Tag Archives: gun violence

Another lunatic shoots up a public school

I am tapped out.

I have run out original thoughts to offer about these acts of insanity that keep erupting in public places.

A shooter opened fire today at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, Calif. Two students were killed; six more were injured. The gunman, a 16-year-old student at the high school, is in grave condition with a self-inflicted gunshot would to his head.

These incidents have become so outrageous, so egregious, so hideous and so damn commonplace they defy us to come up with something that hasn’t already been said over many years of this senseless violence.

I won’t try here.

I am just simply devastated that the parents of two children who died at the hands of a moronic gunman now will live with their grief for as long as they draw breath.

The list of communities stained indelibly by this violence has grown by one more. The worst news is that more will follow.

It is to our nation’s everlasting shame that this violence persists.

Suspect arrested in Greenville shooting!

Hunt County sheriff’s deputies have arrested a man in connection with a shooting in a Greenville party barn that killed two people and injured six others.

The suspect is a Greenville resident and in keeping with a policy I set on the blog some time ago, I will not identify the individual now held in jail on $1 million bond.

The gunfire erupted over the weekend at a “homecoming” party involving a Texas A&M-Commerce football game. The school did not sanction the party, but it has scared and scarred the community that is about 20 miles east of where the shooting actually occurred.

It is almost becoming a numbing experience to read reports of these kinds of events. They are shockingly common in the United States. Indeed, in Texas, a place known for its so-called “love affair” with guns, these tragedies become even more profound.

I have grown tired of saying the same thing repeatedly about my view that there is a legislative remedy out there — somewhere! — to make it more difficult for nut jobs to get their mitts on weapons.

The Greenville shooter opened fire with a handgun. It wasn’t an assault rifle, or a “weapon of mass destruction.”

Let the judicial system do its work. The shooter faces two counts of capital murder, which in Texas means a death sentence if it goes to trial and he is convicted.

Let us also resume the debate that we need to have about how we can curb gun violence in this country.  If only the president of the United States would join that discussion.

Gun violence erupts just down the highway

The gun violence insanity has erupted too close to home.

Two people are dead and 14 more injured — some of them critically — after an overnight shooting at a party called to “celebrate” a college football homecoming game at Texas A&M University-Commerce. The shooting occurred at a party venue in Greenville, which is just about 23 miles or so east along U.S. 380 of where I live with my wife.

The suspect remains at large.

Hunt County sheriff’s officials are scouring the area on the hunt for the moron who opened fire.

It has been reported that the university did not sanction the party. I’m not sure why that’s relevant, but I guess it is at some level.

The relevant aspect of this story is another shooter has opened fire in a crowded venue and taken two more lives of unsuspecting and innocent victims.

When in the name of a civilized society will this gun madness stop … if ever?

This story ended in astonishing fashion

Keanon Lowe should become the embodiment of compassion and courage all rolled up in one extraordinary human being.

The video I have included with this blog post was recorded at Parkrose High School, in Portland, Ore. I graduated from Parkrose High School in 1967, which gives this story a significant bit of special poignance for me.

Keanon Lowe is a football coach at the high school and he is the gentleman who took a loaded shotgun out of the hands of a student. What he did next has captured the nation’s collective heart. He grabbed the student and embraced him. He hugged him tightly until the police arrived to take the student into custody.

I have never seen anything quite like this. I am guessing none of us ever has seen an educator demonstrate the presence of mind that Lowe did in that moment, preventing a potentially devastating tragedy.

Lowe once played football for the University of Oregon. The Parkrose School District hired him after he graduated from the U of O. So help me, I cannot fathom how this man summoned the instinct to do what he did.

As for the student, he is serving a three-year probation sentence. I pray the young man gets the help he needs so desperately.

The educator, Keanon Lowe? He is a hero in every sense of the word.

As if Sen. Cornyn needs to bend more to the right

I hear that Pat Fallon wants to run against U.S. Sen. John Cornyn next year.

Who is this guy Fallon? He’s a rookie Texas state senator from down the road in Prosper. He got elected to the Senate in 2018 by upsetting longtime Republican incumbent Craig Estes; Fallon is no political novice, though, having served in the Texas House of Representatives before moving to the other chamber at the other end of the State Capitol.

Fallon seems to think Sen. Cornyn isn’t conservative enough. He wants to steer public policy even farther to the right than Cornyn is willing to take it.

Hold on here! Cornyn, to my way of thinking, is pretty damn conservative. What in the world is young Sen. Fallon intending to do that Cornyn hasn’t already done?

Cornyn fought against the creation of the Affordable Care Act, along with everything else that President Barack Obama pitched during his two terms in the White House; he has resisted efforts to strengthen laws controlling firearms purchases; he is avidly anti-abortion rights; he stands pretty damn firmly in Donald Trump’s corner as the impeachment forces start gathering steam.

That isn’t good enough for Fallon … or so it might appear.

Fallon is a darling of what used to be called the TEA Party in Texas. The term “TEA Party” has fallen out of favor. It now operates under the name of the True Texas Project, apparently believing that only the most fervent right-wingers represent the “True Texas.” I happen to believe that is just so much horse manure.

As for Cornyn, he needs a strong challenger from the left, not the right. Cornyn has demonstrated, the way I see it, that he is as conservative in his thinking as almost any member of the U.S. Senate Republican caucus.

Fallon, for his part, sounds more like a stooge for Empower Texans, that ultra-right wing outfit led by Michael Quinn Sullivan, who’s waging a fight of his own with fellow conservative Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.

