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United States: after the shooting in Texas, the delicate position of Governor Greg Abbott

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As the United States mourns after the shooting in the Texas town of Uvalde, which killed 21 people, mostly children, on Tuesday, the debate on gun control is reignited. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who regretted an “atrocious and senseless” drama, is under fire from criticism from citizens and researchers. They point out that this ultra-conservative has eased gun controls on several occasions and called on Texans to buy more. “Texans mourn the victims of this senseless crime, [Nous] mourn this horrific loss and urge all Texans to come together,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted Tuesday, May 24, after the shooting in that town near the border with Mexico. Hours earlier, an 18-year-old teenager opened fire in a primary school, killing 19 children aged around 10 and two teachers in an “excruciating and insane way” added this ultraconservative. The shooter was then shot dead by the police. The drama shocked the United States and many other countries. “It’s time to turn pain into action,” reacted a visibly moved Joe Biden in a solemn address at the White House. of God, are we going to face the gun lobby?”, Launched the American president, saying he was “disgusted and tired” in the face of the litany of school shootings. Shortly after the killing, many Internet users brought to light the Governor’s old tweets: “I am ASHAMED: the Texas is 2nd in the nation in new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let’s pick up the pace, Texans”, tweeted Greg Abbott, in October 2015. Observers, specialists and ordinary citizens accuse Greg Abbott of “hypocrisy”. Because this Republican himself announced last January to have “signed more than 20 laws to protect the rights of the second amendment” of the American Constitution – guaranteeing the right to bear arms -, he said while declaring his candidacy for a third term as governor. If the motives of the shooter of Uvalde are still unknown, the young American would have bought a rifle, ammunition and paramilitary clothing in a legal way.” Ultraconservative” with “very hard positions” “Greg Abbott is an ultraconservative: he replaced Rick Perry, who arrived after George W. Bush, and follows the same tradition, “explains to France 24 Françoise Coste, professor of American civilization at the University of Toulouse-Jean-Jaurès. “His big difference is that he is handicapped [il est paraplégique depuis un accident à 26 ans, NDLR], a rare thing in American and Republican political life. Some might have thought that he would therefore be empathetic and have a social sensitivity, but it is quite the opposite: he is known for very tough positions, in particular on weapons, abortion and immigration. “Since June In September 2021, this staunch supporter of ex-President Donald Trump signed several landmark laws for American conservatives, beginning with a text allowing any adult Texan to carry a firearm in public and to apply for a license. Southern State has begun enforcing one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the United States.” But he is very hypocritical: like his party, Greg Abbott insists that the killings are only a matter of mental health . But he is against Obamacare! He is therefore against the programs which would make it possible to establish a psychiatric follow-up for the most disadvantaged”, summarizes the researcher. In his press conference, Wednesday May 25, Greg Abbott repeated several times that the assailant was a “demented person” , “without a criminal history or mental illness”. mental health problems in the town of Uvalde, according to local authorities”. 15:01 “He delights in exploiting the ideological differences between the reds and the blues [les républicains et les démocrates, NDLR]”, says the researcher. “Not only does he exacerbate these positions, but he also makes horrible jokes about them, such as this tweet about arms sales.”Favorite in the gubernatorial elections despite a “lack of charisma” But Greg Abbott does not have the “charisma” of his predecessors, he is more of an “enigma”, believes the monthly Texas Monthly. “Overall, he has rather focused on what he opposes: the program ‘radical liberal’.” This strategy seems to be bearing fruit: the 63-year-old Republican has never lost an electoral deadline and is the favorite in the gubernatorial elections scheduled for November, despite “a robotic voice”, according to the Politico website Even before declaring his candidacy for a third term at the helm of Texas in January, he had already raised $55 million (about 52 million euros) for his campaign – more than any other Texas candidate – in addition to the support of Donald Trump.”He is on the same line as the ex-president, and that is enough to reassure voters, because his ideas go without saying”, adds Françoise Coste. “His lack of charisma is not a big deal locally.” Abbott slated to speak in front of the NRAM But many voices are being raised against him after the Uvalde killings. Especially since, according to MSNBC journalist Kyle Griffith, the governor was to speak at the annual meeting of the American pro-arms lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), on Friday, May 27. An intervention planned for a long time, but which falls badly. Especially since the event is planned in Houston, “a few hundred kilometers from Uvalde”, in the presence of Republican Senator from Texas Ted Cruz and former President Donald Trump. At the moment, Republicans Greg Abbott, Ted Cruz, and Donald Trump are scheduled to speak at the NRA’s annual meeting in Houston in three days. Houston is only a few hundred miles away from Uvalde.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) May 24, 2022 : each time a Texan Republican mentioned a possible gun control, it was his political death”, specifies Françoise Coste. Opposite, the first credible Democratic rival for years His rival for the post of governor, Beto O ‘ Rourke, seems to want to capitalize on this revived debate around the proliferation of firearms. The new “star” of the Democratic Party tweeted on Wednesday that “these massacres are not natural disasters, nor acts of God, nor the fruit of chance. They are direct and completely foreseeable consequences of the choices made by Greg Abbott and the majority of the members of the legislative body”. This young Democratic candidate wants to “test the power of his camp” in November, in a solidly conservative state but “whose population has become much more diversified in recent years”, according to the New York Times. “These elections will be interesting, because the Democrats did not arouse the envy of Texan voters until then and that has changed,” continues Françoise Coste. “And he will be very generously funded by the party, so the race will be competitive.” “But he has very little chance of winning,” dismisses the researcher, despite the latest drama. Democratic candidate for Texas government Beto O’Rourke, during a rally in Fort Worth, Texas, March 1, 2022 © LM Otero, AP No change in position Because the debate is running practically on empty given the absence of hope that Congress will pass an ambitious national law on the issue. Chris Murphy, Democratic Senator from the state of Connecticut (northeastern United States), “begged” his elected colleagues on Tuesday to act, assuring that these tragedies were not “inevitable”: “This does not happen only in this country, and nowhere else. In no other country do children go to school thinking they might be shot.” But according to Françoise Coste, these calls are in vain: “Ideological fractures are still radicalization since the presidency of Donald Trump, the whole party had to follow him in radicalization”. The United States – the most heavily armed country in the world, according to the Swiss group of researchers Small Arms Survey – cannot change its rules without the agreement of 60 federal senators out of 100. While the rural states, rather favorable to the carrying of weapons, already have an overrepresentation in the Senate, the upper house is shared completely equally between Democrats and Republicans. not possible to change the Republicans currently. If the fu sillade of Sandy Hook [qui a fait 26 victimes en 2012, dont 20 enfants âgés de 6 et 7 ans, NDLR] was not enough to incite a change, this one will not do anything either”, regrets Françoise Coste.

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