The cry came from the heart of one of the residents of Uvalde, Texas, as President Biden and his wife Jill laid a wreath at the makeshift memorial to the child victims of Robb Elementary School in the latest school massacre in the most recent school massacre that has shocked the country and the world.
“President Biden, we need help… Do something,” the voice implored him. “We will do it,” replied the president, who has personally suffered the irreparable loss of a son. It was his second visit to a massacre in less than a month, after he comforted relatives of the victims of the Buffalo shooting by a white supremacist.
In the faces of those who visited the monument to the children of Uvalde, the unmistakable features of indignation and impotence could be seen.
Ben Gonzales was one of the residents who yelled at Biden. “Something has to be done, we need a change, we need help and my greatest fear is that nothing is going to change, and in six months Uvalde will only be Uvalde, it will only be history and nothing will have changed,” he explained shortly after to CNN. He had also yelled at the governor of Texas, Republican Gregg Abbott, the leader of a state where it’s harder to buy a beer than an assault rifle.
Ben’s fears are well founded. Since the Columbine massacre in 1999, nothing significant has happened in Congress to stem the hemorrhage of gun deaths. Not even the Sandy Hook, Parkland, or El Paso massacres managed to move the needle an inch.
As Senator Chris Murphy asked his colleagues on the Senate floor, “Why do they want to get to the United States Senate? Why do they bother to get this job, to put themselves in a position of authority?
None of the senators opposed to sensitive gun regulations, Republican or Democrat, can look in the mirror without a shamed face.
Biden promised those who yelled at him in Uvalde, Texas, that he would do something. But the reality is that decades of legislative gridlock on gun control also illustrates the limits of presidential power and the strength of the dysfunction of our political class in Washington.
The assault weapons ban expired in 2004, and there is no reasonable expectation of a bipartisan consensus to renew it. The good news is that several states, counties and cities are rushing to pass their own measures, such as raising the age of purchase of guns from 18 to 21, civil lawsuits against gun manufacturers and much more.
Upon his return to Washington, the president appealed to “rational” Republicans to join forces and pass sensible regulations. The parents of all minors who have been victims of irrational violence, and all of us, hope that rationality settles in Congress and that our politicians rise to the occasion, or the voters will remind them in the November elections.