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USHLI Statement on Uvalde Shooting

The shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas was heartless and totally preventable. On his 18th birthday, the shooter bought the weapons he would need to carry out this atrocity. He most likely knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to kill – Hispanics.

Robb Elementary has a little less than 600 students, 90% of whom are Hispanic. Almost 9% are white, and all the rest, 1.5%, are a combination of Black, multiracial, Asian, and Pacific Islander students.

Eighty-four percent of the students receive a free or reduced lunch, 25% are reading proficient, and 29% are math proficient. Their test scores last year were well below the state average, as well as their progress. 

While the student-teacher ratio is 17-1, 35% of the teachers have two or fewer years of experience.

Americans are obsessed with guns. We have a population of 330 million people. Not all of them own guns, but those who do own 400 million guns. We are 4% of the world’s population and own 42% of all weapons, ranging from AK-47 assault rifles to 22 pistols.

In Texas, which has suffered two mass shootings involving Mexican victims in the past two years, 22 were shot and killed in El Paso and, at last count, there were 21 killed including 19 children and two teachers who were killed while trying to shield the children. 

Over 240 children have been shot and killed in our schools this year. Our leaders only utter useless and meaningless words about their “thoughts and prayers” and sweep these attacks under the mental health rug. Look at Texas, for example, the state legislature recently passed a bill making it unnecessary to undergo a background check, get any training, or even get a license to buy a weapon. If you can prove you own a gun, you can register to vote, but if all you have is a student ID from an educational institution but don’t own a gun, you can’t register to vote! 

No one wants to blame anyone for our obsession with guns, which might in itself be a form of mental illness, but spineless elected officials, on both sides of the aisle, with no cojones are the ones passing senseless bills weaponizing society and state executives can’t wait to sign the inevitable reign of terror into law. There’s your problem. If we arm ourselves with ballots, we can and should throw these cowards out in the next election.

About USHLI

The mission of the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute (USHLI) is to fulfill the promises and principles of democracy by promoting education and leadership development, empowering Latinos and similarly disenfranchised groups through civic engagement and research, and by maximizing participation in the electoral process. 
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