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What If One Of Those Fourth Graders Was My Child

Sorry to go off on a controversial subject. That’s not what I intended to do on my blog.

I weep for the children and teacher who died for no reason yesterday as I have wept for so many mass killings in our country. I don’t own a gun and never will. I understand what the Second Amendment says. But we must do something — universal background checks, regulating secondary market sales, banning high capacity magazines.

I cannot imagine any gun owner saying “It is worth my four-grader being murdered by a gun for me to be able to own my high-capacity assault weapon.” And I suspect if we could talk to a Founding Father, each would say “ What the hell are you waiting for? Geez, we meant guns to protect yourself not to kill innocent children.”

We want to eliminate abortion but do nothing when youngsters are killed. I can’t reconcile that.

I suspect we will always led them world in gun-related deaths. But doing something to save a few lives would be good, wouldn’t it?

From the Houston Chronicle.

Editorial: Abbott says 'never again' after Uvalde school massacre. Don’t fall for it, Texans.

“Horrifically, incomprehensibly.”

That’s how Gov. Greg Abbott described the actions of a gunman who slaughtered at least 18 children and their teacher Tuesday at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

The first word is apt — especially for the moms and dads who dropped off their little ones at school Tuesday morning, maybe lingering a little bit in the car line, just to crane their necks back and watch as that precious little body, that floppy ponytail or that lanky little stringbean frame, laden with backpack and lunch box, made it safely through the schoolhouse door, where, it seemed, they would be safe.

Horrific was the moment they got the news. Horrific will be their nights of endless tears. Horrific will be the bright, sunny mornings when they remember it wasn’t a dream. The bed is empty, no little lump beneath the blankets, waiting to be awoken.

But the second word Abbott used — “incomprehensibly” — is just as much cowardice as it is a bald-faced lie.

Of course it’s impossible to fathom why someone would shoot up an elementary school, or any school, but it’s hardly incomprehensible that it happened. It keeps happening, in Texas and across the nation. No one, especially not the governor of a state with some of the most inept, irresponsible and dangerous gun laws in the nation, should be confused, somehow unable to comprehend, the reasons for this never-ending tragedy of mass shootings in our country.

Yes, there are people evil enough, or sick enough, to kill. Yes, they can try to perpetrate a massacre in search of revenge or some grotesque fantasy of fame.

But there is one weapon, readily available in Texas, that will ensure efficiency and exponentially increase the chances of tragic success: the gun.

Whether it’s a handgun, rifle or semi-automatic invented for war, the governor has supported and the Legislature has passed law after law that have obliterated any semblance of good sense regulation — laws so permissive that they’ve even defied the objections of police chiefs and gun safety instructors, including the 2021 permitless carry bill that the governor bragged on Twitter allows any eligible Texan to carry a gun in public with “no license or training” needed. As though that were progress.

Texas lawmakers won’t even pass universal background checks to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people even though about 80 percent of Texans support them.

Texas had 1 million registered weapons in 2021, more than second-place Florida and third-place Virginia combined. The United States leads all wealthy nations with its gun murder rate, and all nations in the rate of suicide by gun. And since September 2018, Texas has far more than its fair share of victims of mass shootings. Of the 2,000 such deaths recorded, 195 happened in Texas, far more than any other state.

Earlier Tuesday, before an 18-year-old gunman began killing innocent children, Abbott was busy with his usual politicking and Biden-beating on Twitter, talking about how Texas is a “law & order state” and how Texas is “doing the federal government’s job & securing the border.”

What kind of law-and-order state does so little to prevent the massacre of 18 babies in their own school? And who is going to do your job, governor, to secure our classrooms from mass shootings when you continually refuse to do so?

After Tuesday’s shooting, Abbott pledged state resources to help Uvalde heal and to “do everything that is necessary to make sure that crime scenes like this are not going to be repeated in the future.”

We’ve heard that before.

“It’s time in Texas,” Abbott said in 2018 after the school shooting in Santa Fe, “that we take action to step up and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again.”

Instead, when lawmakers needed his help passing gun reform bills, including a red flag law and another closing a loophole in background check requirements that were recommended in a task force Abbott convened himself, he backed away from everything, either letting bills die or flat out vetoing them.

