19 Children, 1 Youth, and 2 Adults

“In God’s name, when are we going to stand up to the gun lobby?” Joe Biden

Salvador Ramos, who recently turned 18 years old, shoots his grandmother and then walks into Robb Elementary School armed, barricades himself in a classroom and murders two teachers and 19 children. Children who went to school as millions of children do every day. Children who died for no reason at the hands of a young man who should have also been at school in class and socializing with his friends. A young man who decided to buy a rifle and a bulletproof vest just a few days after his birthday to commit a heinous massacre and later be shot down.

Just a few days ago, I wrote about another 18-year-old who, referring to white supremacy, attacked an African American community at gunpoint in Buffalo, New York. The most recent killings took place in Uvalde, Texas, located approximately three hours from Dallas. However, unlike the one in New York, this mass shooting did not seem to be racially or ethnically motivated (despite some immediate media reports to the contrary). However, it was also premeditated and clearly full of hatred.

So, removing the racist and xenophobic veil in which these acts are usually covered (in no way am I trying to minimize the mental health problems of children and adolescents, nor accusations of discriminatory motivation), we have to talk seriously about gun regulation in the United States. To put it in perspective, the U.S. has the highest number of civilians who own a gun.

It is estimated that in 2018, there were 120.5 guns per 100 citizens, compared to 2011, when there were only 88 for every 100 citizens. According to data published in April by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, firearm-related “accidents” have already surpassed car accidents to become the main cause of death of American children and adolescents in 2020. Similarly, earlier this year a study conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that 7.5 million Americans bought a gun for the first time between January 2019 and April 2021.

In other words, it is estimated that there are 390 million guns in circulation (2018) in our neighboring country, according to the Small Arms Survey and, although it is not necessarily connected, as of this year mass shootings in the United States have been increasing from 417 in 2019, to 611 in 2020, to 692 in 2021 and 213 so far this year, according to Gun Violence Archive data. We can no longer think like Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton of Texas, who asserted that the solution to these tragedies is “Potentially to arm teachers and other administrators who are trained.”

Today, more than ever, we must expand on ever stricter regulations. Let’s call a cease-fire on guns already.

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