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Parents have had to get DNA tests to see if their child was one of the victims. Photo: Allison Dinner/Getty Images

An epidemic: 19 students and two teachers killed at Texas elementary school

Tuesday's tragedy was the third mass shooting in the last 10 days in the U.S.

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In just 10 days, the country has witnessed 3 mass shootings, resulting in the deaths of around 30 people.

In the latest manifestation of domestic terrorism, a threat that school-aged children know all too well, 21 people were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.

On Tuesday, May 24, a gunman, identified by Texas officials as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, arrived at Robb Elementary School wearing all black clothing and wrapped in body armor. He jogged towards a side door of the school at 11:30 a.m, just after a mid-morning academic break. 

Moments later, he used his AR-15-style rifle on students between ages 7-10, killing 19 children and two teachers. 

When law enforcement made it to the school, Ramos was shot and killed by police. 

“He shot and killed, horrifically and incomprehensibly, 14 students and killed a teacher,” Gov. Greg Abbott said at a press conference, before additional deaths were confirmed. 

The exact number was not yet released, but multiple survivors of the shooting are being treated at local hospitals. 

Tuesday’s tragic event was yet another mass shooting targeting young students and educators at American school campuses. 

It has brought to mind many other deadly school shootings, such as the 1999 attack at Columbine High School in Colorado, the 2018 Parkland shooting in Florida, and the Santa Fe High School Shooting which occurred in the same year. 

But Tuesday’s attack has really resonated with those still mourning the loss of 20 children and six adults who were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. 

The Columbine shooting, which killed 15 students, and that was 23 years ago. Since this devastating event, not much has truly shifted in regards to the nation’s laws on gun control. 

In the first 19 weeks of 2022 alone, there have been 198 mass shootings, and in the last 10 days, there were 3. 

At least six victims have been publicly identified by family members, including 10-year-old Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, and Xavier Lopez and Amerie Jo Garza, ages 10 and 9. 

Family members also identified the two deceased teachers as Eva Mireles, a 17-year educator who taught fourth grade, and Irma Garcia, who worked at the school for over 20 years. 

Mireles’ aunt, Lydia Martinez Delgado spoke to KSAT-TV of San Antonio, expressing her rage at this reoccurring issue in the states. 

“I’m furious that these shootings continue. These children are innocent. Rifles should not be easily available to all,” Delgado said. 

To make matters worse, there are still children that remain missing and not heard from. One parent, Maria Garcia, was near the school in the early afternoon, asking a law enforcement officer about the whereabouts of her 10-year-old daughter. 

Disability activist Imani Barbarin pointed out that more often than not, in cases of shootings and other emergencies, disabled children are the last to be evacuated. 

“I speak from experience. Where are the disabled kids?” Barbarin wrote. 

Barbarin’s point is valid, and it is exactly what happened to many disabled people in Ukraine. In late February, just days after the invasion began, the United Nations warned that 2.7 million disabled Ukrainians have been “trapped or abandoned” by the war. 

So it’s quite possible that a number of these missing children are disabled and were not prioritized during the emergency evacuation process. 

But the horrors of Tuesday’s event do not end there. According to ABC News, teams of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were among the first responders at the school, as well as a ten- to 15-member “SWAT-like tactical and counter-terrorism unit.” 

Ramos was allegedly shot and killed by an ICE agent who was part of an “elite…technical group” that entered Robb Elementary School, as reported by The Washington Examiner

Other reports have suggested that the officer happened to be working nearby and hurried over to the scene on his own, without waiting for backup, with the objective of killing Ramos. 

These reports and rumors of border control agents being present at the scene of a crime in a predominantly Latinx populated region, has led many to worry for the safety and well-being of the family members affected. 

“They’re considered ‘first responders’ a whole 100 miles away from the border,” one Twitter user wrote. 

Another enraged citizen, author Claire Willet said, “I thought I was at capacity and then I realized that f***ing ICE was at the scene of the shooting and it turns out I can, in fact, get angrier.” 

According to The Telegraph, the presence of border patrol agents  in Uvalde is supposedly quite common, given that the area is home to an ICE station, and they often assist local law enforcement when needed. 

Although rumors surrounding ICE’s particular involvement in the shooting response have not been confirmed, this fiery response from social media users across the states shows that the U.S has already nurtured a deep trauma, grown from the repeated weaponization of whiteness and racialized police violence. 

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