Video capture via Twitter / @existentialfish
After the mass shooting
at an El Paso Walmart this weekend that took 22 lives, Texas Republicans offered up the usual prayers for victims and praise for first responders.
And, predictably, they laid blame for the tragedy on anything but the easy availability of firearms.
During a Fox News appearance, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick took aim at the video game industry, arguing that the shooter mentioned in an online manifesto that he liked playing Call of Duty
. Patrick also ticked off social media bullying, the lack of school prayer and people not saluting the flag as possible factors in the spread of mass shootings.
“We’ve always had guns, we’ve always had evil," Patrick said. "But what’s changed where we see this rash of shooting? And I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill."
At a Saturday press conference, Gov. Greg Abbott blamed "mental health issues," a popular refrain from GOP officials after recent mass shootings. He urged Texas officials must do a "better job" of handling mental health issues.
Abbott, a fierce opponent of gun-control legislation, faced flak a few years ago for a tweet saying he was embarrassed that California had passed up Texas in gun ownership.
At the federal level, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz served up a strong condemnation of the El Paso shooting via Twitter, saying the racism at its heart was "anti-American."
“As the son of a Cuban immigrant, I am deeply horrified by the hateful anti-Hispanic bigotry expressed in the shooter’s so-called ‘manifesto,’” he said.
However, Cruz — who once made a video
where he ate bacon cooked on the barrel of an assault rifle to demonstrate his Texan credentials — offered no suggestion of how legislators might prevent such future tragedies.
Sen. John Cornyn, who faces re-election in 2020, simply seemed to throw up his hands and accept defeat on the issue of mass shootings. In a tweet, he acknowledged that lawmakers should try to help, but “sadly, there are some issues, like homelessness and these shootings, where we simply don’t have all the answers.”
He added that any solution should avoid “focusing on law abiding citizens excersizing [sic] their constitutional rights.”
For those following the influence of money on politics, the lack of meaningful discussion of gun control preferred by Texas Republicans should come as no surprise.
The National Rifle Association has donated more than $5 million
to Republican lawmakers since the 2010 election cycle. In recent years, the percentage of its spending targeting Democrats has dwindled to single-digit percentages.
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