AMSA Cannot Sit Idly by While
Our Children’s Lives are Endangered
For the 212th time this year, another senseless massacre has occurred. This time, tragedy shattered the hearts of families and friends of elementary school children who attended Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Medical students across the country are horrified at the needless loss of life and are tired of watching our elected officials continually do nothing more than sit on their hands and offer “thoughts and prayers.” Our hearts go out to the families of those killed and, to these families, know that we will always be here to support you. AMSA will continue to work tirelessly so that no family will have to endure what you have endured.
We need all medical students to call, email, and visit their local, state, and congressional representatives and tell them enough is enough.
In the past two weeks alone, we’ve seen the worst school shooting since Sandy Hook, killing 19 children and 2 adults, a white supremacist targeting a largely Black community, killing 10 and injuring 3 more, and countless more that never made national news. We’ve grown so accustomed to these shootings that to cover every single one would mean talking about nothing else. Instead, we talk only about a select few and diminish the remaining innocent lives to statistics: all 19,384 of them, not counting the 25,838 gun deaths not counted as murders.
Our elected officials will never see those lives. They will never watch children bleed on their tables or tell a family member their loved one has passed. Instead, physicians and medical students hold that burden and treat the gun victims that are lucky enough to make it to the hospital. We are the next generation of emergency physicians doing everything in our power to stabilize these patients, the trauma surgeons performing ex laps to repair whatever we can, the OB/GYNs fighting to save the pregnancy of a woman shot in the abdomen, the psychiatrists, family physicians, and pediatricians treating the children terrified of seeing their friends or themselves killed at school. Congress could prevent weapons from falling into the wrong hands by passing even basic gun safety laws.
Instead this is what we get:
Texas Governor Greg Abbott said, “Texans across the state are grieving for the victims of this senseless crime and for the community of Uvalde. Cecilia and I mourn this horrific loss and we urge all Texans to come together to show our unwavering support to all who are suffering.”
Governor Abbott is speaking at the NRA conference in 2 days. Texas had 4,164 firearm deaths (14.2 per 100,000) in 2020. He has signed bills authorizing permitless handgun carry in adults 21 and older, concealed handguns on college campuses, and open carry of handguns.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted, “Horrified and heartbroken by reports of the disgusting violence directed at innocent school kids in Uvalde, Texas. The entire country is praying for the children, families, teachers, and staff and the first responders on the scene.”
Senator McConnell has received $1.3 million in support from the NRA. Kentucky had 902 deaths (20.1 per 100,00) in 2020. He has voted against Prohibiting the Transfer of Firearms to Suspected Terrorists, Prohibiting the Sale of Assault Weapons, and Limiting Firearm Magazine Capacity.
Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) tweeted, “The horrific tragedy in Texas should spur Congress to act on proposals that can pass & actually make a difference like our bipartisan Luke & Alex School Safety Act #SafeSchoolsForAll,” without reference to the families or murdered children.
The Luke & Alex School Safety Act establishes a “Clearinghouse on School Safety Best Practices,” effectively telling schools it is up to them to keep themselves safe by following guidelines.
Senator Rubio has received $3.3 million in support from the NRA. Florida had 3,041 deaths (13.7 per 100,000) in 2020. He also voted against Prohibiting the Transfer of Firearms to Suspected Terrorists, Prohibiting the Sale of Assault Weapons, and Limiting Firearm Magazine Capacity.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, “There is nothing more evil than violent criminals who target children, and especially young children, and at this point, we’re incredibly grateful for law enforcement for the heroes and first responders who arrived on the scene. But at the same time, the entire state of Texas, the entire country, are grieving horrifically at yet another unspeakable crime.”
Senator Cruz has received $176,000 in support from the NRA and, as above, Texas had 4,164 gun violence deaths in 2020. He also voted against Prohibiting the Transfer of Firearms to Suspected Terrorists, Prohibiting the Sale of Assault Weapons, and Limiting Firearm Magazine Capacity.
As author Austin Channing Brown stated: “Anyone with the power to pass legislation who instead chooses prayer is both evil and a coward.” Thoughts and prayers need to be replaced with votes and actions.
AMSA encourages all medical students and premedical students to get involved with our Med Students for Gun Safety campaign. Work with your schools to incorporate gun safety into your curriculum. Help us by calling your representatives. Let them know we, as the future of medicine, refuse to work in a system that cannot adopt common sense gun legislation to protect us and the patients we care about. Ask them to support Senate Bill 529 and its already 45 listed cosponsors, to expand Background Checks, which has already passed the House. For resources to call your representative, visit this site.
But it does not stop there. In a few short months, midterm elections are happening. We cannot continue to function as a society unless we take matters into our own hands and vote out the people who do not represent us. Make sure you are registered to vote and set up a voter registration drive at your school with our Med Out the Vote team and then make sure you vote and encourage your friends to vote!
If we want to make real change, we need to speak up and make our voices heard.
For questions about calling your Representatives contact
AMSA President, Michael Walls DO MPH at email@example.com
To get involved with Med Students for Gun Safety contact
MSGS Chairs Peter Papaioannou and Aliasger Ezzi at firstname.lastname@example.org
To get involved with Med Out the Vote contact
MOTV Chairs Bri’ana Gardiner and Courtnie Moodie at email@example.com