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ANALYSIS | Senate advances gun legislation, but questions remain about police response to Uvalde shooting

2022-06-23T10:43:25.144Z

Years after several massacres in public schools, with dozens of children victims of shootings, the US Senate is ready to approve the first bipartisan measure on gun safety in almost a generation, which was partially promoted after the shooting massive in Uvalde.



Mayor of Uvalde demands accurate information about the massacre 3:18

(CNN) --

The parents of the Uvalde victims, who lost their children in a horrific massacre at Robb Elementary School, felt like they had failed again.

It is becoming increasingly clear that these parents were failed by a federal and state system that failed to fulfill its basic duty of government: to ensure the safety and well-being of their children when, in this case, an 18-year-old who legally purchased a high-powered rifle with which he killed them in his classroom.

And it appears that those 19 children and two teachers who were killed were also let down by law enforcement officers, who waited one hour, 14 minutes, and eight seconds to storm the classroom where the attacker carried out his butchery, according to the evidence that emerged in a harrowing hearing in the Texas state legislature on Tuesday.

There is also the dire possibility that some of the children might still be alive if police had followed recommended mass shooting protocols since the 1999 Columbine school massacre to take down the shooter as soon as possible.

It seems that the lives of police officers may have been prioritized before that of defenseless children.

The parents of the Uvalde victims are not the first grieving relatives defrauded by government institutions.

It happened after the Parkland, Florida, high school shooting in 2018, and it also happened after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in 2012, when it seemed certain that the brutal murder of 20 young children and six adults would inevitably lead to changes to prevent further such massacres.

But the momentum dried up in Congress as the gun lobby moved to increase pressure on Republican senators as soon as the initial shock over the massacre began to subside.

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A decade later, some of those parents hope to see their long campaign for change at least partially validated in the coming days, with the US Senate poised to pass the first bipartisan gun safety measure in nearly a decade. generation, which was partially promoted after the mass execution in Uvalde.

  • ANALYSIS |

    The Senate Compromise on Guns Is a Real Progress, If Thin and Modest

The details of the US arms control agreement 2:35

The investigations of the police action during the massacre in Uvalde continue

Meanwhile, recriminations in Texas for a patchy and incomplete response to the horror at Robb Elementary School continue to grow.

Following Tuesday's legislative hearing in the state, in which Texas Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steve McCraw called the local response to the May 24 massacre an "abject failure," there are new accusations that state officials are selectively filtering in to defray responsibilities and make Uvalde officials look bad.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin said Tuesday that he was frustrated at not being able to get answers for parents, saying, "Colonel McCraw has continued to, whatever you want to call him, lying, leaking, misleading or misrepresenting information to distance his own Soldiers and Rangers of the answer".

Mayor of Uvalde demands accurate information about the massacre 3:18

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde County, has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Public Safety, meanwhile, accusing it of failing to produce public documents related to the shooting in a reasonable time.

These apparent turf wars, suspicions about cover-ups, shifts in official narratives, and refusal to provide timely answers about what happened on that terrible day a month ago are consistent with the lack of transparency displayed by authorities since the shooting and during the answer.

It is worsening the already unimaginable ordeal of parents mourning their children.

Anger and emotion boiled over Tuesday night at a special City Council meeting in Uvalde.

Berlinda Irene Arreola, grandmother of 10-year-old school shooting victim Amerie Jo Garza, demanded to know why school district police chief Pedro “Pete” Arredondo remains in her position.

Arredondo, who was identified by other officials as the on-the-ground responder, has been accused of waiting for shields, rifles, police radios and a key to get into the classroom where the children were before acting.

Other tests and reports have shown that at least one child called 911 for help from inside the classroom.

In the end, it was Border Patrol agents who stormed the room and killed the shooter.

At the special meeting of the City Council, Arreola stood up and advocated that the opinions of the mourners be respected.

"He failed us," he said of Arredondo.

"Don't make the same mistake he made and don't let us down too," he said.

"Go ahead and make things right... Please, please, please get this man out of our lives."

On Wednesday night, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District announced that Arredondo would be placed on administrative leave.

District Superintendent Hal Harrell said the move was made "because of the lack of clarity that remains" and the uncertain timing of when he would get the results of various investigations.

Arredondo has contradicted previous narratives about his role, telling The Texas Tribune that he did not consider himself the incident commander and he did not instruct officers to refrain from storming the scene.

New evidence points to insufficient reaction to shooting in Uvalde 2:26

Speaking with CNN's Brianna Keilar on "New Day" on Wednesday before the news about Arredondo broke, Arreola said her family's ordeal is getting worse and worse as little Amerie is missed more and the lack of information about the massacre is deepening their pain.

