Let’s talk about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas
May 25, 2022
Episode 680

Let’s talk about the mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas

We'll also reflect on the Supreme Court decision in Shinn v. Martinez Ramirez, which has major ramifications for claims of wrongful conviction.

The country is reeling from yet another mass shooting. A gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, yesterday, killing 19 children and two adults. We’re shifting from our usual Wednesday show because all we can ask is: “How are we here again?” The answers are not satisfying.

Here’s everything we talked about today:

Make Me Smart May 25, 2022 transcript

Note: Marketplace podcasts are meant to be heard, with emphasis, tone and audio elements a transcript can’t capture. Transcripts are generated using a combination of automated software and human transcribers, and may contain errors. Please check the corresponding audio before quoting it.

Kimberly Adams: Alright, I’m actually ready now.

Kai Ryssdal: Oh, my goodness, no wasting that time there. Holy cow … I don’t even have the thing up in front. All right, I start today, I guess. Hey everybody I’m Kai Ryssdal, welcome back to Make Me Smart, making today make sense. Although today it will be tougher than most let me just say.

Kimberly Adams: It just doesn’t make sense. Hi, I’m Kimberly Adams, thank you for joining us. This Wednesday, usually it would be a what do you want to know Wednesday, but we’re gonna break format because I think all any of us really want to know at this point is how are we here, again? And there’s no good answers. How are you holding up Kai?

Kai Ryssdal: So yesterday was rough. I couldn’t not be on the news. It was really terrible. But I kept my phone coming out and flipping through my Twitter feed and it was terrible. Today less so I think because I had the I had Marketplace to concentrate on and what I was gonna say on Marketplace so I could distract myself. I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight. We’ll see. What about you.

Kimberly Adams: I, I’m holding up. I had the option to kind of turn it off last night. And I did. I know many of our colleagues in news didn’t have that option and really thinking about them. And of course, the families in Texas, but who I’m also really feeling for us all the parents who had to send their kids to school this morning in fear and terror. Because it’s it’s just so so bad. And I suppose because I mean, I suppose because people can listen to this podcast whenever we should not just be referring to things broadly. But it’s hard to think of any situation in which you might not know what’s going on. But we are talking about the shooting at a school in Texas in which the last I checked 19 children died and two adults, sorry, not 19 children died 19 children were murdered, along with two adults. And it’s reopened the conversation about guns in this country after less than two weeks since our last mass shooting. I have many, many thoughts on this. But Kai, what are you thinking?

Kai Ryssdal: Well, I, I go back to where you started, which is how are we possibly here again, and we are possibly here again, for one overarching reason. And that is the leaders of the Republican Party and members of the Republican Party in the United States Senate – and yes, a couple of Democrats – refuse to have any conversations beyond thoughts and prayers when it comes to gun safety legislation. And that’s why we’re here. That’s why many things in our democracy are broken. But that’s why we’re here on this specific case. And I don’t know what to do about that. Because as long as we’re here, things like Ulvade and Sandy Hook will and, and Buffalo and El Paso and all of those places will keep on happening.

