Accountability in Uvalde

Sandra Torres’ 10-year old daughter Eliahna was one of the 19 students and 2 adults killed at Robb Elementary School.

This mom has now filed a federal lawsuit against the school district, police, and Daniel Defense, maker of the gun used in the May massacre.

For now, let me first say that no words are adequate for the grief and loss, and God bless this woman and her family as they just try to get through each day. Whatever we say or think about the merits of her lawsuit, she’s on a quest for accountability, and I join her in that. More on accountability in a moment.

The anti-gun group “Everytown for Gun Safety” is advising this suit and others like it; the argument goes that Daniel violated FTC laws by how they marketed the weapon. “Militaristic imagery”, advertising in video games and targeting “vulnerable and violent young men”.

Since those are Everytown’s exact words, let me focus on them. If we are serious about accountability, how can we not deal with the phenomenon of remorseless, seared-conscience young men, which our society is producing at an alarming rate. I understand that Everytown is on a different path, and this mom has joined them on it.  My path is different, but then I haven’t had her grief and loss.

For me, it goes without saying that human agency, not objects, are responsible. Unless a product fails you or falls short of your expectations, it’s not the product’s fault.

And if you’re telling me that violent or militaristic images are enough to cause someone who never fired a gun in his life to get one and go to his former school on a rampage, I’m going to say you’re leaving something out. A lot, in fact.

Movies, tv, video games, music—the culture long has had depictions of violence. “Vulnerable and violent young men” are consuming them, and if we’re not going to sanitize the culture of such images (and we are not), then we’d better deal with the way boys aren’t growing up into men, fast.

My quest for accountability goes like this: guns are not new. Depictions of violence are not new. The biggest change I see, and the most obvious pattern, is that every time we see one of these killers in a courtroom, slouching down in their orange jumpsuit next to their lawyers, they all look exactly the DAMN SAME. Like they were stamped out on an assembly line. Arrested-development, aimless, jobless, soul-less, filthy dead-eyed  ghouls. They were born, but they weren’t raised. I want to know how the greatest country on earth is turning them out, I want accountability from their parents, from authorities who let them slide on lesser crimes, and from ourselves.

We will not be safe until we face this, and we surely won’t be any safer if some quantity of money is extracted from a gun manufacturer.

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