"Everything that's coming to light, everything that we're discovering, it's getting more and more difficult every day," he said.

"And we have to speak up for all of these kids, all of these families. We have to get it right. And we have to get to the bottom of everything that's happened and find out the truth."

The movement for gun legislation after school massacres

There will never be consolation for such torment.

But for the parents and relatives of children of previous massacres who were failed by the political system and who have turned mourning into activism, there may be, at least in the days ahead, a sign that their fight is not desperate.

The US Senate appears to be on the verge of passing the most important gun safety legislation in nearly a generation.

It will not live up to calls for measures such as a ban on assault rifles, which some relatives of Uvalde called for when they testified before a House committee earlier this month.

But in a closely divided Senate, where Republicans have long resisted any kind of change to gun laws, that may be as much as the political system can take right now.

And the proposed law goes some way to responding to the widely heard cry to "do something" following the Uvalde shooting and an earlier massacre at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket that killed 10 people.

The bill includes millions of dollars for mental health, school safety, crisis intervention programs, and incentives for states to include juvenile criminal records in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

It makes significant changes to the process when an 18-21 year old goes to buy a firearm.

It closes the "boyfriend loophole" and therefore could prevent someone who has a criminal conviction for domestic violence against a romantic or intimate partner from purchasing a gun.

This has been something gun reform advocates and some Senate Democrats have been trying to do for years.

  • Shootings in America: What Was Included in the Gun Safety Bill

It's impossible to tell in hindsight, but it's possible that if this legislation had been in place before the mass killings in Uvalde and Buffalo, it could have made a difference.

Both shooters in those shootings were 18 years old and had legally purchased high-powered rifles.

It's even harder to say whether the legislation would make a significant dent in the number of mass shootings in the United States.

But Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, who helped negotiate the package with Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, told CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday that the measure could significantly reduce gun deaths.

“I would say it will save thousands of lives,” said Murphy, who has been campaigning for gun law reform since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota agreed with Murphy, praising the courage of parents like those in Sandy Hook who had backed a measure that falls short of their greatest hopes, and the hopes of President Joe Biden, who had called for an assault.

gun ban

"Starting with something that is going to save lives, even if a particular provision would not have saved the lives of their own children, that is an act of love and generosity of spirit that you hear from the families of those who have lost loved ones." Klobuchar told CNN's Anderson Cooper.

  • House Judiciary Committee passed gun control legislation following recent mass shootings

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7:41

A true moment of change in the legislation on weapons

Perhaps most importantly, the bill's passage, if 10 Republican senators stand firm to join all Democrats in overcoming House filibuster, will end the tiresome and frustrating pattern of nothing ever happening after mass murder to control gun crime once the initial pain and outrage has dissipated.

Already, 14 Republicans voted to promote the bill Tuesday night, which bodes well for a Thursday vote to overcome a filibuster, which would establish final passage.

History has shown that incremental steps are the only way to bring about change on the most emotional issues in a deeply divided nation.

This is true on the left in the push to legalize same-sex marriage and on the right in the growing success of the anti-abortion movement.

Both campaigns took years, even decades, to show results.

Nicole Hockley, who lost her son Dylan in the Sandy Hook massacre, told CNN Thursday night that the days of intense negotiations that led to the gun deal hadn't been easy.

She insisted that it could be a start and not an end and that the intractable politics of gun reform could change.

"It's always possible to do more. This is a step forward. I think it will be interesting for some people who have been afraid to bring this up to realize that they can vote yes on this, do something good for their constituents, and still keep their political careers," Hockley said on CNN's "AC360."

Still, the organized forces against more gun safety measures are significant.

One of the reasons Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants to get a vote on the measure as soon as possible is to ensure that Republicans don't cower when they return home and face backlash during the 4th of July recess.

Cornyn, the top Republican negotiator on the Senate package, was booed at a convention in his home state last week.

Former President Donald Trump has been loudly warning that any movement in the chamber on the weapons package is the start of a slippery slope toward overturning the Second Amendment, a position that is not supported by any of the facts of the current effort. .

If passed in the next few days with the support of enough Republicans, a new law will not end the lifelong agony of Uvalde's parents, Sandy Hook, or any other grieving family members of gun crime victims.

But at the very least, it will show that government doesn't have to be completely callous and incompetent when something bad happens.

Perhaps the state and local authorities in Texas, who are letting the people of Uvalde down, will now begin to get that message.

Uvalde

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2022-06-23

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