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Gun control and mental health screening would not have stopped the Austin shooter?

The shooter had no previous mental health history and was in his rights to purchase the weaponry. Unfortunately, it's darn near impossible to screen all 300 million Americans and pretend we can predict when someone will go haywire.

England effectively keeps guns out of the hands of ordinary citizens. Sadly, there are too many guns in circulation here for that to work (even if you discard the 2nd Amendment).

What we can do is support law enforcement and mental health programs which can make a big difference in reducing the 70,000 homicides/suicides that occur annually in the US.

Texas School Shooter Had No Known Mental Health Issues or Arrests

Only advance sign from gunman were Facebook messages shortly before shooting, according to state officials

Nineteen children and two teachers were killed Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, in the deadliest U.S. mass shooting this year.

By Elizabeth Findell, Dan Froschand Sadie Gurman, WSJ

Updated May 25, 2022 4:34 pm ET

The gunman who killed 19 students and two teachers Tuesday in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, wasn’t well known to law enforcement ahead of time and had no documented mental-health issues and no known arrests, state officials said Wednesday.

The first warnings of violence came in the form of Facebook messages shortly before Salvador Ramos, 18, shot his grandmother and proceeded to Robb Elementary, where the mass shooting took place. Ramos wrote on Facebook “I’m going to shoot my grandma” and then, after doing so, posted, “I shot my grandma,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said in a news conference. Less than 15 minutes before arriving at Robb Elementary School, he wrote, “I’m going to shoot an elementary school.”

A spokesman for Facebook’s parent company, Meta Platforms Inc., said on Twitter that the communications were private messages sent to another individual, not public posts.

Ramos ultimately barricaded himself in a two-room fourth-grade classroom that all of the victims shared, law-enforcement officials said, and was killed there following a shootout with Border Patrol agents.

“Evil swept through Uvalde yesterday,” Mr. Abbott said of the attack, which is the deadliest mass shooting in the U.S. this year.

If Ramos had a juvenile criminal record, it is possible officials wouldn’t have access to it.

All of the victims have been identified and their families notified, officials at the news conference said. The daughter of a deputy sheriff was among the dead. In addition to the 21 killed, 17 people were injured, Mr. Abbott said.

The comments came during a media briefing that briefly turned contentious when Democrat Beto O’Rourke, Mr. Abbott’s opponent in the November gubernatorial election, approached the stage accusing the Republican governor of not doing enough to address gun violence. Mr. O’Rourke was removed from the auditorium by law enforcement.

Ramos was a local resident and a high-school dropout in Uvalde, a city of about 16,000 located between San Antonio and the Texas-Mexico border. He lived with his grandmother, officials said.

Shortly after turning 18 last Monday, Ramos bought two semiautomatic AR-15 rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition at a local sporting goods shop, said Steven McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. He shot his 66-year-old grandmother in the face before using her car to drive to attack the school, Mr. McCraw said. His grandmother was able to contact police as Ramos fled, Mr. McCraw said. She remains in a hospital in San Antonio.

Ramos exchanged gunfire with an armed school district officer outside the school, before getting past him, and two Uvalde police officers who were hit as they tried to gain access to the classroom he entered, according to the Department of Public Safety.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott discussed the circumstances surrounding a school shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers. Democratic candidate for governor Beto O’Rourke confronted Gov. Abbott on gun control. Photo: Marco Bello/Reuters

Members of an elite Border Patrol tactical team known as Bortac, short for Border Patrol tactical unit, responded to the shooting but couldn’t get into the classroom because of a steel door and cinder block construction, according to officials familiar with the investigation. Meanwhile, the gunman shot at them and other responding officers through the door and walls.

Bortac members were able to enter the room after getting a master key from the principal, according to the officials. One Bortac agent’s shield was hit by rounds upon entering and a second agent was wounded by shrapnel. A third killed the suspect.

Inside, authorities found dead children in multiple piles, according to the officials.

Uvalde is home to a Border Patrol station and some 80 agents responded to the shooting, Mr. McCraw said.

Officials said they believe Ramos acted alone and aren’t pursuing other suspects, according to Pete Arredondo, chief of police for the local school district. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has determined that there is no known connection to terrorism, a law-enforcement official familiar with the investigation said.

At the current death toll, Tuesday’s shooting in Texas was the deadliest at a U.S. school since the slaughter at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012, where 20 children and six staff members died. In 2018, an attack at a high school in Parkland, Fla., left 17 students and staff dead. Historically, elementary schools haven’t been the sites of mass shootings with as much frequency as high schools or middle schools.

Before Tuesday’s shooting, the massacre at a Buffalo supermarket on May 14 in which 10 people were killed was this year’s worst mass shooting in the U.S.

Some of the nation’s worst mass shootings have unfolded in Texas in recent years. A 2017 mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killed 26 people.

The following year, a 17-year-old opened fire at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing 10 people.

In 2019, a gunman killed 23 and wounded 22 at a Walmart store in El Paso.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Mr. Abbott spoke about the need for mental-health resources, both for people like Ramos who could go on to commit mass shootings and for victims of tragedies like the one in Uvalde.

As Mr. Abbott finished his introductory remarks, Mr. O’Rourke came to the stage and yelled “This is on you!” at the governor. Officials on stage including Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin yelled back. As police removed Mr. O’Rourke from the press conference, he said “someone has to stand up for the children of this state.”

Mr. O’Rourke has said previously that he supports gun ownership in general, but backs restrictions on what he described as assault weapons and would support a mandatory buyback program for them.

In response to questions from reporters, Mr. Abbott said 18-year-olds have been able to buy rifles in Texas for more than 60 years.

“Why is it that the majority of those 60 years we did not have school shootings and we do now? The reality is I do not know the answer to that question,” Mr. Abbott said. “What I do know is, we as a state and society, need to do a better job with mental health.”

On Monday, the FBI released a report on active-shooter incidents in the U.S. in 2021 that showed a 50% increase from 2020. According to the FBI, 103 people were killed and 140 wounded in last year’s 61 active shooting incidents, excluding the shooters.

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