Ten days later, Ten years later

On one more Tuesday night, voters turned out in local primary elections in Georgia and other states that will have national implications for this year’s midterms. But the outcomes were tragically overshadowed by yet another mass shooting – this time at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

The incident happened just ten days after a white supremacist shooter killed 10 Black people shopping for groceries at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY.

Uvalde is now the second-deadliest school shooting in US history, after the massacre at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut a decade ago.

Since then, it sometimes seems that the only thing that has changed is the normalization of the anti-shooter drills we put our children through. In fact, since that day ten years ago, there are millions more guns in legal circulation – we’re well past the point where the nation has more guns than people. Surely that’s part of the mechanism of our own destruction even without the upturn in hate and confrontation we’ve seen since 2016.

Ahead of his team’s NBA playoff game in Dallas, the coach of the Golden State Warriors Steve Kerr – who lost his own father to gun violence decades ago – seemed to sum up the moment.

Particularly on an election night, it’s worth examining – as we mourn – why the political will does not exist, at least on one side of the congressional aisle, to bring about meaningful change. As is often the case in America, part of the explanation is money. Consider, for example, how much the NRA spent supporting Republican candidates in 2020?

With apparently not even a sliver of shame, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, with Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz and other politicians, are still scheduled to speak at the NRA’s annual meeting – where no weapons will be allowed – in Houston, a couple of hundred miles from today’s crime scene, on Friday. Two other Texas politicians, Sen John Cornyn and Rep Dan Crenshaw, were set to appear but said they had pulled out prior to the shooting.

Sadly, it’s all-too-often remarkable that measures to introduce even moderate reforms that might ameliorate events such as today’s are blocked by politicians who wrap themselves in the Second Amendment of an 18th-Century document; regardless of how popular those measures might actually be with the 21st-Century public. The constant rehearsing of the same tired lines has become embarrassing by now, but doubtless helps resolute pro-gun defenders get through the news cycle.

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As for the elections themselves, in Georgia, it was a bad night for the Big Lie, with a broad rejection of Trump-anointed candidates, perhaps in favor of electability.

The scene is set for a November re-run of the contentious 2018 gubernatorial race between Gov Brian Kemp and Democrat Stacey Abrams after Kemp easily defeated Trump-backed (at least for a while) former Sen David Perdue.

Trump had made Kemp and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger his main targets because they had stood up to his attempts to interfere with the outcome of the state’s presidential election vote in 2020. On Tuesday, Raffensperger defeated Trump’s choice, election denier Jody Hice to secure the Republican nomination to continue to serve in his current position.

There was one expected victory for the former President with the somewhat erratic former football star Herschel Walker easily winning the primary to go up against incumbent Democratic Sen Raphael Warnock in November. At Walker’s victory party, guests apparently booed President Joe Biden’s televised remarks on the Uvalde shooting.

Georgia could easily turn out to be the biggest battleground state in the 2024 presidential race, but in the bigger-picture nationally, an interesting appeals court ruling could perhaps have implications for who ends up on the ballot in November and beyond.

Or, of course, perhaps not.

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