“When you get 10 pro-Second Amendment bills to the governor, and he signs them all,” an NRA lobbyist crowed at the time to the Dallas Morning News, “I would rank it up there with one of the most successful sessions we’ve had since I’ve been doing this.”

And when mass shootings happened again in 2019 — first in El Paso and then in Odessa and Midland — Abbott still failed to act.

NRA-backed gun laws have failed to keep Texans, including our most precious and most vulnerable constituency — our children — safe. But they’ve thrilled the constituencies that truly matter in Republican primary politics: Second Amendment extremists and the gun lobby. As we speak, the National Rifle Association is excitedly gearing up for its annual meeting in Houston this Friday, May 27-29, at the George R. Brown Convention Center. A website touts a showcase of “over 14 acres of the latest guns and gear,” and a “freedom-filled weekend for the entire family.” It notes: children get in free! Founded to represent the interests of hunters and marksmen, and known for decades for expertise in gun safety, the NRA has morphed in recent decades into a morally, and fiscally, bankrupt lobbying apparatus in service to mostly gun manufacturers, opposing everything from background checks to research on gun crime.

Among the list of dignitaries expected to speak in Houston to the NRA are Abbott, former President Donald Trump, Sens. Ted Cruz and U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw.

But also on hand this weekend, in a fierce, strong, protesting posture, should be every single Texan, including sensible gun owners, who want to stop the madness, stop the killing, and stop the NRA’s stranglehold over Texas’ elected leaders.

There is room for loving the Second Amendment and for reasonable gun control. The late Antonin Scalia knew that. President George W. Bush knew that. Heck, even Trump knew that, when he ever-so-briefly challenged his party’s thralldom to the NRA and when he ordered the DOJ to ban sale of bump stocks. Gun control by itself may well not be enough to address the kind of madness these shootings represent. But it is an essential part of any reasonable response.

We call on Abbott, whose campaign war chest is comfortably overflowing in his reelection bid against Democrat Beto O’Rourke, to replenish his bankrupt conscience and do something, anything, to stop the blood of children and the tears of parents.

We call on O’Rourke as well to demonstrate the kind of leadership, passion and gun reform policy ideas that we’ve lost faith Abbott can provide.

And we call on ordinary Texans, some of whom will be watching the news and hugging their own babies tight, to take action. Don’t just sit there and say, “My God, I have no words.”

Oh yes you do.

Go vote. Go fight. Those are all the words you need.

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May 26, 2022

The issue about mass shootings seems to draw reactions that other forms of somewhat preventable deaths don't seem to for some reason. The issue essentially has become everyone's rights should be restricted in the case of guns to keep bad guys from committing horrendous acts. Yet when that same logic is applied to other "rights" a sizable portion of the population bristles. Why is that? Media reactions? Politicians?

The solution to the problem must be multi-faceted to actually result in a meaningful approach. I have listened to much debate about the topic from a variety of rationale perspectives. Clearly there needs to be changes to the mental health system when mentally disturbed people are not treated and confined until wel…

May 26, 2022
Replying to

the "mass shooting" death number varies and i found out why - which is why i used the FBI number. Each and every group using that statistic defines mass shooting differently according to the "point" they are trying to prove.

here is also the FBI data regarding "assault rifle" deaths from mass shootings:

"In 2020, handguns were involved in 59% of the 13,620 U.S. gun murders and non-negligent manslaughters for which data is available, according to the FBI. Rifles – the category that includes guns sometimes referred to as “assault weapons” – were involved in 3% of firearm murders."

Again i used FBI data given the inherent biases in others presentation of the data.

I think one reason people may…


May 25, 2022

There are no gun reforms that would have prevented what happened at Uvalde except one -- allow teachers to be armed at school. Had a teacher been armed there, s/he could have dropped that punk immediately, and many lives would have been saved!

Before you dismiss the idea, where in the world would you think there would be the highest rate of school shootings? Israel -- all those kids would be prey for any kind of terrorist to do his worst. But, you NEVER hear of shootings at Israeli schools! Why? Because almost half of teachers in Israeli schools are packing......

Why do mass shooters go specifically to "gun-free zones"? They may be crazy, but they aren't stupid -- th…

May 25, 2022
Replying to

Why not arm all the students, too? If you only arm the teacher, a shooter would take the teacher out first and then turn on the kids. Can’t we start with no one needs an AR-15 with a high capacity magazine?

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