An ominous warning knocks on America’s doorstep Thursday afternoon. A man has opened fire on at least seven people, one of them a policeman, in the town of Bryan (Texas), 160 kilometers northeast of the city of Houston. The attack has left at least one dead and comes hours after President Joe Biden announced a series of executive actions to address what he considers an “epidemic” of violence caused by the possession of rifles and pistols in the most armed country of the world. The local government of Texas, a Republican state, has been among the first to repudiate Washington’s attempt to regulate weapons. Coincidence or not, this is the context for Bryan’s shooting, which becomes the fourth multiple shooting in the American nation during 2021 and the 113th in the past eight years.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has reported on social media that the police officer was injured when he tried to capture the attacker, an employee of the Kent Moore Cabinets furniture factory. The uniformed man was transferred to a hospital, where he has undergone surgery and his condition is stable. Four more people are in critical condition. Bryan Police Chief Eric Buske has reported that the shooter has been captured and is in police custody. Local authorities have not yet reported the causes that led to the attack on the crime suspect or how he obtained the weapons. They also did not give details about the type of weapons used.
The Governor of Texas, Republican Greg Abbott, said in a statement that the state will assist in the criminal process against the shooter. “My wife Cecilia and I are praying for the victims and their families and for the officer injured in the attempt to capture the suspect,” he said. The same politician had responded hours earlier to the regulatory measures announced at the White House. “Biden is threatening our rights enshrined in article two,” Abbott said in reference to the constitutional text that allows Americans to have weapons. “[Biden] He has announced a new liberal attempt to seize our weapons. We will NOT allow this in Texas, ”added the governor, who announced local legislation to shield himself from the presidential decree. The second-largest state in the country has recorded seven mass shootings with at least three fatalities since 2010.
Biden himself admitted this morning in the rose garden that the struggle his Administration is undertaking is “difficult.” America has more guns than population. There are at least 400 million pistols and rifles for 330 million people. The decree presented by the Democratic president focuses only on the weaponry known as phantom, one that is sold for parts to be assembled later and whose part serial numbers are erased to make its tracking more difficult. This, the federal government has said, is just the beginning of a series of upcoming reforms that will have to pass complex customs in Congress. Biden has demanded that lawmakers stop tolerating an issue that has left more than 11,400 deaths since 2013 according to the Gun Violence Archive. It’s a “national shame,” Biden said.
Bryan’s shooting comes two weeks after other massive attacks, which left 18 dead. On March 16, a gunman killed eight people in three spas in Atlanta, Georgia. Six days later, another subject murdered ten people in a fuel store in Boulder, Colorado. The month closed with another episode of violence in California. Aminadab Gaxiola, 44, opened fire at a real estate office in Orange County, south of the state, on people she knew and with whom she had done business. The attack left four dead, including a 9-year-old boy who died at the hands of his mother, who protected him from the bullets. Authorities said it was an isolated attack and where the author had used “deadly force to deal with the problems in his life.” It was a new chapter in the epidemic that Biden refers to, which is active throughout the United States.
This is why Biden is now focusing on containing gun violence. Little by little the nation awakens from the astonishment caused by the pandemic, which put the fatalities of weapons in the background. The president has recognized that he will not be able to do much on his own without the collaboration of the legislature, whose Republican faction blocks any attempt to restrict the sale of pistols and rifles. Every day 106 people die from firearms in the United States, every month there are 53 femicides committed with pistols, and that armed violence “impacts much more on the black and Latino population.”
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