Texas mourns its dead, but gun debate continues

Could the tragedy be avoided? The eternal question of the limitation of firearms in the United States imposed itself on Wednesday in Uvalde as in the rest of the country, the day after the appalling massacre of 19 schoolchildren in this Texas city stunned by mourning.

A school dropout, Salvador Ramos, 18, opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in a primary school, also killing two teachers before being killed by the police.

Republican governor arrested by Democrat

Sign of the tension around the subject, Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbott’s press conference on Wednesday was interrupted by his opponent Beto O’Rourke, who accused him of “doing nothing”, and of “proposing nothing”. .

“You say it was not foreseeable, it was completely foreseeable from the moment you decided not to do anything,” said this figure from the Democratic Party in Texas.

The day before, President Joe Biden, who was returning from a tour of Asia when the shooting occurred, had delivered an emotional speech from the White House, calling for “turning pain into action”. “When, for God’s sake, are we going to face the gun lobby? “, he had launched, saying to himself “disgusted and tired” in the face of the litany of shootings in the school environment.

The debate on gun regulation in the United States is virtually empty given the lack of hope that Congress will pass an ambitious national law on the issue.

A “black cloud” over the city

In Uvalde, a lead screed covered the city on Wednesday, where the inhabitants were torn between mourning, dread and amazement in the aftermath of the massacre. “It feels like a black cloud is hanging over the city,” said a resident, Adolfo Hernandez, whose nephew was in this establishment plunged into terror and chaos by an 18-year-old gunman, shot dead by the police. “We want to pinch ourselves and wake up from this horrible nightmare,” he added, describing a “heartbroken, devastated” city.

The streets around the bereaved school were cordoned off on Wednesday by the police, who established a security perimeter. There was no car traffic, very few pedestrians and, apart from the presence of many media and dozens of police, a gloomy calm reigned, noted AFP journalists.

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The killer had posted messages on Facebook

The day before, at midday, horror fell on this city of 16,000 inhabitants when a gunman, identified as Salvador Ramos, 18, committed one of the worst killings in recent years in the United States. United. The high school student, who first targeted his grandmother, who was seriously injured and hospitalized, then went to Robb Elementary School, near which he crashed his car.

He had previously announced on Facebook that he was going to carry out this attack, reported Greg Abbott. Salvador Ramos, thus successively published a message warning that he was going to shoot his grandmother, then another specifying that he had done so. “The third message, probably less than fifteen minutes before arriving at the school, said: ‘I am going to open fire in an elementary school,'” Governor Abbott said at a press conference.

A model of assault rifle used in several killings

Warned of the car accident and the fact that he was armed, the police tried to prevent him from entering the school but after an exchange of gunfire, he managed to barricade himself in a classroom, detailed Wednesday morning Chris Olivarez, spokesperson for the Texas police, on the CNN channel. It was there that he massacred 19 young students, aged 10 or less, and two teachers, and injured 17 using an AR-15 assault rifle, according to the governor, before being shot by the police.

The young shooter, of American nationality, had recently bought two assault rifles and 375 cartridges, in several installments just after his 18th birthday. The AR-15 rifle, an extremely lethal weapon, is fatally known to have already been used in other shootings with heavy tolls, such as the 2018 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, which left 17 dead, the majority of them teenagers.

“It only happens in this country, and nowhere else. In no other country do children go to school thinking they might get shot,” said Democratic Senator Chris Murphy on Tuesday, who ” begged” his elected colleagues to act.

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