Last week’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, set a new record for the most lethal act of gun violence in a school in the United States. Nineteen children and two adults lost their lives in the South Texas incident, which closely followed the racist attack that left ten dead in a Buffalo, New York supermarket. As the gun violence epidemic in the U.S. has grown ever more devastating, the public reaction follows a familiar cycle of outrage and inaction. Amber Ybarra, a relative of Eva Mireles, one of the two adults killed in the massacre, joined Roundtable to discuss the episode, the media coverage and what the incident reveals about American society today.
Ybarra herself grew up in Uvalde, Texas, and attended Robb Elementary School. She recalls the town as a peaceful community: “As far as I can recollect in my childhood, there was no point in time where I ever felt that lack of safety,” she says.
She notes that the rapid politicization of the incident doesn’t do justice to the victims. “There’s that bigger issue of mental health. I wish people with larger platforms could get out of the political state of mind and into thinking about how can we help our communities with mental health.”
Ybarra remembers her cousin Eva Mireles, who died as she sought to keep her fourth grade students safe, as an “amazing” person. “This is about honoring someone that I know, about how heroic she was, because when she passed, she was protecting kids,” she says.
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“My only intention is to honor her name and shed light on the human being.”
Watch the full discussion below:
Amber Ybarra, Cousin of Uvalde, Texas shooting victim