Joe Biden goes to the Texas town of Uvalde on Sunday, five days after the massacre in an elementary school, to bring all his empathy to the loved ones bereaved by this shooting which shocked America and reignited the debate on firearms.
“We can’t make dramas illegal, I know that. But we can make America safer,” the President of the United States pleaded on Saturday, regretting that “in so many places, so many innocent people have died. “.
Nineteen children and two teachers died on Tuesday in the Robb school in Uvalde under the bullets of Salvador Ramos, barely 18, in one of the worst shootings in recent years in the country.
The 79-year-old Democrat, who himself lost two of his children — his still-baby daughter in a car accident, and an adult son to cancer — spoke of his own suffering shortly after the killings.
“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.”
– ‘Weapons lobby’ –
In Uvalde, Joe Biden must meet families of victims, local leaders and religious leaders.
Known for his empathy, he will undoubtedly be able to find the words in the face of the suffering of loved ones.
But the head of state can hardly promise action to those who demand stricter control of firearms.
The too narrow Democratic parliamentary majority 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 “needs the help of Congress”, through the voice of its spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre.
Message echoed by Vice President Kamala Harris, who said on Saturday that elected officials must “have the courage to oppose, once and for all, the gun lobby, and pass reasonable laws on security in matters of ‘fire arms”.
– ‘All die’ –
The Uvalde massacre and the childlike faces of its very young victims plunged America back into the nightmare of school shootings.
The inhabitants of this small town, in the center of which stands a memorial in honor of the victims, now think of the grief of the survivors.
“We have to help these children get out of this trauma, this pain,” Humberto Renovato, 33, told AFP on Saturday.
The first testimonies of the students who emerged alive from the Robb school gave a glimpse of the nightmare they lived through.
As he entered the room, the shooter told the children, “You’re all going to die,” before opening fire, 10-year-old Samuel Salinas 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 on the floor covered in blood, Samuel Salinas, in order not to be targeted by the shots, tried to “play dead”.
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 corpse was next to her, she explained to CNN, in unfilmed testimony.
She had just seen the teenager kill his teacher, after saying “good night”.
Another student, Daniel, told The Washington Post that while the victims waited for the police to come rescue them, no one shouted.
“I was scared and stressed, because the bullets almost hit me.”
The children who survived “are traumatized, and they will have to live with that all their lives,” said his mother, Briana Ruiz.
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 which caused a strong controversy, and a mea culpa from the Texas authorities.
However, the police received numerous calls from people in the two affected classrooms, including one from a child pleading: “please send the police now”.
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