TEHRAN (Iran News) – Another mass shooting at a U.S. school has left the country in a state of shock, grief, and anger at the bloodshed of 21 victims.
The lone gunman, identified as an 18-year-old, stormed the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, where he launched the bloody rampage.
The indiscriminate shooting spree murdered 19 children and two teachers, making the massacre the deadliest school shooting in the state’s history and the deadliest in the United States over the last decade.
The school caters to children who were in their third and fourth grade, meaning many of the victims, the majority of whom have been identified, are between the ages of seven and ten.
One of the two teachers murdered has also been identified as Eva Mireles, who had spent 17 years teaching fourth graders at the school.
The state’s Senator says four people have sustained injuries with some in critical condition.
University Health, the medical facility caring for two patients who are in critical condition has said another 10-year-old girl is in its care but is in a “good condition”. Also, a nine-year-old girl has been admitted and is in a “fair condition”.
Reports say among the injuries is a fourth-grade teacher, who is expected to survive after undergoing “intense surgery”.
The shooter, armed with two military-style rifles, was confronted and gunned down by police at the scene, after going from classroom to classroom sparking terror among children and teachers.
Authorities say the motive for the attack was not immediately clear and it is believed that he acted alone.
Investigators say the attacker had a handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with high-capacity magazines. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said that two officers were struck by gunfire, though the governor noted their injuries were not serious.
The massacre took place on the last week of the school year and parents made long desperate attempts to find their children, begging authorities for information as they waited for hours outside in the parking area. Some were asked to give DNA samples to help identify the young victims.
Speaking to American news outlets, Mrs. Arizmendia said “It’s like a horror movie, If it’s not our kid, it’s someone we know. It’s our neighbors.”
The school district superintendent Hal Harrell, said “my heart is broken today… we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
The latest shooting comes just a week after a white gunman killed ten Black Americans in a “racially motivated attack” at a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly black community.
The United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres said “I’m deeply saddened by the heinous mass shooting at an elementary school in Texas. It is particularly heart-wrenching that most of the victims are children.”
Pope Francis said he is “heartbroken” at the news and called for action.
“I pray for the children and the adults who were killed and for their families. It is time to say ‘enough’ to the indiscriminate trafficking of weapons. Let us all make a commitment so that tragedies like this cannot happen again,” he said.
The shooting; ten years after the Sandy elementary school massacre in Sandy Hook, Connecticut when a gunman killed 20 children and six adults has sparked angry outbursts from different sectors of American society about the urgent need to reform gun regulations.
Democrat Senator Chris Murphy made an emotional speech where he pointed out that these massacres only occur in the United States.
“This isn’t inevitable. These kids weren’t unlucky. This only happens in this country and nowhere else,” It is a choice. It is our choice to let it continue.”
He strongly slammed the Republicans who claim the problem arises from mental illness and that firearms themselves are not the problem saying “spare me the bulls**t about mental illness, we don’t have any more mental illness than any other country in the world.”
He added “we’re not an outlier on mental illness… We’re an outlier when it comes to access to firearms and the ability of criminals and very sick people to get their arms on firearms. That’s what makes America different.”
Murphy, who represented the district where the Sandy Hook massacre took place pleaded with Republicans to help Democrats pass gun reform legislation.
“I am here on this floor to beg, to literally get down on my hands and knees to beg my colleagues: find a path forward here,” he said.
Despite the pleas by Murphy and the many other similar reactions that have poured in, very little is expected to change.
The deadliest school shooting in the U.S. was an attack on Virginia Tech in 2007. The eleven-minute rampage killed 32 people and injured dozens more.
Following the latest massacre, Republican leaders in Texas have faced intense scrutiny for their longstanding opposition to gun control measures and their push to expand gun rights. Over the past few years, some of the most deadliest mass shootings in the country have taken place in the state.
The state’s governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz are scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) annual convention in Houston. A powerful gun lobby in the American congress.
This weekend, the NRA is expected to host its annual meeting as planned in Houston, which would be just days after the deadly school shooting. An estimated 55,000 people are expected to be in attendance.
U.S. President Joe Biden asked, “when, in God’s name, are we going to stand up to the gun lobby.”
Judging by the regular massacres in the U.S., the answer to that question appears to be never.
It also displays a level of weakness and lack of leadership on the part of U.S. Presidents who try to take on the gun lobbies but are unable to do so, whereby they can invade countries thousands of miles away, killing innocent children on the other side of the world.
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has also taken to social media to express his shock at the shooting but he refrained from mentioning anything about the urgent need for gun reform.
Reacting to the news, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, says her country’s quick change to gun laws following its 2019 terrorist attack where 51 Muslims were killed by a white supremacist at a Mosque was a “pragmatic” response, where “we saw something that wasn’t right and we acted on it.”
Last year, the FBI recorded the highest ever mass “active shooting” incidents on record and a 52 percent increase from the previous year.
Attacks in 2021, spread across 30 states according to the report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Mass shootings in America have frequently led to public protests and calls for stricter background checks on gun sales and other firearm controls which are very common in other countries, but such measures have repeatedly failed in the face of strong Republican-led opposition.
According to a University of Michigan research letter published in the New England Journal of Medicine, last month firearms became the leading cause of death for U.S. children and adolescents starting in 2020, surpassing motor vehicle accidents.
The deadly trend of gun violence doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon, with a record number of firearms and ammunition on the streets of the United States.