When news spread about the shooting at Timberview High School, I held my breath like many other parents in Texas. It was even harder to realize that some would have to face the one thing that no parent wants to hear: that your child has been hurt or, even worse, has become a statistic in the hundreds of school shootings that happen every year. While the details surrounding this particular incident are still unfolding with some talks of this being an issue of bullying gone wrong, it still brings up the bigger problem of how these troubled kids are able to get guns in the first place.
The saddest part of the whole situation is this shooting is like so many others that have become routine in Americans’ lives. No matter how common it has become, this isn’t at all normal. Neither is the anguish these families go through that will continue to be devastating for years to come. Too many children, teachers, and school employees have been hurt or died in past shootings. The grim reality that all the schools face now is how easy it is for anyone to have access to guns in many states, especially in Texas.
There needs to be an honest conversation about the role that government plays in creating laws for gun control and safety, yet many Republicans have done the exact opposite and have been catering to their extremist following that believes their rights to bear arms is the most important thing above all else.
Much evidence of that is shown in how our current GOP all have similar responses to each school shooting. Usually, that speech includes sending their thoughts and prayers to the victims’ families. In the same breath, most of them tend to also gloss over any accountability they have in enabling these many tragedies. This atrocious behavior extends from the GOP leadership down to our local representatives.
A prime example of this in Texas is Gov. Greg Abbott’s message after the Timberview shooting:
“As law enforcement continues their investigation, our hearts go out to the victims of this senseless act of violence. Thank you to the law enforcement officers and first responders who arrived on the scene to help the victims and prevent further violence. I have spoken with the mayor of Arlington and offered any assistance the state can provide, and I have directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to make state resources available to help bring the criminal to justice. I ask all Texans to join [wife] Cecilia and me in praying for the victims, their families, and the entire Timberview High School community.”
In the above statement, not once does Abbott ever mention any actual gun policy change to help this from happening again. He especially doesn’t acknowledge the passing of his new permitless gun carry law that directly affects Texans’ ability to easily access guns more than ever.
Sen. Ted Cruz has also echoed similar sentiments and never touched on the actual issues that have led to the increase in school shootings throughout the state and country.
It is apparent that these politicians’ thoughts and prayers are not enough anymore. We must also hold our government to a higher standard. They must provide better laws, policy change, and gun regulations to our state and country. Our students, parents, and school faculties deserve better than just a familiar script of empty promises without any real changes ever being made.
This letter reflects the opinions of the author and not the Fort Worth Weekly. To submit a letter, please email Editor Anthony Mariani at Anthony@FWWeekly.com. Letters will be gently edited for factuality and clarity.