Analysis: Grief. Horror. Inaction. Texas mass shootings follow a numbing script

We know what comes next. Another scar hardens on the state’s collective psyche, but little is done to prevent the next one.

Members of the community gather at the City of Uvalde Town Square for a prayer vigil in the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School on May 24, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas. Nineteen students and 2 adults were killed before the gunman was fatally shot by law enforcement. (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar / Getty Images)

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At least 19 kids have been killed this time. And at least one teacher. Most of their names have not been released, but we know they were two days away from the end of the school year. We know they had endured the isolation brought about by at-home learning and COVID-19. We know they attended a campus in Uvalde where nearly 90% of students are Hispanic and more than four-fifths economically disadvantaged.
If they’re like other elementary school students, we know they spent the day laughing and playing and making noise.
And we know what comes next: Their deaths will add another scar to the psyche of this state — and kick off a routine of mourning, outrage and, ultimately, inaction.
There’s still a lot to learn about the gunman in Uvalde, his motives, and what might have been done to stop him. There are still vigils to hold. The mourning has just begun. Some parents will likely retreat into their grief. Others will push for changes to prevent anyone else from feeling this horror — just like some of the parents of children in Newtown, Connecticut, did and some of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School did in Florida.
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Matthew Watkins, Texas Tribune
Matthew Watkins, Texas Tribune

Matthew Watkins is the managing editor for news and politics for The Texas Tribune. Before becoming an editor, he worked as a reporter at the Tribune, The Dallas Morning News and The Eagle in Bryan-College Station. He earned his bachelor's degree from Texas A&M University.