Tag Archives: El Paso shooting

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.

They played a football game … as they should

My first reaction a decision to cancel a high school football game in the wake of the El Paso, Texas massacre was to support, if not embrace, the decision.

But then two high schools linked tragically to the slaughter of 22 victims decided to play the game. El Paso Eastwood High School played Plano Senior High School in a game hosted by the Dallas Cowboys, who let the teams play the game Thursday at their massive stadium in Arlington, Texas.

El Paso’s link to the shooting is quite obvious. Plano Senior High happens to be where the alleged gunman graduated. Thus, the linkage will bind these communities forever.

I am glad they played the game. Plano Senior High won the contest. As I watched the news video of the event this morning, though, I was struck in the heart by the fellowship and sportsmanship displayed by the student-athletes of both teams. The team members embraced prior to the game. They helped each other up during the contest. Fans from both sides cheered for the other team.

And then we saw Cowboys owner Jerry Jones greeting the El Paso Eastwood team as they entered the stadium, welcoming them to what essentially was the “home field” for their Plano Senior High opponents.

That’s why we should play these games. Sure, one team wins and the other one loses. Both communities, though, came out winners.

‘Mistakes were made,’ governor? Who made them?

I worked for a newspaper editor who detests passive-voice sentence construction. He drilled it into us to write with active-voice construction.

So, when I hear a politician say that “mistakes were made,” I think of my former editor — and current friend — and I see such a statement as a way of a politician seeking to cover his a**.

The basic difference between passive and active voice grammar is that the reader understands who is doing the deed being described in the text he or she is reading.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has said that “mistakes were made” in the release of a fundraising letter the day before the shootings in El Paso and Dayton. The letter sought to gin up support for efforts to “DEFEND” the Texas border against, I presume, illegal immigrants.

The letter went out and then a moron drove from Collin County to El Paso, Texas, and opened fire at a Walmart shopping center, killing 22 people, most of whom were of Latin American descent. Is there a connection? Maybe, perhaps.

As the Texas Tribune reported: “I did get the chance to visit with the El Paso delegation and help them understand that mistakes were made and course correction has been made,” he said.

The Tribune continued: “The national Democrat machine has made no secret of the fact that it hopes to ‘turn Texas blue.’ If they can do it in California, they can do it in Texas — if we let them,” Abbott wrote in the fundraising appeal.

The governor signed off with another pointed warning: “Unless you and I want liberals to succeed in their plan to transform Texas — and our entire country — through illegal immigration, this is a message we MUST send.”

I am left to ask: Who made the mistakes and what is the precise nature of the “course correction”?

I am quite certain my former editor, who has returned to Texas, will read that statement and go into apoplectic shock over Gov. Abbott’s passive-voice a**-covering.

Mr. President, the docs didn’t leave patients to shake your hand

Mr. President, your penchant for disgracing your office is utterly boundless.

You say that doctors in El Paso and Dayton left their patients’ side to greet you as you entered their hospitals? Is that right?

Your visit to the latest cities victimized by mass slaughter of people through gun violence was not about you, Mr. President … no matter what you might want us to believe. It ostensibly was about the victims, their loved ones and the communities that are grieving to this moment over the senseless loss of innocent lives.

Yet you continue to lie with a straight face. No doctor worth his or her medical experience would ever leave a patient while performing surgery. Especially to greet you, for crying out loud!

Your narcissism, your self-aggrandizing proclivities, your egomaniacal statements in the face of national tragedy simply demonstrates — as if we needed more demonstration — your abject unfitness for your high office.

“Our physicians and staff at no time leave an active operating room, procedural area or patient room to greet anyone,” said a spokesman for Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton, Ohio.

I choose to believe him. Not you.

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.”

Speak to us, Mr. President, about violence against Latinos

Mr. President, your silence is giving me a headache.

The gunman who opened fire on Latinos at the Wal-Mart in El Paso, Texas, allegedly had declared his intention to “kill as many Mexicans as possible.” He allegedly was motivated by your own rhetoric that many of us have deemed to be hateful toward people of Latin American descent.

So the gunman took matters into his own hands, allegedly.

Why haven’t you spoken out? Why have you declined to categorically declare that you — the president of the United States — will not tolerate hateful actions against Latinos.

Yes, I saw your speech at the White House the other day. I heard you declare that the nation must fight against intolerance and hate. The nation, Mr. President? Yes, that’s right.

