• Breanna Crossman

Weekly News Blast | May 23-30

1. Tragic shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.


On May 24, 19 students and two teachers were fatally shot by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos. Prior to entering the school, Ramos shot his grandmother and crashed his truck in a ditch outside the school before grabbing his AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle and entering the school through an open door. Conflicting accounts of how long the shooter barricaded himself in the school before police entered the building have arisen, with widespread outrage incited by the news that the police waited one hour and 15 minutes after confronting the shooter to enter the building. In several videos, parents urge police to enter the school and are rebuffed.


During this time, several 911 calls were made by students inside the classroom with the shooter. The actions of the police were highly criticized after the facts of the shooting emerged. DOJ spokesman Anthony Coley said in a statement, “At the request of Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the U.S. Department of Justice will conduct a Critical Incident Review of the law enforcement response to the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, on May 24.” At a press conference, Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw stated, “It was not the right decision. It was the wrong decision. Period. . . . We Believe there should have been an entry. We don’t have time.” Ramos was fatally shot by a border patrol officer at the scene, according to Texas Governor Greg Abott. He had no prior criminal record and bought the rifles legally after his eighteenth birthday.


Debates about gun control have exploded in response to the tragic shooting, which came within a few days of a racially-motivated mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. The shooting at Uvalde was America’s deadliest school shooting since the shooting at Sandy Hook in 2012. Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Governor Abott, stated that Abbot was “doing nothing,” and claimed the mass shooting was “predictable.” A letter was sent to Abott by Texas Senate Democrats demanding a special session to pass gun control legislation. The letter stated, “Thoughts and prayers’ are not enough. We need evidence-based, common sense gun safety laws.”


Meanwhile, Republicans have rejected gun control legislation and are instead pursuing ideas such as arming teachers in schools. In response to pushes for gun control legislation, Republican Senator Ted Cruz told reporters, “That doesn’t work. It’s not effective. It doesn’t prevent crime.”


President Joe Biden called for national gun control reform in an address following the shooting. Biden said, “We as a nation have to ask: When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name do we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?”


2. Southern Baptist Church report reveals decades of abuse.


The Southern Baptist Executive Committee released a list of hundreds of of credibly accused sexual abusers within the church on May 22. The report comes after a probe that revealed decades of mishandling of sexual abuse claims and harassment of survivors who came forward. The Southern Baptist Church is the nation’s largest Protestant denomination, with over 14 million members across more than 47,000 churches.


Allegations of decades-long sexual abuse have rocked the Southern Baptist Church. (Debby Hudson/Unsplash)


The report leveled sexual abuse allegations against 380 church leaders in 20 states, detailing longstanding abuse within the church. The report found that “survivors and others who reported abuse were ignored, disbelieved, or met with the constant refrain that the SBC could take no action, even if it meant that convicted molesters continued in ministry with no notice or warning to their current church or congregation.” Many advocacy groups have praised the release of the report but believe there is far more work to be done.


SNAP Communications Director Mike McDonnell said, “They need to do more because if they truly wanted to make this list useful. They would need to turn over every document they have to secular authorities, to law enforcement, so it could be truly investigated or reinvestigated in some cases.” Russel Moore, a theologian and columnist for Christianity Today stated, “Frankly, there has to be more than just structural reform, there’s a cultural problem here that has to be addressed. I’m talking about a culture that could allow this kind of intimidation and harassment and retaliation against innocent people. The sort of callous unhumanity that we could see in these reports. That will require not just bad people to be held accountable, although that’s true, but for good people to not look away.”


3. Severe baby formula shortage continues.


Global supply chain issues and the closure of the largest baby formula factories have led to a severe shortage of baby formula within the nation, with officials scrambling to import formula. President Joe Biden invoked the Defense Production Act, a wartime measure, to import shipments from overseas and grow domestic production. Parents have sought baby formula from food banks, social media, and foriegn nations to combat the shortage as babies are hospitalized for extreme hunger.


The root of the shortage is the closure of the U.S. firm Abbott’s plant, which produces a majority of baby formula domestically. The plant, which is located in Michigan, was closed in February due to contamination. The company issued a product recall due to concerns of bacterial contamination after the death of two babies. Following widespread criticism, the Michigan plant will be reopening within weeks. Abott’s specialty formula EleCare, one of the most popular brands of formula within the U.S., will be available beginning on June 20, according to the company. In a statement, Abbott said, “We understand the urgent need for formula and our top priority is getting high-quality, safe formula into the hands of families across America.”


 

Sources & Further Reading