letter: Imagine Uvalde’s grief, and do more than ‘thoughts, prayers’

To Ozaukee Press:

Life changed in the community of Uvalde, Texas, population 16,000, on May 24, 2022. A gunman entered a back door of an elementary school carrying several weapons and ammunition, one of which was an AR-15 rifle—an assault rifle. He killed 19 fourth-grade students and two teachers.

I don’t know how this event cannot be the lightning rod for changes to our gun laws. In the days following this attack, I found myself near tears whenever I saw a young child in our Walmart or grocery store. I cannot imagine how the people of Uvalde are processing their grief.

I can’t imagine a child with bullet holes. And these are not bullets simply entering and exiting. I’m told that the AR-15 bullet ricochets in the body and exits with a gaping hole. Imagine if it’s your child, or imagine if it happens here.

I’m writing to bring to light how quickly we forget and move on, how we fail to make any changes in gun laws, how we fail to accomplish improvements in the mental health of our citizens.

There is so much that we really can do. We only have to look at England, Australia and New Zealand, where there are no mass shootings. Or look at Canada, which enacted a policy to curtail the sale of handguns and buy back AR-15 style rifles. If other countries can do it, why can’t it happen here?

Perhaps on the local level we could have the discussions that could expand to reforms of our state gun laws? Let’s get creative. Perhaps we can finally do something more than “thoughts and prayers.”

Last year, when I was a county employee, there was active shooter training for employees. One takeaway was to plan ahead. Another one was to have at the ready tourniquets or combat gauze for quick clotting. The county adds “stop the bleed kits” to the defibrillator box. Are we doing something like that in our schools or city buildings?

There is a short segment on 60 Minutes from May 29 about “stop the bleed” and the damage that an AR-15 can inflict.

Gun violence can take place anywhere people congregate. I don’t feel we are safe as long as there are more guns than people. I feel that the discussions about police not responding quickly enough are a smoke screen the obscures the real issue—the gun that 18-year-old killer in Uvalde was able to purchase.

Karen Oleski

Port Washington

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
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