By Skylar Ribotsky and Corey Ribotsky
Over the past couple of years, we have watched as Americans have become more and more divisive, and as a result, we have seen events and or issues that shouldn’t be political at all, becoming politicized. This has led to the inability in this country for our leaders and everyday citizens alike to sit down at a table with those we disagree with to try to resolve an issue on things that truly matter. Most importantly on things that need the attention of our leaders more than anything else. At the forefront of issues that our leaders have failed to put their ideological differences aside to handle are school shootings, which have ravaged our country time and time again.
This week, at the Robb Elementary School, in Uvalde, Texas, an eighteen-year-old opened fire, murdering, nineteen fourth graders along with two teachers. You see, every time American children are murdered in their classrooms or the halls of their schools, it is a devastating day in America. Such horrific occurrences spark conversation on both sides of the aisle but unfortunately, nothing of substance ever gets done.
We cannot help but remember the devastation that was felt across our nation on December 14th, 2012, when Adam Lanza entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and murdered twenty-, six- and seven-year-old children, as well as seven teachers. How could you even begin to rationalize the evil that it takes to walk into a building that is filled with the purest innocence, and to strip all of those that were there that day of the hope and wonder of childhood? As well as strip every American of the naivete and innocence that our youngest citizens are safe in their classrooms.
Though, unfortunately, no real change occurred after the massacre at Sandy Hook. The shooting yesterday at Robb Elementary School is the deadliest school shooting since the one at Sandy Hook, and again, our youngest citizens were the direct targets of the truest sense of evil. The inability of our elected officials to sit down and figure this out years ago has made it impossible for the children in Uvalde, Texas, to be simple children.
As a society, that has witnessed children and loved ones slaughtered needlessly in their elementary school, we must once and for all stand up to the political forces over firearms and say, enough is quite enough. What do you say to someone who dropped their kids off at school in the morning and never saw them again? It is time for our leaders to sit down together and put their political beliefs aside, to focus on the actual issue at hand protecting our children, in actuality, it’s quite simple.
The fact that an eighteen-year-old can enter an elementary school with an AR-15, in a tactical vest, especially after all the school shootings that have become the tale of our lives here in America, is a huge issue in itself. It has been around 23 years since the massacre at Columbine high school, which was really the start of mass shootings in a school setting. What we cannot wrap our heads around is the fact that after twenty-three years, you can so easily enter a school building and take the lives of students and teachers alike. In this specific school shooting, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde Texas, the perpetrator, Salvador Ramos, killed his grandmother and crashed his car outside the elementary school in a nearby ditch, where he was met by school law enforcement officers, whom he began shooting at, all while proceeding to make his way into the elementary school with a loaded semi-automatic rifle.
In addition to this, it has been revealed since the shooting, that Ramos made posts on social media about his guns, which he is said to have purchased just days before he murdered nineteen children and two teachers. It has further been revealed that he had a rather interesting correspondence with a seemingly random female on Instagram direct messages, which began because he tagged her account in a photo of his guns and asked that she repost it so he could possibly get more followers or likes to his page. Now you see, this female seemingly confused and frightened engaged in some ongoing conversation with Ramos. First, she explained to him that she did not understand what his account or his guns had to do with her, a stranger from California. Though as the days passed and the conversation continued, Ramos seemed to want to confess something to this stranger. Early Tuesday morning Ramos messaged this woman stating, “I’m about to…,” and when she pressed him for answers asking, “about to what?” Ramos responded, “I’ll tell you before eleven,” and he made it very clear that she must answer when he sent her the next message. A bit later in the morning, Ramos messaged the female again via Instagram, stating, “I have a little secret I want to tell you…be thankful I tagged you,” which he followed up with a smiley face emoji, to which the woman replied, “no, it’s just scary, I barely know you and you tag me in a picture with some guns?” The last message Salvador Ramos sent to this woman stated, “I’m going out,” which he sent around 9:16 am.
Though this random woman from Instagram wasn’t the only one Ramos spoke to about his plans for the day on Tuesday…a fifteen-year-old young girl from Germany has come forward, speaking to CNN about her contact with Salvador Ramos. For starters, she describes that they had met online, facetimed regularly for many weeks, with Ramos even telling her that he loved her and that he was planning on visiting her in Germany. On Tuesday morning Ramos texted this fifteen-year-old girl complaining that his grandma was so annoying because she was on the phone with AT&T, six minutes later he texted the girl back stating, “I just shot my grandma in her head,” and then maybe one second after that he stated in another text, “Ima go shoot up an elementary school right now.” Furthermore, while, many have stated that there weren’t many warning signs that aren’t necessarily the case, while most of them were more ‘private’ than necessarily a huge public display.
Now you must understand we here at The Ribotsky Institute come to you with a unique perspective, being that we are of different ages and have had vastly different life experiences growing up. Writing this right now, I recognize that my anger is not adequate to that of a parent who fears sending their children to school, rather my anger comes from the fact that I, myself have grown up and been raised in a group of Americans that are often referred to as “the school shooting generation.” I was born into a country reshaped by the 1999 events at Columbine High School, and more frequently than fire drills, my childhood was filled with ‘active shooter drills’ where we had to sit under some blue tape because apparently, the shooter wouldn’t be able to see us from their vantage point where we were sitting. Which of course made no rational sense at the time.
While school shootings were something that I was incredibly aware of, it wasn’t until my freshman year of high school, that the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida took place, killing seventeen students and teachers, that my entire world completely changed. All of the sudden in the days and weeks following we were having real conversations in our classrooms and with school administrators as a student body, about what we could do. Lawmakers did have a dialogue with people our age, but not much really transpired out of it which is a shame, as some good thought processes came out of our discussions and debates.
The fact that our leaders cannot get over themselves after nineteen ten-year-olds were murdered in their school is unjust, inhumane, and furthermore, morally reprehensible. Remember, guns don’t kill people on their own it takes a mentally irrational human being to use one on defenseless children. Shame on our society and the law enforcement personnel who stumbled over themselves waiting for a key to a room when children were needlessly slaughtered on your watch. Our society has failed massively here and innocent children have paid the price.