The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Viewpoint: How many children have to die before change happens?

Viewpoint: How many children have to die before change happens? - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Flowers and candles are placed outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Wednesday, May 25, 2022, to honor the victims killed in Tuesday's shooting at the school. Desperation turned to heart-wrenching sorrow for families of grade schoolers killed after an 18-year-old gunman barricaded himself in their Texas classroom and began shooting, killing several fourth-graders and their teachers. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Children are the future of our world. They bring light to a world full of darkness because of the innocence only a child could have. Days like these are heartbreaking because kids won’t be able to live their dreams and families won’t be able to see the life they were supposed to have. 

Robb Elementary School in Uvalde has fallen victim to a school shooting that left 19 children and two teachers dead. A senseless act of violence at the hands of an 18-year-old man. This tragedy sits as the third deadliest school shooting since Columbine. 

These were children, innocent kids who were losing their baby teeth, watching cartoons and believing in Santa Claus. This type of tragedy has become prevalent in our country, and lawmakers have done nothing to prevent mass shootings. 

As a country, we get re-traumatized by mass shootings. It was 12 days ago when a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, and killed 10 people.

It’s time we recognize the reasons this is becoming a constant in our nation.

The same questions circulate when a school shooting happens — how many more times does this need to happen? What needs to be done for children all over the country to feel safe at school? When will lawmakers stand up and implement common sense gun laws that restrict easy access to guns?

Imagine the excitement these children must have had about their summer break on the last days of their school year, only to face the last day of their lives. Now, these families must bear a life-long trauma, burying their children. 

I’ll never understand how people will proudly say that we need our Second Amendment right to bear arms when we have our children murdered at the hands of people who shouldn’t have access to a gun. 

At this point, we must understand that the Second Amendment was created in the 1700s. It’s been almost 250 years. It needs to be adjusted for the times we live in. No, it does not mean taking away all guns but creating laws that can make the process harder than just going to a Dick’s Sporting Goods and buying an AR-15-style rifle when you turn 18. 

The counter-argument is that “bad people will get guns regardless,” but other countries have created stricter gun laws and have had fewer school shootings than the United States by such a wide margin. In 2022, the U.S has had 213 mass shootings with 27 being school shootings

When talking about mass shootings, it seems like we use mental health as the scapegoat. We are not the only country with mental health issues — so why are the numbers for mass shootings around the world lower than ours? The laws that other countries have in place were created to prevent mass shootings, and they have been effective. 

Texas is known for its conservative way of life, seeing Gov. Greg Abbott pushing for higher gun purchases because of the relationship he has with the National Rifle Association. For a state considered to be “pro-life,” it seems that protecting children at schools doesn’t fit into the equation. 

We need action: It is as simple as that. Every time a shooting happens, we give our thoughts, prayers and condolences and then go about our day, but these families will live with this grief for the rest of their lives. They deserve better than this.

Our politicians need to create laws to bring heavier restrictions on gun purchases, but more importantly, to ban AR-15-style rifles from the market. Assault rifles are military-grade weapons that we should not be able to get our hands on because what is the logical reasoning to have them? 

It should have been a red flag that an 18-year-old buys an assault rifle — why do they need it? What reasoning is there for a person, who is barely an adult, to have a gun used in the military? Children are dead because of the easy access to AR-15-style rifles with several 30-round magazines. 

Knowing how events will pan out, it is safe to say that the media and politicians will consider the gunman to be “troubled” or “violent” and will want to make it a crisis of mental health. The fact is that, as compromised as he may have seemed, he should not have been able to buy an AR-15-style rifle. 

This is the time that we remove selfishness from our hearts and care for each other as people. All over social media, there have been quotes like “evil will not win” and “hate will not prevail,” serving to bring everyone together in a time like this because we are hurting as a community. 

We should not be afraid to take our kids to school. We should not be afraid to go to the supermarket. We should not be afraid to live our lives in this country. Change is needed. A tragedy that involves the death of children should not be something we become numb to. Instead, it should ignite a conversation about what needs to be done.

About the Author

Raul Trey Lopez
Raul Trey Lopez is a communication senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. He is a first-generation college student. In his spare time, he likes listening to music. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a career in journalism while also maintaining his family flooring business.

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