Tag Archives: gun violence

Texas GOP: rigidity matters

Yep, by all means it is true that the Texas Republican Party has gone bonkers over its fealty to the gun lobby.

The State Republican Executive Committee voted 57-5 to censure state Rep. Tony Gonzales of San Antonio over his vote for gun-control legislation. No can do, said the GOP, which now has opened the door for the party to oppose Gonzales in the next Republican Party primary race in that district set for the spring of 2024.

What a sham! And a joke! Not to mention a disgrace!

Texas GOP censures U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales | The Texas Tribune

“The reality is I’ve taken almost 1,400 votes, and the bulk of those have been with the Republican Party,” Gonzales said, according to the Texas Tribune. Ahh, but this vote was the deal-breaker.

The Tribune reported: Gonzales did not appear at the SREC meeting but addressed the issue after an unrelated news conference Thursday in San Antonio. He specifically defended his vote for the bipartisan gun law that passed last year after the Uvalde school shooting in his district. He said that if the vote were held again today, “I would vote twice on it if I could.”

Good for you, Rep. Gonzales.

His campaign issued a statement: “Today, like every day, Congressman Tony Gonzales went to work on behalf of the people of TX-23. He talked to veterans, visited with Border Patrol agents, and met constituents in a county he flipped from blue to red. The Republican Party of Texas would be wise to follow his lead and do some actual work,” campaign spokesperson Evan Albertson said.

Unbelievable, yes? Not really.


Will this tragedy move Congress?

The question is being asked all across the country: Will the Michigan State University slaughter of three students and the wounding of five others produce meaningful legislation that will curb gun violence?

I believe I have the answer.

It is no. It won’t. Too many members of Congress are too beholden to the gun lobby to enact any sort of semi-aggressive legislation that would stem the epidemic of gun violence.

The latest shooting in East Lansing, Mich., is the 67th such “mass shooting” in 2023. Yes. That is correct. The number of shootings so far have outstripped the number of days in the year.

This latest goon was a 43-year-old moron with no apparent ties to the school. All of the victims were — and are — students. One individual, a young female, happened to live through her second mass shooting in a decade. She was one of the children who survived the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Conn. Think about that for a moment, about any individual who can live to talk about two such national tragedies, having seen them both up close.

Congress is too full of political cowards for the body to enact legislation that could keep guns out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have any access to such weaponry.

Shameful … simply shameful.


Have we become numb to these tragedies?

Eleven people died in a mass shooting in Monterey Park, Calif. Seven more people were gunned down two days later up the coast in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

Seventeen people are dead in the span of hours in two mass shootings. Yet … the media aren’t covering this latest spate of violence the way it usually covers such events.

What in the world does one make of the national media’s seeming lack of intense interest in this tragic series?

Have we become numb to it all? Is there no longer a compelling interest in the nation?

I have no answers to any of this. I merely am wondering out loud about why these two compelling news stories have been pushed aside and away from the top of our collective minds.

Weird, man. Very weird.


Arming teachers? No thanks!

Let’s discuss for a brief moment the issue of gun violence in schools … shall we?

The Keller Independent School District over yonder in Tarrant County has just voted 4-3 to train teachers on how to use firearms and then allow them to pack the pistols into their classrooms.

Oh, my. How can I say this properly? Well … that’s a bad idea. Period.

I get that there remains considerable public support for arming teachers, allowing them to take “whatever measures are necessary” to stop a lunatic from killing people inside the school walls. I remain terribly concerned, though, about the level of training that Keller ISD is going to provide for its teachers and whether there’s a fool-proof way to ensure that teachers don’t shoot someone other than the lunatic by mistake.

Where I live, in Princeton, the independent school district has employed armed marshals. They are former law enforcement officers with considerable training and expertise on how to handle potential emergencies. The marshals will join the existing staff of “resource officers” employed by the Princeton Police Department in keeping our district’s schools safe. Every campus will be covered by heavily trained personnel who know what to do when trouble erupts.

Just down the highway, about seven miles east of Princeton, the Farmersville ISD has a staff of sworn police officers led by a Texas law enforcement-certified chief of police. All the officers in the Farmersville school system, by the way, are certified by the state law enforcement authority. They, too, are well-equipped and trained to respond correctly in case of emergency. Every Farmersville ISD campus has such an officer on duty.

