Nineteen children and two teachers were shot dead at an elementary school in Texas in the city of Uvalde on Tuesday. The attack on the Robb Elementary School was carried out by an 18-year-old who attended Uvalde High School. Families have begun sharing the names of some of the victims. They include 9-year-old Uziyah Garcia, 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza, 10-year-old Jose Flores, 10-year-old Xavier Lopez, 10-year-old Annabell Guadalupe Rodriguez, and two fourth grade teachers, Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia. Robb Elementary School is a school with about 600 students in just three grades: second, third and fourth. The school is about 90% Latinx. Thursday was scheduled to be the last day of class for the year. The school district’s superintendent, Hal Harrell, spoke on Tuesday.
Hal Harrell: “My heart was broken today. We’re a small community, and we’ll need your prayers to get us through this.”
The gunman has been identified as Salvador Ramos. He reportedly bought at least one of his guns on his 18th birthday earlier this month. He was shot dead in the school. Earlier in the day, he shot and critically wounded his grandmother. Tuesday’s attack was the deadliest school shooting since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, when a 20-year-old gunman shot dead 26 people, including 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7. On Tuesday night, President Biden addressed the nation.
President Joe Biden: “As a nation, we have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”
The shooting in Uvalde came just 10 days after an 18-year-old self-described white supremacist attacked a grocery store in the heart of Buffalo’s African American community. He shot dead 10 people, all of whom were Black. On Tuesday, a funeral was held for 65-year-old Celestine Chaney.
Today the Senate will hold a confirmation hearing for Steven Dettelbach to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The agency has been without a permanent leader for seven years. In the past, Dettelbach has supported a federal assault weapons ban and universal background checks.
Voters went to the polls for primaries in Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas and Texas on Tuesday. Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger both won their primaries, defeating challengers endorsed by Donald Trump. Governor Kemp, who defeated David Perdue, will face Democrat Stacey Abrams in November. Abrams ran unopposed in the Democratic primary.
In other closely watched Georgia races, former football star and Trump ally Herschel Walker won the Republican Senate primary. He will face Senator Raphael Warnock in the general election. Far-right Republican Congressmember Marjorie Taylor Greene easily defeated five opponents in her primary. Another winner Tuesday was Democratic Congressmember Lucy McBath, who beat fellow Congressmember Carolyn Bourdeaux. The two had to face each other due to redistricting.
In Texas, the race between Democratic Congressmember Henry Cuellar and progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros is too close to call. The Democratic establishment lined up behind Cuellar, who is an anti-choice, pro-gun Democrat whose home was raided by the FBI in January. Cisneros was endorsed by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren and New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She’s a supporter of Medicare for All, the Green New Deal and reproductive rights.
President Biden has wrapped up his first trip to Asia as president, but tension remains high in the region. Earlier today, South Korea accused North Korea of test launching three ballistic missiles, including a possible intercontinental ballistic missile. It was the 17th missile test by North Korea this year. South Korea and the United States responded by launching their own land-to-land missile tests.
Japan has accused China and Russia of flying warplanes near its airspace Tuesday while Japan was hosting other leaders from the Quad, which includes the United States, Australia and India. China said the flights were part of an annual military cooperation drill with Russia. China has accused the Quad of becoming an “Indo-Pacific version of NATO.” During its summit, the leaders of the Quad agreed to launch a new maritime surveillance system in the region.
The war in Ukraine is now in its 91st day. Russia is facing growing calls to end its blockade of Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea that is preventing Ukraine from exporting grain. David Beasley of the U.N. World Food Programme condemned the blockade.
David Beasley: “Well, to keep the ports closed as the harvest season is now coming in in Ukraine in July and August, it means a declaration of war on global food security, if you can’t get the food out the fields. I mean, Ukraine grows enough food to feed 400 million people. In a time on planet Earth where we were facing an extraordinary food crisis before Ukraine, fuel costs, commodity prices, shipping costs were already doubling, tripling, quadrupling.”
Earlier today, a top Russian official said Moscow would consider allowing for a humanitarian corridor for ships carrying food to leave Ukraine, but only if the West agreed to lift some of its sanctions on Russia.
Separate investigations by the Associated Press and CNN have both concluded that it was Israeli forces who shot dead the Palestinian American Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh two weeks ago in the occupied West Bank. Abu Akleh was one of the best-known TV journalists in the Middle East. CNN reports it has obtained evidence suggesting that Abu Akleh was killed in a targeted attack by Israeli forces. CNN reports “there was no active combat, nor any Palestinian militants, near Abu Akleh in the moments leading up to her death.” The Israeli military has responded, saying, “The claim that the shooting was intentional has no basis.”
United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet is on a six-day trip to China. Her visit will include time in the Xinjiang region, where China has been accused of the mass imprisonment and torture of Uyghurs and other Muslims. On Tuesday, a coalition of news outlets published a series of articles based on internal Chinese police documents obtained by hackers. The trove of documents include thousands of photographs of detained Uyghurs, as well as details about a shoot-to-kill policy targeting anyone who tried to leave the detention camps.
In news from Nigeria, at least 50 people, including many farmers, have been killed in an attack in Borno state by the militant group Boko Haram. One survivor said the militants arrived on motorcycles armed with guns and machetes.
The FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force has arrested an Iraqi man living in Ohio for aiding and abetting a plot to assassinate former President George W. Bush. Authorities say the man, Shihab Ahmed Shihab Shihab, told an FBI informant in November that he wanted to target Bush because he was “responsible for killing many Iraqis and breaking apart the entire country of Iraq.” Authorities say Bush’s life was never at risk. Two undercover informants played key roles in the alleged plot by providing Shihab with cellphones and cellphone data cards and by helping Shihab devise a plan, that never materialized, to smuggle members of ISIS into the country to assist him.
In Indiana, trans girls will no longer be allowed to compete in girls’ school sports after Republican lawmakers overrode a veto by Indiana’s Republican governor. Indiana is one of 35 states that have passed or proposed anti-trans legislation in 2022 alone.
GLAAD has condemned a new Netflix special by comedian Ricky Gervais for including what the group called “dangerous, anti-trans rants masquerading as jokes.”