Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin yelled at Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic nominee for Texas governor, on Wednesday during a press conference a day after 21 people, including 19 children, were killed, and Governor Greg Abbott claimed there were no mental health issues in this instance. Arming teachers but not allowing them books is the GOP mantra. And spending 40% of the municipal budget on police. Texas is the place where outing LGBTQ children to parents is more important than actually conducting proper drills for integrated law enforcement response rather than “waiting” for a tactical unit.

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But Mayor Don McLaughlin of Uvalde, Texas, where the shooting at Robb Elementary School took place, is taking a different approach.

Instead of seeing the shooting as a consequence of the country’s loose gun control laws, he has instead blamed the lack of mental health care in rural America as the cause of the tragedy.

The community is broken, after 19 school children and two adults were murdered at their elementary school on Tuesday, said McLaughlin.

But he said the residents of Uvalde will support each other through this horrible tragedy.

“We’ll be there for each other, this is such a tragedy for these families – my heart’s broken for these families,” he said. “I’m a grown man, I’ve cried more today than I have in a long time.”

McLaughlin’s sadness is mixed with anger, not only at the act of senseless violence but also at the lack of mental health services available in rural areas like Uvalde, which he believes is a factor in the tragedy.

According to McLaughlin, residents of his city have to travel 600 to 700 miles for access to a bed in a psychiatric facility.

“We need to quit kicking the can down the road and realize we’ve got a problem in America,” he said. “Nobody wants to step up to the plate and address it.”

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Originating in Galveston, Texas, Juneteenth has been celebrated annually on June 19 in various parts of the United States since 1865. The day was recognized as a federal holiday on June 17, 2021, when President Joe Biden signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act into law.[7][8] Juneteenth’s commemoration is on the anniversary date of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom for enslaved people in Texas,[9] which was the last state of the Confederacy with institutional slavery.

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