Why Crowd Cheered Bidens And Jeered Abbott At Uvalde Massacre Memorial
On Sunday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was greeted by jeers upon his arrival at a memorial site for the victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas — the state that has seen the most mass shootings since 2012.
The escalating gun violence has sparked nationwide grief and a clamor for increased gun control in a country that has experienced at least 12 mass shootings since last Tuesday.
Abbott and his Republican colleagues have endured waves of criticism for their weakening of the state’s gun laws, as well as their unrelenting support for the easy acquisition of guns, even after numerous mass shootings.
In a recent report, the Texas Tribune stated that “in the last two legislative sessions, Texas legislators have loosened gun laws, most notably by passing permitless carry in 2021, less than two years after mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa took the lives of 30 people.”
Abbott had traveled to the town to meet with President Biden, who had also come to pay his respects and condole with the victims’ families.
As Abbott wheeled past the elementary school sign, the crowd — comprising Uvalde residents and visitors from out of town — booed the governor.
“We need change, governor!” shouted a man in the crowd. “Our children are under constant attack in this community. We need help,” the man continued, yelling at Abbott, who had delivered taped remarks at the National Rifle Association’s convention in the immediate aftermath of the school shooting.
“Shame on you, Abbott,” another voice rang out loud, according to Reuters, as Abbott’s security kept the crowd at bay.
Confidence in the governor took a hit last Friday when, in a press conference, Abbott announced that his earlier statements extolling the state’s law enforcement's speedy reaction had been wrong, but that was what he was told.
Abbott’s admission came after the state’s top safety official admitted that the police made the “wrong decision” by not storming the classroom where the shooter had killed the children and barricaded himself.
"If I thought it would help, I would apologize," said Steven McCraw, the director and colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, during a heated press conference.
Abbott tried to placate the public, saying, “Law enforcement is going to earn the trust of the public by making sure they thoroughly and exhaustively investigate exactly what happened.”
The same crowd greeted Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, with cheers as they laid flowers at the memorial. The first couple attended services at a Catholic church afterward, and when they were leaving, someone yelled “Do something!” The request caught the president’s attention, and he replied, “We will.”
Abbott has announced that new laws could be enacted because of the school shooting — laws that address mental health, not gun violence, per the Hill.
“You can expect robust discussion and my hope is laws passed that I will sign addressing health care in this state,” Abbott said. “There are an array of health issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes.”
“Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks instead of mental health, I suggest to you it is mistaken,” he added.
A poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico after the Uvalde incident found that an overwhelming majority of Americans — 88% of the respondents — support background checks on all guns.
However, Republicans appear hellbent on ignoring the outcry, as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke pointed out when he confronted Abbott at the governor's press conference last Wednesday.
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