Warning: Sensitive topics ahead.
I am reminded once more that I live in a country where I might have to one day tell my children “in case a school shooting ever happens, try covering yourself in blood to play dead.”
I say this because in the wake of the Uvalde school shooting that took the lives of 19 children and 2 adults, one of the more harrowing stories I heard was of a fourth grader who was forced to smear herself in blood and act dead just to survive.
That very scenario that seems incredulous for me to have to explain to future children happened; and no child should ever have to be put into a situation like that.
Another story I heard was of a first responder who arrived at the school in an attempt to administer aid. He was approached by a young girl also stained in blood, inconsolable with shock. When he asked her if she was hurt, she could only say that her friend had been killed and the name she uttered was that of the first responder’s daughter.
I recount these stories because they are still difficult for me to sit with or even type out. They evoke such an emotional torment because they blemish none of the harsh reality of the situation and force me to empathize with it, to try in any capacity to imagine myself in that situation.
I do believe we have a tendency to think of the suffering of children as something that happens outside the US, somewhere other than our own lives. We see the news of children dying in Syria or Ukraine and, despite a history of school shootings here at home, feel some degree of detachment.
But these stories remind us that children are being put in the line of fire here in the United States. There was nothing they did wrong nor nothing they did to deserve this reality, but the naked brutality of hearing these accounts and the feelings of frustration, shock, grief– but above all, guilt– guilt that we could allow such a story to happen and have to be told again and again is is a burrowing shame that we must act to correct.
Gun Rights lobbyists such as those of the NRA provide massive funds to Texas lawmakers, with Senator Ted Cruz taking in $442K from these groups. State Rep. Tony Tinderhol claims any immediate gun legislation would be a “knee-jerk reaction”, while Governor Greg Abbott only addresses the mental health aspect of the school shooter and shifts blame from the firearms themselves.
Of course, I think a lot of us are aware of these reactions and of the gun culture within the United States. The debate over gun rights has been highly politicized but the action taken towards it has been highly apathetic. I was at work the day after the shooting when I overheard someone say that it’ll be the same thing, lawmakers will tweet something but do nothing about it.
And perhaps that’s that cycle of things. From Sandy Hook to Columbine to Ulvaldle, we go through this moment of anger and pressure to believing the mass murder of children exists beyond our borders. Those shootings become memories, something we look back on as a page in history books.
But all those school shootings are not a thing of a past– Sandy Hook, Columbine, Ulvadle, and the countless others exist as our present reality and as our future–
And I do not want a future where I would have to see my child cover themselves in blood just to survive a day at school.
If hearing stories like these makes you feel the same way I do, channel that frustration and pain into action. Contact your representative, write to the NRA, make the government work for us so that this shooting does not become another swept memory.
This blog post is part of the CIMA Law Group blog. If you are located in Arizona and are seeking legal services, CIMA Law Group specializes in Immigration Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury, and Government Relations.