Protesters face weapons defenders shouting “assassins”
MERCEDES GALLEGO Special envoy to Houston (Texas) Friday, May 27, 2022, 22:48
“Assassins! Scoundrels!” Protesters yelled Friday at members of the National Rifle Association outside the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. Just this weekend the organization celebrates its first national convention in three years, suspended again and again due to the pandemic, in which the foreign press is not accredited as a matter of principle. Some politicians and country musicians preferred to cancel their attendance, aware that celebrating the weapons “is not appropriate” at this time. It would be like dancing on the corpses of 19 children and two teachers from the Robb de Uvalde school who still lie in the morgue, but the powerful ‘lobby’ of the rifle was not intimidated.
The mayor of Houston, Sylvester Turner, an African-American Democrat, a lawyer, assured that it was not in his power to prevent it or revoke the permits, due to the many legal implications that this would have for the city. And so, one and the other, faced each other on both sides of the Avenida de las Américas before which the convention center opens. On one side, ready to endure the downpour, many Anglo-Saxons in work pants, camouflage clothing and mirrored glasses. On the other, in full sun, a more racially diverse group prayed for the “little souls” and did not hesitate to shout in Spanish. “They were children! Assassins!
Steven McKensey, one of the convention attendees, was unfazed. “They are exercising the first amendment of the Constitution (on freedom of expression) and we are trying to protect the second. We are the same”.
None of those interviewed felt guilty about what happened on Tuesday in Uvalde, where a teenager who bought two assault rifles as soon as he turned 18 shot up a primary school and massacred all the children and teachers in the room. class. “You won’t find a single person in here who wouldn’t have done everything in his power to stop it,” Ron Sasaki, who had a position inside the pavilion, defended himself. His son, Jack, was even more passionate. “Here you have the best people in all of Texas, the most patriotic! This morning when they played the national anthem there was not a sound in the entire pavilion.
Trump, the big star
The “patriots” awaited their leader, Donald Trump, as the great star of the day. When he launched his presidential campaign in 2015, the tycoon was not one of his own. He talked about restricting guns and asking for criminal records before issuing a license.
But the NRA was in charge of investing more than 30 million dollars in the campaign of the only man who, when arriving at the White House, did not carry a weapon or go hunting, according to data from the Federal Election Commission. In total, an investigation of the McClatchy group’s newspapers raised the electoral investment of the powerful arms lobby in 2016 to around 70 million dollars, “and perhaps much more.”
The bet worked. Now Trump is also the only one who has attended five conventions in a row, although the secret services took care this Friday that there were no weapons during his speech. His message of ‘Make America Great Again’ evokes in the minds of his followers those golden days when no one harassed them or blamed them for shootings.
“The problem is that our society has moved away from Jesus Christ and has lost the values that made us great,” the evangelical reverend Emma Trimble told this newspaper, after advising the mourners of Uvalde in the grace of God. “This is Texas, everyone here has guns at home to kill a snake, defend against illegal immigrants and a variety of things. What politicians have to do is correct the immigration laws.
And yes, this is Texas, the state where more than a million guns are sold a year, “second only to California,” Governor Greg Abbott complained in a tweet last year, who cannot bear the idea that his state lags behind California on something as dear as guns. The governor, who canceled his attendance at the NRA convention this Friday with the excuse of visiting Uvalde, on the eve of President Joe Biden doing so, sent a videotaped intervention so as not to disappoint his mentors. Under him, regulations have been relaxed to the point that anyone over the age of 18 can buy an assault rifle and, since last September, carry weapons without a license.
“Does it seem normal to you that an 18-year-old kid can buy a rifle but not have a beer? What kind of laws are those?” asked Edwin Rubio, a resident of Houston, as a rhetorician. “And yes, then they blame the Democrats, video games, mental illness, but this is the only country where this happens.” Confronted with that peculiarity, the Reverend chose to question it. “I’m not sure that’s true,” she settled.
Saasaki and his son believe that it would be worse for the mentally unbalanced to carry a knife, “because it is more easily hidden,” they defend. “Weapons don’t kill, only people. What is needed is to prevent the mentally unbalanced from wearing them.
How to determine that is another issue where reason is conspicuously absent, because 88% of Americans advocate requiring mental and criminal history on all gun sales, and yet NRA-funded politicians they have prevented it. “When will we be able to stand up to the arms lobbies?” President Biden complained. The consensus is never.