President Biden stood on the step of his armored limousine and pointed his finger at demonstrators in grief-stricken Uvalde, who were beseeching him to "do something" after the horrific elementary school massacre.
"We will," Biden replied, adding a thumbs-up, as he and first lady Jill Biden paid respects to 19 children and two teachers killed in a barbaric attack that revived the nation's perennially futile debate over guns, CNN reports. Biden's chances of doing "something" seem slim given the limited scope of executive power to reshape firearm laws. Despite national mourning, there is no sign of a fundamental shift in the tortured politics that lets a Republican Senate minority block meaningful action on gun legislation.
There are optimistic noises in Congress that some incremental firearms reform is possible. The stark lesson of recent history is that momentum fades with each day that passes after the carnage. Presidents travel to the sites of tragedies to express the solidarity and empathy of a shocked country, to offer a modicum of comfort to the relatives of those lost and to galvanize collective grief into a moment of national unity and action. Given the reality of national politics and the GOP's fervent opposition to any changes to gun laws, the idea that Uvalde is the moment when a critical mass of public anger overcomes political inertia seems far-fetched.