We Need Gun Control, Dialogue, And Accountability In Wake Of Uvalde School Shooting
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We Need Gun Control, Dialogue, And Accountability In Wake Of Uvalde School Shooting

There are going to be many steps before we get to solutions after the recent tragedy in Uvalde.

We Need Gun Control, Dialogue, And Accountability In Wake Of Uvalde School Shooting

Tragedy recently struck Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. On May 24, a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers. The 18-year-old shooter shot and critically wounded his grandmother prior to arriving at the school. The attacker was eventually killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent, not the police.

There are reports of parents begging police officers outside the school to save the children. According to witnesses, the police decided to attack those concerned parents instead. One witness claims to have seen police Tasering parents, pepper-spraying them, and tackling them to the ground.

Apparently, the police believed the shooter barricaded himself and that “there were no kids at risk." Due to this serious and unintelligible mistake, they didn't enter the school until 78 minutes after the gunman had walked inside.

The biggest understatement of the year came courtesy of Steven C. McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

"From the benefit of hindsight where I’m sitting now, of course it was not the right decision," he said. "It was the wrong decision. Period."

I believe the police should be held accountable for their lack of action. I don't buy their excuse of believing the gunman was barricaded. Even if it's true, they should have still went into the school and removed the children. These are police officers. They're supposed to serve and protect, not act like cowards.

These officers now have blood on their hands. They're complicit in the murder of those children and they have to live with that every single day.

One of the survivors, an 11-year-old girl, described her fear that the gunman would come back for her. She decided to cover herself in her friend's blood, lay on the floor, and play dead.

No child should have to do this. No child should be in a situation where they even think to do this. This is a horrific and disturbing robbery. These children were robbed of their innocence and have to live with this trauma for the rest of their lives. I hope all the survivors have access to good therapy and prioritize their mental health. They will surely need it.

To say that we need gun control is obvious. However, a lot of people who are against gun control misinterpret what that means. Many of them are conservatives who claim "leftists" want to take their guns away. However, this often isn't the case. When it comes to gun control or gun reform, a large portion of the arguments don't include taking guns away from competent owners.

I have often called for more safeguards to be put in place when it comes to purchasing a gun. For example, a mental health evaluation should be mandatory prior to purchase. I also believe that there should be routine mandatory evaluations throughout the duration of ownership. I think gun owners should have to pass a gun safety test prior to purchase as well.

If one needs to pass a driver's test before legally driving a car, why not have a similar safeguard in place for gun ownership? Competent gun owners can still own their firearms, despite what many on the other side claim. The thought process of someone who shuts down dialogue with such a false statement is beyond irritating. It likely won't effect them, so all it does is prevent real solutions.

The only group I could see gun control effecting would be the businesses selling the guns. Such safeguards would certainly hit them where it hurts, as it would reduce the amount of money they make in sales.

While safeguards are a crucial necessity, I'm not entirely optimistic change will happen. This isn't the first school shooting we've seen. There was Columbine, there was Parkland, there was Sandy Hook. This also isn't the first mass shooting we've seen. It's not even the first mass shooting we've seen this year. Look at what happened in Buffalo mere weeks ago. The reaction on social media is exactly the same as it always is. And like previous reactions on social media, very few of those users are being productive in making change.

A lot of people just like to hear themselves talk.

It's a discussion that's being had, but it's an all too familiar one. And because this sequence of events is once again being repeated, people like me are losing hope.

The gun-toting Republicans who keep screaming about the Second Amendment need to stop being so argumentative. They need to sit down and listen. They need to get rid of their insatiable need to be a victim. No Karen, we don't want to take your guns away. You're not the oppressed member of the counter culture you so desperately want to be. Deal with it.

I truly believe that until this happens, we won't get anywhere when it comes to gun control. What needs to happen is a healthy dialogue where everyone listens to each other. Much of the right-wing refuses to listen.

Instead, they not only decide to unnecessarily play the victim, but spew transphobia. Oh yes, I wouldn't have guessed they would stoop that low, either. However, these are people whose victim complex is stronger than their need for safeguards following the death of innocent children. So I probably shouldn't be surprised.

Photographs of a transgender woman began circulating online, with many claiming she was the shooter. This rumor reportedly began on Reddit, where the woman posted to clarify that she isn't the attacker. She also called on fellow Reddit users to report posts on social media which falsely claim she is the shooter.

Despite this being a clear case of fake news, Candace Owens took to her Twitter to fuel the flames anyway. Owens not only claimed that the shooter was trans, she claimed this was the mental illness which led the person to carry out the attack. Owens also falsely claimed the shooter was a cross-dresser, implying that being trans is the same thing as cross-dressing. This is yet another false statement.

Arizona Representative Paul Gosar also made similar claims, calling the shooter "a transsexual leftist illegal alien" in a since-deleted tweet. It's incredibly rich that the same party who is all about condemning fake news, will gladly spread it when it serves their agenda.

This kind of bigotry towards LGBTQ+ individuals exists in Texas as well. Jonathan Shelley, a pastor at Stedfast Baptist Church, recently spoke to Arlington City Council. He was there on behalf of those within the community who no longer wanted the town to celebrate Pride. In his now-viral speech, Shelley cited the Bible (shocker) and seemed to advocate for capital punishment towards LGBTQ+ people.

"I don't understand why we'd celebrate what used to be a crime not long ago," he said.

We're already seeing the results of this false and transphobic claim. One trans girl said she was attacked outside a library by four men in El Paso, Texas. According to the 17-year-old, the men used transphobic slurs and grabbed her arm to twist her body. The men blamed the trans community for the shooting and told her she was "perverting kids instead of killing them."

Ultimately, this kind of prejudice is common when tragedy like this strikes. It's used as a distraction by politicians as a way to deflect from their own wrongdoings. In this case, it's the lack of interest in gun control from certain conservative figures. So, they instead place blame on an oppressed group who is an easy target.

The sad aspect of this is that many people fall for it. Some of them are even pastors, so-called good, God-fearing Baptists. These are people who have a position to influence their followers and inflict this bigotry within them as well. It's a sad cycle that keeps repeating itself and we must stop it now.

Again, this kind of rhetoric is ultimately a distraction, but we can't fall for it. We must keep our focus on the innocent lives taken far too soon. We must focus on the survivors who are traumatized for life. We must focus on gun control and holding complicit people in power accountable for their inaction.

While I'm not optimistic things will change, we shouldn't admit defeat. We must continue to demand change and fight against a system that doesn't consider our safety a priority. We must not let bigotry towards oppressed groups be used as a distraction from the matter at hand. We must work together and hope for a miracle.

More than anything, however, we must mourn the victims and hope they're in a better place.

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