'I Am Shaking': Indian American Parents React to Mass Shooting at Texas School
"If thoughts and prayers were enough, then leave the country to run on thoughts and prayers," one mother said.
Twenty people including 19 children were shot dead by an 18-year-old gunman, who was then killed by law enforcement.
While the gun control debate rages on, and lawmakers figure out how to proceed to keep the American people safe from gun violence, three Indian-American mothers spoke to The Quint about their concerns and how they fear for the safety of their children.
How Did the News From Texas Affect You?
"Not again. Not again. This can't be happening in the United States of America," says Neha Mahajan, a mother of two kids aged 10 and 16, based in New Jersey.
"I actually felt guilty for not having hugged my daughter," she adds.
Radhika Sharma, a mother to two kids aged 12 and 17, also based in New Jersey, tells The Quint that her immediate reaction to the shooting "was of shock, which was immediately replaced by anger and frustration."
"There is a lot of anger and frustration in our local group, and people need to chanel this, so that it ends up in voting."
The Quint also spoke to Ruchi Lamba, a mother of two kids aged 15 and 10, based in California.
"No parent needs to go through this, where they have to be scared that their children go die when they go to school," she asserts.
"Every time it happens we all make a big noise about it but then nothing gets done."
How Do You Discuss Such a Difficult Topic With Your Kids?
"It's a hard discussion. It's a very hard discussion. My 16-year-old came up to me today and spoke about the drills (to prepare for gun violence) that they have been having since elementary school," Mahajan says.
"Imagine she was boasting to me how well she camouflages with the band instruments that in her class where she goes and hides. Imagine the psyche of the child!"
Sharma also speaks briefly about the school drills and said that while her older kid understands issues like gun violence better, her 12-year-old, upon being told about the Texas shooting, "had a very shocked expression" after which she "promptly changed the topic."
"I need them to go to school. I don't need them to be anxious."
Similarly, Lamba tells The Quint that she will keep these conversations "age-appropriate" when its comes to her kids with respect to awareness about gun violence.
"I'll tell my teenage son to keep an eye on people around you."
How Should the Country Tackle Gun Violence?
"If thoughts and prayers were enough, then how about you leave the country to run on thoughts and prayers," Mahajan says frustratedly when asked about how she would appeal to lawmakers for impactful change.
"Why can't the gun industry, and the NRA (National Rifle Association), run on thoughts and prayer?"
Talking about the Indian diaspora in the US, Sharma says that "a lot of us remain disconnected (with ground realities in the US). We are still plugged in more to the Indian news. There is a need to get more grounded on what's happening around us."
"I would say change the system," asserts Lamba.
"This is our country, and the country comes before any piece of paper."
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