In the hours immediately after a horrific school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Texas Republicans opted to deflect from the clear need for gun reform. Both Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Sen. Ted Cruz doubled down on false narratives about gun reform while passing the buck once again.
When asked to respond to the school shooting at Robb Elementary, Paxton suggested teachers and administrators may need to be armed and prepared to “respond quickly.” Except there’s no evidence that a good guy with a gun mentality would save lives.
According to news reports, the gunman killed at least 21 people, including 19 children. Allegedly the shooter was engaged by law enforcement outside the school and still made his way inside. But Paxton played to the Newsmax and Fox News audiences instead of the families and communities hurting across Texas.
Craig Harrington, research director for Media Matters for America, shared a clip of Paxton on Newsmax saying it makes no sense to restrict “law-abiding citizens” to prevent killings. Imagine prioritizing talking points like this as the death toll continued to rise after a school shooting.
A video shared by CBS reporter Alan showed Cruz using the moment to call for more police in schools, despite evidence showing police presence has not kept students safe. He also objected to “politicizing” the incident. News flash, pointing out the lack of action on gun reform and demanding action is requesting lawmakers do their job.
Demanding gun reform after a mass shooting does not dishonor the dead or interfere with mourning. But using people’s horror and grief as a shield from accountability does. The unfortunate reality in America is that the community around Robb Elementary and Texans, as a whole, are not alone in grieving horrific tragedies because of gun violence.
As reported by NPR, Tuesday’s shooting marked the 27th school shooting since the beginning of the year. More than 200 mass shootings have occurred this year, including the recent killing of 10 people shopping at a Top’s supermarket in buffalo.
During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Gov. Greg Abbott called the shooting “a horrific tragedy that cannot be tolerated in the state of Texas.” He and Cruz are slated to speak at an NRA convening later in the week.
Democratic nominee for governor Beto O’Rourke seemingly slammed Abbott and Republicans for obstructing meaningful gun reform. O’Rourke’s tweet came a couple of hours after expressing condolences for the tragedy.
“The moment to stop Uvalde was right after Sandy Hook,” he tweeted. “After Santa Fe High. After El Paso. Instead, Abbott made it easier to carry guns in public. The moment to stop the next slaughter is right now.”
The media should be asking so-called “pro-life” candidates like Abbott, Paxton, Cruz and their colleagues around the country point-blank why they won’t take the steps necessary to protect the sanctity of life of children like those in Uvalde.
According to reporting from the Texas Tribune, Abbott bragged that he was protecting freedom by signing a permitless carry bill into law last year. Similar legislation has been pushed in multiple states this year and was recently signed into law in Georgia. Law enforcement and gun reform advocates have objected to permitless carry laws, increasing the likelihood of guns falling into “wrong” hands.
“Today, I signed documents that instilled freedom in the Lone Star State,” Abbott said. “Those who believe and support Second Amendment rights, we support the right of every law-abiding American to be able to have a weapon to defend themselves.”
As previously reported by Bloomberg tried to distinguish between teenagers “unlawfully getting access to guns to commit crimes,” saying they belong behind bars. It seems like the Texas governor has never heard the saying, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
It’s unconscionable to disregard the potential for reducing gun violence and school shootings under the guise of protecting freedom.
What about the freedom of the elementary students who were senselessly killed Tuesday? Or the many other children killed previously? But Ten years after Sandy Hook, the worst school shooting in modern history, Republicans like Abbott and Cruz seem content with doing nothing productive.