Despite the many condolences and tears over the Uvalde disaster, remarkably few have questioned the public’s role in enabling the 18-year-old Salvador Ramos’ massacre of 21 people. His crime comes on the heels of 230 other mass shootings this year alone. Why do we, the public, not demand changes to prevent the next mass murder? One excuse: it's complicated.
20 different things determine the course of a spacecraft. Twenty different things determine the course of a shooter in the United States of Good Intentions and Blame the Other.
However, a common thread runs through the causes. Salvador Ramos, according to multiple press reports, was raised by parents and grandparents with a variety of drug addictions and run-ins with the law. He had stopped attending high school shortly before his class’s graduation. Like the gun-obsessed 18-year-old shooter in the Buffalo, NY massacre just 10 days earlier, he announced his intentions on social media.
This was a young man who fell under the radar. Why? Because American radar is not directed at the welfare of our children. It is directed at warfare in foreign lands and at the shaky balloon of financial and real estate markets. In many other countries, abuse and neglect of children are detected early and addressed to prevent society from being burdened with troublesome and impaired adults. No such concerns have been raised by our leaders in the wake of the Buffalo and Uvalde teen shooters. Few, if any, legislators find these circumstances a reason to reconsider our laissez-faire child welfare system.
Sadly, we have had much evidence to profile one result of our laissez-faire system. Most of the mass shooters have been on the cusp of adulthood--from 18 to 23. 10 out of 11 of them in the past decade chose the AR-15 with its exploding bullets to wreak the maximum havoc on innocent victims. School children, especially, suffer the most from the exploding bullets in their small bodies.
Two factors seem to characterize the young mass murderers: toxic environments, such as lead-poisoned homes, and society-family neglect. In retrospect, the abuse or neglect they experienced as children must have brought them to the point where they could see no future for themselves. In a jealous rage, they exacted vengeance on lucky children who are loved and would have a bright future.
Blame for the deteriorating condition of the country has been deflected. Enemies are a convenient reason for our decline. War is a great distraction. If shooting people abroad distracts the voters, why not, for a desperate teen, shooting people here at home?
The Green Party stands for racial and economic justice. We stand for justice for the children of Uvalde and for the children who fall between the crack of our very limited public health system.
In the end, it is only us, the people, who can bring healing and protection to our nation and our public spaces.