The death toll from yesterday’s massacre in Uvalde now stands at 19 kids and Uvalde adults.
What I texted my husband yesterday still best encapsulates how heinously commonplace these atrocities are. All I needed to see was “Breaking News: Texas Elementary School” in order to correctly assume it was another active shooter. I have children and godchildren in Texas elementary schools, dear friends who teach there as well. Had it not said “elementary,” I would have also feared for my husband who teaches mathematics at a nearby high school. I was relieved to read that no one I loved was in danger, but for countless other parents, spouses, siblings, friends of those at Robb Elementary- time stood still until they could confirm their loved ones were safe. For those who lost any of 21 people so senselessly slaughtered, life will never be the same.
This happens over and over and over in our nation and nothing changes. Not just in our schools, but our churches, supermarkets, synagogues- nowhere is safe. If guns made people safer, this country would perhaps be the safest in the world. We know this is not so. And it doesn’t seem like anything will shake the resolve of those who idealize unfettered access to firearms as the litmus test of freedom. These same people aren’t protesting public safety regulations that govern far more of our everyday lives, only any laws related to guns. There are not mass protests regarding the right to drive in this country. Firearms are intrinsically dangerous and designed to destroy living creatures, animal and human alike. Vehicles have no such purpose, but the mere capacity for harm is enough for our state to require their registration and inspection. We set an age limit for drivers and insist that everyone learn how to safely operate the class of car/truck they use and take a test proving their competancy, while still insisting that all drivers purchase insurance the cover the cost of any damage they may do if in an accident. There are citations with tangible legal and financial consequences for anyone who endangers public safety by not adhering to these standards, disobeying speed limits and flouting other traffic laws. Those who are caught repeatedly putting life at risk at denied a license altogether. Common sense suggests that these commonsense regulations we impose on cars would also be the bare minimum standards for owning weapons capable of mowing down a crowd of human beings in mere seconds.
For the record, mine is not a gun-free household. I beleive in the right to self-defense and my husband is a highly-trained, decorated Army veteran who keeps his firearm locked in our bedside safe, a place where our kids can’t access it but he can grab it quickly in the unlikely chance of a home invasion. Knowing my husband is equipped to protect us helps me sleep more soundly at night, but without that training and responsible storage, my family would be in greater danger for having a gun. I am not trained, so the gun is more likely to be used against me than to protect me. The law doesn’t force me to exercise right judgment, but clearly the sheer volume of gun accidents and epidemic of gun violence means that the civil authorities need to step in. It is not going to self-correct. We can uphold the right to self-defense while also confronting our lethal fetish for firearms.
Our culture is sick. Something must change.