Cowards. Traitors. Murder props. The mounting evidence that Texas police did nothing for forty minutes during the mass murder of children and two adults in Uvalde is the only conceivable thing that could have made this story worse. The ease with which the shooter obtained his weapons; failure to prevent an event that he has given any indication of planning; and the cowardly, disgusting, and inhuman responses of Texas politicians to the massacre, all add angst to the killings which, in themselves, maximize our ability to respond appropriately. How can we absorb the fact that almost 20 cops stood there while the children inside the school were massacred?
A Texas official said “they were afraid of being shot.” What were they doing at school, at recess? The shooter fired for more than ten minutes before entering the building! A telling moment came during the mandatory undercover press conference, when Beto O’Rourke, rightly beside himself, berated Texas Governor Abbott, Ted Cruz and other officials onstage. An outraged guy yelled at O’Rourke, “How dare you bring politics into this!”
What?! Policy cause this massacre. Politics governed every word the phonies said on stage. Ted Cruz is scheduled to speak at the National Rifle Association meeting… Excuse me, did I say “Rifle Association”? How about “National automatic assault weapon, Teflon bullet, open carry in schools and public buildings, access to the purchase of weapons for those under 21, Machine Gun Transport Association”? Campaign contributions that buy the loyalty of these degraded politicians. The NRA spent $20 million to defeat Hillary and $15 million to support Trump’s election.
But it’s not all about the campaigns. It’s about the whispered campaigns, the side benefits of being identified as “one of us,” someone the gun lobby can count on. It’s who has the right to say a good word when choosing a county commissioner. It is the same mentality that drove the White Citizens’ Councils and their murderous brethren in the segregationist South. You simply haven’t done anything, politically or in business, if you haven’t towed the line, even if towing the line was actually crawling through the mud.
Then there are the ambiguous voices. Mr. Manchin, a “Democrat” senator voting for Trump who single-handedly frustrated critical economic legislation introduced by a moderate Democratic president, proclaimed with the appropriate means gravity that if he supported action on gun control, he would not support abandoning the filibuster to achieve it. In other words, I will say one thing and do another as I so often do. Matthew McConaughey, whose hometown is Uvalde and who has political ambitions in Texas, came out with a heartfelt but mealy response: It’s everyone’s fault and we all need to come together and look within and move on. our wants and focus on our needs. Thanks, swami, but it’s not everyone’s fault. The fault line runs like a vein of bull manure through the body politic and is easy to follow because the pro-assault rifle and hand-held missile lobby and its underlings are quite open about their goals and methods. McConaughey comes across as another pol-wannabe terrified of alienating the good old boys and their daughters with Stockholm Syndrome. He will make the perfect Texas politician. Kind of like Texas Senator John Cornyn who was scheduled to speak at the NRA conference but canceled due to an “unexpected change” in his schedule. Yes. Very unexpected but God forbid he mentions it by name.
Yeah, I know, us overeducated urban lib-lates in the Northeast don’t understand gun culture (an oxymoron equivalent to “national intelligence”). But some do. We include a grandfather who bequeaths his good old deer gun to his grandson or granddaughter and instructs them in gun safety protocols and reading fields and forests. Or the historical information that may be contained in a gun collection. Or, as one family member did for two years, carrying a shotgun because an armed gang was squatting his land. Or a cop who carries an unofficial backup weapon when on dangerous duty. But all of these guns can be purchased legally with a proper waiting period and background check. Virtually unlimited access to firearms in the United States simply allows a disgruntled, impulse-driven person to have a killing machine at their fingertips when the red mist descends upon them.
Access to firearms is not the only factor behind these endless massacres. The social disarray facing this country has more fundamental causes, but this is not the time to analyze those complexities. We can do something now that will have a huge and immediate impact: implement gradual gun control measures. For example, an established adult member of the community who purchases an obvious shotgun goes through minimal screening with minimal wait times, while an eighteen-year-old, with no adult to vouch for, must be checked, rechecked and interrogated. And high-powered weapons are simply prohibited.
I have strong opinions on the subject, but the other side is well represented in the current debate. Donald Trump and Ted Cruz will speak at the NRA conference in Houston, Texas. Other forum members are expected to be Texas Governor Abbott, Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw and South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem. Of course, everyone at the conference is shocked by the murders and promises to pray for the victims. I’m skeptical, though, because if they prayed for all the victims of gun violence in this country, they wouldn’t have much time for anything, let alone run for office and beg the NRA to donations.
The pro-gun lobby, of course, blames everyone, using suitably twisted and hypocritical arguments. The NRA hailed the first responders…er, the 40 Minute Responders…for their bravery. Two other pro-gun groups blamed politicians and school boards for not posting armed guards at every school. It’s their vision of America, a place where armed security guards roam the school hallways because, hey, we’re Americans and that’s how we roll.
Oh, by the way, guns will be banned at the NRA conference. It seems they don’t quite trust their own members. Still, I suggest they hire armed guards because, you know, they might not feel safe without a shotgun in their pants, no matter how happy they are to see each other.