If only there were more guns in Texas

While we still don’t have all the details, it looks as though 25 people were shot and killed while attending church in Sutherland Springs, Texas today. Regardless of the circumstances, I suspect, in the days and weeks to come, some will come forward, like they always do, to say that, if only there were more guns, this never would have happened. And one of those people, I imagine, could very well be Texas Governor Greg Abbot, who has not only said that he wants Texas be the most armed state in America, but recently signed several pieces of legislation in order to make that a reality. One would hope, if this does happen, and Abbot suggests that, to honor the dead, we should all go out and buy some-automatic weapons, I would hope that people would rise up and force him from office, but I’m not terribly optimistic. Given what we’ve seen play out in the recent past, I don’t see a majority of Americans demanding real solutions, based on things like science and evidence, but instead wringing their hands, talking about how nothing could stop a man with something like this on his mind, and how our only possible hope is that, next time, “a good guy with a gun” might step forward to stop the bloodshed.

While we’re quick to push for more restrictive immigration laws and travel bans every time an immigrant carries out an attack against Americans, when it comes to incidents like this one, or the recent one in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead, where heavily armed white men are the perpetrators, it would seem that we just can’t bring ourselves to take meaningful action, opting instead to just pray for the victims and their families, hoping that somehow this trend will just end on its own, whether through the power of prayer, or the intervention of the aforementioned good guys with guns.

I’d like to think, at some point, after one of these incidents, we’d have a collective epiphany, like a majority of Australians did back in ’96, after a gunman in Port Arthur, Tasmania took the lives of 35 people. In relatively short order, the people of Australia, according to a recent article in the Atlantic, “banned automatic and semiautomatic firearms, adopted new licensing requirements, established a national firearms registry, and instituted a 28-day waiting period for gun purchases.” And, what’s more, they bought over 600,000 firearms back from Australian citizens and destroyed them, spending nearly half a billion dollars to do so. But, here in America, one doesn’t get the sense that anything will ever change. If it didn’t change after Sandy Hook, or Las Vegas, after all, why would it change now?

So, instead, we’ll talk about how things might have been different if a teacher at Sandy Hook had an assault rifle that fateful morning, or if a congregant at the church in Sutherland Springs today had been hiding in the shadows with an even bigger gun, just waiting for attack like this one.

And, for what it’s worth, it’s already beginning. Check out this tweet from Chuck Wollery, the former Love Connection host turned conservative intellectual.

Oh, and, for what it’s worth, Donald Trump has now weighed in from Japan, saying that what just happened in Texas was a mental health issue, not a gun issue, neglecting to mention that, since taking office, he both fought to cut mental health funding, and repealed legislation intended to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.

I’d like to say more, but I’ve got my hands full at the moment. If you’re interested in reading some of my more recent posts on the subject of gun control, though, here are a few links.

More than just calling for a ban on assault weapons, Obama moves to reinstate federal research on gun violence over the NRA’s objections

The problem, according to the NRA: Not enough “good” guns in schools

The mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary… agendas at play, profits to be made

More than just calling for a ban on assault weapons, Obama moves to reinstate federal research on gun violence over the NRA’s objections

I know we say that “bad guys will get guns anyway,” if gun control laws are enacted, but do we know that to be a fact?

The right would rather mock Obama for his tears than respond to the content of what he was saying about our problem with guns in this country

It took him half a dozen years, but Obama is finally coming for our guns

Tonight’s post is brought to you by the good people of the NRA, who feel as though we will never know true peace until we truly embrace violence.

update: Trump, while in South Korea, was asked whether or not he would support “extreme vetting” for those seeing to purchase firearms. In response, Trump, after saying that more aggressive vetting would not have kept this most recent tragedy from happening, pretty much said that we’ll never know true peace until we’re all armed.

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31 Comments

  1. ABC News
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    NEW: Authorities have preliminarily identified TX church shooter as white male in his mid-20s from outside San Antonio, sources tell @ABC.

  2. Paul Ryan is an asshole
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    “Reports out of Texas are devastating. The people of Sutherland Springs need our prayers right now.” – Paul Ryan

    No, they don’t need our prayers. We prayed after Las Vegas. What we need now is action.

  3. Kat
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    It’s worse than that. The far right is saying that the Texas shooter is with the antifa.

    http://www.newsweek.com/sutherland-springs-shooter-devin-patrick-kelley-was-antifa-according-far-right-702338

  4. Meta
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

    “Texas Attorney General: The way to stop mass shootings is for more people to carry concealed weapons”

    Texas Republican Attorney Gen. Ken Paxton told Fox News on Sunday that more Texans should acquire concealed carry permits so as to prevent more mass shootings like the one that killed 26 in Sutherland Springs on Sunday morning.

    The Hill reported that Paxton said the shooting “breaks my heart” — especially given that children were among the fatalities.

    “I wish some law would fix all of this,” Paxton said by phone.

    “All I can say is in Texas at least we have the opportunity to have conceal carry,” he explained. “And so … there’s always the opportunity that gunman will be taken out before he has the opportunity to kill very many people.”

