Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old man who shot his grandmother in the head and then murdered 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, on Tuesday, texted a 15-year-old German girl before the attack saying that he was about to carry out the mass shooting, according to the New York Times.
“I just shot my grandma in her head,” Ramos texted the girl, whom he reportedly met on the livestreaming app Yubo. She provided the screenshot to the Times. “‘Ima go shoot up a elementary school rn,” he continued.
The girl, going only by her nickname Cece, told the Times that Ramos had FaceTimed her from a gun store, where he purchased two AR-15 rifles shortly after his 18th birthday on May 16. He used one of those rifles to carry out the mass shooting.
Cece said she wasn’t sure if Ramos was serious and regrets having only contacted U.S. authorities after the shooting appeared on international news. “Maybe I could’ve changed the outcome,” she said. “I just could never guess that he’d actually do this.”
Conservatives have long argued that stricter gun laws wouldn’t do anything to prevent mass shootings. Although, it’s clear in this case that Ramos waited until he turned 18 and could legally purchase a rifle in Texas to acquire the weapons he needed to murder more than a dozen fourth-graders. The law expressly permitted him to buy these guns. And the night before the attack, he reportedly “received a large package of ammunition in the mail.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said that Ramos also advertised his planned shooting on Facebook, although the details remain unclear. Per the Times:
Mr. Abbott said that Mr. Ramos had posted on Facebook that he had shot his grandmother and was going to shoot people at an elementary school, but a Facebook spokesman said that the governor was inaccurately referring to what the company said were “private messages.” It was unclear if the messages that the spokesman and governor appeared to be referring to were sent on Facebook, by text message or on another messaging platform.
Bottom line: Ramos, an 18-year-old man who couldn’t even legally purchase alcohol, legally purchased two assault rifles and a bunch of ammunition with which he murdered 19 children. He also announced to people on the internet that he was going to do exactly that.
Republicans know—and research clearly shows—that guns are the main reason the United States has a wildly disproportionate rate of mass shootings, compared to every other country in the world. For 60 years, car accidents have been the leading cause of death for children in this country—but in 2020, guns actually superseded car accidents. America is such an outlier in shooting deaths that this 15-year-old German girl, Cece, likely didn’t take Ramos seriously because she doesn’t live in a country where things like this actually happen. Per the Evening Standard:
German gun laws restricts the acquisition, possession, and carrying of firearms to those with a creditable need for a weapon. They also ban fully automatic guns and severely restrict the acquisition of other types of weapons. Compulsory liability insurance is required for anyone who is licensed to carry firearms.
The Uvalde shooting didn’t happen because a German teenager failed to contact American authorities: It happened because Salvador Ramos, a deeply troubled and violent teenager, was able to walk right into a gun store days after his 18th birthday, buy two rifles, and have a bunch of ammunition delivered to his house. This is not normal, and it’s not okay.