Biden seeks comfort in Texas town devastated by mass shooting and police controversy

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden speaks before signing an executive order to reform federal and local policing on the second anniversary of George Floyd’s death during an event at the White House in Washington, U.S., May 25, 2022 speech.Reuters

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Jarrett Renshaw

WILMINGTON, Delaware (Reuters) – President Joe Biden will seek to appease a Texas town on Sunday after the largest U.S. school shooting in a decade The incident has been torn apart, and questions have been raised over whether law enforcement’s failure to act quickly contributed to the death toll.

Locals reacted to Uwald, Texas, law enforcement’s decision to allow the gunman to remain in the classroom for nearly an hour while the police waited in the hallway and the children waited in the room, changing Biden’s familiar role of chief comforter. more complicated. Panicked to call 911 for help.

On Saturday, investigators were seeking to determine serious errors in their response to the shooting that killed 19 students and two teachers at Rob Elementary School, with some calling for the FBI to investigate police actions.

Biden is expected to visit the monument erected at the school and meet with the families of the victims.

“He has to focus on the pain and grief of the family and the community and understand that all of this is compounded by the fact that we still don’t know what’s going on. The more we learn, the more it seems that children are being served poorly,” said Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist and spokeswoman for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The Democratic president also faces the stark reality of his relative inability to prevent mass shootings in the U.S. and his inability to convince Republicans that tighter gun control represents an answer. The Texas visit will be his third to visit the scene of a mass shooting, including one earlier this month in Buffalo, New York, where 10 black people were killed in a supermarket.

“Too much violence, too much fear, too much grief,” Biden told graduates Saturday in his commencement address at the University of Delaware. “I know we can’t outlaw tragedy, but we can make America safer. We can finally do what we have to do to protect the lives of people and our children.”

The Uwald shooting has once again put gun control at the top of the national agenda, and supporters of tougher gun laws say the latest bloodshed represents a turning point.

“The president has a real opportunity. The country desperately needs a leader to stop the carnage caused by gun violence,” said Igor Volski, executive director of Guns Down America.

He said Biden should immediately create a senior position charged with tackling the country’s gun problem and press the public across the United States for Congress to pass meaningful gun reform. He said Biden has pledged to be a dealmaker and address the gun problem.

Vice President Kamala Harris called for a ban on assault weapons during a visit to Buffalo on Saturday, saying such weapons are “weapons of war” after two consecutive mass shootings that “are not available anywhere. status”. civilized society. “

White House aides and close allies say Biden is unlikely to dabble in specific policy proposals to avoid disrupting delicate Senate gun control negotiations. He’s also unlikely to take immediate executive action to crack down on guns, aides said, leaving Republican lawmakers willing to negotiate back to their corners.

Meanwhile, leading Republicans such as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and former President Donald Trump have rejected calls for new gun control measures, instead suggesting investments in mental health care or strengthening the nation’s schools. Safety.

Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott denies that newly enacted Texas gun laws, including a controversial measure to remove licensing requirements for carrying concealed weapons, “have any connection” to Tuesday’s bloodshed . He suggested state lawmakers refocus on addressing mental illness.

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