    Paxton’s statement runs directly contrary to statistical evidence, which demonstrates that mass shootings are more commonplace in places like Texas with looser gun control laws.

    Read more:
    https://www.rawstory.com/2017/11/texas-attorney-general-the-way-to-stop-mass-shootings-is-for-more-people-to-carry-concealed-weapons/

  5. JM
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Also saw some right spin about how a good guy with a gun chased this guy off – not the case.

    ~50 congregants. Killed 26, wounded 20, pastor + wife out of town. He basically took care of them all and headed outside where the good guy shot at him. I don’t think you can say he was scared off as his work was done.

  6. Jcp2
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    You don’t get it. Guns are part of American culture. To some people, gun ownership is part of their personal identity. Others have guns to feel safer in times of uncertainty. Still others who may not have a gun like the idea of being able to obtain one should they want to. The concept of private firearm ownership is part of the constitution. True, the interpretation of the 2nd Amendment by the courts has changed over time, but to influence the interpretation to be more restrictive requires a change in the Supreme Court membership. That requires a president who is sympathetic to this cause as well as significant support in the Senate. What can happen in a parliamentary government can’t really happen here.

  7. M
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    “…Americans do what we do best: we pull together. We join hands. We lock arms and through the tears and the sadness, we stand strong…” -Donald Trump

    [You’ll notice he doesn’t say we fix the problem, or even try to stop it from happening again.]

  8. Dave
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    The function of a gun is to kill. Ownership of a gun is a choice. To choose to own a gun is to choose to have the power to kill. The argument for owning one for self defense pre assumes that the owner will pull the trigger and kill someone when the right moment presents itself.

    So once ownership happens, now the question comes down to when is it Just to kill? When someone else with a gun is using it unjustly? When the owner feels an Injustice has occurred to him that can only be balanced by the exercise of his power to kill?

    The question of whether it is Just to kill is not on the table anymore after the choice of ownership is made.

  9. Cassandra
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    We need to begin treating the NRA as the terrorist organization it is … and those who are members (even among our own friends and families) as the sympathizers and enablers they are.

  10. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    “JM
    Posted November 5, 2017 at 9:14 pm | Permalink
    Also saw some right spin about how a good guy with a gun chased this guy off – not the case.
    ~50 congregants. Killed 26, wounded 20, pastor + wife out of town. He basically took care of them all and headed outside where the good guy shot at him. I don’t think you can say he was scared off as his work was done.”

    Stephen Willeford shot him through a chink in his armor.

  11. Lynne
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I don’t think anything we can do will entirely prevent mass murders but one thing we can do is get congress to approve allowing the CDC to research the subject to see if they can do for gun violence what they did for automobile deaths.

    Jcp2 is right. Gun prohibition is extremely unrealistic right now. Insisting on that approach will do nothing. We need to adopt a more incremental strategy. Besides. what if we take a public health approach and then find a solution that does NOT involve getting rid of guns. I mean, it isn’t really guns that people have a problem with most of the time. I don’t care that my neighbor likes to go to the range to guns. I only care about gun *violence* and who knows what alternate approaches we can take?

  12. Bill O'Reilly‏ by proxy
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    NEWS FLASH: terrorists and psychopaths will always be able to secure weapons no matter what legislation is passed.

  13. Jean Henry
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Shooter had a history of domestic violence. Like all the others…
    We could start reform efforts there.
    And by all means, let’s fund the study of gun violence and improving gun safety again.
    I support gun rights, btw. And, like most Americans, I also support sensible gun regulations and stricter licensing. Rights entail responsibility.

  14. Tony
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I prefer to solve the root of the problem before we solve the gun control problem because if you have a lobby that’s so powerful that even those that agree with gun control advocates speak up, they get kneecapped by the NRA which at this point is a domestic terror organization. They are a domestic terrorist organization with a free hall pass to walk among our government officials in Washington. It’s time we kneecapped them. Three words: Campaign finance reform. Things like Citizens United need to be overturned immediately. Severe restrictions should be raising campaign funds and how that money is spent. Penalties for breaking the law should be severe. We’re basically living in a patron state at this point.

  15. Jean Henry
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    It’s still unclear whether or not Stephen Willeford shot the shooter, or just confronted and chased him. The Sheriff said the mass murderer appeared to have died of self-inflicted wounds. HW’s account is a fable constructed in a void of information to suit his ideology, as per usual. On the other hand, he is right in essence. Willeford probably did prevent further violence and the shooter escaping and all the risk that goes along with pursuing him. I’m glad Willeford was armed (with nothing more than a rifle, I might add) and present. One of the reasons I support gun rights for personal protection (as well as hunting) is that I know many remote places are not adequately served by law enforcement. There is plenty to learn from this story. There’s no reason to alter it to suit anyone’s political point of view.

    Sometimes guns do save lives. More often they take them. The killer was not licensed to carry BTW. His guns were illegally procured. I’m inclined to go back to his conviction for breaking his infant step son’s skull. And his more recent threats to his wife’s family. What could have been done to get him the help he needed and protect those he targeted with his violence?

