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Cristabelle García

Because, Uvalde School Shooting

Because it’s been decades of senseless tragedies. Because the FBI identified 277 active shooter incidents in the U.S. from 2000 to 2018, 30 in 2019, 40 in 2020, and 61 in 2021. Because this is the low ball, because the Gun Violence Archive counted 692 mass shootings in 2021. Because however you define mass shootings and whatever the actual number is, we’re the only country where this is a problem, and this makes America greatly grim. Because the number of school shootings more than tripled from 2020 to 2021. Because there were more school shootings in 2021, 34 to be exact, than there were in 2019 and 2018, each of which recorded 24 according to Education Week. Because 19 children ages 9-11 were just massacred in one of these shootings in Texas, along with two teachers. Because these numbers should scare you. Because these stats should weigh more than the simple killing device you’re holding onto so dearly. Because it’s simply destructive and nonsensical. Because the Second Amendment says “well-regulated Militia” on it. Because you must understand the Second Amendment in the context of our current issues, and otherwise it’s just your narrowed view of the Second Amendment. Because when the Second Amendment was ratified, in 1791, there had been zero school shootings and there wasn’t a mental health crisis. Because you’re dated. Because you refuse to be wrong or to change your mind. Because you mistake stubbornness for strength. Because you could make a difference and you just won’t do it. Because if you don’t care, where’s your humanity? What do you care about? Because is it possible that you care more about fitting into a particular group, getting likes on your Twitter rants or, if you’re higher up, responding to the gun lobby? Because is it possible that anything could matter more than murdered children? Because it could have been your child, or your nephew, or your neighbors’ child. Because so many parents have had to identify what was left of their massacred children, who never got to come home from school. Because so many parents have to live with a heavy void in their homes, in their hearts. Because there’s an empty bedroom in these homes, filled with gut-wrenching smells that used to be sweet and memories that used to be mellow and a mess that never got picked up. And who is going to pick them up? Who is going to give them hope? Because now they only live to fight for gun law reform. Because nothing else matters for them and nothing else should matter for us as a nation when schoolchildren die because a mentally-ill 18-year-old legally purchased an AR-15 style rifle and high capacity magazines. Because we should be undivided on the tragic death of these children. Because we cannot carry ordinary lives in the aftermath of these extraordinary events. Because we’re begging you, please. Because if you don’t deem an 18-year-old responsible enough to drink, how do you deem them responsible enough to purchase a firearm? Because the wild west is only romantic in movies—it’s horrific in real life. Because we should be looking forward, not backward. Because children should not be scared to go to school. Because we shouldn’t have to have that conversation with our babies—“If you hear a bang, look for an exit or hide under a desk” (who knows which is best?). Because how can that advice be our only hope? Because armed teachers are not the solution. Because the biggest tragedy here is that we can change things, yet we won’t, you won’t. Because yes, you. You finally passed a bill yet it’s not enough. Include more sweeping measures to impose universal background checks, mandatory waiting periods, license requirements. Raise the legal age to purchase a firearm. Because you claim to have a God but your higher power is the NRA. Because the only bill you’ll consider is the one that fits in your wallet. Because you won’t think bigger. Because of bullets. Because these families have to bear the unbearable, forever. Because, Highland Park parade shooting.


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