The shootings in the United States do not let up. This Thursday, an armed man entered Columbia Machine, a construction machinery factory in the town of Smithsburg, in western Maryland, and caused “several deaths,” the Washington County Sheriff’s Office confirmed in a statement. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan confirmed shortly after that the incident had resulted in three fatalities and that the assailant was neutralized by the police, although he did not provide information about his condition, the Baltimore Sun newspaper reports in its digital edition.
Smithsburg police responded to an emergency call from the factory around 2:30 p.m. (local time, six hours later in mainland Spain). According to initial information, the attacker was injured during a confrontation with police officers who came to the scene and had to be hospitalized. Until now, he has not disclosed his state of health. “No longer a danger to the community,” the message from the sheriff’s office read. According to Hogan, after being alerted to the presence of the armed man, a police chase ensued. In the exchange of fire, the suspect hit an officer in his shoulder, while he was shot in the back.
Police collect evidence from a car related to the confrontation between officers and the suspect, this Thursday, June 9. Timothy Jacobsen (AP)
The one in Maryland is the umpteenth mass shooting recorded so far this year. After a bloody weekend, in which several events left at least a fortnight dead, the country is still trying to digest two massacres, perpetrated in less than a month in Buffalo (New York) and Uvalde (Texas), with a joint result of 31 dead. The first was a racist massacre at the hands of a white supremacist; the second, a butchery in a primary school, perpetrated by a taciturn young man from the place, which left 19 minors and two teachers dead.
This bloodbath once again revived the postponed debate on gun control, which the Republicans are vehemently opposed to and whose advances, even discreet, come up against the precarious Democratic majority in the House in this legislature. State initiatives, such as the one in New York, to raise the legal age to acquire a semi-automatic weapon, such as the assault rifles used by the Buffalo and Uvalde assailants, have a dubious path at the federal level. This Thursday, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a legislative initiative that allows activating a procedure to confiscate firearms from people who may represent a danger to others or to themselves. This is what in States like New York, with one of the most restrictive laws in this regard, is known as “red flag” laws. The timid measure will most likely crash against the Republican opposition in the Senate, despite President Joe Biden’s repeated invitation to legislators from the conservative caucus to join forces against what the White House has been calling an epidemic, that of armed violence , in clear increase since 2020.
These have been very busy days for the Governor of Maryland, who the day before had to respond to the threat against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanugh, after an armed man approached his residence with homicidal intent, in a disturbing drift of polarization that divides the country. “I call on leaders of both parties in Washington to strongly condemn these actions in no uncertain terms. It is vital to our constitutional system that judges are able to carry out their duties without fear of violence against them and their families,” he declared on Wednesday.
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