Quite obviously, no one wants a teacher to pull a gun out of his or her desk drawer and start firing at a wacko. I just have this nagging fear that a young college grad entering a classroom as a teacher would be petrified at having to respond to a violent outbreak.


Yes! on money for training center

Mention the word “Uvalde” and you’re going to get a smorgasbord of responses. One of them should be what the Department of Public Safety is asking of the Texas Legislature.

DPS is seeking that it calls a $466 million “down payment” on a statewide training center aimed at refining law enforcement responses to situations such as what occurred earlier this year at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.

The money hasn’t been officially requested as part of the DPS’s funding package. But it’s a must-spend, given what transpired in Uvalde.

You know the tragic story by now. Nineteen fourth graders and two teaches were slaughtered by a gunman. The response — or lack of response — by the Uvalde school district police force, DPS, county deputies and city police officers has been the subject of considerable discussion and debate in the months since the tragedy.

The Texas Tribune reports: The Texas Department of Public Safety wants $1.2 billion to turn its training center north of Austin into a full-time statewide law enforcement academy — starting with a state-of-the-art active-shooter facility that would need a nearly half-billion-dollar investment from Texas taxpayers next year.

DPS operates a training center in Williamson. The “down payment” request seeks to provide a dramatic upgrade to the DPS effort to prepare its troopers for future situations such as what occurred at Robb Elementary School. Make no mistake: there will be another explosion of violence.

As the Tribune reports: A “state-of-the-art” active-shooter facility would be built with the first round of funding next year and could be used “right off the bat,” independent of the rest of the proposed upgrades, to immediately enhance active-shooter response by Texas law enforcement, McCraw said in a brief presentation before the Texas Legislative Budget Board on Oct. 4.

Texas DPS wants $1.2 billion for academy, active-shooter facility | The Texas Tribune

I want to offer a hearty and heartfelt endorsement of what DPS is seeking from our Legislature. They are going to report for duty in January with a substantial surplus of funds. Here is a wise way to spend some of it … to help law enforcement protect our children from future madness.


Man becomes hero … household name

Richard Fierro’s life may have changed forever simply because he and another individual acted on instinct in a moment of extreme peril.

Wow. What does one say about someone who confronts a lunatic in a nightclub who has just opened fire on the patrons of the club, killing five of them … including the boyfriend of the hero’s daughter?

The suspect who killed those five individuals in the Colorado Springs gay bar is now in custody. He went to court Wednesday looking for all the world like someone who got beaten to within an inch of his life. Who did the damage? Richard Fierro!

It’s been reported that Fierro is an Army veteran. He said he acted instinctively when he heard the gunshots in the Q Club. He took the shooter down and began beating him with his own weapon.

The gun tragedy, which sadly isn’t even the most recent event to grab our attention, has rallied the gay community across the nation. Not much is known about the suspect, although a video has gone viral with a man who said he is the shooter’s father proclaiming he is glad his son isn’t gay; no mention of the victims.


I am going to keep the families of the victims in my thoughts today as we partake our Thanksgiving dinner. I also will say a prayer of thanks for the heroes who stopped the lunatic before he could do more damage.


Happy birthday, Mr. POTUS

Mr. President, I want to be among the millions of Americans who are wishing you a happy birthday.

So … today you are completing your 80th journey around the sun. I wish you many more such trips. Now, allow me to get to the point of this greeting.

You say you “intend” to seek re-election in 2024. I don’t read that as a definite “yes, I am a candidate for another four years as president.” You have said something about being a believer in “fate.” Hmm.

Allow me to ask you, as one who voted for you in 2020, to declare your candidacy sooner rather than later.

I get the “fate” part. I believe in fate, too, Mr. President and I also believe that fate occasionally gets in the way of the best-laid plans.

I also believe that you have done a good job as president and I want you to keep doing what you’ve done on my behalf. It hasn’t been a perfect term to be sure. Then again, no president in the history of this republic has governed perfectly. There have been mistakes among even the greatest of the great men who have been elected to this high and noble office.

I supported your election because I believed in 2020 that you represented a return to presidential norms that had been tossed aside by your immediate predecessor. I supported you because I believe that being a “career politician” is not an epithet, but that it is a signal of your commitment to public service. That, too, is something your immediate predecessor never experienced in his entire life preceding his fluke election as POTUS … and it showed during his term in office.

