New York, May 24, 2022 – In response to yet another deadly attack on our nation’s soil, the American Jewish Congress is appalled by the loss of life that has taken place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
The Jewish Community stands firmly with the families who are forced to endure such a tragic loss, and our prayers are with all of those who must recover as a result. Schools must be afforded the means to protect the lives of their students and faculty, have adequate resources to ensure the security of their campuses, and be prepared to respond accordingly. As we have realized, occurrences of public terror in the United States have become far too familiar. According to EdWeek, there have been 118 school shootings since 2018 and 27 this year, including today’s. Before these terrifying events, the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary left 26 victims in its wake, with most of those who lost their lives between five and six years old.
This must change.
Congress must take immediate action to ensure that our children’s education institutions are adequately equipped to ensure their safety. Moreover, measures to afford law enforcement the resources and reach to prevent these heinous crimes are critical.
In conclusion, while details surrounding the lead-up to today’s violence continue to develop – Social Media must bear accountability for the power it holds. While we don’t know that Social Media played a role in today’s event as of yet – we do know that it has been a large source of inspiration in the past. With the horrific events in Buffalo having just transpired, we have seen the damning effect that harmful content can bring to like-minded users. Dangerous media wields power to inspire those who go on to perpetrate terrorist acts of their own, and the need for moderation has never been higher. In that same thought, the American Jewish Congress successfully removed a video of the Buffalo shooter’s killings on Streamable last week. However, even with our quick response, the video had already generated more than 3.2 million views. As such, existing protections that allow platforms to host violent content must be amended. As Jews, a community that has been persecuted against and tyrannized for hundreds of years, these vile acts resonate with us deeply, and we are working tirelessly to change this pattern of destruction. Regrettably, today’s events so tragically confirm the need for those efforts.
May all those affected by this awful situation find the strength they require to carry forward. We thank the brave law enforcement agencies who responded to the situation, and we must all work to craft a tomorrow free of this tragedy going forward.