A young Texan killed 19 schoolchildren and two teachers in a primary school in Uvalde, Texas. In the face of tragedy after tragedy, Republican elected officials continue to oppose any laws that would regulate the market for firearms.
Carnage in a school in the United States, the endless despair of the families, a somber speech from the president, then nothing, until the next time. Americans know all too well how this hopeless cycle goes since the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012. The Parkland shooting in 2018 changed nothing despite the exceptional mobilization of the students who survived it. They believed it was possible to bring a country sick of its violence back to reason and its elected officials to their responsibilities, but they failed. If there is any such thing as American exceptionalism, it is in condoning the fact that schools are regularly transformed into a bloody shooting range.
This time, the unbearable happened in the small town of Uvalde, Texas, and took the lives of 19 students and two teachers in a primary school just two days before summer recess. The 18-year-old alleged perpetrator was killed by law enforcement. This tragedy took place 10 days after a racially motivated mass shooting at a shopping center in Buffalo, New York, and another in a California church. In each case, the determined alleged killers encountered no legal barriers that would have made it more difficult for them to access the weapons they used.
Indeed, Americans are killing each other and the Republican Party looks the other way, complicit by ideology in one tragedy after another. After decades of brainwashing, the country’s elected officials no longer even need the iron grip of the National Rifle Association gun lobby, which is mired in crisis, to block any legislation that would provide even a modicum of regulation in this particularly lucrative market. It has become an almost sacred unquestioned duty to defend the Second Amendment right to bear arms, understood in its most absolutist sense.* The victims’ families must make do with the prayers of elected officials, who are certainly not stingy with prayers.
More than 20,000 People Died by Firearms in 2021
Thus, just a year ago, the state that was the scene of the latest bloodbath after eight other mass shootings in 13 years found nothing better than to abolish licenses to carry guns for people 21 years of age or older. “It’s time” for Texas to align itself with the most permissive states on the subject, argued Greg Abbott, governor of this bastion of conservativism.
Constantly more weapons: That is the only Republican creed. Americans bought nearly 20 million more guns in 2021, the second largest sales record in U.S. history. The United States also reported more than 20,000 gun deaths, not including suicides, which are even more numerous, and 693 of all shootings resulted in at least four injuries. Republicans are clearly unable to establish any causal link between these two phenomena. One despairs to imagine Republicans deploying the same energy to prevent killings committed overwhelmingly by men as they do to block women from exercising control over their own bodies.
The tyranny of the minority was evident after the Sandy Hook massacre, when the Senate sought to pass a common-sense measure supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans: background checks on gun buyers. Senators representing 118 million of their fellow citizens were able to overcome senators elected by 194 million people. Everything suggests that the result would be the same today in this nation caught up in such insanity.
*Editor’s note: The Second Amendment provides: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”