Kimberly Adams: You know, I saw somebody on Twitter today who quote tweeted all of the members of Congress with their sort of thoughts and Twitter prayers, tweets with how much money they were getting from the NRA. The NRA, which is having its convention in Houston, this weekend, where former President Trump is scheduled to speak along with Senator Ted Cruz, Texas governor, Greg Abbott, and and others. And I was looking at Open Secrets. And because I always want to know about the money and Open Secrets, which is a project that from the Center for Responsive Politics has a story about how gun rights groups sent set a new lobbying spending record in 2021. There, I’m trying to look and see how much it is. Let’s see, these organizations gun rights group spent a record $15.8 million on lobbying in 2021, and $2 million in the first quarter of 2022. These organizations have invested $190 million in lobbying efforts since 1998. And they’ve spent more than 114 million of that total since 2013. There, the other stories I was looking at today, where we have to jump so quickly from one story to the next, because this happened so often. And it made me think about the folks in Buffalo, who are still recovering. In fact, the security guard who everyone was saying was such a hero, his funeral was today. And you know, that racist attack killed, you know, so many people, and those, those funeral services are still happening. And so there were a couple stories today about how, you know, the people in Buffalo who are still trying to heal from what just happened there are also reacting to the shooting, and one person was saying, you know, “there’s nowhere we’re safe. We’re not safe at our churches, we’re not safe in our grocery stores, and we’re not safe in our schools.” And then, you know, another story about hundreds of people needing mental health care, after the Buffalo mass shooting, and now the Texas mass shooting in the work that we’ve been doing with with Call to Mind, which is our mental health project that APM does. We just finished a special on youth mental health during COVID. And one of the things that came up, was that the main way that kids get mental health care, is it school? Do school counselors, school psychologists, their teachers being their first line of defense peer counselors, and when that school is the trauma, you know, how can it fill that gap as well?

Kai Ryssdal: I don’t know. I don’t know.

Kimberly Adams: Okay. I, I want to talk about solutions in a little bit. But there are a couple of other things that I think we should we should pay attention to I also, you know, speaking of gun violence, we’re marking two years since the murder of George Floyd today. And the Washington Post has an excerpt from a book from some of their reporters who have really looked at his life, not just his death, but the kind of life that he lived in and how he ended up, you know, out at that convenience store that day, and that infamous day. And it’s there’s an excerpt from the new book on The Washington Post’s website, which is really thoughtful, and really nice and nice to see the kind of person that he was before that, before he was murdered. So yes, the gun lobby is extraordinarily powerful. And yes, people should, you know, use their ability to vote despite gerrymandering, this despite voter suppression laws, to, you know, exert whatever change they want to see in our country. But, you know, there, I was really encouraged today to, to see a lot of people actually trying to come up with other things to do, whether that be suggestions to fund buyback programs for weapons, whether that be local laws to change, you know, gun gun restrictions or research on gun licensing, which has proven to somewhat be effective, but also, you know, potentially countering the NRA is lobbying money with more money to try to do do something in the Second Amendment, you know, is is such an it’s become such a thing that people latch on to, and I was particularly struck by news this week, that the Supreme Court had another ruling that didn’t quite get as much attention as some others that basically takes a swing at the Sixth Amendment. And the Sixth Amendment is your right to effective counsel in a criminal case.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, yeah.

Kimberly Adams: And so this is the Sixth Amendment basically says that, like, “Look, you have a right to counsel. In a criminal case, even if you can’t afford it, you have a right to –” I’m just going to read it. “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial by an impartial jury of the state and district, wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusations to be confronted with the witnesses against him to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.” Now, up until recently, it had been, you know, kind of the the standard and the precedent that that right to counsel meant the right to effective counsel. But on Monday, the court said that … I’m trying to get this right. I’m gonna read from The Guardian summary of it. “In a 6-3 ruling, the newly dominant right wing majority of the nation’s highest court barred federal courts from hearing new evidence that was not previously presented in a state court as a result of the defendants ineffective legal representation. The decision means that prisoners will no longer have recourse to federal judges, even when they claim they were wrongfully convicted, because their lawyers failed to conduct their cases properly.” This case, has to do with it’s the case is called Shins versus Ramirez. And this case has to do with two gentlemen who are in death row, one of which his advocate say they have compelling evidence that he’s innocent of the crime. But they’re not being allowed to present that new evidence to get him off of death row. The other person who is also on death row, that advocates believe that the new evidence they can bring will at least get him off of death row and reduce his sentence. But the court is saying no. And I was thinking about this, because here is another amendment that has another constitutional right, that just this week, was meaningfully limited, with very little fanfare. And yet, we have the Second Amendment, which is being used to justify us, creating an environment that no other no other country in the world has, where we have dozens and hundreds of mass shootings every year.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, and I guess my – well, it’s not a response. My observation about this, is that given the current makeup of the Supreme Court, and the standing interpretation of the Second Amendment, which is that individuals, not just militias, right. Remember, the wording of the Second Amendment is a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. That first clause always gets forgotten. And it was generally expected that it meant states and state militias until 2008, in a case called Heller, in which Antonin Scalia and a majority of the court said no, no, no, no, no. The Second Amendment applies to people. And I guess my point is that as long as the current makeup of the Supreme Court is what it is, where you have several people in the mold of Justice Scalia, the interpretation of the Second Amendment’s not going to change, which makes gun regulation, even apart from the politics of it makes it much more tricky. Right. Heller did say yes, you can regulate guns and firearms, but it just becomes all the trickier. There’s another gun rights case coming up before the court about a New York law that requires gun owners to show a special need or proper cause to concealed carry for concealed carry. And that’s, you know, we’re waiting for that ruling as well.

