“You are not alone”: Biden's message to the victims of the Maine massacre | International

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The visit of the president of the United States to the site of a gun massacre has already become a custom that serves to close the sequence of events that follows from time to time the tragedy, so genuinely American. The mass murder of October 25 in Lewiston (Maine) was no exception. Joe Biden and the first lady, Jill Biden, traveled on Friday afternoon to pay tribute to the victims, speak with politicians and local authorities, honor the agents, doctors or ambulance drivers involved and provide comfort to relatives. To all of them, the president said: “Jill and I are here, representing the American people to make sure you know that you are not alone.”

But this time, unlike recent events - such as the massacres in Buffalo (May 2022, 10 dead), Uvalde (May 2022, 21 dead) or Monterey Park, in California (January of this year, 10 dead) -, Biden did not take advantage of the occasion to give a speech and demand progress in legislation to tighten gun control or ban assault rifles, like the one used in Lewiston by Robert Gunman, a 40-year-old reserve soldier, author of the most recent mass shooting. deadly so far this year and in the entire history of the State of Maine. Maybe it's frustration. Or the product of simple boredom: “Jill and I have done this too many times already,” Biden said on Friday.

The presidential couple observed a minute of silence and placed a bouquet of white flowers on a small altar in front of the Schemengees Bar and Grille, the second scene of the massacre, where eight people died. Card had begun his macabre mission shortly before seven in the afternoon about six kilometers away, at the Just-In-Time Recreation bowling alley, where he killed seven people. Three more died that same night in the hospital.

He then drove to the neighboring town of Lisbon, where he abandoned his SUV and vanished. Authorities declared a lockdown in Lewiston, Lisbon, Auburn and Bowdoin, where his family's home was located. The confinement lasted 48 hours, during which hundreds of local, county, state and federal agents from all over the country searched for the guy in the forests, in houses in the area and even in the waters of the Androscoggin River. Finally, his lifeless body appeared, with signs of having committed suicide, in a trailer parked in the parking lot of a recycling company where he had worked until April.

Mental health

Since the discovery occurred and this rural community of about 40,000 inhabitants was able to breathe easy, it has been known that Card's family warned about the deterioration of the state of his mental health, and that the authorities did not properly manage alarms like the one that should have gone off. When he spent two weeks in a psychiatric hospital, he told a friend that he was planning a mass murder or attacked a fellow Army soldier.

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Biden has shown during his presidency that he is comfortable comforting, whether with the victims of a tornado, a hurricane, or a massacre like the one in Maine. He has also reaffirmed time and time again his stance on guns. He created the first White House office against gun violence prevention, and has pressured lawmakers on Capitol Hill to push forward a rule banning the sale of rifles like the AR-15, designed in the 1950s as a weapon of war, capable of firing hundreds of bullets with great precision in a short space of time.

“Today we cry in Maine, because this tragedy opens a painful wound across the country,” the US president said on Friday. “It's pure common sense. We need reasonable, responsible measures that protect our children, our families and our communities. Regardless of our political orientation, this is about protecting our freedom to go to a bowling alley, a restaurant, a school or a church, without fear of being murdered.”

According to the non-profit organization Gun Violence Archive, which keeps track of mass shootings in the United States (for an incident to count as such, it must cause four victims, including deaths and injuries, not counting the aggressor), 589 have been recorded. in so far this year. 22 since Maine alone. The last one was in the early hours of this Saturday, in Cincinatti (Ohio), and caused one death and five injuries. Of all those indifferent people, 37 ended in massacre, according to the AP agency.

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