Shooting tragedy shows the fault lines of US gun policy

Stricter law is the only solution to such violence
People gather at Robb Elementary School, the scene of a mass shooting in Texas, May 25, 2022. Photo: Reuters/Nuri Vallbona

Our hearts go out to the families of the victims of a shooting tragedy in the United States in which 19 students of a Texas school were mercilessly killed. In this latest version of gun violence in the country, a 18-year-old gunman entered the school premises armed with automatic rifles and sprayed bullets on the students in classrooms. Among the dead are also two teachers and the gunman himself.

Reportedly, the killer came to the school with the evil intent of killing students after shooting his own grandmother to death. The police, however, shot him dead before he could kill more children. And while the mayhem left the parents and teachers of the school as well as community members devastated, the enraged nation wanted to know how a boy of his age could own an automatic rifle. Sympathising with the families of the victims, President Joe Biden expressed his grief with a call on lawmakers to defy the powerful gun lobby and enact tougher laws to curb gun violence. His words—"When in God's name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?"—reflect the profound emotion of peace-loving citizens regarding such meaningless deaths across the US.

Although the US has witnessed a good number of blood-chilling gun violence in the past decades, powerful lobby groups have thwarted all attempts to pass stricter gun laws pointing to the Second Amendment of the US Constitution, which they say ensures the right to "keep and bear arms". As a result, anyone can walk into a store to buy a handgun and even an assault rifle without any questions being asked. The lone killer in the Texas shooting incident is said to have been a troubled teen having speech impediments, who once cut up his own face "just for fun". That sounds like someone who needed medical and psychological attention. That he was still able to obtain an assault rifle shows that the American gun control policy needs drastic reforms.

We hope saner heads will prevail and all that is necessary will be done to prevent the recurrence of such tragic violence.