As someone who grew up in rural Texas, every bit of the shooter's story feels familiar to me: The utter ruthlessness of the bullying, the hopelessness, the way that so many kids have unstable homes and end up living with grandparents.…
Most kids that face these challenges find a way forward. But you definitely see kids, especially the boys, who become monsters that are totally alienated from other human beings and themselves. And when they turn 18, our Republican leaders invite them to "man up" with guns.
Obviously, drug addict parents and school bullies are everywhere. What I think the rural life makes worse is the isolation. A lot of kids really don't have a full view of how big the world is and how many opportunities lay beyond your small town, and that creates hopelessness.
I never doubted for a moment I was getting out, but I also had the fortune of spending my elementary years in El Paso, which was the Big Scary City to kids at my high school. (Don't laugh. Or do.) So I knew there was a bigger world, in a vague sense, and I wanted in on it.
But way too many people in these tiny rural communities think that's basically all there is to life. And there is a total lack of resources for people who are struggling. The response is often punitive, because of the conservatisim of rural communities.
My friends and I used to joke that so many people thought the ends of the world were "Marfa and the Y." (The town west to us and a literal highway intersection east that broke north to Ft. Stockton and south to Mexico.) So that's some context to how isolated it can get.
These detail really struck me. Kids in cities and even suburban areas have freedom to experiment with fashion and identity, but small towns often have this crushing conformity. I remember kids mocking me for wearing black, which was "weird."
Anyway, the common thread in these school shootings is toxic masculinity and access to guns. Just some thoughts on the way that rural life in particular exacerbates those underlying issues and makes violence of all sorts, not just mass shootings, more common.
Uvalde was, IIRC, one of the many small towns my UIL team used to travel to every year for academic competitions. Get up at 3am and get on a bus and then compete all day and get on a bus and get home at like 8pm. Though it was far enough away we might have sprung for hotel rooms.
UIL was a true lifeline for rural kids, even if you just went to other towns that were exactly like your town and met kids just like yourself. If nothing else, it created these temporary communities where the bullied nerds could let it all hang out and feel free for a day.
Unfortunately, most kids didn't have a rich extracurricular schedule. And without that, there's very little to do. For kids in crisis, the total lack of outlets is just extremely dangerous. This is an extreme example, but there's so many other forms of self-harm and violence.
I realize I'm woolgathering a bit, because this shooting hits so close to home. But one other thing I'll add is that schools are often the only resource kids and families have. Texas teachers are overworked and underpaid, and they stick with it because they care about kids.
Schools provide extracurricular activities and libraries, both of which are invaluable to opening up the bigger world to kids stuck in small town life. And teachers who often are happy to talk to them about life beyond Your Small Town. (Since they went to college.)
And now our schools are under a multi-pronged assault. Loose gun laws that make school shootings common is a huge part of it. But Republicans are also banning books, defunding schools, and otherwise trying to wreck public education.
That's just not irresponsible and bizarre in the 21st century, where education in the linchpin of our economic system. It's taking away the only lifeline that many, many, many kids have. Which I assume is the GOP's goal.
Like parrots, Republicans squawk "mental health" every time we have a mass shooting. But this is a clear-cut example of how they don't give a single fuck, because any hope we have of reaching troubled kids is through the schools, and they are chipping away at that.

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More from @AmandaMarcotte

May 24
Among many reasons I'm alarmed over the public response to the Amber Heard/Johnny Depp trial is it's pretty clearly being leveraged by right wing media to radicalize young men to authoritarian politics.…
The support for Depp is just another alarming sign that this is an era where people are increasingly immune to facts that get in the way of a reactionary narrative.
There's this asinine hope in the media that the support for Depp is due to the cult of celebrity worship. But nah, it's just misogyny. And one sign is how the right wing media has gone all in on this story.
Read 10 tweets
May 23
My friend Amanda desperately wanted her baby, but ended up hospitalized for 3 days with severe post-partum depression anyway. As she argues in Elle, the dangers are even higher for women who don't want to give birth.…
Antis truly don't care for children, and frankly, I think a lot of them hate children. Why else do they want so many babies born to mothers who can't handle it? My friend had a great support system and still struggled. But women who abort often do so because they don't have that.
Pregnancy and childbirth are brutal processes, even when they're "easy." That's why it's pure sadism to ban abortion, and not about "life".…
Read 4 tweets
May 22
This thread is dead right. But I think a lot of the reluctance comes down to understanding that the people who support Depp do so because they are toxic assholes, who will gang up on someone. And it doesn't feel worth the hassle.
And, of course, Heard isn't perfect. (No one is!) But in our current environment, if you defend someone from X, that is taken as you vouching for their moral purity every second of their life and therefore anything wrong they've ever done makes both you and them Hitler.
Of course, such purity demands are only put on those who defend the marginalized or the oppressed or the abused. People who stand up for assholes can't be shamed that way, so no one bothers. It's a perfect environment for assholes to get their way and decent people to hide away.
Read 4 tweets
May 22
And imagine how much more participation there would be if more citizens were allowed to exercise their right to vote.
Not looking forward to right wingers crowing about how women are still successfully aborting pregnancies on the black market, thus abortion bans are NBD. That people will suffer to exercise their rights is not an excuse to attack those rights and make it harder/more dangerous.
This was one of the wild things about Ecuador's abortion ban. The health officials in the nation admitted that the country was spared higher maternal mortality rates because women had figured out how to abort illegally but safely.
Read 4 tweets
May 20
Great piece, and I agree with every word. Part of the problem is that supporters of domestic violence — which are clearly numerous, even as people refuse to believe it — exhibit a level of political solidarity the left can only dream of.…
The most prominent example is the way that Donald Trump views it as a bonus if a politician is accused of sexual or domestic violence, and will double down his support for that man. Depp's supporters are doing the same thing.
Part of it, which decent people struggle to understand, is that the Depp defenders largely see it as in their own interests if the victims in domestic violence are stigmatized, instead of the perpetrators. They see the silence and lack of consequences as benefitting them.
Read 20 tweets
May 19
During yesterday's hearing on abortion rights, the GOP's main witness claimed that D.C.'s electrical company powers the lights with incinerated fetuses.

Republicans aren't even trying to make their lies sound plausible anymore.

Read more:…
Fetuses are "burned to power the light's of the city's homes and streets," claimed Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life.

She seems to have gotten this urban myth from the people who got arrested for stashing fetuses in their house.…
Republicans also pretended women wait until they're in labor, and then demand abortions while the baby is crowning. Does anyone believe this? I doubt it. They just say this crap to demonize the over 800,000 people a year who get abortions.
Read 8 tweets

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