Update to Days After A Massacre Of Fourth Graders, Arizona Senate Republicans Kill Democratic Attempt For A Background Checks Bill.

Fernanda Santos writes in an op-ed at the Washington Post, What the Arizona GOP’s response to Uvalde reveals:


Republican legislators in Arizona have offered more than thoughts and prayers to the innocent victims massacred in Uvalde, Tex. They have praised law enforcement for their actions despite ample evidence that the police waited far too long to intervene, blamed the violence on the absence of God and renewed their push to bring more guns into schools.

Your Uvalde Police Department: The Uvalde Mom Who Ran Into The School To Save Her Sons From The Shooting Spoke Out About How Police Tried To Stop Her:

A mom in Uvalde who says she was handcuffed by law enforcement while trying to rescue her sons from the school shooting has claimed that authorities warned her not to speak to the media about her experience.

Angeli Gómez, a farmworker in Uvalde, spoke to CBS News on Thursday, describing how she was able to rush into Robb Elementary School and save her kids during the shooting that killed 19 children and two teachers, despite law enforcement’s attempts to stop her.

Gómez, who previously spoke to the Wall Street Journal about her experience, said she had just gone back to work after her children’s graduation ceremony when she first received news about the shooting. She quickly drove 40 miles back to the school but said she was prevented from going inside.

“Right away, as soon as I parked my car, US marshals started coming towards my car saying I wasn’t allowed to be parked there,” Gómez told CBS News. “He said, ‘We’re going to have to arrest you because you’re being very uncooperative,’ and I said, ‘Well, you’re going to have to arrest me because I’m going in there, and I’m telling you right now — I don’t see none of y’all in there.’”

Gómez alleged that the US marshals handcuffed her to stop her from rushing toward the school.

“I told one of the officers, ‘I don’t need you to protect me. Get away from me. I don’t need your protection. If anything, I need you to go in with me to go protect my kids,'” she told CBS News.

Gómez said that she was able to convince local police to uncuff her, and as soon as she was free, she jumped over a fence and rushed into the building to grab her two sons, who are in the second and third grade, from inside. According to her account, police chased her while she ran toward the building.

Gómez claimed that she did not see officers inside the building while she was in there, but she could hear gunshots coming from somewhere in the school. When she knocked on the door of her first son’s classroom, she recalled finding teachers and students hiding inside.

Gómez said the teacher asked her if they had time to get out and she replied, “Yeah, you have time; I’m going to run and get my other son.’”

She said that authorities tried to escort her out of the building when she approached her other son’s classroom door, but that when she saw them opening the door, she ran back to get her child.

Gómez was captured on camera holding her sons’ hands while running out of the school.

* * *

CBS News also reported that Gómez, who is reportedly on probation for previous charges against her, claimed that she had received a call from “someone in law enforcement” telling her that if she kept talking to the media and sharing her story, she might face some kind of violation for obstruction of justice.

According to CBS News, Gómez said she was able to speak out after a judge called her “brave” and told her that her probation would be shortened.

Take state Sen. Kelly Townsend, a far-right Republican [and QAnon Queen] whose nonsensical ideas include, most recently, using vigilantes to watch over ballot drop boxes in the upcoming midterms. Four years ago, in the days following the rampage at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., she compared mass shooters to women who have abortions: Neither, she said, has any regard for human life.

After the killings at Robb Elementary, Townsend suggested that we arm “whoever at our schools, whether it’s veterans who are volunteering, whether it’s the police, whether it’s arming the teachers.” Her colleague, state Sen. Rick Gray, the GOP majority leader, said school shootings happen because “for decades, we’ve been teaching our children in school that there is no God.”

Meanwhile, calls by Democrats for action on 13 stalled gun control bills — one of them includes prohibiting some domestic violence offenders from owning firearms, which sounds like a no-brainer to me — have been wholly ignored. Such is the predicament for Democrats of being the minority in both legislative chambers in a deeply polarized purple state where extremists are not only the loudest, but also increasingly the prevailing voices in Republican politics.

Case in point: Gov. Doug Ducey, a conservative who has not fallen off the deep end, has not had any luck passing a piece of legislation that would allow judges to take away guns from people who are considered to be a danger to themselves or others [“red flag laws”.] His fellow Republicans in the House have twice refused to move it forward.

I talked to state Sen. Raquel Terán (D), whose path to elected office grew out of her role as a community organizer fighting for immigration reform at a time when Arizona became a national symbol of intolerance. She framed the dominant version of Republican politics in Arizona these days around control — “control of our bodies, control of what we read and talk about in schools.” (Gun control? Not so much.)

That brings up an interesting irony. Some Republicans say that teachers should be able to carry guns in the classroom [be human shields] and teach lessons on religion, yet they cannot be trusted to openly talk to students about issues of race and ethnicity. According to a bill recently approved by the House, violators could lose their teaching license. As state Sen. Christine Marsh (D), a former teacher of the year, so eloquently said, “Give me a break.”

Arizona is far from the only battleground state, but it might be the one where the pendulum has swung the most rightward since 2020. That’s when Arizona voters chose a Democrat for president for only the second time since going for Harry S. Truman in 1948 (the other was Bill Clinton).

Former president Donald Trump still enjoys a strong [cult] following in Arizona, though. With term limits, Ducey is serving his second and last term, and the leading Republican gubernatorial candidate, a journalist-turned-conspiracy theorist named Kari Lake, features Trump’s image and endorsement on her campaign signs.

Terán, whose Senate district is one of the most diverse in the state, grew up in Douglas, a small Arizona city on the U.S.-Mexico border that is similar to Uvalde. They are both working-class communities with about 16,000 residents who are mostly Hispanic.

She stood silently on the state Senate floor the other day holding a picture collage of the 19 children murdered in Uvalde; two teachers died as well. She told me that she worried she would break down, so she let other Democratic colleagues do the talking.

She did cry when we spoke a few days later, telling me about her mother, who works in a school cafeteria, and her nieces and nephews, whose faces remind her of the children slain in Uvalde. “My neighbors in Douglas, my constituents, they’re the people of Uvalde,” she said.

She lists some of their needs: a reliable, sustainable water supply; a strategy to mitigate the wildfires that are a mortal threat in parts of the state; and affordable housing. Phoenix and its surrounding communities saw, in April, the biggest cost-of-living increase in the country compared with the same month last year and have logged one of the highest rent hikes since the start of 2021.

“People can’t afford a place to live,” Terán said.

I asked what she would do if she had a magic wand. She paused, talked about meeting basic needs, but then settled on something less tangible, but, in many ways, more important: “I’d protect our democracy.”

The threat is real. On Thursday, Trump endorsed Republican Blake Masters in the U.S. Senate race to unseat Arizona Democrat Mark Kelly. The former president extolled Masters for supporting his stolen-election fantasy.

More about Peter Thiel’s  “new right” puppet, Blake Masters, in a later post.