Be angry about Texas elementary school shooting. We owe the 19 children killed our rage.

·5 min read

The words popped up: “School shooting.”

Again? Hope it’s not bad. Please don’t let it be bad. As if a school shooting could be anything but bad. As if there should be varying degrees of such a thing.

Then the words: “elementary school.”

Oh no.

Then, “two dead, maybe a dozen injured.”

My god, these are children.

Then, by evening: “19 children and two adults at a small Texas elementary school were killed by a gunman Tuesday.”

Damn it.

News of shooting went bad to worse

If you were anywhere near a computer, cellphone or TV, that’s how America’s latest gun massacre unfolded, moving swiftly from bad (common) to worse (common) to even worse (also common) and finally to ghastly (still tragically common).

Ten days removed from a racist mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, that killed 10 people, an 18-year-old reportedly opened fire inside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. At least 19 children and two adults are dead.

Nineteen elementary school kids, gone in moments. If you aren’t grieving, you don’t have a heart. And if you aren’t angry, you don’t have a lick of common sense.

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As accustomed to this as we’ve grown – to the point where we hear “school shooting” and hope this time around won’t be so bad – we don’t have to accept it. We don’t have to throw our hands up and surrender to the crowd that sends thoughts and prayers after each violent eruption then scolds those of us who speak up about guns, caterwauling about it being “too soon.”

My son never came home from Sandy Hook. My heart bleeds for Texas as I relive Dylan's murder.

Police walk near Robb Elementary School following a shooting on May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas.
Police walk near Robb Elementary School following a shooting on May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas.

There is no “too soon” anymore. We can barely raise our voices after a mass shooting before another one hits our news feeds. “Too soon” is meant to mollify, and I am done being mollified. We should all be done.

'This only happens in this country'

Hours after the shooting, Democratic U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut said from the Senate floor: “This isn’t inevitable. These kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country and nowhere else. Nowhere else do little kids go to school thinking that they might be shot that day.”

Read Sen. Chris Murphy's speech: 'As the slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing. What are we doing?'

He’s right. You can holler all you want about your rights and your freedoms, but Murphy’s words cannot be disputed: This happens only here.

People leave the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas.
People leave the Uvalde Civic Center following a shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas.

Two things are present at every mass shooting in America, whether it’s at an elementary school or a church or a movie theater or a shopping mall. Bullets rip through bodies, and guns are used to shoot those bullets.

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You can say whatever you want about motives, about ideologies, about a shooter’s politics or social media posts or online screeds or mental health. But if you remove the bullets and the guns from the equation, that shooter isn’t a shooter, and nowhere near as many people are dead or wounded.

Guns and monsters

I don’t know what drove the 18-year-old who Texas officials say killed all those little kids. I don’t much care, to be honest. He’s a monster.

What I care about – what we should all care about – is that the monster was able to get his hands on a weapon that could wipe out 21 lives in short order.

Is that the price you’re willing to pay for your hobby? Is that a fair trade-off for the freedom to carry a weapon the Founding Fathers could never have envisioned?

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Like so many Americans who bear witness to what has become routine slaughter, I find our gun laws incomprehensible.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott

Last year in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law a bill that allows Texans to carry handguns without a license or training. That’s senseless, by any measure.

But a shooting at an elementary school in America? That’s now predictable. That, in a wholly perverse way, makes sense. When you rain guns across the country, what do you think will happen?

No one in power is blameless

Not long after the shooting, Republican U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales of Texas, who represents the district Robb Elementary School is in, tweeted this: “Jesus said ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’ Let’s pray together.”

Emergency personnel gather near Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas.
Emergency personnel gather near Robb Elementary School following a shooting, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, in Uvalde, Texas.

In March 2021, Gonzales tweet-boasted: "I voted NO on two gun control measures in the House today. I am a proud supporter of the Second Amendment and will do everything I can to oppose gun grabs from the far Left."

Make of that what you will. And keep in mind that Democrats, in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, have done precious little to address the nation's gun laws when they should be using every tool at their disposal. We have an epidemic of gun violence in this country. No one in power is blameless.

As we grieve the 19 children murdered by this armed monster, we owe it to them to be angry – righteously, furiously angry – at a system that seems to value guns more than it ever valued them.

Follow USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke on Twitter @RexHuppke and Facebook: facebook.com/RexIsAJerk

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Uvalde Texas school shooting is another American gun tragedy

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