Uwalde, Texas – President Joe Biden mourned the shattered community of Uwalde on Sunday, mourning in private for three hours with the tortured families of 19 students and two teachers killed by a gunman. Faced with the chanting of “do something” as he left church service, Biden promised, “We will do it.”
At elementary school, Rob Biden visited a memorial of 21 white crosses – one for each killed – and First Lady Jill Biden added a bouquet of white flowers to those already on the school’s plaque. The couple then examined individual altars erected in memory of each student, with the first lady touching the pictures of the children as they moved in order.
After visiting the memorial, Biden attended a liturgy at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, where members of several victims were members and one of the families attended.
Speaking directly to the children in the flock, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siler tried to allay the fears of the young people, some of whom looked the same age as the victims.
“You saw the news, you witnessed the tears of your parents, friends,” he said, encouraging them not to be afraid of life. “You are the best reminder to us that the lives of little ones are important.”
When Biden left the church to meet with family members in private, a crowd of about 100 people began chanting “do something.” Biden replied, “We’ll do it” when he got in his car. This was his only public comment for about seven hours in Uwalde.
Biden later tweeted that he was grieving, praying and staying with Uwalde’s men. “And we are committed to putting that pain into action,” he said.
The visit to Uwalde was Biden’s second trip in so many weeks to comfort a lost community after a mass shooting. He traveled to Buffalo, New York, on May 17 to meet with the families of the victims and condemn the superiority of whites after a gunman supporting the racist “substitution theory” killed 10 black people in a supermarket.
Both the shooting and its aftermath have shed new light on the nation’s established divisions and its inability to reach consensus on actions to reduce gun violence.
“Evil has come to this classroom in Texas elementary school, to that grocery store in New York, to too many places where innocents have died,” Biden said in a speech at the University of Delaware on Saturday. “We have to stay stronger. We need to stay stronger. I know we can’t outlaw tragedy, but we can make America safer.
Biden also met with first aid teams before traveling back home to Delaware. It is unclear whether the group included officers who were involved in the immediate reaction to the shooting.
Biden visited him amid growing control of police response. Officials revealed on Friday that students and teachers had repeatedly asked 911 operators for help as a police commander told more than a dozen officers to wait in the hallway. Officials said the commander believed the suspect had been barricaded in an adjoining classroom and that there was no longer an active attack.
The revelation caused more grief and raised new questions about whether lives were lost because officers did not act more quickly to stop the shooter, who was eventually killed by tactical Border Patrol officers.
The justice ministry said on Sunday it would review law enforcement responses and make public its findings.
“It’s easy to point a finger at the moment,” said Ronnie Garza, Uvalde County Commissioner, at CBS’s Face the Nation, before adding: “Our community needs to focus on treatment right now.”
McKinsey Hinohosa, whose cousin Eliahana Torres was killed on Tuesday, said he respected Biden’s decision to mourn the Uwalde people.
“It’s more than mourning,” she said. “We want change. We want action. It continues to be something that happens again and again and again. There is a mass shooting. It’s on the news. People are crying. Then he is gone. Nobody cares. And then it happens again. And again.”
“If there’s one thing, if I can tell Joe Biden how it is, just respect our community while he’s here, and I’m sure he’ll,” she added. “But we need change. We need to do something about it. “
Authorities said the shooter had legally purchased two weapons shortly before the school attack: an AR-style rifle on May 17 and a second rifle on May 20. He has just turned 18, which allows him to purchase weapons under federal law.
Hours after the shooting, Biden passionately asked for additional gun control legislation, asking, “When on earth are we going to face the gun lobby? Why are we ready to live with this carnage? Why do we keep allowing this to happen? “
Over the years, Biden has been intimately involved in the remarkable successes of the arms control movement, such as the 1994 assault gun ban, which expired in 2004, and his most troubling frustrations, including the failure to pass new legislation since the Sandy massacre in 2012. Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
As president, Biden sought to tackle gun violence through executive orders. He now faces several new opportunities, but the executive’s actions may be the best the president can do, given Washington’s sharp divisions over gun control legislation.
In Congress, a bipartisan group of senators spoke over the weekend to see if they could reach even a modest compromise on gun safety legislation after a decade of largely unsuccessful efforts.
Encouraging state red flag laws to keep guns out of people with mental health problems and tackling school security and mental health resources were on the table, said Sen. Chris Murphy, who is leading the effort.
Although there is little support from Republicans in Congress for broader public safety proposals for the public, including a new ban on assault weapons or universal inspections of gun purchases, Murphy, D-Conn, told This Week. ABC that these other ideas are “not insignificant”.
The group will meet again next week within a 10-day deal.
“This time there are more Republicans who are interested in talking about finding a way forward than I’ve seen since Sandy Hook,” said Murphy, who represented the Newtown area as a congressman during the Sandy Hook shooting. “And while I may end up with a broken heart, I’m on the table more important now with Republicans and Democrats than ever.
AP congressional correspondent Lisa Mascaro and Associated Press writer Darlene Superville in Washington and AP video journalist Robert Bumstead of Uwalde, Texas, contributed to the report.
More about school shooting in Uwalde, Texas: https://apnews.com/hub/uvalde-school-shooting
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Uwalde tells Biden to “do something”; he promises “we will”
Source link Uwalde tells Biden to “do something”; he promises “we will”