A Texas state legislator, a fellow I know well — and someone I have supported strongly in this blog — finds himself at “ground zero” of the national debate over how to cure the scourge of gun violence.
State Sen. Kel Seliger of Amarillo, whose sprawling Texas Senate district covers Odessa in West Texas, has spoken for many Americans while commenting on this latest spasm of violence, which left seven people dead and dozens more injured.
According to the New York Times: “We’re not nearly past El Paso and then here it happens again,” said … Seliger, a Republican whose district includes Odessa and who is a former mayor of Amarillo, a city four hours north of where the attack unfolded. He said the attack forces people into the position of “not thinking to ourselves, ‘If this is going to happen again?’ but when it’s going to happen again.”
Seliger is not one to run from his political alliances, but I am struck at this moment by the TV ad he ran while seeking re-election in 2018; in the ad, he pulls away in his pickup while sporting a National Rifle Association sticker on the truck’s rear window. Yes, Seliger is proud of his NRA membership and I don’t for a moment believe he is going to renounce the organization in the wake of this latest massacre.
Seven people died in the slaughter in Odessa. Police killed the gunman in a fire fight.
I am wondering about the pressure Seliger is going to feel now as a senator representing a community victimized by this latest gun violence tragedy.
Seliger is my friend. I have tremendous personal affection for him; I also respect the service he has performed on behalf of his Senate district.
However, I do not want him to dig in with the NRA’s traditional mantra of keeping hands off of any effort to legislate a potential remedy to this kind of gun violence insanity.
I want this good man to stand strong in favor of working with legislators and members of Congress who ought to look for those legislative remedies and, yes, remain faithful to the Constitution’s Second Amendment.
I truly believe there’s a way to do this.