Mayor Johnson: Silence cannot be the answer to the Uvalde massacre

The following was adapted from my email newsletter.

What happened at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde is heartbreaking. Devastating. Unimaginable, but all too real.

As the father of three young children, hearing and reading the stories of the massacre over the last day and a half has been sickening beyond words.

On Wednesday, I requested the flags fly at half-staff at Dallas City Hall and began the Dallas City Council meeting with a moment of silence for the 19 elementary school children and two teachers who were killed.

But silence cannot be the answer to this latest grisly tragedy. These are children — were children — and educators. These are families whose lives have been forever altered by violence. These are Texans in anguish.

This is the greatest country on earth — a wonderful, loving, caring, and diverse nation that is full of amazing people. But this is also the only developed and civilized country on earth where this kind of gun violence happens with regularity. And after Uvalde and Buffalo and all the other massacres that preceded them, this nation must come together to do what we strive to do in Dallas: put public safety first.

That means finding common ground on common-sense actions to prevent mass shootings — especially school shootings.

As the leader of this great city that experienced the horrors of the deadly July 7, 2016 ambush, this is an issue of vital importance. While there is little that can be done at the local level to address the larger issues raised by these shootings, your safety will continue to be the top priority.

The Dallas Police Department is continuing to implement its data-driven violent crime reduction plan and is taking dangerous people and their deadly weapons off the streets. The Dallas City Council continues to support expansions of the RIGHT Care program to appropriately respond to mental health crises. And the city’s Office of Integrated Public Safety Solutions continues to implement community-based programs that were recommended by my Task Force on Safe Communities. It’s your city government’s job to do all of that — to be proactive and to work toward solutions that ensure that your neighborhoods are safe so that you can have opportunities to thrive.

Now, other levels of government need to do their jobs, too. The federal government, state government, and school districts will ultimately have to take the lead here. Schools must be safe. Mental health must be prioritized. And guns can’t continue to be allowed to fall into the wrong hands in Dallas or anywhere else.

It would be an absolute shame if every option weren’t on the table — and if the status quo prevailed, allowing this indiscriminate violence to continue.

As I have said over and over again: everyone deserves to live in a safe community.

That’s all for now. But keep your fellow Texans in Uvalde in your thoughts. And take care of yourselves, take care of your families, and hold your children and your loved ones a little longer and a little tighter tonight.

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Mayor Eric Johnson

Mayor Eric Johnson

Official account of Eric Johnson, the 60th mayor of Dallas, Texas.