The school shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas was the worst school shooting in a decade. The worst mass shooting in years. It should not have been possible. Columbine should have made it impossible. Morality and priority of protecting American people should have made it impossible. Yet here we are, facing more vicarious grief and trauma than any one person should ever have to handle. Our leaders tell us that in the name of democracy we must endure but our democracy died decades ago. It died in 2004 when the ban on assault rifles expired. It continues to die every day.
There is no force on earth or in hell that can stop bad things from happening but when prevention is nowhere to be found, a great disservice has been done to humanity.
Salvador Ramos is an 18 year old young man who had manifested a myriad of perturbed views that are classified under the DD-12 risk factors. According to classmates and other users online, he consistently threatened women and often spoke about his plans to shoot his grandmother, and shoot students at school.
Victimology is a psycho-scientific subset of criminal investigation. Victimologist study victims, theories have evolved over the years and have branched into 4 different subcategories of victimization and victim behavior. We look at everything the victim does because it always tells us who the offender is. In the same vein, suspectology is an investigative technique that usually follows the development of a victimology profile. Every crime can be studied through these approaches in fact every crime should be. In their typology and standard operating procedures are keys to the victim’s and suspect’s steps and course of action that led to their meeting. The biggest and arguably most important part of any investigation is the identification of risk factors. They are the yellow brick road to how an offender came to offend and how likely they are to offend again.
It is in my most humble opinion that the shooting at Robb Elementary was entirely avoidable, more so than any other crime of its kind, due to the risk factors I identified as a victimologist.
Salvador Ramos displayed multiple risk factors in the months leading up to his attack.
While you may understand what risk is, and what a factor is, the term together ‘risk factor’ should not be taken at face value. I will be using them interchangeably, but a risk factor comes from the DD-12 Risk Factors that were developed by the Violence Against Women Act [VAWA] mandate, as a response to the growing epidemic of sexual violence in colleges and universities. Like most criminal theories, however, they are universal and can be used for a myriad of criminal offences.
The risk factor of objectification and depersonalization explains how offenders view their victims as objects, depersonalizing a human in their eyes removes the agency of the individual. It elicits their ability to use the victim for whatever they please to the exclusion of everything else. Salvador Ramos exhibited this risk factor to the highest degree both during the shooting and events leading up to them. He began using a social platform like Yubo, a combination of messaging and social content, to threaten users and openly talk about his pension for violence via guns. It is not easy to identify this risk factor but the interesting thing about the DD-12 is that they often overlap, and one leads to another.
Objectification and depersonalization is a gateway to what is called misogynistic ideology. Much as it sounds, it refers to a man’s unwavering belief that women are less than men, that they deserve less of everything, and it is very much a full depersonalization of all women. Ramos, according to verified sources and peers, threatened young girls on the Yubo app with rape, murder, and other pervasive acts. For no good cause, he responded with lude acts and graphic messages toward young girls. Where this could have been intercepted was not only by the trust and safety specialists of the Yubo app, but the few adults that victims of these messages reported the instances to. According to the Washington Post, Ramos “[He] shared animal videos, struck up flirtatious conversations and shared intimate things about his past that left some feeling like distant friends. But in recent months, he’d also started posting darker imagery — moody black-and-white photos and pictures of rifles on his bed.” There is a fine line between detection and judgement, but I would hinge my career on the belief that a trained counselor or school official addressing his messages and behavior and monitoring him the best they could, as much as resources could allow, would have drastically decreased the manifestation of his fantasies.
Ramos shot and killed nineteen souls, 17 children and 2 school teachers on May 24, 2022.