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Two Years After Uvalde: Families Still Fighting For Justice And Accountability

It’s been two years since the Uvalde school shooting, two years of families fighting for peace and justice, and they still haven’t gotten any.

On May 24, 2022, a 18-year-old kid with an assault rifle killed nineteen fourth-graders and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. Officers remained outside the school more than 70 minutes before entering and engaging the gunman.

Families of the victims have long said that the delayed response cost lives and have demanded accountability for those who failed to save their children.

“After two years, my grief is just as deep, the trauma is just as fresh, and my anger remains just as strong as the day my daughter was killed,” Kimberly Mata-Rubio,  whose daughter Lexi was killed in the shooting, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

President Joe Biden wrote a letter on the two-year anniversary of the tragedy, saying that “in the last 2 years, the people of Uvalde have turned their pain into purpose to demand progress for our Nation.”

“In the 2 years since, they have made their voices heard — and our country has listened,” he wrote.

But families are still waiting for justice and accountability for those involved in the tragedy. The federal and state governments have released investigations into the shooting that have highlighted the flaws in the officers’ response.

A January Department of Justice report on the shooting concluded that the entire police response to the shooting was a “failure” and that lives could have been saved if the police had responded appropriately to the situation.

However, the report was an investigation into the shooting procedures, not a criminal investigation.

In March, the city of Uvalde released its own investigation into the shooting, concluding that city officers did not violate policy and even praising some of their actions, contradicting the earlier federal report.

The families’ final step in seeking justice was to sue the law enforcement officials.

On Wednesday, the families of the 19 children filed a $500 million federal lawsuit against nearly 100 state troopers who were present the day of the shooting and were part of the law enforcement response.

Despite the lawsuit, the families said they agreed to a $2 million settlement with the city because the families didn’t want to bankrupt the city where they live.

However, there is an ongoing criminal investigation into the police response being conducted by Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell’s office, in which some officers have already testified.

In terms of legislative changes, many of the proposals made by the families of the victims remain unfulfilled after two years.

Families asked the Texas government to raise the legal age to purchase an assault rifle from 18 to 21, but the bill did not advance in the House and was abandoned.

“The fact is those kids in Uvalde died because cops were scared of that gun, and yet the Republicans that run this state have done nothing to fix this issue,” Rep. Roland Gutierrez, who sponsored the bill, said. “All we asked for was to raise the age limit on access to an assault weapon like an AR-15.”

There was progress, however. The U.S. Congress passed the bipartisan Safer Communities Act, the most significant federal gun legislation in nearly three decades. The act strengthens background checks and provides incentives for states to implement “red flag” laws.

On the two-year anniversary of the Uvalde school shooting, families are still ready to fight for justice and a better community.

“At my core, I believe that we can create a better tomorrow if we don’t forget why we must fight so hard for it. And I won’t ever forget because I’m fighting for Lexi.” Mata-Rubio said. “I will honor her with action.”

You can learn more about gun violence in Texas at our Gun Violence Watch website.

RA Staff
RA Staff
Written by RA News staff.


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