Texas governor’s remarks insult families impacted by gun violence
The murders of 19 children in the nation’s latest school shooting call for more than the same blah, blah, blah.
When a deranged teenager armed with two AR-style rifles and dressed for war guns down 19 children and two adults in a classroom, something is wrong in our society.
We must know that.
But in a press conference on Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott dismissed the issue of stricter gun laws as if the massacre in Uvalde were an isolated tragedy.
In 2019, a gunman killed 23 people in a racist attack at a Walmart in El Paso. In 2018, a gunman fatally shot 10 people at Santa Fe High School in an area near Houston.
But Abbott chose to downplay the horrible impact those shootings had on families in his state.
“I hate to say this, but there are more people shot every weekend in Chicago than there are in schools in Texas,” he said.
“And we need to realize that people who think that ‘maybe if we could just implement tougher gun laws, it’s going to solve it.’ Chicago and L.A. and New York disprove that thesis. And so, if you’re looking for a real solution, Chicago teaches that what you’re talking about is not a real solution. Our job is to develop real solutions that we can implement,” Abbott said.
What about Littleton, Colorado, where 13 people were killed at Columbine High School in 1999?
What about Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 people were killed and two wounded at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012?
And what about the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland in 2018, when a 19-year-old former student fatally shot 17 people and injured 17 others.
Haven’t elected officials like Abbott had enough time to develop solutions?
We may not agree on fixing gun violence, but I’m sure most of us can agree that if the 18-year-old did not have access to those deadly weapons, he could not have carried out such a heinous act.
It is irrefutable that the gunman used his newly purchased guns to turn a classroom into a shooting gallery and a schoolyard into a crime scene.
And that should be enough to spark some honest debate among liberals and conservatives about how we can keep these weapons out of the hands of people with evil intentions.
We can argue day and night about the founding fathers’ intent when they etched the right to bear arms into our Constitution, but today the blood of the nation’s children is spilling into our streets.
But instead of an open-minded discussion about what more can be done to keep these weapons out of the hands of young people gone astray, political leaders like Abbott hide behind the Second Amendment.
People living outside of America are stunned by our tolerance of such violence.
In 2016, Gary Younge, a British journalist, wrote “Another Day in the Death of America,” a book that focuses on America’s gun violence by profiling the shootings on one particular day.
“Those shot on any given day in different places and very different circumstances lack the critical mass and tragic drama to draw the attention of the nation’s media the way a mass shooting in a cinema or church might,” Younge wrote.
“These deaths are white noise set sufficiently low to allow the country to go about its business undisturbed: a confluence of culture, politics, and economics that guarantees that each morning several children will wake up but not go to bed while the rest of the country sleeps soundly,” he said.
The first mass shooting of the modern era happened in 1989 at an elementary school in Stockton, California, where five children were killed and 32 other people were wounded.
A gun was involved, whether a child was fatally shot on the streets of large cities like Chicago or New York or L.A., or in smaller towns like Littleton, Newtown, Santa Fe or Parkland.
We can’t keep deluding ourselves about the role guns played in these tragedies.
Whether we are talking about one teen shooting another teen, or an 18-year-old going on a rampage and shooting his grandmother and dozens of children, the need for stricter gun laws is apparent.