On Tuesday, May 24, as always at the end of each school year, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, details were being worked out for the celebration of the diplomas and for the graduation of the diplomatic students.
The party, one of those typical of this month, was transformed into a national fight after in the morning of that day, a high school student, armed with a large caliber fire, suddenly opened the fire targeting teachers, school staff, and several dozen children of secondary and third elementary school.
The shooting caused 21 deaths*, of which three victims and 18 children. Before putting the surprise attack on the innocents, the aggressor would have killed the mother.
Uvalde is a very small town, where "everyone knows everyone else", so an event of such a magnitude deeply scars and will deeply scar this town: "People do not believe what is successful" says one of the people who were there to take part in the party.
Uvalde is a city of about 16,000 inhabitants, most of them of Spanish origin. Geographically it constitutes the intermediate point to the West, between San Antonio and the border with the Messico. It has several schools, among which the catholic school of the Sacred Heart of Jesus with its beautiful parish church. The church is one of the most important catholic centers in the western part of the Archdiocese of San Antonio.
Niente will be more like a first for the families of the victims, and even more so for the community of Uvalde.
After the announcement of the news, dozens of parishioners gathered in the church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the only Catholic church in Uvalde, to join in prayer and participate in the Mass presided over on Tuesday by Bishop Gustavo Garcia Siler Siller, Archbishop of San Antonio.
"Non ci sono parole per descrivere la travolgente tristezza, il dolore e lo shock per l'incomprensibile perdita di vite umane di bambini e adulti alla Robb Elementary School.
When will these senseless acts of violence end? These massacres cannot be considered the new normal. The Catholic Church constantly calls for the protection of life, and these massacres are a very urgent problem in which everyone must act, both leaders and citizens", said Monsignor Garcia Siller.
The problem of firearms
In addition to the criminals, there are other collpevoli: the firearms. Uvalde's speech reopens for the umpteenth time the debate on an untouchable issue for a good part of the United States population: the possession of firearms, a right protected by the Second Amendment of the Constitution.
In most of the United States, any adult can purchase firearms: guns, 9 mm pistols, rifles, miter guns or on request also more specialized firearms.
There are catalogs and they are perfectly organized of the stores where the big manufacturers sell their products, proposing them as if they were innocuous pets. In many states, obtaining a gun can be as easy as getting medicine in a pharmacy. It is enough to present an identity document.
Just 10 days earlier, another attack occurred in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, which resulted in 10 deaths and 3 injuries. According to the Pew Research Center, 45,222 people were killed by firearms in the United States in 2020, 513 of whom died during mass shootings. These incidents have increased significantly, from 2 in 2000 to 40 in 2020.
Many of these tragedies occur in public schools and even in churches.
The debate on the regulation and prohibition of firearms in the United States has been going on for decades, but without results. Even foreign governments, for example in Mexico, have denounced that the uncontrolled sale of firearms in the United States does not only affect the United States, but also Mexico. A large part of the weapons used by drug traffickers in that country is produced in the United States and the weapons illegally cross the border in the hands of drug traffickers.
While members of the Democratic Party, including President Biden, are fighting for the regulation and restriction of gun sales, the Republican Party will not budge a single inch. The main actor in this matter, however, is the National Rifle Association (NRA), which is one of the most influential and powerful organizations in the country.
The NRA has blocked any attempt to regulate gun ownership and acquisition. It is likely that in these days the issue will not go beyond the tabloids, even after massacres like the one in Uvalde and the protests of all. Even President Biden protests: "I am stunned, I am stunned by all this" (Message to the Nation after the Uvalde Struggle, May 24).
The reason, as Pope Francis has pointed out on numerous occasions (note: also in relation to the invasion of weapons in Ukraine) is that behind the weapons there are very powerful economic interests that will be very difficult to disguise.
*Vittime dal 25 maggio alle 10:00 ora spagnola