Statement on the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas

My generation was prepared for events like what happened in Uvalde today. In elementary and middle school we were taught to huddle together with the lights out in a corner away from the door; as if the potential assailant would somehow believe that no one was in school today. In high school we were told to fight back. To barricade the door by whatever means necessary. To throw books and computers and anything else at the attacker. One teacher even kept a metal bar used for science demonstrations by the door in case the dreaded day would come. We were taught to be prepared for events that luckily we never faced.

Our society has put all the responsibility on the kids and teachers to protect themselves. We need to do better. We need to expand our gun laws to ensure that those flagged by law enforcement and mental health professionals cannot purchase these weapons. I say this as someone that grew up hunting and shooting guns, as someone that is a responsible gun owner. Yes, there are responsible gun owners, but this cannot mean that we ignore the reality and harms happening in front of us. We need to ensure each gun purchased involves a thorough background check. We need a mental health system that can find and treat all those that are a danger to themselves and others.

Students and educators need our support. It is time we step up to do what clearly needs to be done.

Joey Van Deurzen