Op-ed: From a Texan Teenager: Dear Texas Lawmakers, You Have Failed us

by | May 31, 2022 | Gun violence, Opinion

As I am writing this, 21 people are dead – 19 children, two teachers. The Uvalde tragedy was the 27th school shooting this year. Parents went home to their children’s haunting empty beds. Teachers died protecting their students. Kids across the country wondered if they could be next. Children screamed, while lawmakers sat silently in actionless prayer. 

I attended Texas public schools all my life. I have been through countless active shooter drills. I knew where to hide in every classroom I was in. I had a mental plan in case a gunman entered my school. I, as a child, was forced to prepare for the idea that a deranged person with weapon could enter my place of education with the sole intent to murder innocent children and teachers. 

That experience is not unusual or rare. It is the experience of every single child that walks the halls of schools in America. Everyday millions of parents wave their children off to the school bus knowing that there is a chance it will be the last time they see them. After Sandy Hook, parents begged lawmakers to stop these entirely preventable deaths. After Parkland, millions of children protested and marched, pleading for basic gun control compromise. 

All we asked for is to be able to attend school without the impending fear of being gunned down by a semi-automatic weapon. Do you not see how twisted that is? Children marching in the streets, children calling legislators, children imploring adults to do their jobs. It is a terrible thing to beg for your life. To beg adults for protection and be provided none. To wonder if your school is next. 

We were not met with compassion from our leaders, but instead were stabbed in the back by lawmakers’ craven desire for power. We trusted those who were elected to protect us, but they remain in the pocket of the gun lobby, scared shitless to step one toe out of line. 

Only one year ago, Greg Abbott signed seven bills into law surrounded by representatives of the National Rifle Association, including a bill that allows Texans to carry guns without a license to carry. Texas Republicans have repeatedly made it easier for Texans to acquire guns, in the face of mass tragedies occurring under their noses. They have repeatedly shown that they simply do not care about the innocent lives of Texas children. They have claimed that the solution is to “harden” schools and arm teachers, dismissing the fact that Robb Elementary school in Uvalde was in fact subject to “hardening” in 2020 which failed to protect the lives of the 19 children and 2 teachers shot dead.

Texas lawmakers are willing to sacrifice 9-year-old children for their guns and their power. They would rather ask teachers to lay down their lives than pass common sense gun reform. They are prioritizing the money-backed voices of the NRA lobbyists over the screams of parents that have lost their child. 

How many more lives are we willing to lose? How many more tiny bodies are we going to bury? To Republican lawmakers, I speak directly to you: You have failed us. You have failed this country, this state, and your own children and grandchildren. This is on you

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