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Texas Governor Greg Abbott holds a press conference at Uvalde High School in Uvalde, Texas on May 25, 2022. | Source: ALLISON DINNER / Getty

I hate how quickly tragic mass shootings that result in senseless death get reduced down to political talking points inspired mostly by conservatives who are desperate to blame any and everything for the violence except the guns used to carry them out. Talking about gun regulation after a mass shooting isn’t political—it’s practical.

This couldn’t possibly be more evident than it is in the case of Salvador Ramos, who gunned down at least 19 people, the vast majority of whom were children, at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde County, Texas. Ramos was able to legally buy two assault rifles, one of which he purchased the day he turned 18, and use that very weaponry to commit the most horrific mass shooting America has seen, well, since the last one carried out in Buffalo, New York, just weeks ago. Gun regulation doesn’t mean taking’  everyone’s guns, it means, at the very least, making it far more difficult for people like Ramos and Payton Gendron to get their hands on weapons that are designed to kill and kill efficiently. That’s not politics, that’s common sense.

But to many conservatives, any attempt to restrict the free and simple purchase of guns is an assault (and I use that word deliberately) on the Second Amendment. And some Republican legislators wasted no time in making that point.

Let’s start with Marjorie Talyor Greene, who just won her GOP primary by a large margin and is one election closer to a second term as a Georgia legislator.

First of all, Greene couldn’t possibly know enough about Ramos’ mental health background to speculate that “meds can be the problem.” And it is a stretch of epic proportions to say definitively that this happened because “America is failing our youngest generations from decades of rejecting good moral values and teachings,” especially since many of us would clearly take issue with Greene’s idea of what constitutes “good moral values and teachings.”

Also, let’s not forget that this is coming from the same woman who relentlessly mocked and harrassed a Parkland massacre survivor.

The only thing we can say definitively enabled Ramos to carry out this heartbreaking shooting was his access to guns. But they don’t want to hear that.

Here’s Republican Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson who decided rap music and video games were at fault for the shooting, not guns.


“There’s going to be all kinds of discussions coming up, unfortunately, you know, in the media regarding Second Amendment rights,” Jackson said. “But I think we really need to ask the question, how could something like this happen?”

“When I grew up, things were different,” he continued. “And I just think that kids are exposed to all kinds of horrible stuff nowadays too. I look back and I think about the horrible stuff they hear when they listen to rap music, the video games that they watch from a really early age with all of this horrible violence and stuff and I just think that they have this access to the internet on a regular basis, which is just, you know, it’s not good for kids.”

Once again, Jackson has no way of knowing what music Ramos listened to (and if you don’t hear the dog-whistling in him immediately going after “rap music” I don’t know what to tell you) or what video games he played if any. This is an old, stale and self-serving argument that depends on speculation. You want a non-speculative idea of “how could something like this happen?” How about this teenager’s easy and legal access to deadly assault rifles?

And just for good measure, here’s a tweet from someone representing the Code of Vets speculating that Ramos might have crossed the border illegally, because why not? He was a brown person after all, amirite?

Of course, once they figured out how loud, wrong and racist they were being, they backtracked and defaulted to “mental health” while still maintaining that “Our border is an issue.” No mention of guns on either tweet, of course.

I almost prefer that all of these people would’ve responded to the shooting in the same aloof, abysmal and all-around ridiculous way Herschel Walker responded when asked about his support of the Second Amendment.

“What I like to do is see it and everything and stuff.”

I mean, that’s a dismissive and insensitive response as well, but at least he did what I wish these conservative talking heads would all do in these situations—say less. 


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