President Joe Biden told a Texas state senator on Sunday that the federal government may fund tearing down the site of last week’s horrific mass shooting and rebuild another one.
An 18-year-old gunman murdered 19 children and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The president and first lady visited the town Sunday to offer condolences and support.
Their focus remained on the victims and survivors, and neither spoke with the accompanying press. The president and first lady met privately for three hours with devastated family members of those who died. At the school, the couple visited the memorial of 21 white crosses — one for each victim.
When met with cries of “Do something” from those traumatized by the shooting, Biden responded, “We will.” Later, the president tweeted that the administration is “committed to turn this pain into action.”
State Sen. Roland Gutierrez, who represents the devastated town of Uvalde, said the president offered reassurances. “I’m not going away. I’m going to bring you resources,” Biden said, before adding the school may be rebuilt.
Gutierrez told local media that many of the small children do not want to return to the building where the attack happened. He also notes the lack of mental health resources in the small area, which has one psychiatrist and precious few mental health therapists.
It is unlikely that any similar sized area on Earth has the resources to come close to dealing with a tragedy of such scope. The needs of this community stretch far into the future.
Replacing the site of devastating attacks is not unprecedented. Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 26 in 2012, was leveled and replaced by a new building on the same property.
There was a similar push at Columbine High School due to what was called the “morbid fascination” with the 1999 killing of 13. But officials in 2019 decided against it.
President Biden reiterated his call for stricter gun control, but observers say there is little he can do through executive order. And in an evenly divided Congress, debate will continue to rage on who and what to blame and how to stop these tragedies from repeating.