T he quest for a purposeful and meaningful life is inborn. Everybody wants to leave a lasting legacy behind. But the question is, what is that remembrance? For example, Salvador Ramos, who went on that horrible killing spree a few days ago demonstrated the desperate measures some of us take, such as the use of guns and killings, to show we belong, and to demonstrate how greed, power, and failure to recognize when faulty supremacy clouds judgment.
In excellent articles posted in CNN and the New York Times, they outline what took place during that horrible incident, when Salvador Ramos killed 19 kids and two teachers.
Below is a condensed version at the time of the shooting
According to reports, Ramos was said to have brought two AR platform rifles to a local federal firearms licensee, which consisted of 375 rounds of ammunition.
He shot his grandmother and left the house
Reports show that before Ramos went to the elementary school, he became irritated at his grandmother for talking to the telephone company AT&T about his phone. Ramos is believed to have told a young girl via text that his grandmother’s behavior was “annoying.” A few minutes later, Ramos told the young girl via text that “I just shot my grandma in her head.” He then allegedly said he planned to head to Robb Elementary school. After shooting his grandmother, Ramos was said to have fled with her car before crashing it.
The horrible events of the shootings
On Tuesday, May 24, at 11:27 a.m.: A video shows a teacher propped open a teacher, and that is where it was presumed Ramos entered. Ramos begins shooting into a classroom in which he fired off “at least” 100 rounds. By the time officers showed up, there were seven of them. Bullets hit three officers, but they were not killed. Reports show Ramos shot 16 rounds a few minutes later.
The school’s urgent response
At this point, Robb Elementary announces on Facebook that it’s under lockdown status “due to gunshots in the area,” adding that “the students and staff are safe in the building.” At this point, reports indicate that the officers on the scene radioed for further aid, which included additional resources, equipment, body armor, and negotiators. At that point, around 19 officers made their way into the school’s hallway. At about 12:17 p.m.: Robb Elementary announces on Facebook that there is an active shooter at the school, and authorities are at the scene. Ramos was said to have had 1,657 rounds of ammunition, and at best 315 of them were inside the school.
12:50 p.m.: Law enforcement entered the locked classroom door using keys from a janitor where they shot and killed Ramos.
19 children and two teachers were killed.
During my findings, I learned that at least three people were killed and injured two in a shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in October of 2021. The shooting happened on a Tuesday night at a home near the 600th block of 40th Place, according to NBC affiliate WTMJ-TV of Milwaukee. Then on March 16, 2021, killings struck again when eight people were killed and one wounded at three Atlanta-area spas…It kept me wondering if this is the legacy?
The sporadic shooting and use of guns have brought fear to nation after nation. This anxiety affects our mental health and well-being, and ultimately leaves many of us with the trauma and reality that one day for no reason, we all face the reality that death by violence could be a few feet away.
And sadly, despite what the news might portray, violence by death isn’t connected to one specific racial group or economic social group.
Find common ground
Unity is a strong bond that holds families, communities, and nations. Clearly, acts such as the one that Ramos and others before him, show how a lack of disconnect within our communities plays a major role in any type of violence. I am not only talking about communities of color, gender, etc., but also about populations that involve professionals such as social workers, doctors, teachers, etc.
Now, undoubtedly, race plays a major role in our lack of connection. After all, we know that in the United States of America, skin color has divided many individuals. For example, many white folks see themselves as superior to other skin colors. And it’s a proven fact that they are better protected in many cases. But still, yet, this does not apply to all white people. Therefore, for those who do not prescribe that way of thinking, a powerful message they can send is that violence of any kind will not be tolerated toward a different class of people. And this also goes for many minorities. They took have to address the ongoing violence within their communities, which often glorify each other’s killings.
Addressing mental health issues
As part of the killings in Texas, although Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said a “mental health challenge” had played a role in the massacre, it’s been reported that Romas had no known criminal history or mental health issues. Still yet, absent of criminal history, just because it wasn’t documented that he suffered from a mental illness, that doesn’t mean anything.
However, Jill Cook, the executive director of the American School Counselor Association, told Melissa Chan and Elizabeth Chuck that blaming mental health troubles for violent behavior isn’t that easy.
“We can do all the things we can to help students, but at the end of the day, if a student has the notion to go shoot up a school and has access to the weapons to do that, I’m not sure any measures that may or may not have taken place would necessarily prevent it.” She added, “If somebody comes to a door with a semiautomatic weapon,” Cook said, “that’s it then.”
Although this might be the case, we know that people with mental health difficulties who are untreated are more likely to engage in violence frequently. In addition, there are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness, and researchers say an estimated 44 million Americans suffer from some form of mental disorder in a given year. Most often than not, we know that according to Mental Health America, those struggling with some form of mental health condition experience:
Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
Feelings of extreme highs and lows
Excessive fears, worries, and anxieties
Strong feelings of anger
Strange thoughts (delusions)
Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
Defiance of authority, truancy, theft, and/or vandalism
Prolonged negative mood, often accompanied by poor appetite or thoughts of death.
The Canadian system for controlling weapons is a stand-out strategy to take note of:
Although I am not suggesting that this system is the only effective way, at best it is a start. Here are just a few key points of the Canadian gun control:
The new legislation provides practical, targeted and measured steps to help keep Canadians safe:
- Help ensure people with a history of violence are not granted a license to own firearms through expanded background checks that consider the applicant’s lifetime history, not just the preceding five years;
- Help keep firearms out of the wrong hands by requiring sellers to verify the validity of a firearms license before selling a non-restricted firearm;
- Help police trace guns used in crimes by requiring businesses to keep point-of-sale records for non-restricted firearms;
- Require authorization to transport restricted and prohibited firearms to locations other than the range (e.g. gunsmith, gun show, etc.) through strengthened transportation requirements; and,
- Safeguard the impartial classification of firearms by putting the responsibility in the hands of technical experts, who make these determinations based on the Criminal Code.
But most importantly, the best way to handle gun violence is to treat mental health issues, increase interpersonal awareness, build a community of solitary and help kids learn from an early age to answer what legacy are they hoping to leave for your generation to come?