CNN's national season of violence grew with the Texas tragedy that engulfed two of America's most polarizing political issues, immigration and guns.
Eyewitnesses have given horrifying accounts of the horrific scene in an outlet mall located in affluent Allen Texas where, on Saturday, a gunman with an AR-15 style rifle shot eight shoppers, killing them. This was just the latest of a series of mass shootings that have occurred in Texas and throughout the United States. Many innocent people have been killed, but no action has been taken to stop the loss.
On Sunday, a driver hit a group waiting for a bus outside of a shelter near the Texas border city of Brownsville. Eight people died and more than a dozen were injured. The incident is not known to have been an accident. The tragedy has brought attention to the plight and future of migrants.
These tragedies had nothing to do with each other. Both tragedies were unrelated.
In the Lone Star State, suspicion of government is high. It's also the epicenter of a new political battle between conservative Republican leaders who draw power from rural areas, and liberal city leaders. It is often seen as a symbol of the extremes in American culture. It also suffered a series of shootings in El Paso, Walmart, and Sutherland Springs. Last week, Texans experienced a shocking mass shooting in Cleveland by a gunman, who shot five people. The incident began when neighbors complained that a man was firing a firearm in their yard.
Texas will also be the focus of another political storm in this week, as the Covid border restriction expires on Thursday. This has allowed the US to quickly expel certain migrants. It is expected that the end of this policy, which was the main border enforcement tool from March 2020 onwards, will lead to a massive influx of migrants. There are fears of a further surge once the policy is lifted. The Republican's warnings about a foreign invasion of undocumented immigrants have made President Joe Biden more vulnerable in the face of claims of border crisis.
As in the case with mass shootings there is little hope that the nation will be able to find a solution. The comprehensive immigration reform has failed under both Republican and Democratic Presidents. There is also little agreement within or between the parties about how to alleviate the situation, at a moment when crime and violence are exacerbating the migrant flow from Central America towards the southern border.
Gun debate intensifies in Texas
The weekend brought Texas Governor Greg Abbott to the forefront. Greg Abbott has been criticized by some for his comments about the undocumented status for some of the victims of the Cleveland Massacre, and for his approval of laxer gun laws. The Republican Governor has played a major role in politicizing the migration debate, by sending migrants to liberal areas.
Abbott said on Fox Sunday that he would be heading to Allen, Texas to offer condolences and ask a number of questions to the families who had lost loved ones: "Why happened? Why did the gunman act in this way? "How did this happen?"
He suggested that a lack of national spirit, coupled with an increase in "anger" and violence, could be the cause. Abbott said, "We need to find a solution in this country that will allow us to once again unite Americans and become one big family." "In that regard, we must find ways to reduce the violence in our nation."
Democrats in Texas responded to the shooting on Saturday by criticizing Abbott for failing to do anything to stop the killing sprees under his watch. In a statement, State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer said that it is "a choice" to let this nightmare of gun-violence continue.
"An elementary School" "A military base" A college. A college. A Walmart. Now a shopping center. House Democrats are grieving today. We mourn for the families that lost loved ones at Allen. But we also grieve on behalf of all our children who have to live with constant fear.
Biden noted that the gunman in Allen had used an AR-15-style rifle, which he wants to see banned. Biden tweeted: "We need to act faster and more effectively in order to save lives."
Uvalde's Democratic state senator Roland Guttierrez told CNN, "Our state is on fire because these guns are in the hands people who shouldn't be holding them."
But some Republicans, including Abbott tried to use the proliferation in mass shootings as a way to argue that they are as much a problem in Democratic States, where gun laws tend to be stricter, as they are in conservative states, whose state legislatures work to weaken firearms legislation.
Henry Cuellar of the US House of Representatives, one the most conservative Democrats, said to Fox News that "people just talk about making the laws more strict." Even in states with strict laws and blue hues, mass shootings still occur. We need to find out why.
Mass shootings have occurred in Democratic-run States like Michigan and California. A study conducted by Everytown for Gun Safety (a nonprofit organization focusing on gun violence prevention) last year found that states with weaker laws had higher rates of gun-related deaths. This included homicides as well as suicides and accidents.
This latest mass shooting occurred in Texas after a nationwide spree that saw such murders at schools, supermarkets and community parades. It also happened in a bank, places of worship, and a number of banks. The shooting occurred as the nation was still dealing with a shooting that took place at a medical center in Atlanta, last week. One woman died and four others were injured. According to the Gun Violence Archive there have been over 200 mass shootings across the US in just the first five months this year. CNN defines a mass shootout as involving four or more victims, but not the shooter.
Migrant deaths car tragedy
The incident occurred in Brownsville near the Rio Grande. Police responded to an alarm around 8:30am CT regarding a Land Rover which had hit several people at a stop for buses across from the Bishop Enrique San Pedro Ozanam Center. This homeless shelter has helped migrants find housing.
Details were still being gathered late Sunday night. Officials say that the driver, a Hispanic, has been "uncooperative" and given several names. Witnesses reported seeing the driver drive on the curb, ignore the red light and run over people at the bus stop. The shelter houses immigrants as they wait to find permanent housing.
Even though it is still unclear whether the crash was intentional, a Democrat has accused Republicans of creating an environment which made migrants more vulnerable.
Gilberto Hinojosa, Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party said: "While this incident is still being investigated, it is clear that our leaders in Texas are painting a target onto migrants' backs."
The White House has been heavily criticized by Republicans for border issues, which have long caused Biden political headaches. He just started his re-election campaign in 2024.
Title 42's expiration will force border authorities to revert to outdated protocols during a period of unprecedented mass migration across the Western Hemisphere. The effects are likely to strain the already fragile relationship between the Biden White House in Washington and the Abbott Administration in Austin. There is little hope of cooperation between them.