If Tuesday’s deadly school shooting wasn’t a case of the worst timing (to say the least), an upcoming pro-gun event In Texas where two of the Lone Star State’s prominent Republican elected officials are scheduled to speak certainly is.
At least 18 children have been reported dead from the shooting at Robb Elementary School in the town of Uvalde, where 18-year-old Salvador Rolando Ramos was identified as the gunman who used at least one assault rifle to carry out the carnage late Tuesday morning.
It was in that context that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz were scheduled to deliver remarks at the National Rifle Association‘s (NRA) annual meeting this weekend in Houston.
Cruz on Tuesday regurgitated the requisite hollow thoughts and prayers that are routinely offered following mass shootings and other tragedies. But absent from Cruz’s tweet — the only public comments the senator made in the immediate aftermath of the shooting — was any sentiment addressing the clear and apparent need for gun control.
Cruz later suggested he was in favor of increasing a police presence in schools in response to the Uvalde shooting. In other words, he’d like more guns in schools.
Abbot, for his part, was the one who alerted the nation that more than a dozen children who attended a school for second-, third- and fourth-graders had been killed. But he, like Cruz, made no mention of how Texas’ gun laws — among the loosest in the nation — likely contributed to the senseless mass shooting.
According to NRA’s website, its 2022 meeting — scheduled to be held from Friday through Sunday — “will showcase over 14 acres of the latest guns and gear from the most popular companies in the Industry.”
Chances are, at least one of the gun models on display will be the same one(s) that Ramos allegedly used to kill innocent children.
After all, it was less than a year ago when Abbott championed the so-called “constitutional carry” legislation that allows Texans to carry handguns without obtaining a license or securing any gun training.
“Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and other Republicans who were initially noncommittal about the bill were under immense political pressure this session from conservatives and gun rights advocates, who have long lobbied the Texas Legislature for permitless carry but historically struggled to win support,” the Texas Tribune reported at the time.
Gun laws don’t get any looser than that.
The NRA, which is vehemently against gun control measures, was equally at a loss for words following the Uvalde shooting and instead kept its tweet advertising former President Donald Trump’s speech at its meeting this weekend pinned to its Twitter timeline in an indication of where its priorities lie. Trump, of course, is the same person who once said he could “shoot somebody” and “not lose voters.”
To be sure, both Abbott and Cruz along with the NRA were also mum less than two weeks ago when a suspected white supremacist — also 18 — targeted a supermarket in a predominately African American community to launch a mass shooting that killed 10 Black people. In that instance, the accused shooter Payton Gendron used an assault rifle.
In stark contrast to his Republican colleagues, Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy delivered an impassioned plea to his fellow politicians on the Senate floor shortly after the Uvalde shooting was reported.
“Our heart is breaking for these families. Every ounce of love and thoughts and prayers we can send, we are sending,” said Murphy, who previously served as a Congressman in Newtown, where 20-year-old Adam Lanza killed 26 people in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. “But I’m here on this floor to beg — to literally get down on my hands and knees and beg my colleagues. Find a path forward here. Work with us to find a way to pass laws that make this less likely.”
Chances are that message fell on deaf ears from Cruz, who famously once used an assault rifle in a campaign commercial to fry bacon on the gun’s nozzle.
This is America.
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