Earlier this week, 19 children and two teachers were killed in Texas after a young man went on a rampage with an assault rifle he had just bought a week earlier, after his 18th birthday.
The gunman, Salvador Ramos, shot his grandmother before proceeding to Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. The husband of one of the teachers, who had died saving students, also died of a heart attack days after the shooting. The couple leaves behind four children.
Ramos was killed by cops about an hour after he had opened fire.
Many issues surround this latest bout of violence: the relatively easy way to buy a gun, the effects of bullying and being bullied on a person’s psyche, and the police’s perceived slow response to the crisis, among others.
This incident will be talked about for days to come, but it is not the first of its kind and it will certainly not be the last.
Unfortunately, the far-reaching consequences of gun regulations will be on the public’s consciousness only for as long as no newer incident trumps the reports of shooting in the media. Many people are advocating for expanded background checks and higher age of access to firearms.
There are also no clear-cut answers for why a person snaps and turns against strangers for his unresolved issues. Finally, the parents of the students are taking the police to task for not acting decisively, waiting for reinforcements before pursuing the shooter. They could have prevented the deaths of many.
But while the world’s attention is currently trained on this tragic incident in the US, let us also not forget the many other incidents of which we may not even be aware, or to which we may have become desensitized.
We refer to victims of violence and conflict in other countries that do not get media coverage, and to the continued crisis in the Ukraine as Russia invades it.
We refer, too, to those here in our own country whose suffering and death from unnatural causes are not even reported or even acknowledged.
It’s always a sobering reminder that what we know of the world is not all there is to know—and grieve—about it.