Arms in America, the voice of an Italian who lives in Texas

V.ive in Texas, Chiara Dini, a state where the possession of weapons is free. And where last week there was a massacre in an elementary school. “It’s sad to admit, here we live with the knowledge that a mass shooting can happen at any moment, but we’ll never get used to it,” she says. Taxonomy analyst tuscany, is has lived in Austin for 10 years, with her husband a university professor and their two children aged 13 and 8.

UVALDE (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar / Getty Images)

From free weapons to mass shootings

The massacre that took place on May 24, 2022 in the primary school of Uvalde reminded her of the Sandy Hook massacre in which 26 children lost their lives in 2012: «At that time – she remembers – we had recently moved to America, my daughter was in kindergarten and I was terrified. One day, walking in the mixed neighborhood where we lived at the time, I saw the metal detector at the entrance of a school and I was shocked ».

Over the years, that bewilderment, also experienced by a stabbing that, in 2017, resulted in one death and two injuries on the campus where her husband teaches, has turned into an unacceptable everyday life. How the free possession of weapons will always be unjustifiable for her, which he finds himself discussing with his family, but also with friends and colleagues.

The daughter’s reaction to the Uvalde massacre

“The day after the Uvalde massacre, while we were in the car, my daughter burst into tears and asked me:” Why doesn’t politics intervene and let these massacres happen? “” tells. By providing the girl with the tools to inform herself about her, she guided her in becoming aware of prevarication of the economic interests of the powerful arms lobby on the protection of human lives.

Teenager, she is about to attend High School and is now used to drill, the exercises scheduled in all schools to prepare teachers and children to face a possible shooting in the right way.

Chiara Dini

Chiara Dini

The exercises at school

“He tells me that, periodically, an alarm sounds and they have to lock the classroom door, turn off the light and take refuge under the desks, keeping your distance from the door and from the teachers who are usually the first to be hit. With the maturity that distinguishes it, it highlights that it is really of little use because, almost always, the aggressor is a former student who knows well drill and he knows how to move to get into the classrooms “reports the young mother, underlining that, on the other hand, the little son still does not realize the danger and faces the exercises like a game.

Teenage children, tips to learn how to manage conflict and mistakes not to make

Teenage children, tips to learn how to manage conflict and mistakes not to make

Anyone who has a weapon must pass various levels of security

In Texas, the architecture of schools and public places is also adapting to criteria of maximum safetynot only found in bollards or turnstiles, but also in super-technological architectural elements.

“When I went to visit the new elementary school built in our neighborhood, which my son is attending now – he says – the principal, very active and attentive, explained to me how they work. the various levels of security for access to school: gradually, to enter there are several doors to be overcome, which close in on themselves. It is reassuring, but at the same time chilling ».

massacre at school

Uvalde Massacre (Photo by Jordan Vonderhaar / Getty Images)

The arms lobby

While the headmaster, in the aftermath of the Uvalde massacre, reassured the parents of his students by informing them of the presence of the police at the entrance and at the exit to ensure safety, politics, on the other hand, as Dini reiterates, continued to follow mainly economic interests.

“There was no shortage of protests from the Democrats, but in any case the annual convention of the National Rifle Association, in which the leaders of the arms lobby took turns on stage with conservative politicians, including former President Trump, Texas Senator Cruz and the governor of Texas, Abbott, also accused by my daughter as the bigot who, among other absurdity, it hinders the right to gender identity “adds the woman, among other things councilor of Comites of Houstona representative body of Italians abroad, proud to live in the “liberal bubble” of Austin.

The problem of mental health

In addition to the disinterest of the republican conservatives, Dini traces the roots of this tendency to violence in an underlying malaise as well as in a health and social problem: «The American health system makes access to mental health care difficult. Thus, often, young people who leave home as soon as they come of age, find themselves without a guide and end up unleashing blind violence in society, facilitated by the free carrying of weapons ».

The protection of mental health is very important, so much so that, in each school, counselors are provided always ready to reassure students, to help them face anxieties and fears, but sometimes it is not enough.

American citizenship

«At home, I always try to support my children in every moment of fragility. Unlike most American families who tend to have more formal relationships, I maintain an “Italian” parenting that allows me to shorten the distance and makes me more present and attentive to their emotional states “she concludes, while announcing that, just recently, he has acquired American citizenship, thanks to which, finally, he will be able to participate in the debate and take a first small step in the difficult direction of protecting rights.