Advertisement

Home / World / Texas shooting: General horror conspicuous

Texas shooting: General horror conspicuous

Former US President Donald Trump, calls for 'impenetrable security at every school all across our land'
Donald Turmp
Donald Turmp
File Picture

Glenn Thrush   |   Houston   |   Published 29.05.22, 01:46 AM

One by one, the gun rights activists and politicians who showed up at the National Rifle Association convention on Friday said they were appalled, horrified and shaken by the massacre of 19 children and two adults a few days earlier in Uvalde, Texas.

One by one, they then rejected any suggestion that gun control measures were needed to stop mass shootings. They blamed the atrocities on factors that had nothing to do with firearms — the breakdown of the American family, untreated mental illness, bullying on social media, violent video games and the inexplicable existence of “evil”.

Advertisement

Above all, they sought to divert pressure to support popular overhauls like expanded background checks by seizing on the issue of school safety, amid reports that the gunman in Uvalde gained easy access to Robb Elementary School through an unguarded door.

Former President Donald J. Trump, speaking at the event’s keynote session late on Friday, called for “impenetrable security at every school all across our land”, adding that “schools should be the single hardest target”.

He began his remarks by somberly reciting the names of those killed in Uvalde, to the toll of recorded church bells. But he quickly jumped on the attack, blaming President Biden, who has passed billions in education aid, for increasing military spending instead of paying for greater school security.

In 2018, after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 students, the Trump administration convened a school safety commission. Its most concrete step was to repeal school policies meant to ensure that minority children were not unfairly disciplined, which critics said did not directly address the issue of gun violence.

Trump was greeted by thunderous applause from supporters, some of them wearing oversized NRA convention credentials over their fading Trump-Pence T-shirts.

Yet behind the bravado was an awkward modulation between despair and defiance. A convention that promised to be a major test for an NRA weakened by scandal and internal conflict, even before Uvalde, spotlighted the struggle in the Republican Party to reconcile near-total opposition to gun control with growing outrage after a spate of mass killings facilitated by easy access to semi-automatic weapons.

“They have been doing this for years,” said Kellye Burke, 54, a gun control activist from Houston who participated in a protest against the NRA in the park across from the convention centre. “They talk about the tragedy, then blame it on something other than guns.”

Ovidia Molina, the president of the Texas State Teachers Association, grew emotional talking about children bearing the burden of repeated violence. “Every time I hear of another school shooting, it breaks my heart,” she said, appearing alongside school shooting survivors and gun control activists at an event organised by teachers’ unions.

New York Times News Service



Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
 
 
 
Copyright © 2020 The Telegraph. All rights reserved.