Uvalde, Texas Elementary School Shooting News: Latest Updates

“I think there’s something in society that we know is going to happen over and over again,” said Neil Heslin, whose 6-year-old son Jesse Lewis died in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The misery mounts, yet nothing changes, leaving Americans little to do but keep lists, mental spreadsheets of death, describing events like Uvalde as yet another morbid tally with superlatives like “second-deadliest shooting in an elementary school.” to treat.

Each event is reminiscent of atrocities from the past, the precise details of each shooting become more unclear with each passing year: The most recent death toll of 21 at Robb Elementary School in Texas surpasses the Parkland, Florida shooting in 2018 when there were 17 people were killed. It lags behind the deadliest school shooting — when 2012 killed 26 at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut.

This is the math of American gun slaughter.

All three school shootings — Newtown, Parkland, and now Uvalde — eclipsed Columbine in 1999, when such events still had the power to shock the nation.

Recognition…Marcus Yam for the New York Times

The reasons for the violence are known and undeniable. The United States has many more guns than citizens, about 400 million firearms, according to a 2018 poll by the nonpartisan Small Arms Survey, and 331 million people.

For more than a decade, semi-automatic handguns purchased for personal protection have outsold rifles typically used in hunting.

And the coronavirus pandemic has fueled an even greater gun-buying frenzy. Annual domestic arms production rose from 3.9 million in 2000 to 11.3 million in 2020, according to a report released this month by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The vast majority of these firearms remained in the United States.

The toll of violence, particularly on children, has only increased. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the rate of gun deaths among children under the age of 14 increased by about 50 percent from late 2019 to late 2020.

Last year, more than 1,500 children and young people under the age of 18 were killed in homicides and accidental shootings, compared with about 1,380 in 2020, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a database tracking gun deaths.

Many details about the Uvalde shooting have yet to be released, including the guns used by the shooter – an 18-year-old man who died at the scene, authorities said – and how he obtained them. But the emotional turmoil of the murders was sadly familiar.

“Why are we willing to live with this carnage?” President Biden said Tuesday night after returning from a trip to Asia. “Why do we keep letting this happen?”

Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a young lawmaker when the children were killed in Sandy Hook, on Tuesday urged his fellow senators to act. “What are we doing? What are we doing?” he said in the Senate.

Those were questions with typical answers: not much at the federal level. Republicans, who often invoke the Second Amendment, have blocked efforts to impose stricter background checks on gun buyers each time another major mass shooting shakes the nation’s conscience. Still, within hours of the Uvalde shooting, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and Majority Leader, cleared the way to force votes in the coming days on legislation that would strengthen background checks.

Recognition…Christopher Lee for the New York Times

Meanwhile, states like Texas have pushed some of the least restrictive gun laws in the United States and pride themselves on being a state with responsible gun owners — more than a million — despite its recent history of mass shootings.

Gov. Greg Abbott signed sweeping legislation in 2021 that ended the requirement for Texans to be licensed to carry handguns, allowing virtually anyone over the age of 21 to carry one. The landmark law made the state one of the largest to pass a “constitutional carry law,” which essentially removes most restrictions on the ability to carry handguns.

Mr. Abbott described it as “the strongest Second Amendment legislation in Texas history.”

Mass shootings have become so commonplace in the United States that only a small fraction garner widespread attention beyond the communities directly affected. On the same weekend as the Buffalo killings, more than a dozen people were injured by gunfire in downtown Milwaukee near the arena where an NBA playoff game ended hours before, authorities said.

Two weeks earlier, the owner and two employees of the Broadway Inn Express motel in Biloxi, Mississippi, were fatally shot, and another person was also shot in a car theft.

Less than four weeks earlier, barrage in Sacramento killed six people and injured 12 in a shootout that authorities said involved at least five gunmen.

On Monday, the FBI released data showing a rapidly escalating pattern of public shootings across the United States.

The bureau identified 61 “active shooter” attacks in 2021 that killed 103 people and injured 130 others. That was the highest annual total since 2017, when 143 people were killed and hundreds more injured, numbers inflated by the sniper attack on the Las Vegas Strip.

The 2021 total represented a 52 percent increase over the total number of such shootings in 2020 and a 97 percent increase over 2017, according to the FBI Report of active shooter incidents in the United States in 2021.

In Uvalde, Rey Chapa has a nephew who was at school during the shooting but was not injured.

“This is just nasty,” Mr Chapa said in an expletive interview. Waiting to hear from family and friends about other children’s conditions, he scrolled through Facebook for updates. “I’m afraid I will know many of these children who have been killed.”

Contributing reporting was Emily Cochrane, Catie Edmondson, Christine Hauser, Edward Medina, Sarah Mervosch, Alexandra E. Petri, Michael D Shear, Glenn choke and Elizabeth Williamson.

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