Responding to the Robb Elementary School Shooting: Resource List
It’s Joss’s last week of first grade. I was planning on writing a nice, end-of-year wrap-up post, and then the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, happened. It was already a fairly difficult year, dealing with separation anxiety, etc. But what a sobering, heart-wrenching end. Especially so close on the heels of the grocery store shooting in Buffalo, NY, and the shooting at the Irvine Taiwanese Presbyterian church in California.
I probably don’t have anything new to say, so wanted to share some resources and quotes that I’ve found particularly powerful:
From @theconciouskid, quoting @ZaraRahim: “insane how the only notable change since Sandy Hook is that kids are now formally trained to hide, barricade doors, fight, or run for their lives. that was the solution. to literally put the responsibility on them to figure it out and wish them luck.”
From @nasoncraig: “Columbine survivor here. My oldest son just finished his first year of college. This is America. There is no end in sight for the steady cadence of mass gun violence we seem unwilling to ever address. A reality my peers could not have imagined on our worst day in April 1999.”
From @amandasgorman: “It takes a monster to kill children. But to watch monsters kill children again and again and do nothing isn’t just insanity–it’s inhumanity.”
From @pink (original source unknown): “Let’s take a moment to honor the sacrifice of our brave school children who lay down their lives to protect our right to bear arms.”
From @hillaryclinton: “Thoughts and prayers are not enough. After years of nothing else, we are becoming a nation of anguished screams. We simply need legislators willing to stop the scourge of gun violence in America that is murdering our children.”
The common thread to all of the above quotes is, of course, that this has been going on for FAR too long. And the frustration of knowing that people want solutions, of having available solutions, and STILL not seeing progress.
According to a CNN article by Paul LeBlanc, “The [Robb Elementary] shooting is the latest entry in the long history of gun violence in the United States. Before Tuesday, there had been at least 39 shootings in K-12 schools, colleges and universities in 2022, resulting in at least 10 deaths and 51 injuries.” In 2022!! The article goes on to explain why gun legislation is unlikely to to change anytime soon. Ugh.
If you want to learn more about proposed solutions to gun violence, check out everytown.org. Everytown is “a movement of moms, dads, students, survivors, educators, gun owners, and concerned citizens working together to fight for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence.” They are connected to Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action and the Gun Sense Action Network. Their website has a LONG list of evidence-based solutions that could help keep guns out of the wrong hands and out of schools, protect communities, etc.
If you want to get more involved in this issue, this may be a place to start. “Gun Sense Action Network volunteers take action from home to drive phone calls into lawmaker’s offices and pass key legislation, or plug new supporters into the movement.” Sign up at secure.everyaction.com/RvQymTQk-E-Eyw-jFksSHg2. The have a Voter Action Team, where volunteers call constituents to help them connect with their legislators. Their Volunteer Outreach Team has volunteers call other potential volunteers. The goal is to organize them into “gun sense activists” through participation in MDA and other related events.
Mother Shannon Watts founded Moms Demand Action following the Sandy Hook tragedy. They now have chapters in every state. According to their website, “We pass stronger gun laws and work to close the loopholes that jeopardize the safety of our families. We also work in our own communities and with business leaders to encourage a culture of responsible gun ownership.”
They have an easily accessible Act Now page, as well as a Demand Action volunteer app.
Part of MDA’s dedication to educating people about responsible gun ownership is their Be SMART campaign. They did a series of Guest Blog posts for TulsaKids about this back in 2019. You can read them at:
Follow the local Moms Demand Action chapter at facebook.com/MomsDemandActionOK. Pre-pandemic, they held regular in-person meetings and other events. All Moms Demand Action meetings are currently virtual, according to the primary website.
Contact Your Elected Officials
According to everytown,org, “Oklahoma has weak gun laws. The state does not require a person to pass a criminal background check before purchasing a firearm from an unlicensed seller. State law also does not require a person to obtain a permit before carrying concealed handguns in public, meaning that a person in Oklahoma can get a handgun and carry it concealed in public without ever passing a criminal background check or taking firearm safety training.”
Each year, on average, 735 people die by gun violence in OK. We are 44th in the country for gun strength.
“Oklahoma can improve its gun laws in many ways. To become a safer state, it can repeal its recently enacted permitless carry law and enact an Extreme Risk law which would empower loved ones or law enforcement to intervene in order to temporarily prevent someone in crisis from accessing firearms.”
Read more at everytown.org/state/oklahoma.
Here are some ways to contact Oklahoma officials:
- Governor Kevin Stitt: oklahoma.gov/governor/contact.html
- Find your Legislators: oklegislature.gov/FindMyLegislature.aspx?Address=&Address2=&City=&Zip= This link allows you to find your U.S. Senate and House representatives, as well as your State Senate and House representatives.
“Hello, my name is _____. I’m a constituent from [State], zip code _______. I don’t need a response. I am concerned about the lack of a senate vote on the Bipartisan Background Checks act of 2021, H.R. 8 and the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021, H.R. 1446. I strongly encourage [your Senator] to please support a vote and the passage of these two acts. Thank you for your hard work!”
Register to Vote
How to Talk to Your Kids
This article from Common Sense media has some helpful, age-based guidelines: commonsensemedia.org/articles/how-to-talk-to-kids-about-school-shootings. Honestly, I haven’t talked with Joss about it yet because he’s got enough anxiety already. I’m worried that telling him about the Robb Elementary shooting will make him scared to go to school.
For kids his age, the article recommends asking open-ended questions. If your kid brings the shooting up, start by finding out what they know. Keep things simple. Reassure them that they are safe. Let them express themselves as needed.
Edited to add: Betty Casey also shared this good advice from savethechildren.org in 2012, following the Sandy Hook shooting: tulsakids.com/talking-to-your-kids.
That was a long post, but hopefully it was helpful. This article from NPR includes live updates about the school shooting, links to verified GoFundMe pages for the victims and more: npr.org/live-updates/uvalde-texas-school-shooting-05-25-2022.