Joe Biden arrived in the Texas town of Uvalde on Sunday, five days after the elementary school shooting, to support loved ones bereaved by the shooting that shocked America and reignited the gun debate. Accompanied by his wife, Jill Biden, the American president, a devout Catholic, gathered in front of an improvised memorial near the place of the killing.
The first lady laid a bouquet in front of a small brick wall bearing the name Robb Elementary School, which will forever be synonymous with one of the worst mass shootings in US history. Nineteen children and two teachers died on Tuesday in the Robb school in Uvalde under the bullets of Salvador Ramos, who was 18 years old.
Wearing dark suits and dark glasses, Joe and Jill Biden walked towards a row of large photos adorned with white flowers, showing the faces of broke children, aged 9 to 11.
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They reviewed them, Joe Biden shaking his head at one point, as if still in disbelief at the tragedy. For her part, Jill Biden brushed each face with a caress.
Losing a child is like having a part of your soul ripped out of you, he said on Tuesday.
Nothing is ever the same again.
Joe Biden, who also lost his still-baby daughter and his first wife in a car accident, will be able to marry and perhaps soothe the pain of the families he must then meet after attending a mass.
You can’t make dramas illegal, I know that. But we can make the United States safer, the American president pleaded on Saturday, regretting that
in so many places, so many innocent people died.
A stricter framework for weapons is unlikely
The 79-year-old Democrat would like to break this grim routine of the United States, regularly upset by shootings, without meaningful gun reforms to follow.
However, the Head of State can hardly promise action to those who demand a stricter framework for firearms. The too-narrow Democratic majority in Congress does not allow him to pass significant legislation on the subject alone. The elected representatives of his camp need to convince a few Republicans to obtain the necessary qualified majority.
The White House, reluctant to involve Joe Biden too much in the political battle, said Thursday that it
needed the help of Congress, through its spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre. Negotiations are taking place there, and some elected officials deemed it possible, on Sunday, to put in place more restrictive laws. Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said he felt
a different state of mind from his peers.
It remains to be seen whether the Republicans will
show political courage, he added on CNN. The Uvalde massacre and the childlike faces of its very young victims plunged the United States back into the nightmare of school shootings.
The inhabitants of this small town were awaiting their president on Sunday, an
important visit, judged Frank Campos, 52, who lives in the neighboring city of San Antonio.
But how many more schools will he go to? We must put an end to all this, he said, calling for restrictions on access to weapons.
Illustrating the country’s divisions, Luis Luera, 50, believes such legislation would change nothing:
Criminals will find a way to get guns.
Children bear witness to the horror
Since the massacre, the first testimonies of the students who emerged alive from the Robb school gave a glimpse of the nightmare they lived through.
Upon entering the room, the shooter said to the children: ”
You are all going to die,” before opening fire, Samuel Salinas, 10, told ABC.
I think he was aiming at me, testified the young boy, but a chair between him and the shooter blocked the bullet.
In the room with the floor covered in blood, Samuel Salinas, in order not to be targeted by the shots, tried to
Miah Cerrillo, 11, tried to escape the attention of Salvador Ramos in the same way. The girl covered herself in the blood of a comrade, whose body was next to her, she explained to CNN.
She had just seen the teenager kill his teacher, after saying
good night to her.
It took about an hour on Tuesday for the police to put an end to the massacre. The 19 agents on-site awaited the assault of a specialized unit. A delay in intervention caused a strong controversy, then a mea culpa from the Texas authorities.
However, the police received numerous calls from people in the two affected classrooms, including a child pleading:
Please send the police now.