Kai Ryssdal: Yeah, it’s gonna it’s gonna be a busy late May, early June at the court. What with the Alito judgment going down and his one coming down and all of it.

Kimberly Adams: Did um, I saw that you had a clip in the Slack. What was that?

Kai Ryssdal: Well, it was it was it was about it was my rant about the Second Amendment so we’ll play it just because you know, it’s germane. So Warren Burger, who was chief justice in the United States from 69 to 86, went on the News Hour with. It was Charlayne Hunter Gault actually doing the interview, but that’s not important. Went on the interview, went on the News Hour and talked about the Second Amendment. And here’s what Warren Burger said the former Chief Justice the United States.

Warren Burger, News Hour archival clip: This has been the subject of one of the greatest pieces of fraud. I repeat the word fraud on the American public by special interest groups that I have ever seen in my lifetime. So that’s Warren Burger talking about the Second Amendment special interest groups in that case, specifically the National Rifle Association, which, although it has fallen on hard times, lately, still immensely powerful. And back in the early 90s, was incredibly powerful. And it’s it’s, you know, it’s my point about Second Amendment right, as long as the current interpretation stands, it becomes much more difficult to enact new gun safety laws.

Kimberly Adams: Well, and it’s worth noting that this week that uh, well, in the Senate, Schumer, Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader is is trying to at least bring a bill that the House has passed for some pass some time ago, at least to a vote. But his hands are pretty much tied because of the makeup of the Senate. But all of those things can change. We are heading into the midterms, we will see how it goes. And in the meantime, I’ve seen so many other suggestions somebody was suggesting that teachers go on strike until there’s a new gun laws.

Kai Ryssdal: But that just punishes the kids. That’s should, what? Right, you know, I mean, I get that, but it just punishes the kids.

Kimberly Adams: And the parents and the teachers who lose their income.

Kai Ryssdal: Right, right.

Kimberly Adams: But I think that’s the that’s the point of strikes is to make it painful. But I don’t. Ah, there are definitely no smiles to be had today. You got anything else?

Kai Ryssdal: So let’s go. Back tomorrow. No, I got nothing. We’re back tomorrow.

Kimberly Adams: I know we’re all processing this, but you are welcome to send us your thoughts or your questions. We’ll try to get to everybody’s questions for Whaddya Want to Know Wednesday, I guess next week, sorry to bail on it this time. But I hope everybody’s taking care of yours, yourselves and your families and hugging your kids. And you know, if you pray, pray for for better. Our email is makemesmart@marketplace.org. Or you can leave us message at 508-U-B-SMART. Make Me Smart is produced by Marissa Cabrera with help from our intern Tiffany Bui. Today’s episode was engineered by Jayk Cherry.

Kai Ryssdal: Bridget Bodnar is in charge of this podcast. Donna Tam is in charge of all the podcasts. And that’s what we got.

Kimberly Adams: Yeah.

Kai Ryssdal: All the podcasts. Donna, you’re in charge of all the podcasts, All the things.

Kimberly Adams: All the things.

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The team

Marissa Cabrera Senior Producer
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