A Shattered City – The New York Times

you wrote about the arms debate in Uvalde. In previous shootings, survivors and others affected have engaged in gun control activism. Has that happened there?

That’s a tricky question here. This is rural, South Texas. Weapons are woven into politics and culture. Some people in the city support the thoughtful Republican position of needing more “good guys with guns,” despite many problems with the police response. Many families are fed up and think it is inconceivable that an 18 year old could have bought two assault rifles. But it is a quiet conversation.

Even from afar, covering these stories is difficult. Just looking at the pictures of these children breaks my heart. How do you approach your field reports?

We don’t think enough as journalists, collectively, about what we do to these communities.

The school’s neighborhood is packed with TV trucks, vans and cars rented by journalists. There are blocks outside the school lined with tents where TV reporters do their thing. It looks like a political convention.

The families have been receiving constant calls and knocks on the door. Many of them want to share their stories and think it’s important for the world to see who their children were and what made them special. The first few times, people appreciate it. But after the 20th person knocks on your door, she can become another wound.

I don’t know what the solution is. There is a lot of important journalism to do on these issues, on these families and these children and the failures in response to the shooting. It is very important to tell these stories.

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More on Jack Healy: He got his first full-time reporting job as an intern at The Times before joining full-time in 2008. He covered the war in Iraq and now works as a national correspondent in Phoenix.