12 months after the tragic Uvalde school shooting, which took the lives of 19 children and two adults, parents are remembering their fallen loved ones and advocating for change.
The approaches to dealing with grief and loss are numerous amongst the families. Many have built makeshift memories of the fallen students, ones which they keep pristine to this day. The shooting remains fresh in their minds, as well as the blowback shortly thereafter.
On May 12th of last year, Salvador Ramos, 18, shot his Grandmother, stole her pickup truck, crashed the truck into a ditch near Robb Elementary, and made his way into the building practically undeterred. For nearly an hour, Ramos stalked the halls of the elementary school, killing students and adults with rifles he was able to purchase legally, having no criminal record or mental health concerns on his record.
Along with an already contentious conversation around gun control and reform present in the media and public consciousness, the shooting also highlighted issues among law enforcement, as nearly 400 law enforcement officers were brought together to stop the shooting. Yet, an intervention was delayed as children died. A lack of leadership, poor communication, and poor training seemed to be the reasoning for the failed response, even though local police had recently received new tactical gear and training for situations such as the one they encountered that morning.
Following the incident, lawsuits were filed, and police chief Pedro Arredondo, whose lack of clear commands and following a procedure prolonged the time leading to a siege, was relieved of duty, and investigations have been ongoing.
Many of the parents of the victims on that day have gone on to become advocates for new legislation when it comes to gun control. Some of the main items they have collectively pushed for are: raising the age limit to buy a gun to 21 legally; safe storage measures; red flag laws that would prevent the purchase of guns by those deemed mentally unwell; as well as more background checks.
However, most gun legislation in Texas has stalled in the courts, as many GOP lawmakers argue that the proposed reforms would not have prevented the tragedy that rocked the small community.