Background Briefing: May 25, 2022


Following Today’s Thoughts and Prayers Press Conference, Abbott and Cruz Will Join Trump at Friday’s NRA Convention

We begin with the 213th mass shooting in America so far this year that has left 19 elementary school children and 2 teachers dead and 17 wounded at the hands of a troubled teenager who just bought two assault rifles and 375 rounds of ammunition for his 18th birthday. Joining us to describe the town of Uvalde and its people and the elementary school with 90% of the student Hispanic and 80% from economically disadvantaged homes is Lydia Camarillo, the President of the Southwest Voter Registration Education Project, a national non-profit non-partisan organization based out of San Antonio, Texas. She plays a key role in developing the tactical strategies for the SVREP nonpartisan voter registration, voter education and get out the vote campaigns. Prior to joining SVREP, Camarillo served as the National Director of the Leadership Development Program for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund and we discuss how blaming mental health not guns is not surprising since Gov. Abbott and Senator Cruz, along with former President Trump are scheduled to speak at the NRA convention on Friday in Houston.  


Blaming Mental Health, Not the Availability of Weapons of War in the Hands of Teenagers

Then with the press conference today featuring Texas’s Republican leader at which Governor Abbott focused on mental health not the availability of military-style weapons in the hands of teenagers, we speak with Jonathan Metzl, professor of sociology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University and director of its Center for Medicine, Health, and Society. He is the author of several books and a prominent expert on gun violence and mental illness, and his latest book is Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland and we discuss how, in order to get a driver’s license, you must pass a test, but to own a weapon of war you need nothing but the money the gun manufacturers are charging.


Dealing With the Root Causes of Immigration From Central America

Then finally we examine the highly partisan politics of the Southern border and the Biden Administration’s policy of trying to deal with the problem of immigration from Central America at its roots in these poor and lawless countries led by corrupt leaders tied to drug trafficking. Joining us is Jo-Marie Burt, a senior fellow at the Washington Office for Latin America and a professor of political science and Latin American Studies at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University who has published widely on political violence, state-society relations, human rights and transitional justice in Latin America. A research consultant for the Open Society Justice Initiative, she writes about war crimes prosecutions in Guatemala for International Justice Monitor.