Sarah Stultz: How and why did this happen again?

Published 8:45 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Nose for News by Sarah Stultz

I’ve felt sick to my stomach ever since I heard the news of the school shooting last week in Uvalde, Texas. 

The more and more I read about it, the more saddened I become. 

You see, Uvalde is a town only a little smaller than Albert Lea with a just over 15,000 in population. 

For some incorrect reason, I’ve had the misconception for many years that many of the school shootings that have happened in the last decade have happened in bigger communities. That they were big-city problems — but that is not the case. 

The 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, which has been the deadliest school shooting in history, was in the community of Newtown, Connecticut, a city of about 27,000. 

Albert Lea is somewhere in-between the two. If it happened in places like Uvalde and places like Newtown, it could happen here. That’s a horrifying thought for this mama.

Then came the realization that all of the children who died in Uvalde were the same age as my son, and my heart dropped again. These were 10 and 11 year olds who were excited for another summer break.

I will forever remember the photographs of the children being led away from the Sandy Hook school after the shooting there. They were frightened and crying as they walked single file in a line with their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them with their teachers and other staff trying to keep watch over all in their class.

I wonder how someone like my son, in a special needs classroom, would respond in a situation like that. How he would respond to the sound of unannounced gunshots, when already he jumps and then, with concern in his voice, proceeds to ask what the noise was every single time fireworks are set off in the summer in the neighborhood. 

I think of the dedicated teachers, who will do all in their power to protect the children they watch over, and who in many cases, sacrifice their own lives trying to protect the children’s lives.  

As more and more answers come out about the Uvalde shooting, I am filled with more and more questions. 

How and why did this happen  — again? And why, 10 years after the deadliest school shooting in history, has nothing changed? 

I know this is a highly politicized issue, but isn’t there something all sides can agree on to make it harder for this to occur? 

How did this become so commonplace? And what is happening with our young adults and others that the thought of doing something like this even crosses their minds?

Remember, we can’t expect to see change if we don’t make one.

If nothing is going to change at the federal level, we need to do all in our power at the local level to ensure even stricter safety measures for our children. They are our community’s most precious asset. 

Sarah Stultz is the managing editor of the Tribune. Her column appears every Wednesday.