At least 10 more people were shot and killed in an American school today. By now, the impulse to think that the response might be different this time is a small speck in the country’s rearview mirror. But to see how the rhetorical gymnastics of the pro-gun crowd are morphing in response to public outcry in recent months, please turn your attention to a joint press conference this afternoon by three Texas Republicans: Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz.
As with many GOP politicians, these guys all bear the National Rifle Association’s stamp of approval. And the trio put their own creative flourish onto a lengthier version of the “thoughts and prayers” bit to which we’ve all grown accustomed.
“It’s time in Texas that we take action and make sure that this strategy is never repeated again in the state of Texas,” Abbott said. “We want to hear from everybody who has an interest in what happened today so we can work together on putting together laws that will protect Second Amendment rights, but at the same time ensure that our communities—and especially our schools—are safer places.”
It’s interesting how Abbott’s brief mention of a potential policy responses to mass shootings nodded first to gun rights before getting to public safety. I’ll chalk it up to a slip of the tongue. For what it’s worth, he did mention speeding up background checks as one of a few “swift solutions” possible here. I’m curious what his pen pals at the NRA might think of the idea.
“In the fog in the aftermath of a catastrophe like this, the answers are not always immediate,” Abbott said. “But the answers will come by us working together.”
Then there was Cruz, notorious for his bad-faith political gambits and fealty to far right dogma.
“There have been too damn many of these [shootings]—Texas has seen too many of these,” he said. “In the public policy arena, we need to be doing everything humanly possible to stop this from happening again, to stop violent criminals, to stop them from getting firearms, to stop them from getting access to schools, to incarcerate them when they try to buy firearms.”
Everything. Humanly. Possible.
What could that mean exactly? I have a few ideas. But Patrick’s plan took the cake.
“Maybe we need to look into limiting the entrances and exits into our schools, so that we can have law enforcement looking at the people who come in one or two entrances,” Patrick said. “We’re going have to get creative. We’re going to have to think out of the box.”
Door control! Interesting concept. Wonder what the fire commissioner will think of it.