Bidens travel to Uvalde, Texas

 Bidens travel to Uvalde, Texas


UVALDE, Texas – President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden were hoping to comfort a town plagued with grief and anger when they met with families affected by the shooting of a Texas elementary school that killed 19 students and two teachers.

The visit to Uvalde on Sunday was Biden’s second trip in several weeks to comfort a community in mourning after the tragic loss. On May 17, he was in Buffalo, New York, to meet with the families of the victims and condemned white supremacy after a shooter supporting the racist “substitution theory” killed 10 Black people in a supermarket.

The shootings in Texas and New York and their consequences put a spotlight on the country’s entrenched divisions and its inability to create consensus on actions to reduce gun violence.

“Evil came in the elementary class in Texas, in that grocery store in New York, in a lot of places where innocent people died,” Biden said Saturday in a speech at the University of Delaware commencement. “We need to stand stronger. We need to stand stronger. We can’t stop tragedy, I know, but we can make America safer.

Biden was visiting the makeshift memorial outside Robb Elementary School before attending Mass at a local Catholic church. He is also scheduled to meet with family members at a community center and then with first responders at the local airport before returning to Washington, the White House said. He was not expected to give formal words.

Mckinzie Hinojosa, whose cousin Eliahana Torres was killed on Tuesday, said she respects Biden’s decision to mourn with the people of Uvalde.

“It’s more than mourning,” he said. “We want change. We want action. It continues to be something that happens over and over again. A mass shooting took place. It’s in the news. People were crying. Then it’s gone. No one cared. And then it happens again. And again. ”

“If there’s anything I can tell Joe Biden, it’s like this, to respect our community while he’s here, and I’m sure he will,” he added. “But we need to change. We need to do something about it.”

The Bidens ’visit to Uvalde comes amid growing scrutiny of the police response to the shooting. Officials revealed Friday that students and teachers repeatedly called for help from 911 operators even as a police commander told more than a dozen officers to wait in a hallway. Officers said the commander believed the suspect was barricaded inside an adjacent classroom and was no longer active in the attack.

The revelation sparked new grief and questions about how many lives were lost because officers did not act faster to stop the gunman, who was eventually killed by Border Patrol tactical officers.

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, a Democrat whose district includes Uvalde, described an emotional encounter with the father of one of the shooting victims.

“He can’t leave. And I won’t let him go. We were both crying at the time. It was so, so devastating, ”said Gutierrez, who said the boy’s daughter was shot in the back.

“She was probably bleeding, according to the first respondent. Who knows what will happen to the little girl, if the officers show up, just in time, if they get in, just in time? Gutierrez told “Meet the Press” on NBC on Sunday.

On Wednesday, before knowing the details of the officer’s delayed response, Biden praised their efforts, saying, “brave local officers and Border Patrol agents intervened to save the as many children as they can. “

Authorities say the shooter legally purchased two firearms prior to the school attack: an AR-style rifle on May 17 and a second rifle on May 20. He recently fired. age 18, which allows him to purchase weapons under federal law.

Speaking on Saturday, Biden said something needed to be changed in response to the attack.

“I call on all Americans at this hour to come together and make your voices heard, to work together to make this country what it can and should be,” Biden said. “I know we can do it. We’ve done it before. ”

Hours after the shooting, Biden issued an enthusiastic plea for more gun control law, asking: “When in the name of God will we stand in the gun lobby? Why are we willing to live with it? murder? Why do we let this happen? ”

With Jill Biden standing by her side in the Roosevelt Room, the president, who has suffered the loss of two of his own children – albeit not to gun violence – spoke in visceral terms about the grief of the loved the lives of the victims and the pain. which will last for the students who survived.

“Losing a child is like taking a piece of your soul,” Biden said. “There is a void in your chest. You feel like you’ve been sucked into it and can never get out. “

Over the years, Biden has been closely linked to the notable achievements of the gun control movement, such as the 1994 ban on assault weapons, and its most troubling disappointments, including the failure to pass new law after the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. , Connecticut.

At the White House, Biden tried to eliminate gun violence through executive orders. He faces some new options now, but executive action is probably the best the president can do, given Washington’s sharp divisions over gun control law. Lawmakers have resumed long-stalled negotiations to expand background check requirements and call for “red flag” laws intended to prevent guns in the hands of those with mental health issues, but the talks face a long battle on Capitol Hill.

Reported by Miller from Wilmington, Delaware. AP video reporter Robert Bumsted of Uvalde, Texas, contributed to this report.



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