A young survivor and relatives of victims of the recent mass shootings in the United States give an impressive account of their experiences in the US Congress. Can that motivate parliamentarians to act?

At a moving hearing in the US Congress, a girl spoke of her traumatic experiences in the massacre at her elementary school in Texas.

At Wednesday’s session, 11-year-old Miah Cerrillo recounted in pre-recorded video how the gunman shot her teacher and several classmates in front of her. Several parents of victims of the recent mass shootings in Uvalde, Texas and Buffalo, New York, shared their experiences, some in tears, and implored Congressmen to do something about the unprecedented gun violence in the country.

An 18-year-old gunman shot dead 19 children and two teachers two weeks ago at an elementary school in the small Texas town of Uvalde. The attacker holed himself up with the students and teachers in two connected classrooms and caused the bloodbath there.

fear of survival

Miah survived the attack. For more than 75 minutes, the girl feared for her life – that’s how much time elapsed that day between the moment the gunman opened fire and the moment the police broke into the room and killed the attacker. Serious failures by the police during the operation have sparked outrage and anger and are still being investigated. Miah and others had made several 911 calls to the police from inside the room with no help.

The girl reported in the video recording that she smeared herself with the blood of others out of fear of the shooter and kept quiet. She called the police with her killed teacher’s cell phone and asked for help. When asked what she wanted, Miah said: “Security”. She doesn’t feel safe in her school. “I don’t want it to happen again,” she said. When asked if she feared this, she replied with a nod.

Her father, Miguel Cerrillo, said in tears at the House of Representatives hearing that he almost lost his child. “She’s not the same anymore.” He begged congressmen to take action against the devastating gun violence in the country: “Something really has to change.”

Tightening of gun laws demanded

The parents of a little girl killed in the school shooting also testified via video at the congressional hearing. The mother, Kimberly Rubio, tearfully recounted the last time she saw her daughter Lexi that day and left her at school. “This decision will haunt me for the rest of my life.” She called desperately for a tightening of gun laws. “We understand that for some reason, for some people, for people with money, for people who fund political campaigns, guns are more important than children,” she lamented, but emphasized: “Somewhere out there is a mother who wants ours Hear her statement and think, ‘I can’t even imagine her pain’ – not knowing that one day our reality will be hers if we don’t act now.”

The Uvalde attack has once again fueled the debate about tightening gun laws in the United States, which are lax in many places. Many Republicans have been opposed to stricter laws for years. As a result, the necessary majorities for real reforms are not achieved.

A few days before the attack in Uvalde, a gunman opened fire in a supermarket in the city of Buffalo, killing ten people and injuring three others. According to investigators, the act was racially motivated – 11 of the 13 victims were black.

Assault rifle bullets

The mother of one of Buffallo’s injured, Zeneta Everhart, said her 21-year-old son had “a hole in the right side of his neck, in his back and another in his left leg” – all caused by an exploding assault rifle bullet of the shooter. Whenever she treats her son’s wounds, she can feel parts of the bullet in his back. The shrapnel remained in his body for the rest of his life. Addressing the members of Congress, she said: “Now I want you to imagine exactly this scenario for one of your children.”

Everhart painted a bleak picture of her homeland. “America is violent by nature,” said the black woman. “The very existence of this country was founded on violence, hatred and racism.” But after every mass shooting, she hears that this is not what this country stands for. “Listen to me, that’s exactly who we are.”