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Memorial crosses for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Picture: REUTERS/VERONICA CARDENAS
Memorial crosses for the victims of the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Picture: REUTERS/VERONICA CARDENAS

Twenty-seven. That’s how many shootings have taken place at US schools this year. It’s also the number of people who have been killed — 24 pupils and three teachers. Fifty-six were injured.

This is according to data published by US teaching news site Education Week in its 2022 School Shooting Tracker.

Think about that for a moment. The world’s policeman — land of the free, home of the brave (especially if you’re a teacher) — has a database for tracking school shootings. 

Data, of course, means nothing for the dead children of Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Nothing for them but the news cycle, whose attention has already drifted away. Nothing for them but “thoughts and prayers” and mumbled rhetoric from the 46th president about “standing up to the gun lobby”. Nothing for them but hand-wringing over the “lost opportunities” arising from Pearl High, Westside Middle School, Heath High, Columbine High, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary …

No, nothing for them but bitter tears and cold ground. The president wants Robb Elementary demolished when the one thing that needs demolishing is the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its perpetual bleating that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”.

The 45th president, meanwhile, reveals either the desert of his intellect or the grotesque donor-stroking callousness of his party — both work — when he says, at an NRA congress to which no-one was permitted to bring a gun, that Uvalde proves teachers should be armed.

As if they were not already targets for murderers carrying the sort of weapons US troops begged for in Vietnam.

It is a very strange country where women seeking to assert their hard-fought reproductive rights are spat on and vilified by “pro-lifers” and abortion clinics are firebombed, while rabid gun-lifers ensure the protection of their right for little children to be shot with tumbling, high-velocity bullets.

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