by Paul Moomjean
In the state of Texas last week, Robb Elementary School in Uvalde was attacked by an 18-year-old boy, who legally bought an AR-15 rifle and murdered 19 children and two teachers. This becomes the echo of two sad realities: We still don’t have gun laws to prevent this type of tragedy and we are slowly returning to a sad normal amongst our most violent-minded citizens. Once again a disturbed young man saw his future as bleak as possible, and he took it out on the most innocent of victims. With NRA spokesmen and conservatives arguing it takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun, their theory is proven wrong as the police were impotent and no neighbors came to the rescue. If governors and President Joe Biden don’t get on the same page soon, we will be reading about the next sooner rather than later.
Salvador Ramos was reported to have been sending a 15-year-old girl messages about his shooting spree to impress her on some level. Again, the incel nature of these young men, combined with a false sense of masculinity, is the cocktail creating these monsters. As much as we need to make it impossible for these kids to get rifles, we also need to address the contribution of the false narrative that real men are having sex with who they please and using violence to maintain power dynamics. Over the past 20-plus years, it appears that these young men all want to be seen as real manly threats.
Meanwhile, the men called to the scene were useless. According to the Associated Press (and widely reported in several news outlets):
Nearly 20 [police] officers stood for about 45 minutes in the hallway outside the adjoining Texas classrooms where the gunman killed students and teachers this week before U.S. Border Patrol agents unlocked the door to confront and kill him, authorities said Friday.
“It was the wrong decision,” Steven McCraw, the head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, said.
“Based on best practices, it’s very difficult to understand why there were any types of delays, particularly when you get into reports of 40 minutes and up of going in to neutralize that shooter,” Ken Trump, president of the consulting firm National School Safety and Security Services added.
If we are supposed to have a functioning society, we need a functioning police force. If these are the good guys with guns, why didn’t they create a parameter and go in to find Ramos right away? If trained gunmen cannot feel safe, then what does this say about guns in general?
Meanwhile there are human lives attached to this story, including the parents of the identified shooter, and as usual, they appear more confused than anyone.
In an interview with The Daily Beast on Thursday (“Texas School Shooter’s Dad: ‘He Should’ve Just Killed Me,’” Roger Sollenberger, May 27, 2022), father Salvador Ramos, 42, said, “I just want the people to know I’m sorry man, [for] what my son did . . . I never expected my son to do something like that. He should’ve just killed me, you know, instead of doing something like that to someone.”
Salvador Ramos’ mother, Adriana Reyes Martinez, told CNN (“Gunman’s mother and grandfather express confusion and remorse over the shooting,” Alexa Miranda, Monica Serrano, Andy Rose and Joy Marcelle, May 27, 2022) in Spanish: “I have no words, I have no words to say, I don’t know what he was thinking. He had his reasons for doing what he did and please don’t judge him.”
In a world where a mother begs for us not to judge her son, we can see where society’s roots are weak. It is the fear of judgment that motivates so many not to commit crimes. News outlets also reported the shooter shot his grandmother and had a loud fight with his mother hours before. Anyone with this type of anger really needed more attentive people in his life. I’m sorry if I sound insensitive, but if their responses are “kill me instead” and “don’t judge him,” then this boy had no chance to begin with.
Yahoo News reported gun deaths are the leading cause of children’s death, with “4,368 children and adolescents up to the age of 19 [dying] from firearms in 2020, a rate of 5.4 per 100,000 a dashboard by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed.” (“Guns are now the leading cause of death for American children,” May 26, 2022.)
This is no longer a political difference issue, but an epidemic where there are no good guys on any side. The only good guys are those who want to at least make it impossible for an 18-year-old to own an AR-15.