I also supported your election because of your demonstrated record of working with pols on both sides of the great divide and your vast knowledge of the complexities of government.

Your commitment to battling climate change, to seeking a better world that respects human rights, to seeking legislation that can end senseless gun violence, to repairing our infrastructure all are worthy of my continued support. I will support those efforts wholeheartedly.

I also will support your defense of our democratic process that you declared rightly during the midterm election to be “on the ballot.” Our nation cannot condone these attacks on the fundamental principles and tenets that make ours the greatest country on Earth.

Mr. President, I am in your corner.


Another shooting … more anger

Another madman opened fire, this time at the University of Virginia campus in Charlottesville.

Three victims are dead; two more are injured. The suspect has been caught and is in police custody.

In keeping with policy established for this blog, I am going to refrain from publishing the moron’s name. I just am going to thank God Almighty in heaven that the cops were able to arrest him and throw him in the slammer.

This is yet another “mass shooting,” which the event has been defined under the definition ascribed to these kinds of tragedies.

It’s a strange case. The shooter reportedly is a former member of the UVa football team. His victims were current members of the team.

May the prosecutors find enough evidence to convict this guy and dish out the appropriate sentence. May we also continue to apply pressure on lawmakers to do something — finally! — to end the senseless violence that continues to plague our land.


Fake calls need stern punishment

Call it a disturbing sign of these most disturbing times, with tension running white-hot whenever police respond to calls of an “active shooter” on school grounds.

Still, with an increase of fake calls, police are being tested in ways they haven’t seen before. My own view is that those who make those bogus calls need to be sought out and punished strictly for the havoc they are create.

It is a disgraceful symptom of the era we entered a long time ago.

The Texas Tribune reported: “Events like this shake everyone to the core,” said Kathy Martinez-Prather, the director of the Texas School Safety Center at Texas State University. “It is definitely a situation that is at the top of mind of parents right now.”

All of this appears to be part of the damage brought by the lunatic who opened fire at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. He killed 19 fourth-graders and two teachers before police — finally! — were able to shoot him to death.

A recent fake shooter incident involved Central Catholic High School in San Antonio. Police evacuated the 500 students enrolled in the school. Once they delivered the all-clear, officials said they would make counseling services available to the students.

Texas hoax active-shooter calls put parents, police on edge | The Texas Tribune

This is a reprehensible consequence of the Uvalde massacre. To think that more of these fake calls are coming in, subjecting students, teachers, administrators and parents to unnecessary trauma simply strains one’s tolerance for such nonsense.

Those who make those calls need to be hunted down — to the extent that law enforcement is able to find them — and given the harshest punishment possible.


Considering straight-ticket ballot

For as long as I’ve been voting, and that goes back to 1972, I have resisted the notion of voting for candidates of just one party.

I am rethinking that personal policy as the 2022 midterm election draws closer.

I want to be clear. I won’t punch the straight-ticket slot on my ballot. Hah! I can’t do it anyway, as we no longer have that option in Texas. However, the state of policy in the Republican Party makes it virtually impossible for me to support anyone who endorses the platform set forth by the GOP.

I refer to its hideous criminalization of abortion, its election denial based on The Big Lie fomented by the GOP’s titular head (the immediate past president of the U.S.A.), its refusal to consider legislative remedies to gun violence.

Democrats up and down the ballot are likely to get my vote in 2022. Not all of them, mind you. I might just pass over some of the statewide contests on the ballot; some of the races remain mysteries to me.

I went to a Princeton Independent School District candidate forum recently and heard from a spectator that one of the candidates is the “only suitable Republican” running for one of two seats on the PISD school board. I reminded the young man that the candidates run as non-partisans; they aren’t Democrats or Republicans. That candidate might get my vote, but it doesn’t count as a partisan decision.

The partisan ballot, though, is full of clear choices. My mind is pretty much made up as early voting is about to commence. Still — and this is important — I intend fully to vote on Election Day. I want to hold off on committing my ballot to any candidate early in case the candidate messes up and makes me regret my vote.

The contests for Congress, for key statewide offices appear likely to be one-sided for this voter … if you get my drift.