Joe and Jill Biden huddle with the families of the victims of Uvalde elementary school, bringing them the solidarity and affection of all of America. In the small town of Texas, the President and the First Lady were greeted by applause. Suit and dark glasses, Joe and Jill apparently appeared shaken in the face of yet another tragedy. A massacre that affects the First Lady in a personal way, proudly taught for decades and who continues to go to class with her students even from the White House. For Biden, this is the second time in two weeks that he has had to take on the role of the “consoler-in-chief2. She did so on May 17 in Buffalo, meeting the families of the victims of the supermarket massacre at the hands of an 18-year-old supremacist who wanted to defend “whites from extinction.” The parents of the young victims of the Uvalde elementary school ask the president for a strong action on weapons, so that the massacre did not happen again in vain. “We want change, it’s time to act,” is their desperate plea.
Massacre of Uvalde, the child who survived: “The killer threatened us: It’s time to die. I told my partner to hide and not talk”
The first stop on the visit to Uvalde is at the memorial set up in front of the Robb Elementary School, the scene of the massacre. The President and the First Lady deposit a bouquet of white flowers and pause in front of photos of the 21 victims, which Jill caresses one by one. Then they head to the church for mass. This was supposed to be the first holiday weekend for the 19 killed children: a weekend to celebrate the end of school and the start of the summer season. Instead it is a weekend of pain and shock for their families. But also of anger and controversy over the slow reaction of the police. “We need help,” someone shouts from the crowd gathered for Biden at Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who is harshly criticized for easing the state’s gun laws. The parents of the children are asking for answers, a thorough investigation into what went wrong, why the agents waited over an hour before taking action. Uvalde County Councilor Ronnie Garza calls for an FBI investigation. At the federal level, the Justice Department says it will conduct an examination of how the officers responded to the shooting, with “the aim of providing an independent report” on that black May 24. Something also seems to be moving in Congress.
Uvalde massacre, the pain of residents who place flowers and candles at the memorial to the victims
A bipartisan group is working to find a compromise on weapons, but – observers note – the proposals under discussion are weak and would not have prevented the shooting of Uvalde. Faced with the second mass slaughter in two weeks – the first that of May 14 in Buffalo – even the Republican wall shows some cracks. Although compact in the face of the defense of the “sacredness” of the Second Amendment, the conservatives seem ready to seek an agreement capable of dampening the anger of an America exasperated by yet another massacre at school. Among the hypotheses being studied is that of the “Red Flag Laws” which allows police and family members to ask a court to collect weapons from someone deemed dangerous to themselves and others. In Uvalde Biden, however, he does not want to talk about politics. As a father who lost a son, the president knows what it means to feel an unbridgeable void and for this very reason he does not want to politicize his visit. Certainly, however, the massacre strengthens his will for a reform of common sense weapons. A desire that, however, has to deal with the November elections. Already in trouble in the polls, Biden cannot afford to be directly involved in ongoing negotiations for a compromise on a divisive issue like weapons. The political implications would be too high for a party, the Democratic one, which already risks a lot in the mid-term vote.