Tag Archives: gun violence

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.

When does the ‘American carnage’ stop, Mr. President?

It’s not too much to ask you, Mr. President, when you intend to deliver on that bold inaugural speech pledge you made.

You said “This American carnage stops right here, right now.” Do you remember that? Of course you do! You told us you have the “best brain” in human history.

That gunman went berserk in Odessa, Texas, today, Mr. President. He died apparently in a fire fight with police. Five more innocent victims are dead; 21 more are injured. I don’t know how many of the injured are suffering life-threatening wounds.

I also must bring up yet another declaration you made. You said at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, that “I, alone” can cure what ails the nation. I also am sure you remember that, too.

Well, gun violence is a serious national ailment, Mr. President … even though you decline to address the issue directly whenever these massacres occur. And, yes, I consider five fatalities to be a “massacre.”

We had 22 recently in El Paso; nine more died in Dayton, Ohio. Dozens more have died in cities and towns all across the nation. Those deaths have occurred since you took the oath as president and made the “American carnage” declaration from the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building.

I am not going to blame you directly for the deaths, Mr. President. I do, however, want you to use the immense power of your office’s bully pulpit to persuade Congress to act. I want you to state categorically that you will not tolerate gun violence. I want you to speak directly to the national crisis you said you could cure all by yourself.

I am in shock, right along with the rest of the country over what has just happened — yet again! — in West Texas.

The shootings never end

The Midland-Odessa area of West Texas has joined the growing roster of communities plagued by random, insane gun violence.

As I write this brief post, CNN reports that five people are dead. Two shooters opened fire randomly throughout the adjoining cities. One of them reportedly is dead, although the Midland Police Department says there are no “active shooters” on the loose.

Oh, this insanity has gotten way out of hand. It did so long, long ago.

Here is my question of the moment: Given that Texas is supposed to be a haven for law-abiding, gun-toting citizens with state-approved licenses to carry firearms under their jackets and in the open, why didn’t someone open fire on the shooter and stop the individual before all that mayhem occurred?

This is the argument we keep hearing from the gun lobby and others who contend that more guns “in the hands of good guys” make us safer. They’re supposed to protect us against these random monsters who keep slithering out from under the rocks to start shooting innocent victims.

Well, I guess we can have that discussion another time.

At this moment I am wondering yet again what in the world is happening to us, to our nation, to our civilization.

The nation is in shock … yet again.

Lonely widower shows how love defeats hate

I had been searching for the symbolic meaning of a man whose wife died in the El Paso slaughter of 22 victims at the Walmart shopping center the other day.

Then it came to me. Anthony Basco has no surviving family members left. He was left to grieve alone when the lunatic gunman opened fire at the Walmart. Basco’s wife, Margie Reckard, was among the victims. Her husband had been putting flowers daily at the memorial erected in front for the store where the carnage took place. He has been living in his car in the parking lot of the store. Basco refuses to leave the memorial site.

Basco then invited the public to his wife’s funeral. And, oh brother, how the public responded.

More than 1,000 former strangers showed up to pay their respects to a woman they didn’t know and to cloak her grieving husband in the love he deserves to receive.

What is the moral of this tale? It is, to me, that love is far stronger than hate. The shooter who opened fire at the Walmart had declared war against Latin American immigrants. I do not know how Margie Reckard fell into that realm, but she died.

My point is that no matter how violent and vile hatred is expressed and no matter how many lives such hatred takes with it, love will emerge.

Anthony Basco is feeling the love of a community that is grieving right along with him.

I think this also symbolizes the meaning of “El Paso Strong.”

Picture speaks volumes about POTUS’s unfitness

This picture well might provide one of the most glaring examples I can imagine of Donald Trump’s unfitness for the presidency of the United States.

There he is, standing alongside first lady Melania Trump. They were visiting El Paso, Texas, on what was billed as a mission to lend aid and comfort to those who experienced the horrific massacre at the Wal-Mart shopping center this past weekend.

The moment demanded solemnity. It required the president to embrace family members. To tell them he supports them.

So … what does the first couple do? They pose for pictures that included an infant who was made an orphan when his parents were killed by the lunatic who opened fire at the Wal-Mart complex.

Don’t they look happy? Aren’t they just so darn full of good cheer? Is that the image they should project while the nation mourns the deaths inflicted in El Paso and also in Dayton, Ohio? I’ll answer the final question: Hell … no!

When the president’s critics talk about his lack of empathy, his inability — or unwillingness — to express authentic sorrow, this is the image they might use to illustrate the point.

The baby has no idea what has happened. That is not even close to the point! My point is that president and the first lady ventured to the latest “ground zero” of gun violence in the United States. Twenty-two people died at the hands of a madman. There is mounting evidence that the shooter was inspired by the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has come from the president.

Has the president owned any of that? Has he suggested even the slightest hint of remorse or regret at the things he has said that could have spawned such insanity? No. He has not done anything of the sort.

The job of president compels the president at times of national grief and shock to speak from his heart. It’s an unwritten part of his job description, but it’s there. Did the president deliver on that responsibility? No. He went to El Paso and Dayton and sought to turn the tours of both cities into self-serving testimonials.

Then he grins like a doofus in the presence of an infant who is going to grow up never remembering the man and woman who brought him into the world, two victims of gun violence gunned down in the worst slaughter ever inflicted on the Latino community.

Absolutely sickening.

POTUS’s ‘outreach’ didn’t go well, or so we must presume

Donald Trump’s attempted outreach to two stricken American communities appears to have not gone according to plan.

I say “appears” because the White House did something quite unusual. It didn’t allow live coverage of the events involving the president. Instead, it released video prepared for public consumption.

You know the drill. El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio were victimized by lunatic gunmen. Twenty-two people died in El Paso; the suspect is a reputed anti-immigrant zealot from North Texas whose actions appear to have been inspired by the president’s own fiery anti-immigrant rhetoric. Nine more died in Dayton later the same day; the gunman there was shot to death by police just seconds after the loon opened fire.

Trump decided to go to the cities ostensibly to lend comfort. It didn’t go well.

Reports indicate he had a cordial meeting with the Dayton mayor and other public officials. Then he tweeted messages en route to El Paso aboard Air Force One criticizing them and the media coverage of the Dayton visit. Good grief, man!

Then he went to El Paso. Reports came out today that said several of the victims who are hospitalized refused to meet with the president. A spokeperson referred to the terrible stress the victims are enduring, suggesting they were too traumatized to meet with the president of the United States. OK. Whatever.

I am trying to recall a time when a president of the United States experienced such profound repudiation from communities stricken in the manner that befell El Paso and Dayton. I cannot remember it happening. Not to President Reagan, or President Clinton, or President Bush 43 or President Obama.

This president, though, is different in every manner one can imagine. The chilly reception well might have something to do with the way he sought to compare the reception he got in El Paso with what greeted Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke, when he poked fun at the “meager” crowd that O’Rourke allegedly attracted.

How in the name of self-indulgent narcissism does a president say such a thing in public, out loud at a time he should be concentrating solely on the victims? I guess it has something to do with what has been undeniable for a very long time: Donald Trump does not possess the capacity for empathy.