What about you, sir? What is going to be your role in that fight? Are you going to lead that fight? Will you speak directly and personally to the pain you are feeling — if you’re feeling it — in the wake of this monstrous act of hate?

Your visit to El Paso and earlier to Dayton, the other community that mourns the deaths of those at the hands of another lunatic gunman, didn’t go well. You must know what we’re saying about all of that out here.

What are you going to do to repair the grievous damage that has been? I am not going to lay the direct blame at your feet for the deaths of those folks. I do believe your rhetoric has played a role.

It now falls on you, Mr. President, to speak directly to what has occurred … and why.

I am prepared to wait for as long as it takes. That, of course, depends on whether the silence-induced headache gets the better of me.

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.


Rep. Taylor is feeling the pain a little more deeply

I spoke by phone today with U.S. Rep. Van Taylor, the newly elected congressman from Texas’s Third Congressional District.

Taylor is a young freshman Republican in the People’s House. He didn’t say so directly, but I am sensing a deep personal pain in the wake of the El Paso massacre that erupted over the weekend, mere hours before another gunman opened fire in Dayton, Ohio, killing nine victims. Twenty-two people died at the hands of a lunatic who allegedly traveled more than 600 miles to El Paso to do harm to “as many Mexicans as possible.”

Why is Taylor feeling so much pain? The alleged shooter is a constituent of the congressman.

The alleged gunman graduated from Plano High School. He had lived with his grandparents in Allen, which is right next door to Plano.

Rep. Taylor told me that the act of one individual shouldn’t tar an entire community. He spoke to me today of the standard of living in Plano, how it ranks highly among cities of comparable size in any study one can name. It has a stellar per-capita income, along with the education level of its residents, he said.

One man’s moronic outburst doesn’t tar the community. That’s what I heard Van Taylor say this morning.

He hasn’t visited El Paso in the wake of the massacre. I am not sure when he’ll go. Taylor did tell me he has spoken with El Paso Mayor Dee Margo, with whom he served briefly in the Texas Legislature.

I ended up telling Taylor that I was “in your corner.” I am pulling for him and his colleagues as they seek answers to this dual-track tragedy. I only intend to demand them to explore deeply any possible avenue they can to curb this gun-violence insanity.

Indeed, I believe this young man is hurting.

If only POTUS could ever learn from his predecessors

Donald Trump ventured today to two American cities that are suffering intense emotional pain.

He went to Dayton, Ohio and then to El Paso, Texas, communities ripped to pieces by gunmen. One’s motives remain unclear. The other one, the young man who killed 22 people in El Paso, was fueled by hatred of Mexican immigrants. He drove to El Paso from North Texas intent on, as he told police, “killing as many Mexicans as possible.”

Donald Trump ventured to those cities today, ostensibly to lend support and comfort. It remains to be seen whether this president has a hint of compassion anywhere within him.

Indeed, he fired off Twitter messages blasting Democrats, the media, and assorted critics who said he was unwelcome, particularly in El Paso. Why? The Latino community has been subjected to insults and invective from Trump, and millions of Americans believe the shooter was inspired by Trump’s angry rhetoric aimed at the Latino community.

So … he came to Texas after visiting Ohio. Is this man capable of performing his unwritten role as Comforter in Chief?

I doubt it strongly.

I am thinking at this moment of a previous president who was damn good at talking exclusively to those who were in pain. Indeed, there have been many presidents who’ve exhibited that skill. President Reagan showed it when the Challenger exploded on liftoff; President George W. Bush stood among the rubble at Ground Zero and rallied the nation with the bullhorn and his arm draped around the shoulder of a firefighter; President Obama went to the church in Charleston, S.C., where a racist gunman killed nine worshipers and led the congregation in singing “Amazing Grace.”

I want to talk about President Clinton. He had his Comforter in Chief moment, too, in April 1995 when the bomber blew up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The president spoke to us from his heart. He called on our better angels.

I am reminded at this moment of an anecdote that former U.S. Rep. Larry Combest once told me. Combest was a West Texas Republican congressman who opposed Bill Clinton repeatedly on policy matters. He voted to impeach the president in 1998.

However, Combest held a healthy respect for Clinton’s ability to hear you. Combest told me that the president possessed a unique skill of talking to someone as if the two of them were the only people on Earth. Combest said, “I know because he did that with me … in the White House.”

We need that skill now from the president of the United States. We do not need a thin-skinned individual who cannot cease sending Twitter taunts to his foes, or cannot stop dividing this nation along racial and ethnic lines.