Tag Archives: Sutherland Springs shooting

Students face steep hill on their upcoming march

I am delighted in the extreme to hear about plans for Texas Panhandle students to take part in a national “March For Our Lives” event.

As I understand it, Caprock High School students are leading the organizational effort. They hope to be joined by students from throughout the Panhandle on March 24. They’ll gather at Ellwood Park and will march to the Potter County Courthouse.

They’ll stand on the courthouse grounds and read names of shooting victims and will demand action from our political leaders to do something about the scourge of school-related gun violence.

They have been spurred to hit the streets by the Valentine’s Day massacre of 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The slaughter has produced some student superstars who have emerged as spokespeople for this young people’s crusade against gun violence.

However …

Let’s not sugarcoat the difficulty facing the Panhandle marching delegation. They won’t exactly be preaching to a choir with a history or tradition of heeding calls to enact legislative remedies to curbing gun violence.

Amarillo is represented in the U.S. House by Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon, who has been virtually mute on the issue of gun violence. He doesn’t speak with any passion about how Congress can act. Thornberry recently spoke about considering what he called “common sense” measures … whatever the hell that means.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the state’s senior senator, is pitching legislation that would streamline data collection about military personnel; Cornyn’s bill stems from the Sutherland Springs church massacre in 2017. He has lined up behind stricter background checks. His Senate colleague, Ted Cruz, hasn’t signed on.

The March For Our Lives is intended to let lawmakers know that young Americans who aren’t yet of age to vote will become of age soon. These students say they intend to exercise their vote to support candidates who want to become more proactive on this gun violence crisis.

The majority of the Texas congressional delegation so far isn’t lining up as a receptive audience for the concerns that these students are conveying. I am certain that students who march in two weeks in communities represented by more sympathetic politicians will have a direct impact.

As for what the students here get … they have a steep hill to climb. They need to shout it loudly and clearly what they intend to do once they arrive at the Potter County Courthouse grounds.

Shooting decimates S. Texas town

Leave it to The New York Times to put the Sutherland Springs, Texas, massacre today in perspective.

The newspaper notes that the unincorporated town had a population of 362 according to the 2010 census. With an estimated 25 people killed today by a gunman who opened fire at First Baptist Church, the town is likely to have lost about 7 percent of its population in one despicable act.

I am going to refrain from identifying the shooter by name, as has been this blog’s policy for some time. He’s dead. It’s not known if the police shot him or if he took his own life. My reluctance to identify him is because I choose instead to focus on the deed and the victims.

Texas Department of Public Safety officials have said he is a Texas resident.

Texas town is shattered

What now?

Federal, state and local police are going to sift through the gunman’s history to learn about him and try to ascertain why he would launch a Sunday morning church service rampage that reportedly took the lives of several children. The president of the United States, Donald Trump, sent his love and prayers from Japan, where he is attending meetings with foreign leaders. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is en route to Sutherland Springs. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has offered support from his office to aid in the probe of this terrible event.

And, yes, the minute we know about this lunatic’s motivation, we can expect the debate to recommence on ways to curb gun violence of this horrific type.

I welcome the debate when it occurs as soon as is humanly possible.

The immediate reaction — as in how we must respond during this calendar day — must center on prayers and love sent from all over the world to a tiny Texas town that is shattered by an all-too-common form of grief.

Have we lost our collective minds?

I have refrained over many years from lamenting about the state of our national sanity when monstrous acts of evil explode before us.

Sadly, I am thinking we have flipped. We’ve become certifiably mad as a nation. Our nation has been gripped by the vise of mourning, grief and tragedy.

Another massacre occurred today in Sutherland Springs, a small town east of San Antonio. As I write these few words, I am hearing that at least 20 people are dead and many more are wounded in a shooting at a Baptist Church. The shooter is dead; it’s not clear whether the cops got him or he offed himself.

My goodness, I am utterly at a loss to explain this.

The litany of massacres has become too gruesome to bear. Newtown, Littleton, Aurora, Orlando, Charleston, Las Vegas and now Sutherland Springs. OK. I’ve missed some. But you get the point.

These communities now will be identified forever by the tragedy that has befallen them — and the rest of us.

And yes, the debate will erupt yet again over the cause of this monstrous act once we learn the identity of the shooter.

I am officially afraid for our nation