The USA is experiencing a sad day: A young man shot dead 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas. In the evening, President Biden speaks to a grieving nation – and many suspect what will happen now. Our correspondent reports from a stunned country.

It doesn’t take long to realize that in the evening, a few hours after the fact, it becomes clear what America will learn from the tragedy in Uvalde, Texas, from the death of 19 children and two adults in an elementary school.


There are such true sentences that are brutal. This one is like that: What happened in Uvalde is part of life in the USA. It has happened too many times without anything changing afterwards. It’s the 27th “school shooting”, as they say here – the 27th shooting this year at a school. Which makes it clear that even in German there are hardly any suitable terms for what actually always happens: a rampage? A massacre? A mass murder?

A school shooting, one of the worst in American history. And yet only one of many.

America got used to it. Nothing will come of it, at least no law against gun ownership. Maybe tighter security in elementary schools, tighter still, like elementary schools in the United States were a crisis zone, like kids who come to class in the morning could die every day. Like people at war.

Maybe there will be more safety courses for the children in case of a shooting, more detailed safety courses than before. Maybe the conversations in America’s families, which used to be about what to do when gunfire rings down the school halls, are changing. American parents and their children may be retraining on how to stay safe from a classroom shooter.

“What are we going to do now?”

A father spoke yesterday in the Senate in Washington, he is one of the hundred senators: Chris Murphy from Connecticut, the state in which the deadliest crime to date happened in December 2012: at Sandy Hook Elementary School. There were 26 victims there. So Murphy stood in the plenary session of the Senate and asked, “What do we do now?” He asked, “How is it that we all gave so much to get into the Senate and then did nothing?” He asked again: “What do we do now?”

Surely Murphy already knew the answer, knew nothing was going to happen. But he still asked, because doing nothing seems perverse on days like this. Surely something should be done. Of course, America can’t just put up with it because it can’t bring itself to finally ban guns that belong in the army, not in elementary schools. Just because this country basically can’t agree on anything anymore, not even on protecting children.

“Another elementary school. Like it’s a war zone, for God’s sake.”

Hardly a few days after an act like that in Uvalde, the debate falls silent. It’s always like that. Gone, as if the crime had never happened. Perhaps because it surprised no one, either Democrats or Republicans. In Uvalde there were a particularly large number of fatalities, but: it was the 27th “school shooting”. This year.

In the evening the President spoke. Joe Biden stood next to his wife and found the right words, he’s good at that. As always when it comes to loss. America knows that the President has suffered loss himself, he has lost his son, his daughter, his first wife. Now Biden was standing in the White House and saying, “When I became president, I hoped I wouldn’t have to do this.”

Biden spoke softly. “Again,” he said. “Another elementary school. Like it’s a war zone, for God’s sake.” Speaking of parents who “will never be the same again,” he raised his voice as he said, “For God’s sake, when are we going to take on the gun lobby?” Biden said he was fed up.

Because it is part of the president’s job to appeal to look ahead, Biden said: “We have to do something.” But that wasn’t an answer to Chris Murphy’s question a few hours earlier in the Senate: What are we going to do now?

Something. Only what? Stand up against the gun lobby, just how?

900 US school shootings since 2012

Between the deaths of 26 people in Sandy Hook back in 2012 and the 21 people in Uvalde yesterday, the US counted around 900 school shootings. The country has gotten used to the possibility of children being shot at school. America has come to terms with the deaths of many, with the opioid crisis killing more than 100,000 last year alone and the one million victims of the Covid pandemic. You could still make a living from them today if the USA didn’t have such a high proportion of mask and vaccination opponents. In Uvalde, Texas, 19 children could live today who were still going to school yesterday.

The US has gotten used to dying

The truth is, that’s another true and brutal sentence: Americans only look at themselves, at their families, because they think their country is broken anyway. They take care of themselves on a small scale, but not for a long time on a large scale. You’ve gotten used to the deaths of others.