Prevent More School Shootings

Leslie Bythewood
5 min readMay 28, 2022


The surviving teachers, parents, grandparents, siblings and friends are still reeling and in shock from the loss of 19 innocent young students and two teachers, whose lives were tragically and senselessly snuffed out during a mass classroom shooting that was carried out at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas on May 24, 2022, by Salvador Ramos, a deranged 18-year-old high school dropout, after the shooter had shot his grandmother in the face that morning before driving to the school and crashing the vehicle in a ditch.

But there were warnings, yet no one seemed to be listening.

The loner had sent a number of disturbing emails to a pen pal in Germany threatening to kill his grandmother and students.

Yes, his 39-year-old mother is purported to suffer from a drug addiction disorder, but why didn’t she alert the police that her son was mentally unstable, so he could be red-flagged by local, state and federal authorities? Was she looking the other way and unwilling to confront the truth that her son was unwell? Whether she knew he had purchased semi-automatic assault rifles along with 375 lethal rounds of ammunition shortly after he reached his 18th birthday isn’t yet known, but parents who remain in contact with their children tend to be in the know about these kinds of unusual purchases.

Moreover, Salvador Ramos had moved out of his mother’s home and into his grandmother’s home. That, too, should have been a warning sign that not all was well in the Ramos family, along with the fact that he had a record of talking back and got into numerous arguments with both his grandmother and mother. Moreover, he was an anti-social loner who was prone to losing his temper at the drop of a hat, who was allegedly bullied by classmates for a speech impediment and who was picked on and made fun of for the clothes he wore and for his poor social standing.

On top of all those warning signs, Salvador Ramos seemed to be lacking a father figure, because he did not live with his father, who apologized profusely for the murders his son had committed and who said he “never expected [his] son to do something like that,” in an interview with the Daily Beast.

While Senator Ted Cruz of Texas continues to tout the need for superintendents to lock all exterior doors at every school since the shooter entered the school through an unlocked side door, that’s clearly not going to be nearly enough to solve the problem of lone shooters on the rampage.

Here are nine common-sense rules all schools should follow to reduce the risk of another school shooting:

1. The authorities need to red-flag and constantly keep an eye out for all shooters, regardless of their age, who make unusual purchases of firearms, including large supplies of ammunition. Four days before Salvador Ramos bought two semi-automatic firearms and ammunition, he had posted photos on social media of two favorite machine guns that were on his wish list. Responsible people need to continuously monitor all social media sites for these kinds of threatening posts and alert authorities at once and without fail, because Salvador Ramos clearly fell through the cracks.

2. Security cameras need to be installed in the corridors, bathrooms, classrooms, auditoriums, and gymnasiums of all schools that can be played back, frame by frame, for hard evidence in the event of a shooting.

3. A security alarm system needs to be installed that automatically sends a signal to the local police that there is an active shooter in the building or on the premises.

4. All schools need to be outfitted with a metal detector, an electronic access control system that’s capable of setting off an audible signal when it’s within close proximity to firearms, explosives, knives or other prohibited items from being carried into school.

5. All schools should be outfitted with a password-protected lock box that contains the master key to all classrooms, interior doors and exterior doors. The reason it took so long for the authorities to breach the classroom where the active shooter was carrying out his heinous misdeeds at Robb Elementary was because they had to secure the key from the school janitor. The local authorities need to know the password to the lock box, so they don’t have to depend on finding a school teacher, principal or staff member to unlock the classroom door.

6. All local, state and federal authorities need to train and drill for active shooter scenarios at least quarterly, if not more often than that. It took more than 50 minutes for the authorities to breach the classroom door and kill the active shooter at Robb Elementary, and by that time, too many innocent children’s lives had already been lost. The police at Robb Elementary should not have waited in the corridor outside the classroom door; instead, they should have immediately executed a simultaneous two-pronged approach to take down the shooter: they should have broken through the door in order to save more lives, while at the same time more police should have been stationed at the back of the school ready to fire their weapons at the shooter through the classroom window.

7. An armed security officer needs to patrol the school grounds and interior of the school every day, putting all children, staff and visitors on notice that no monkey business will be tolerated.

8. All students confronted by an active shooter should call 911 and immediately communicate the fact that there is an active shooter in Classroom Number XY at XY address. It wasn’t enough that a little girl had used her cell phone at Robb Elementary that day to notify the police to “send help now,” because authorities never seemed to have gotten the message that an active shooter had barricaded himself inside a locked classroom and was still an ongoing threat to students.

9. The state laws of Texas need to change to raise the minimum age at which a citizen can purchase firearms from a licensed dealer. Despite the fact that the minimum age of 21 is the prevailing federal law, in Texas it’s totally legal for an 18-year-old residing in that state to purchase a firearm because Texas state law overrides federal law when it comes to firearms. What’s more, there doesn’t seem to be any limit on the quantity of assault weapons, including AR-15s, that can be purchased in a single transaction. A teenager’s brain isn’t even fully developed emotionally, which is why it’s so dangerous for someone that age to purchase such a lethal weapon.

Lots more can and must be done now to save not only school students, but anyone who is confronted in an active-shooter situation. Too many innocent lives have already been taken at the hands of a lone gunman in places of worship, supermarkets, schools, movie theaters, nightclubs, bars, stadiums and subways in the United States, and it’s time to take action and do something about it before more people are slaughtered.

The problem is, there are more assault weapons out there on the streets of America than there are U.S. citizens, which is why it’s far too late to think that enacting laws banning the sale of AR15s and requiring the government to perform universal background checks is going to be enough to protect us from would-be mass shooters. No, the answer lies primarily in the urgent need to beef up building security with metal detectors and high-tech security systems, because we don’t live in Disneyland anymore. Instead, we live in a country wherein tons and tons of unregistered assault rifles are owned by countless citizens, and trying to confiscate all those weapons would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Let’s get real.



Leslie Bythewood

A freelance writer since 1999, I've published profile and general-interest pieces in The Montgomery Gazette, both online and in print. I live in Asheville, NC.