In both cases:
The upset Texas grandmother of a girl killed in the Uvalade genocide on Thursday appealed to U.S. authorities for urgent action to prevent future school shootings, as the country is once again embroiled in a controversy over guns.
Ten-year-old Amery Garza – a fourth-grade student who loved her class, drawing and playing with clay – was one of 19 children killed by a teenage gunman at Rob Elementary School that changed the small town of Texas forever.
“My granddaughter was there. She was an innocent girl, loved school and was looking forward to summer,” Dora Mendoza told reporters after paying her respects at a makeshift memorial outside the school.
But the 63-year-old, who lived with Amery and saw her at the end of the year on Tuesday just hours before her assassination, quickly made it clear she did not want U.S. officials like President Joe Biden and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. Move away from working together on reform.
President Biden, who is due to visit Uvalade on Sunday, and Abbott Polaris on the issue of restrictions on gun sales. Like many Democrats vs. Republicans, there is a difference between the two in terms of preventing the country’s growing gun violence.
“They just … shouldn’t wait for the tragedy to start,” he said.
“They need to do something about it. They shouldn’t forget us, kids … don’t forget them, please,” Mendoza pleaded through her tears as she spoke a mixture of English and Spanish.
“Do something about it, I’m begging you. I’m begging you!” He shouted. “All the crying and all these little innocent babies … we don’t know what they went through.”
Ameri’s “Abuela” was among several Uvalade residents who came to pray or lay flowers at the school’s memorial, where 21 small white wooden crosses were made to name the 19 children killed and two teachers killed.
Among the mourners was Yaritza Rangel, 23, who brought her four children to give flowers.
‘What if it happens again?’
“We’re all injured. We never thought it would happen here,” he said, adding that most city dwellers know each other.
But Rangel, while avoiding politics, pointed to three reforms he wants to enact: expanding background checks on gun purchases, strengthening school security, and raising the minimum age for buying firearms.
“It doesn’t make sense,” he said. “You have to go and wait until you are 21 to buy alcohol. Why are they letting 18-year-olds buy rifles?”
Rangel, whose young nephew was in a Rob Elementary classroom where the shooter tried but failed to enter, is now worried about his own children and says he was injured in the attack.
Her son will soon go to elementary school, and the prospect of violence keeps him awake at night.
“What if it happens again?”
Dozens of relatives, students and friends are placing flowers, stuffed animals, candles and jewelry at a second memorial in Uvalade town square, which has become a gathering place for residents to reunite with their suffering.
Like the first memorial, it has a white cross with the names of the victims. Megan Merkel, wife of Britain’s Crown Prince Harry, visited the scene on Thursday.
The 40-year-old Duchess of Sussex – wearing jeans, a T-shirt and a blue baseball cap – bowed her head and placed flowers between two crosses.
Some mourners have added messages to the cross, including a young girl who wrote a letter to the victim, Jackie Cazarez.
“Love cousin, until we meet again,” it says.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)