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On an April afternoon in 2009, I crossed the U.S. 83 bridge over the railroad tracks into Uvalde and saw Bottle ’n Bag Liquor ’n Guns, a big, beige block of a building with a flecked-paint sign covering its side wall. Grain silos stood behind it, a bleak juxtaposition of urban and rural in the city that would be my home. Though Uvalde was new to me, South Texas wasn’t—I grew up on the edge of San Antonio’s South Side and later in Castroville before moving to Austin to earn my doctorate in mathematics at the University of Texas. Now I was back to teach at Sul Ross State University’s Uvalde campus. I drove first to Sacred Heart Catholic Church, which is shaded by palms…
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