Even a shooting spree in which 21 people were shot dead does not stop the gun lobby NRA from holding its annual meeting shortly afterwards. A prominent guest celebrates his love of guns there.
Former US President Donald Trump has called for more guns in schools after the deadly massacre in Texas.
“The existence of evil is one of the very best reasons to arm law-abiding citizens,” Trump said on Friday evening (local time) in Houston, Texas at the annual meeting of the powerful NRA gun lobby. Armed security forces and teachers could prevent horrific acts like those in the small Texas town of Uvalde, Trump argued. At the same time, there is outrage in the USA about the hesitant behavior of the police during the killing spree. More and more frightening details about the operation and the crime are becoming known.
Annual NRA meeting just three days after massacre
The annual NRA meeting was held in Houston just three days after Tuesday’s massacre at an elementary school in Uvalde, about 450 kilometers away. Some politicians and musicians canceled their participation in the event. “Unlike others, I didn’t disappoint you by not showing up,” Trump said, albeit without naming names. According to media reports, thousands of people protested against gun violence and the NRA in front of the event site.
At the beginning of his speech, Trump read out the names of the 19 children and two teachers who were shot dead by the gunman Salvador Ramos. He called for metal detectors and an armed security guard for every school in the United States. “New technologies” should ensure that no unauthorized person can enter the school with a weapon. Teachers who have been trained to do so should also be allowed to carry weapons, Trump said. “There is no sign more inviting to a mass murderer than a sign declaring a gun-free zone.” These are the “most dangerous places”.
Experts warn against arming teachers
Numerous experts warn against arming teachers. They say this doesn’t make schools safe places. “Arming teachers is a bad idea all round because it invites numerous disasters and problems,” NPR quoted Matthew Mayer, a researcher at Rutgers University in New Jersey, as saying, on school violence. The chance that such an approach will actually help is slim. According to a 2018 survey by the Gallups Institute, almost three quarters of the teachers surveyed are against carrying guns in schools.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott also did not appear in person at the NRA meeting on Friday as announced. Instead, the Republican sent a pre-recorded video statement and held a press conference in Uvalde. There he came under pressure after the new findings about the course of the police operation and was urged by the press to comment. “I was misled,” Abbott said. He had passed on to the public the information that had been described to him after the bloodbath in elementary school. “Some of the information I was given turned out to be inaccurate and I am absolutely furious about it.”
Security agency admits serious mistakes
Shortly before, the responsible security authority had admitted serious errors in the operation. For example, it became known that 19 police officers had been stationed in the corridor in front of the interconnected classrooms at an early stage, in which the shooter had holed up with the children. After more than 45 minutes, they made no attempts to enter the room and stop the shooter. The 18-year-old gunman killed the children and teachers in the classroom on Tuesday.
Abbott caused a stir on Wednesday by saying things could have been a lot worse. “The reason it wasn’t worse is because law enforcement did what they did,” he said. Parents had repeatedly criticized the police for their behavior in the past few days. Now it has also become known that several police emergency calls were made from the classroom in which the gunman had holed himself up with children and teachers.
Eleven-year-old Miah calls 911 and pretends to be dead
One of the children who called 911 said she was 11-year-old Miah. She described the terrible scenes that took place in her class to CNN. The shooter came into the room and said “good night” to a teacher and shot her. He then shot the other teacher and the children. When the 18-year-old attacker went into the next room, she and a friend were able to get the dead teacher’s phone and called the emergency number. The girl eventually smeared herself with the blood of a dead classmate to pretend dead, CNN reported. She was not aware that the police were already in the hallway, said the eleven-year-old.
Referring to possible consequences for the local police chief, Governor Abbott said: “As for his employment status, it is beyond my control and I have no knowledge of it.” He promised clarification, but again didn’t see the problem in Texas’ lax gun laws. Similar to Trump, Abbott cited mental illness as a major cause of such acts. Therefore, one must focus on the issue of mental health. Texas ranks among the states with the worst access to mental health clinics or practices, according to research.