As we conclude one week of mourning, we begin another.
Today is the second anniversary of the murder of George Floyd -- a Black man who suffocated by a police officer in Minneapolis in 2020. Yesterday, eighteen-year-old Salvador Ramos walked into Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, with a rifle, handgun, and body armor. He proceeded to shoot and kill at least nineteen children and two adults. Following the attack, the families of Robb Elementary convened at a local civic center, used as a reunification site. They were asked for DNA swabs to help identify the bodies of what could be their children. The shooting began around eleven-thirty in the morning, and as night came, many families were still waiting --- without news of their children.
This was the third mass shooting in a little over a week in the United States.
This is the second-deadliest K-12 school shooting in United States history, after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre. Twenty children and six teachers were killed. Eventually, Sandy Hook became the horrifying face of gun violence and the gun-control movement. In 2013, the Senate introduced a bill to require universal background checks for firearm sales and a bill to ban new assault-weapons.
A classroom of dead first-graders could not convince our Congress to act. Many speculated that if that failure could not spur action, nothing could. They were right, because nothing has.
Sandy Hook, 26 dead. Santa Fe, 10 dead. Parkland, 17 dead. Oxford, 4 dead. Columbine, 13 dead. Virginia Tech, 32 dead. Robb Elementary School, 21 dead.
The American calendar has become packed with tragedy.
Thoughts and prayers are not shields for bullets. Any ‘wish for a better future’ without action towards that better future is negligent and complicit in the violence that occurs every single day. The time has come for real policy change. Our hearts are heavy for their families, their community, and the future they lost. But our hearts are also full with the hope and conviction that this can and will be the last.