NAME Statement on Robb Elementary School Massacre & Gun Violence in USThe National Association for Multicultural Education (NAME) stands with those who are beyond frustrated, pained, angered, and traumatized by gun violence, particularly after the May 24 mass shooting at Robb Elementary School that left 19 children and two teachers dead in Uvalde, Texas. We are beyond writing statements, holding moments of silence, and calling for policy reforms.
These senseless killings recur so often that the nation goes through a new age Kubler-Ross stages of grief. But instead of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, each mass shooting hits with:
- Shock — that another school, theater, business, concert or other public space has been targeted by a man armed with military grade weapons;
- Tearful sadness — Over the lives lost in bloody carnage, those further affected by the physical and emotional wounds, and those who re-experience vicarious trauma;
- Cycles of Normalization— As endless news reports create an overwhelming sense of helplessness to do anything other than grieve and be traumatized;
- Empathy — For children, parents, schools and communities, most of which already experience disproportionate racist, sexist, and heterosexist assaults;
- Expected sympathy — From the president, governor and other outsider politicians who visit the affected and continue onto the next episode;
- Organizing outcry — As calls for gun control and gun safety cycle anew, only to fail to achieve any semblance of control, while larger issues of rage and trauma remain unaddressed;
- Anger — Because we have been here before, and as memory of horror fades into overwhelming impossibility, we know full well the next is just around the corner, starting the gun stages of grief over again.
The killings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde follow the May 14 racially motivated slayings of 10 Black people at the supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. On April 12, a gunman opened fire on a New York City subway, wounding 23 people. The grim list like blood bursting from a bullet wound goes on and on.
People in the United States own more firearms than anywhere else on the planet. Americans possess 393.3 million firearms. That’s 120.5 guns per 100 residents. Perhaps if people knew the ugly root of the gun lobby’s precious Second Amendment, they would not tolerate inaction over gun laws. Carol Anderson writes in the “Self-Defense” chapter of The 1619 Project that:
One of the purposes of the Second Amendment’s “well-regulated militia” was to suppress uprisings of the enslaved. Though it did not explicitly say so, the Second Amendment was motivated in large part by a need for the new federal government to assure white people in the South that they would be able to defend themselves against Black people.
This also may be why many advocates of racism want to outlaw The 1619 Project’s use in schools to better educate children about America’s past. But with this knowledge, NAME knows that with slavery having been abolished with the December 6, 1865, ratification of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, that there no longer is a need for the Second Amendment and such unchecked purchase and ownership of firearms.
NAME also knows that curbing the gun proliferation problem is not enough to transform from the causes of violent masculinity that continues its rageful ways, but gun safety is one logical step. The deeper conversation, about how we heal from the toxic violence that the US fosters around the world, is one NAME advocates. Given ongoing attacks against educators, against social justice movements, NAME encourages investment in schools as a way to prepare youth to survive and transform from violence to healing love. Only with sustained, elevated efforts to transform schooling into healing can we adopt the motto Jews worldwide used after the Holocaust — NEVER AGAIN!