Between black crepe and messages of anger and pain painted on cars and stores, Uvalde received President Joe Biden this Sunday, who traveled to the small Texan town five days after the killing of 19 children and 2 teachers in an elementary school to show his support. to families. At the entrance of the school, the president and his wife toured the improvised altar for a few minutes from the day of the event with the photos of the victims. The residents of the town responded with applause and photos to the president’s visit.
Blanca Trejo, 67, is one of the neighbors who crossed the street from her house to greet Biden at the school gates. “In the town we are still dismayed. We are with the president but there is a lot of dissatisfaction with how the police did things. The lives of more children could have been saved, ”she tells her among a crowd with flowers and messages of condolence.
On the doors of the town’s stores, many closed, and on the cars that pass with the windows closed to protect themselves from the Texas sun, there are signs of support – “We are with you” – but also condemning police work – “shame for the officers who did nothing”-, highly questioned from the beginning by the families. The authorities themselves confirmed, after several days of conflicting reports, that the strategy was wrong.
The agents took more than an hour to intervene once the murderer, an 18-year-old teenager, locked himself in two adjoining classrooms armed with a semi-automatic rifle. In a climate of growing pressure, the Department of Justice announced this Sunday that it will open “an exhaustive investigation” into the operation carried out at the Uvalde school.
“The goal of the review is to provide an independent account of law enforcement actions and responses that day, and to identify lessons learned and best practices to help prepare for and respond to mass shooting events,” spokesman Anthony said. Coley.
After the school visit, Biden attended mass at a Catholic church. Héctor Gómez, a 65-year-old retired mechanic, has come with his seven-year-old granddaughter to the doors of the church to ask the politicians to finally do something to regulate the arms market: “I love arms. But it cannot be that it is easier to buy an automatic rifle than to get an appointment at the doctor, ”he said while the president had not yet left the mass.
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Promoted by Democratic Senator Christopher S. Murphy, a parliamentary commission made up of members of both parties will begin negotiations next week to address greater control over the arms market. Biden, with a political history prone to greater regulation, has shown these days his willingness to put an end to arms.
The issue is one of the classic proposals on the Democratic agenda. Even more so after each of the traumatic shootings that cyclically hit the country. But the initiatives that are usually put on the table at times like this – raising the minimum age, more oversight of criminal and psychiatric background checks – are almost always blocked by Republican refusals and high thresholds in Parliament to impose a higher control of the arms industry, one of the largest pressure groups in the country.
The president’s visit to Uvalde ended with a meeting behind closed doors with relatives. The forensic work has been long and painful. Several corpses had to be sent to the city of San Antonio, an hour and a half by car from the town, due to the lack of qualified personnel in Uvalde. Families will begin celebrating their children’s funerals starting Tuesday of next week.