From our correspondent in the United States,
The testimony of such a young girl before the American Congress is extremely rare. But Miah Cerrillo, 10, wanted to tell her story to elected officials and to America. That of a CM1 student from Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, whose fate changed on May 24 when a gunman burst into the school, killing 19 students and two teachers with a semi -automatic AR-15.
In pre-recorded video testimony, Miah recounted how her teacher locked the door when the shooter came down the hall, telling all the children to hide. But Salvador Ramos, 18, was able to enter the neighboring class, then that of Miah via a door connecting the two rooms: “He shot my teacher, he said ‘good night’ to her and he shot her in the head. He shot my friend who was next to me and I thought he was going to come back. So I took some blood and smeared it all over myself… I was silent, then I grabbed my teacher’s phone and called (the emergency number) 911.”
“Imagine if this happened to your children”
Miah no longer feels safe at school. In front of elected officials, his father begged Congress to pass a reform to restrict access to firearms. Pediatrician Roy Guerrero described the injuries he saw at the hospital: “Two children whose bodies had been pulverized by bullets (from the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle), decapitated, their flesh torn. »
Kimberly and Felix Rubio did not know for hours whether their daughter Lexi was alive. Kimberly ran almost 2 km barefoot to school. She eventually learned that 10-year-old Lexi had passed away. “In his name, we ask (the elected officials) to act,” said the mother, unable to hold back her tears. “We demand a ban on assault rifles and high capacity magazines. A measure also demanded by Joe Biden.
Parents from the racist Buffalo massacre also testified. Zeneta Everhart, mother of a seriously injured young African-American cashier at the Tops Friendly Markets supermarket, directly challenged the elected officials sitting opposite her: “To those who do not think we need stricter gun laws: my son Zaire has a hole in his neck, two in his back and one in his leg, caused by an explosive AR-15 bullet. Shards will remain in his body for life. Now imagine if that happened to one of your children? »
Negotiations for a minimum reform
A group of nine Republican and Democratic senators negotiate to find a compromise. A ban on the sale to private individuals of semi-automatic rifles is excluded. Raising the legal age from 18 to 21 also doesn’t appear to have the backing of ten Republicans – a bar needed to override the filibuster and push through reform with 60 out of 100 votes.
In the best scenario, elected officials could simply tighten background checks, and extend to the whole country the “red flag laws” which allow the confiscation of a weapon from an individual at risk. Measures that will be far from satisfying the families of Uvalde. Nor those of the 4,368 young people under the age of 19 who died by gunshots in the United States in 2020. A terrible figure which makes firearms the leading cause of death among young people.