“When I became president, I hoped I wouldn’t have to go through this again.” The president of the United States, Joe Biden, expressed his pain and regret this Tuesday afternoon for the attack on the Robb elementary school, in Uvalde, a town of 16,000 inhabitants of the State of Texas. An 18-year-old has killed 21 people there, including 19 children and a teacher at the center, according to Texas State Police.
Biden has used his condolences to also send a clear message in favor of greater controls on the sale and use of firearms, pointing to industry lobbyists as responsible for preventing stronger regulation. “Weapons manufacturers have spent two decades aggressively marketing assault weapons, which are the ones that bring them the most profit,” he said, adding: “For God’s sake, when are we going to confront the gun lobby? ?”.
Biden has recalled other similar massacres that he has experienced in the past and has pointed out that 10 years have passed since he went to a school in Newtown (Connecticut) for a similar massacre, when he was vice president of the United States and 20 children were murdered in the school Sandy Hook Elementary.
“I’m fed up. We have to act and don’t tell me that we can act against these butcher shops. I spent my career as a senator and vice president working to pass common sense gun laws. We can’t prevent all tragedies, but we know they work and have a positive impact when we pass an assault weapons ban. Mass shootings went down and when the law expired, they tripled. The idea that an 18-year-old boy can walk into a gun store and buy two assault weapons is simply wrong,” the president said.
Joe Biden promoted a rule banning assault weapons and high-capacity cartridges in 1994, when he was a senator from Delaware. Bill Clinton signed it and it was in effect until 2004, when George W. Bush repealed it. Last Tuesday, in Buffalo, the president told the victims of the supermarket massacre that measures can be taken to reduce the risk of this type of massacre repeating itself.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
Biden, remembering that he had just arrived from Asia, has pointed out the uniqueness of the United States, since in no other country do incidents of this type occur with such frequency. “Why do we have to live with this carnage? Why do we let it keep happening? We must have the courage to face it and stand up to the industry”, added Biden. “Most Americans support common sense gun laws,” he has reasoned.
“Losing a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped out,” said the emotional president, whose son Beau died of cancer and who lost another daughter and his first wife in a traffic accident. “The emptiness in the chest. You feel that it absorbs you and that you will never be able to get out, ”he has said.
Two kills in 10 days
The Uvalde massacre is the second to occur in the United States in a period of only 10 days, since last Saturday, May 14, another 18-year-old killed 10 people in a supermarket in the town of Buffalo, in the State of New York, in that case for racist reasons. Biden traveled to offer condolences to relatives.
The school where the massacre took place this Tuesday has 90% Hispanic students, many of them a vulnerable population with economic difficulties. The murderer, who has been shot by the police, had just turned 18.
Shortly before, the vice president of the United States, Kamala Harris, has also spoken about the Uvalde massacre, in the State of Texas. “Every time a tragedy like this happens, our hearts break and our broken hearts are nothing compared to the broken hearts of those families,” said the vice president.
“Enough already. As a nation, we have to have the courage to act (…) to ensure that something like this does not happen again, ”Harris said in an intervention at the annual gala of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS América newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in the region.