Horror In A Small Town
Uvalde Texas, a small town with a population of a little over 15,000 and predominantly Hispanic is located in the South Texas region approximately 50 miles east of the United States-Mexico border and sits at the crossroads of the nation's two longest highways, U.S. 83 and U.S. 90. These highways go from Canada to Mexico and Florida to California. Honey from Uvalde hives was well known across the country and Uvalde was named the honey capital. A small town of citizens who dream big and take pride in their community. 
For most, routines are part of the norm. Hit the snooze on the alarm just enough times so you aren't late starting the chores of the morning. Crawl out of bed, wake the kids, make breakfast, get them off to school and start your day to accomplish all the things you need to before it's time to pick up the kids from school or meet them at the bus stop. Hearing their voices, feeling the warmth of their hugs and the coolness of their wet kisses on your cheek is at times the only things you need to make everything right in the world.
How does one go about preparing themselves to pick up the pieces after such a horrible tragedy? Why does the same nightmare keep happening all over again and how do we begin to fix this problem?
Left with so many questions and no answers, the world was stunned and heartbroken at the events that would occur on the morning of May 24, 2022, at Ross Elementary School. Nineteen students ranging in ages 9 to 11 and two teachers who taught in the same fourth-grade adjoined classrooms were killed in a senseless and pure evil act of violence at the hands of 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. Why are assault weapons sold to the public? Why would an 18-year-old need a weapon of this magnitude? One has to wonder if these questions went through the mind of the person and store that sold the weapons to this crazed gunman.
As parents were notified of the shooting, they were instructed to wait at the city's civic center for news and updates on their loved ones. Some would choose to wait in local churches to pray that their child was safe. DNA samples were taken from parents as officials worked to match the victims with their parents. Sitting and waiting in turmoil, grief, and fear for hours to learn the fate of your child has to be an excruciating and unimaginable pain. As parents watched other parents reunite with their children and embrace and hold them tight, some waited only to hear the unthinkable news that their child was one of the 19 who had lost their lives.
It has been reported that a teacher saw the gunman outside of the school shooting into classrooms. A 911 call was made and soon after the police arrived. Parents and bystanders pleaded with police to enter the school to stop the shooting. Local law enforcement is being heavily scrutinized as further reports have surfaced stating they waited for an hour or more before entering the school and did not act quick enough to stop the gunman. Was it fear, miscommunication, improper training, or all of the above? In the wake of chaos, several factors come into play with little time to react or make sound and sensible decisions. Time is of the essence and every second and minute that goes by without taking action is far too long. With parents continuing to search for answers to their unanswered questions as to what happened and why they didn't respond sooner, frustrations continue to grow, patience is running thin and the tears will not stop for a long time to come.
President Joe Biden has called for a ban on assault weapons and enforcement of 'red flag' laws which are defined as; a gun control law that permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves. It's not enough. Much stricter gun laws are necessary and it's time to act before this happens again. Is it too much to consider metal detectors in schools, state-of-the-art security features that allow cameras in every classroom, lockdown of doors from the outside, and bulletproof windows for all classrooms? The United States spends billions of dollars every year but is any of that money being used wisely? How many times must we go through the same old song and dance?!
In a statement from the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District Superintendent Hal Harrell, no students or staff will return to the Robb Elementary campus next year, and arrangements will be made to accommodate them at other schools until another location is determined. The children who survived this horrible attack are left with permanent scars that will take time to heal. Understandably, some children and educators will never return to school as the wounds are too deep. I pray for the survivors who faced evil on this day as I know their struggle and healing are just beginning and it will be a long road ahead. To 11-year-old Miah Cerillo who covered herself in a deceased classmate's blood and played dead, you were so courageous.
Instead of planning birthdays, summer vacations, and watching their children grow, 19 families will prepare to bury their beloved children. Instead of the families of Eve Mireles and Irma Garcia laughing and hearing about the tales of their students, they will prepare to bury their beloved educators. Sadly, Joe Garcia, husband to Irma Garcia died of a heart attack two days after the shooting. The family believes it was due to a broken heart. High school sweethearts, they were married for 24 years and planning to celebrate their 25th year of marriage in one month. They were buried side by side and entered into their eternal resting place.
To the angels who lost their lives, we pray in remembrance of you. Prayer for change and peace. Prayer for hope and a brighter day. Prayer for stricter gun laws and prayer for the world to stand up and take action. Prayers and condolences to the family's loved ones and the community of Uvalde who are all left with unbelievable grief. Prayers that they find hope and strength to make it through. Your lives will not be in vain and you will never be forgotten.
🕊 Alexandria "Lexi" Rubio, 10
🕊 Alithia Ramirez, 10
🕊 Amerie Jo Garza,10
🕊 Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, 10
🕊 Eliahana Cruz Torres, 10
🕊 Eliana Garcia, 10
🕊 Eva Mireles, 44
🕊 Irma Garcia, 48
🕊 Jacklyn Jaylen Cazares, 9
🕊 Jailah Nicole Silguero, 11
🕊 Jayce Carmelo Luevanos, 10
🕊 Jose Manuel Flores Jr., 10
🕊 Layla Salazar, 11
🕊 Maite Yuleana Rodriquez, 10
🕊 Makenna Lee Elrod, 10
🕊 Maranda Mathis, 11
🕊 Nevaeh Alyssa Bravo, 10
🕊 Rojelio Torres, 10
🕊 Tess Marie Mata, 10
🕊 Uziyah Garcia, 10
🕊 Xavier Javier Lopez, 10
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AJ is a creative writer and storyteller writing from her home in Indiana.
"This is how you do it; you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard." -Neil Gaiman