Biden on Texas Mass Shooting: “Why Are We Willing to Live With This Carnage?”

In a short and furious national address, an openly despairing president called for action.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

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In a brief address Tuesday night, following the senseless massacre of at least 18 children and a teacher at Robb Elementary in Uvalde, Texas, a beleaguered Joe Biden asked the nation “when in God’s name” America would stand up to the gun lobby. 

He mourned “beautiful, innocent, second, third, fourth graders” and spoke of the scores of children at the school who saw their friends “die as if they are on the battlefield.” 

Biden also spoke as an adult who has lost children himself.

“To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away,” he said. “There’s a hollowness in your chest you feel like you’re being sucked into it… It’s never quite the same.” 

Biden urged Congress to pass common sense gun laws and expressed outrage over the way Americans seem to have grown inured to the “carnage” occurring around them every day. 

“These kinds of mass shootings rarely happen anywhere else in the world,” Biden said. “Why? They have mental health problems. They have domestic disputes in other countries. They have people who are lost. But these kinds of mass shootings never happen with the kind of frequency they happen in America. Why? Why are we willing to live with this carnage? Why do we keep letting this happen?”

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