Members of the US armed forces are fingerprinted, their DNA is collected, and the information is kept on file and in storage. It is a precaution for those terrible situations in which a body needs to be identified and an acknowledgement of the danger inherent in serving in the military. That Texas officials think schoolchildren should take the same precautions as troops who go into battle speaks volumes about the twisted priorities that have protected gun rights at the expense of children.
Opinion | DNA kits in Texas public schools show the state’s twisted priorities
“A gift of safety, from our family to yours” reads the message printed on fingerprint and DNA kits that are being handed out to parents of Texas public school students to help them identify their children “in case of an emergency.” Parents who opt in — the program is free and voluntary — will be able to keep their child’s DNA and fingerprint information at home, and can later provide it to law enforcement agencies in emergency situations if needed. The 2021 law establishing a “child identification program” doesn’t t explicitly say it’s for identifying victims of school shootings, and text on the kits only references missing children. But five months after a gunman killed 19 fourth-graders and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Tex., it is hard not to make the connection.
“I worry every single day when I send my kid to school. Now we’re giving parents DNA kits so that when their child is killed with the same weapon of war I had when I was in Afghanistan, parents can use them to identify them ?” said the mother of a Texas second-grader. “Yeah! Awesome! Let’s identify kids after they’ve been murdered instead of fixing issues that could ultimately prevent them from being murdered,” Brett Crosswhose 10-year-old son, Uziyah Garcia, was killed in the Uvalde shooting, posted on Twitter. Among the gut-wrenching things we learned about Uvalde was that authorities had to ask for DNA samples from parents because it was hard to identify the bodies due to the devastating damage caused by the high-powered rifle the gunman used. A pediatrician who treated Uvalde victims told Congress what he witnessed: “Two children whose bodies had been so pulverized by the bullets fired at them, decapitated, whose flesh had been so ripped apart that the only clue as to their identities was the blood-spattered cartoon clothes still clinging to them.”
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), who is running for reelection this year, has refused to even entertain the idea of trying to do something about the availability of weapons of war that did such unspeakable damage. Such as banning them or, at the very least, changing the law so that someone such as the Uvalde shooter wouldn’t be able to legally buy an assault rifle just after they turned 18. Instead, the state hands out kits that make it easier for parents to identify their slaughtered children and has the gall to do it in the name of safety.
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