Barely ten days have elapsed since Americans were rocked by the murder of 10 innocent Black Americans in a grocery store in Buffalo, New York.
Now Americans have been rocked and sickened by yet another mass slaying.
On Tuesday, a gunman entered an elementary school in a largely Latino community in rural Texas and opened fire.
As of this hour, at least 21 people are dead, including 18 children and three adults, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The New York Times is calling this “the deadliest American school shooting since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary a decade ago.”
The alleged shooter was an 18-year-old male.
The AP reports that “he killed his grandmother before heading to the school with two military-style rifles he had purchased on his birthday,” entered the school wearing body armor, and began his killing spree.
He was reportedly shot and killed by law enforcement officers.
The slayings took place just before noon at Robb Elementary School, where second through fourth graders in Uvalde, a small city west of San Antonio, were preparing to start summer break this week.
The gunman, whom the authorities identified as an 18-year-old man who had attended a nearby high school, was armed with several weapons, officials said. He died at the scene, they said.
“He shot and killed horrifically, incomprehensibly,” Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news conference.
As terrified parents in Uvalde late Tuesday waited for word of their children’s safety and law enforcement officials raced to piece together how the massacre had transpired, the mass shooting was deepening a national political debate over gun laws and the prevalence of weapons. Ten days earlier, a gunman fatally shot 10 people inside a Buffalo grocery store.
“This is just evil,” Rey Chapa, an Uvalde resident, said of Tuesday’s killings while using an expletive. Mr. Chapa said his nephew was in the school when the shooting took place but was safe. He was waiting to hear back from relatives and friends on the conditions of other children, scrolling through Facebook for updates. “I’m afraid I’m going to know a lot of these kids that were killed.”
“Adolfo Hernandez, a longtime Uvalde resident, said his nephew had been in a classroom near where the shooting took place. “He actually witnessed his little friend get shot in the face.” The friend, he said, “got shot in the nose and he just went down, and my nephew was devastated.”
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.