interview, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr expressed his anger and concern for the rise of gun violence in the United States. “When are we going to do something?!” are the words that came from his mouth, and, sadly, many citizens resonate with his feelings as political leaders continue to post content that says “sending prayers” instead of taking action to prevent such a tragedy from happening again. Even Texas Governor Greg Abbott addressed the Uvalde shooting but has not done anything about it besides mentioning his condolences and prayers. And now, we can only hope that President Joe Biden meant it when he said, “They’ve offered plenty of thoughts and prayers, members of Congress, but they’ve passed not a single new federal law to reduce gun violence. Enough prayers, time for some action.”

In the meanwhile, March for Our Lives organized marches in more than 400 places from Washington DC to Frisco to fight for change and protest the senseless deaths at the hands of gun violence and the silent legislatures that allow them to happen. Last weekend, on June 10 and June 11, marches took place in Dallas, Fort Worth, Frisco, and Rockwall, with the Frisco march being organized by two high schoolers attending Independence High School, Saanvi Mukkara and Shivani Jayaraj. You can find more information regarding the marches and help support the organization through donations here.