Processing the Uvalde tragedy

By Mary Anna Mancuso, National Spokesperson

This week, all eyes were on Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old gunman entered Robb Elementary School and shot up a fourth-grade class, killing 21 people—19 children and two teachers. If reading that sentence made your heart drop into your stomach, imagine how the 3,865 other families of victims have felt since America said ‘never again’ after Sandy Hook. 

When the school shooting at Columbine High School took place in 1999, I was a junior in high school, and the news of two kids in trench coats roaming halls with assault rifles killing classmates sent shockwaves across the country. The victims were in my peer group. My friends and I could not begin to understand such a tragedy happening in America, let alone a high school. 

Thirteen years later, a gunman would walk into Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, and kill 28 people, 20 of them being six- and seven-year-old children. Sandy Hook reignited the gun debate, launching calls for universal background checks as well as the banning of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons. But 3,865 mass shootings later, including the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, and there has been no meaningful gun reform legislation passed. 

Like many of you, I, too, have spent the days following Uvalde trying to make sense of a senseless act, hearing gut-wrenching stories about children covering themselves in their friend’s blood and playing dead to avoid being killed, and learning of the delayed reaction of law enforcement as parents waited in anguish, begging police officers to save their children. As the eternal optimist, I want to believe with every fiber of my being that Uvalde will finally be the catalyst for gun reform, and our elected leaders will step up and lead us through this time of crisis. Let’s hold them to it this time.

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