Shooter at Robb Elementary School exhibited warning signs, nobody took action
Newtown, Conn. — Tuesday, an 18-year-old man opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, killing at least 19 students and two teachers, the deadliest school shooting since the attack at Sandy Hook Elementary School. According to the Gun Violence Archive, the U.S. is averaging more than one mass shooting per day; more than 200 so far this year.
Robb Elementary School is located in a largely Hispanic/Latinx community. Analysis of recent CDC data underscores the disproportionate impact of gun violence on Black, Indigenous and people of color communities nationwide.
As the investigation continues, key warning signs have emerged that preceded the attack:
- The shooter posted messages on social media indicating that he was going to shoot his grandmother and at an elementary school. He also posted cryptic messages along with photos of the two automatic weapons he purchased, just hours before the shootings.
- The shooter reportedly was angry because he would not be able to graduate with his high school class and, according to his grandfather and other sources, the shooter had a troubled home life and was withdrawn — spending hours alone and isolated in his room.
- Friends said the shooter was bullied in middle school. Friends also report that the shooter harmed himself (cutting) and indicated that he wanted to join the Marines “so he could kill people.” (Source)
Taken individually, warning signs may not directly correlate to a mass shooting, but those exhibited by the Robb Elementary School shooter point to someone who was clearly at risk of harming themselves or others. Warning signs like those offer an opportunity to interrupt violence and must be taken seriously by acting immediately to get help.
Reversing the epidemic of gun violence plaguing our nation requires a holistic approach that combines (1) community awareness of warning signs and how to effectively intervene, (2) research on root causes and effective upstream prevention strategies, and (3) sensible gun safety policy.
“Call on your elected officials to pass commonsense legislation now that protects the safety and lives of children. This can be done while upholding second amendment rights,” said Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden, co-founders and CEOs of Sandy Hook Promise, who each had a son killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy, in a statement issued in response to the Robb Elementary School shootings.
Gun violence is a public health epidemic and no community is immune. Prevention should not be a partisan issue. Proven, evidence-based policies that help prevent mass shootings include:
Many states offer families the option of temporarily transferring firearms from persons who may be in crisis. Policies like this (aka “red flag,” ERPOs, or Crisis Aversion and Rights Retention laws) help prevent gun violence and suicide while protecting an individual’s 2nd Amendment rights. It is critical that states that have these in place invest in ensuring communities know when and how to use this vital, life-safety tool.
Closing loopholes in our background checks system would help prevent the sale of firearms to individuals who are prohibited from possessing them. This includes those currently sold “stranger-to-stranger” both online and in person.
Because there are currently no federal restrictions on the sale of military-style assault rifles nor on the number of rounds they can fire, civilians have been able to purchase these guns to carry out our nation’s deadliest mass shootings. The Sandy Hook shooter fired 154 bullets, killing 20 first-graders and six educators in less than five minutes.
Gun violence is not inevitable. It is preventable. Know the signs. Say something. And demand our leaders take action now to advance policies that make our schools, homes and communities safer.
“Now is the time to take bold action,” said Barden and Hockley. “As a country, how much longer can we stand by while innocent children continue to be killed?”
About the Sandy Hook Promise Action Fund: The Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) Action Fund is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization committed to protecting all children from gun violence in schools, homes, and communities. The SHP Action Fund advances a holistic policy platform that promotes gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education. The organization works at the state and federal level to pass nonpartisan legislation through inclusive partnerships, diverse grassroots education, and community mobilization. It is part of Sandy Hook Promise, founded and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.
Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579