AS I SEE IT
By Neal A. Shipman
As Americans learn more and more about the tragic school shooting where 19 children and two teachers were killed and 17 others injured in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, it appears that there was a complete breakdown in the law enforcement response and in the school’s security system.
According to news reports, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos shot his grandmother and then wrecked his truck in a ditch outside the school at 11:28 a.m. He exited the truck with a rifle and shot at two people across the street. He then approached the school and shot at the building multiple times and walked in through an apparently unlocked door at 11:40 a.m. and unleashed his fury on those innocent victims.
Officers arrived at the school at 11:44 a.m. and evacuated students and teachers in other parts of the school. After about an hour, a U.S. Border Patrol tactical team forced their way into the classroom where Ramos had barricaded himself and fatally shot him.
This latest school shooting tragedy obviously raises plenty of questions, such as why law enforcement didn’t fully engage with the shooter when arriving at the school, why the shooter was so easily able to enter the school, and why he was able to purchase guns.
And it will once again bring the call for increased gun control, as well as the mental health crisis facing our youth to the forefront of the nation.
America does need to have better gun control laws and background checks for people that are buying guns. But the banning of guns is not the answer. The vast majority of gun owners are law abiding citizens. The problem is that in protecting the rights of Americans to own guns, there just isn’t a good way to prevent people who intend to use them to kill others or to commit crimes from getting a gun.
It is easy to blame guns when there are shootings of innocent people. It is far more difficult to discuss how to deal with the individual’s mental health issues that drove them to take such a tragic action.
In this tragic situation, like so many other mass shootings, the shooter was angry, disconnected and had been identified as being bullied and a loner. They fell through the cracks and didn’t receive the help and counseling that they needed from their family, their school or their community.
America can do better if we are to prevent more tragedies like what we witnessed last week. If we don’t, it will keep happening again and again.