Nearly half of those killed during the Texas church shooting were children. This heinous act did not occur in isolation – it is simply the most visible and visceral manifestation of what is already in existence. Furthermore, we need to understand that what America exports globally is connected to what happens locally.

From closing public schools to preventing the implementation of universal health care, this country declared war on youth a long time ago. Every Toys for Tots drive in the nation cannot change the fact that children are seen as disposable. Children are not viewed as ‘the future’, they are demonized as barriers to it. Instead of viewing children as beacons of hope who deserve public investment and protection, politicians treat them as liabilities in need of discipline. Any society that criminalizes its youth as a symbol of deviance is already circling the drain.

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, we saw footage of President Obama weeping for the children who were killed. But what is seldom pointed out is that as Americans were grieving those children, the military was bombing children throughout the Middle East. Consider the fact that between 2003 and 2011, roughly 1,200 children were killed in Iraq. Just a few years ago, a 13-year old boy from Pakistan testified that he was afraid of blue skies. Why? Because clear conditions made it easier for drones to locate people and kill them. The United States has succeeded in making children overseas afraid of a sunny day. Just … consider the sheer terrorism of that. And if we look recently, the U.S. killed 70 children in Syria during March of this year – more than Russia and ISIS. Where is the outrage for murders of these children?!

If you are outraged by the murders of children in Connecticut and Texas – but have nothing to say when a similar fate is visited upon kids in Iraq and Pakistan – your grief is rooted in imperialism.