Country split, as Democrats call to rein in guns, Republicans led by Texas Sen. Cruz, Gov Abbott say gun rights are sacred
Nineteen children and two teachers were shot to death at a Texas elementary school by an 18-year-old gunman who calmly went from classroom to classroom, cald in boy armor and carrying several automatic weapons he had bought legally.
A police officer posted at the school was unable to stop the gunman. A Border Patrol agent rushing into the school without backup shot and killed the gunman, the AP reported.
Tuesday’s assault at Robb Elementary School in the heavily Latino town of Uvalde was the deadliest shooting at a U.S. school since a gunman killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, adding to a gruesome, yearslong series of mass killings at churches, schools and stores.
The attack was the latest grim moment for a country scarred by a string of massacres, coming just 10 days after a deadly, racist rampage at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket.
President Biden, who learned of the attack while flying to a summit meeting in Asia said the nation had to act to finally rein in the widespread availability of guns.
“As a nation we have to ask, when in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name are we going to do what has to be done?” Biden asked. “Why are we willing to live with this carnage?”
On the floor of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Chris Murphy, whose home state, Connecticut, was home to the 2012 massacre at the Sandy Hook elementary school, asked Republican senators to stop blocking efforts to rein in guns.
“Our kids are living in fear every single time they step foot in a classroom because they think they are going to be next,” Murphy said. “Why do you spend all this time running for the United States Senate? Why do you go through all the hassle of getting this job if your answer is that as this slaughter increases, as our kids run for their lives, we do nothing. What are we doing?”
But Republicans were already attacking Democrats and attempting to deflect attention from US gun laws, among the weakest int he world.
The National Rifle Association, the lobbying group behind most of the US laws to allow wider ownership of guns, is meeting in Texas this week. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz, both Republicans, have said they will attend.
“Inevitably when there’s a murder of this kind, you see politicians try to politicize it, you see Democrats and a lot of folks in the media whose immediate solution is to try to restrict the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens,” Cruz told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.”
Hours after the attack, families were still awaiting word on their children, the AP reported from Uvalde. At the town civic center where some gathered, the silence was broken repeatedly by screams and wailing.
“No! Please, no!” one man yelled as he embraced another man.
“My heart is broken today,” said Hal Harrell, the school district superintendent. “We’re a small community, and we’re going to need your prayers to get through this.”
(by LaPresse, with agencies)
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