Good grief! Texas doesn’t need another GOP primary challenge to yank the state’s senior U.S. senator farther to the right. He’s already on the fringe!

Rep. Cain: You’re the reason for stricter laws

Where I come from, when someone threatens another person by saying they have a deadly weapon ready for them, the person to whom he or she is speaking can take that as a direct threat to their health and safety.

So, on Thursday night when former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said “hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, ” he received a Twitter-borne threat from Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain, who said “My AR is ready for you, Robert Francis.”

Is that a direct threat to the Democratic presidential candidate from a Republican Texas state lawmaker? Yep. I believe it is.

Is that also a clear demonstration of what O’Rourke is trying to say about enacting stricter gun laws to keep these kinds of weapons out of the hands of crazy people? Yes, sir! I believe that’s the case as well.

I am not going to say that state Rep. Cain is “crazy.” I am saying that he needs to be very careful about the threats he levels against a candidate for the presidency.

The FBI takes quite a dim view of people popping off carelessly while threatening physical harm to individuals running for public office.

Don’t let NRA bully you, Lt. Gov. Patrick

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is baiting the National Rifle Association with a proposal that makes perfect sense.

The Republican politician is standing behind an idea that would require background checks any purchase of a firearm in what is being called a “stranger-to-stranger transaction.”

The NRA doesn’t like it. One gun lobby official called it a “political gambit.”

My hunch is that the NRA is going to apply maximum pressure on Patrick if he continues to push on this baby-step notion that seeks to make it just a bit more difficult for individuals to buy a firearm from someone they do not know. Indeed, Patrick is likely fueled by the carnage that erupted in El Paso and Odessa, where 29 people died in slaughters in those two West Texas cities.

I appreciate some of the concerns about this matter, such as … how do you enforce it? Still, it seems to make sense to me.

The question for me at this moment, though, is whether Lt. Gov. Patrick — who presides over the Texas Senate — has the courage to stand up against the kind of political pressure the NRA is capable of applying.

I don’t generally support Dan Patrick. I don’t know him personally. I only know of him through his occasional strong-arming of Texas senators.

On this matter, I stand with him. I hope, therefore, he stands firm against the National Rifle Association.

What? Lt. Gov. Patrick and NRA locked in a feud?

Hell must have frozen over during the night. Or … the sun rose in the west. Or …  something else totally out of the ordinary occurred.

I see that Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and the National Rifle Association are supposedly feuding because Patrick has planted himself in favor of background checks on firearms transactions conducted between strangers.

That isn’t exactly a revolutionary notion. However, it marks at least a slight crack in the Texas Republican Party’s snuggly relationship with the NRA.

The nation’s premier gun owner lobby calls Lt. Gov. Patrick’s idea a “political gambit.” It says he seeks to “resurrect the same broken” policies pushed by the Obama administration.

The Texas Tribune reports: “In Texas, person-to-person sales of firearms do not require background checks, but after two mass shootings in Texas in less than a month — in El Paso and Midland-Odessa — the lieutenant governor has openly supported closing the supposed loophole. President Donald Trump also has endorsed the idea.” 

I need someone to explain to me why this is a bad idea. It isn’t, as far as I am concerned. It’s a small step. However, it might help prevent some idiot/moron/madman in the future from delivering the kind of misery that the two shooters delivered in El Paso and the Permian Basin. Not to mention what has happened over many decades in countless other communities across this nation.

Will the lieutenant governor stand firm? Will he be able to persuade Gov. Greg Abbott to join him in his feud? Or how about the GOP-controlled Texas Legislature, which sadly contains too many pro-NRA fanatics who are digging in against any measures to toughen gun purchases in the state?

Hold your ground, Lt. Gov. Patrick.

Sen. Seliger thrust into middle of national debate

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.

‘Godless … hearts’ are a part of the gun violence ‘problem’

It didn’t take long for Texas state Rep. Matt Schaefer to weigh in on what he said should not occur in the wake of the Odessa slaughter of seven people at the hands of a shooter.

The Tyler Republican said the state should not enact red flag rules, or ban high-capacity magazines or the sale or possession of AR-15 or AK-47 rifles, weapons of war designed to kill a maximum number of people in as little time as possible.

Oh, brother.

Schaefer is entitled to his opinion. I am entitled to mine as well.

I believe he is dead wrong. I also believe there are legislative remedies available to state legislatures and to Congress that can place additional restrictions on the purchase of these weapons without infringing on the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment.

The shooter opened fire when a police officer pulled him over on a traffic stop. He then went on a rampage through Odessa before police killed him in a fire fight after stopping him outside of a movie theater.

Schaefer launched a Twitter thread that has gotten a good bit of resistance from Texas and around the nation. One of his entries included this: I say NO to “red flag” pre-crime laws. NO to universal background checks. NO to bans on AR-15s, or high capacity magazines. NO to mandatory gun buybacks.

Well, we know where he stands.

He added this item on the thread: YES to supporting our public schools. YES to giving every law-abiding single mom the right to carry a handgun to protect her and her kids without permission from the state, and the same for all other law-abiding Texans of age.

Texas already has lax gun restrictions. We allow residents to carry concealed weapons; they can carry them in the open. They can carry them on college campuses, in church sanctuaries.

This is the second mass slaughter in Texas in the past few weeks. I do not feel one bit safer now knowing that Texans can pack heat, giving them the opportunity to “prevent” this kind of madness.

Rep. Schaefer, we need to do something. Yes, “Godless hearts” are a problem, as Schaefer said. However, they are only part of the crisis that is enveloping the country.