There’s nothing I can say about the weekend massacre in Allen that hasn’t been said many times by many people. My heart is broken for the victims and their families, and my rage is ever-stoked by the sheer indifference exhibited by our so-called leaders. I just have a couple of things to note here in partial response.
Democrats and relatives of Texas mass shooting victims lambasted the state’s GOP leaders over the weekend after they again rejected gun restrictions in the wake of another massacre.
A gunman wielding what appeared to be an assault-style rifle killed eight people on Saturday afternoon at Allen Premium Outlets, a mall in a suburb about 20 miles north of Dallas. He injured seven others, three of whom are in critical condition. The victims included children as young as 5.
The shooting occurred less than a week after sheriff’s deputies in San Jacinto County reported that a lone gunman armed with an AR-15-style weapon killed five people at a neighbors’ house.
Republicans expressed grief over the mall shooting, offering prayers and condolences to families who lost loved ones. They praised law enforcement for responding and killing the shooter quickly, but they did not address the weapon he used.
”They don’t have any answers to this,” said Manuel Rizo, who lost his 9-year-old niece, Jacklyn “Jackie” Cazares, in last year’s mass shooting at a Uvalde elementary school.
The attack at Robb Elementary was also carried out by a lone gunman armed with an assault-style rifle. The shooter bought his gun days after he turned 18, prompting calls from victims’ families to raise the age for purchasing the weapons in Texas. Republican state lawmakers have declined.
“They’re just going to ignore the facts, issue their thoughts and prayers, go through their checklist and hope that this goes away,” Rizo said.
I get emails from the Dallas Morning News with daily digests and breaking news and stuff like that. Here are the contents of two of those breaking news alerts on Monday. First one:
The Houston office of the South Korean consulate confirmed Monday that Cho Kyu Song, 37, Kang Shin Young, 35, and their child were killed. The child’s age was not immediately clear.
According to a letter from New Song Church, based in Carrollton, a 5-year-old child of the couple survived. The child was injured and was being treated at a hospital, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
And the second one:
A security guard, an engineer, 3 children among the Allen mall shooting victims
Two Cox Elementary students, fourth-grader Daniela Mendoza and second-grader Sofia Mendoza, were killed Saturday.
Their mother, Ilda, remains in critical condition, according to an email from Wylie ISD Superintendent David Vinson.
Here’s a profile of the victims from the Trib. Just so we all know who we’re talking about here. Who we’re losing every time one of these mass shootings happens.
Later in the day, we got this news.
In a surprise move days after the Allen mall shooting and hours before a key legislative deadline, a Texas House committee on Monday advanced a bill that would raise the age to purchase certain semi-automatic rifles.
The bill faces an uphill climb to becoming state law, but the vote marked a milestone for the proposal that relatives of Uvalde shooting victims have been pushing for months.
Several relatives of children who were killed in the Robb Elementary School shooting last year sobbed when the committee voted 8-5 to send it to the House floor. Republican state Reps. Sam Harless and Justin Holland joined with Democrats on the House Community Safety Select Committee to advance the bill.
“One year ago today, my daughter had her communion. About a month later she was buried in that same dress,” Javier Cazares, whose 9-year-old daughter Jacklyn was killed in the Uvalde shooting, said during an emotional press conference. “Mr. Guillen, and anybody else who is stopping this bill from passing, sad to say but more blood will be on your hands.”
Monday marks the last day House bills can be voted out of committee in the lower chamber. House bills that don’t meet that deadline face increasingly difficult odds at becoming law, though there are some avenues through which measures left in committees could be revived.
HB 2744, filed by Democratic Rep. Tracy King, whose district includes Uvalde, was debated before the House select committee last month during a hearing in which relatives of Uvalde victims shared emotional accounts of lives torn asunder by gun violence.
Monday’s legislative deadline falls two days after a gunman in Allen, a Dallas suburb of about 100,000 people, killed eight shoppers at an outdoor mall with AR-15-style rifle — the same type of weapon used by the gunman in Uvalde, where killed 19 children and two teachers were killed.
Because the man identified as the gunman in Allen was 33, raising the age limit for semi-automatic rifle purchases likely wouldn’t have kept that gunman from purchasing such a weapon. But Saturday’s shooting renewed calls for tightening some gun laws in a state whose lawmakers have loosened firearm restrictions despite repeated mass shootings.
That is true. You know what else is true? None of the false promises made by Greg Abbott about “mental health”, and none of the faux-security “school hardening” bills – you know, the ones that put more restrictions on doors than on guns, those bills – would have done anything to deter this shooter, either. It’s going to take an actual commitment to address the problem, and that begins with having a government in place that sees these shootings as problems. See what I mean about there not being anything to say that hasn’t been said before?
Rep. Guillen, who chairs the House Select Committee on Community Safety where HB 2744 is pending, just told reporters he is now considering having a vote on the bill. When asked what changed, he said “Nothing”.
That’s turncoat Republican Ryan Guillen speaking there. I have nothing at this point, either. Even if this bill makes it out of the House, there’s no way Dan Patrick gives it a vote in the Senate. High marks for trying, but the problem is bigger than this. DAily Kos has more.
UPDATE: Received the following statement in my inbox from Asian Texans for Justice:
“Instead of supporting what we’re asking for – gun safety legislation which 83% of AAPIs support, Texas statewide leaders are blaming mental health alone. The reality is that our state’s lax gun laws allowed someone who sympathizes with Neo-Nazis and White Supremacists to easily get a gun and kill and injure over a dozen people. We need the state legislature to take immediate action on gun reform that will make our communities safer, such as passing HB 2744, which would increase the age to buy a semi-automatic rifle from 18 to 21.
Asian Texans for Justice calls on local law enforcement to exhaust all measures to determine whether the gunman was truly a lone actor or if he worked in concert with other individuals or organizations who aided and abetted these horrendous actions.
We urge Governor Abbott and the Texas Legislature to focus their priorities on issues that better serve Asian and Pacific Islander Texans, and keep all Texans safe.”