  16. Anonymous
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    McConnell, asked what Senate could do after shootings: “It’s hard to envision a foolproof way to prevent individual outrages by evil people”

  17. More on Abbott
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Governor Abbott has said that Christ is the answer.

    From Joy Reid: “Greg Abbott said the solution to gun massacres is “working with God.” That’s his actual policy prescription…for a massacre INSIDE A CHURCH”

  18. wobblie
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    If you want to own a military style semi-automatic weapon—the preferred mass murder weapon of the white male, then you should be compelled to be part of a “well regulated militia”. Why do our legislatures not use our constitution? I understand this latest killer acquired his weapons illegally. We have per capita more semi-automatic weapons among the citizens than Yemen or Afghanistan, you know other tribal places like us.
    I say draft everyone with a semi-automatic weapon into the militia and regulate the hell out of them.
    It is possible to use the 2nd. amendment. But you know it is important that they keep us afraid, very afraid.

  19. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    “It’s still unclear whether or not Stephen Willeford shot the shooter, or just confronted and chased him. The Sheriff said the mass murderer appeared to have died of self-inflicted wounds. HW’s account is a fable constructed in a void of information to suit his ideology, as per usual. On the other hand, he is right in essence. Willeford probably did prevent further violence and the shooter escaping and all the risk that goes along with pursuing him. I’m glad Willeford was armed (with nothing more than a rifle, I might add) and present. One of the reasons I support gun rights for personal protection (as well as hunting) is that I know many remote places are not adequately served by law enforcement. There is plenty to learn from this story. There’s no reason to alter it to suit anyone’s political point of view.”

    Daily Mail reports he shot him, told Johnnie Langendorff what happened, then chased him in Langendorff’s vehicle. Kelley’s vehicle went off the road and he was found dead. Sounds like he got shot before the chase and may have shot himself in the end.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5052815/Hero-tackled-armed-shooter-left-church.html

    Kelley eventually lost control of his vehicle during the high speed chase
    He called his father to say he had been shot and didn’t think he would make it
    Police then believe that Kelley shot himself dead

  20. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    “HW’s account is a fable constructed in a void of information to suit his ideology, as per usual.”

    You don’t know shit about anything. Did you not even know there was a high speed chase?

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    Yes I knew that. I heard the account as you did. I just was not willing to conclude that the ‘neighbor’ had shot him, much less ‘through his armor,’ when law enforcement weren’t willing to say so. What I meant was the the ‘neighbor’ (who does not want to be named) and Langendorff prevented further escalation and a the kind of full scale man hunt that happened in the Boston bombing.
    HW I backed up some of your points and you continue the abusive language. It’s time to stop that. Really. It does not help you be heard.

  22. Jean Henry
    Posted November 6, 2017 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    I was repeating early an inaccurate information re the shooter acquiring his guns illegally. He acquired them legally, or at least he appeared to legally purchase them. He was tried for domestic violence in a military court. Apparently they failed to report him to the registry, and so the shooter was able to pass the background check and buy guns legally. He did lie on the application about prior history and address, but there was no way for the gun shop to know that. It seems that military courts use different language for many offenses, including rape, and so people convicted may not have their charges come up in searches or be listed on registries.
    This is a loophole that I hope can be fixed– at a minimum.

  23. EOS
    Posted November 7, 2017 at 5:36 am | Permalink

    Wobblie,

    A semi-automatic assault rifle is the preferred weapon of armies around the world. Semi-automatic means that you have to pull the trigger every time a bullet is fired. Just like the rifles hunters use to shoot deer. That so many Americans own assault rifles is a major deterrent to foreign aggression. We all benefit from gun ownership without needing a single shot fired. If we were ever invaded, each rifle owner would be instantly drafted into a militia force to provide protection for those who are currently advocating to take away their right to defend themselves and others. If we banned assault rifles, people would still use handguns to rob, assault, and murder. An overwhelming majority of crimes are committed with handguns, not assault rifles. There are far more victims of handguns than assault rifles. Handguns are the preferred weapon of most criminals and kill far more people each year in our country than assault rifles.

  24. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted November 7, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    “HW I backed up some of your points and you continue the abusive language. It’s time to stop that. Really. It does not help you be heard.”

    How is it abusive to say you don’t know shit but it is fine to say “HW’s fable blah blah blah?” It’s the exact same thing except I said ‘shit’. It is worse what you said because you don’t know the reality and you are saying it is made up to suit my belief, which is total bullshit. It’s true: you really don’t know shit and to make matters worse you TALK shit.

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/11/06/man-who-put-end-carnage-texas/838700001/

    “At least one of the shots that Willeford fired struck Kelley through the protective body armor that the killer was wearing.”

    “I know I hit him,” Willeford said. “He got into his vehicle, and he fired another couple rounds through his side window. When the window dropped, I fired another round at him again.”

  25. Jean Henry
    Posted November 7, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    I read a lot about the shooting and did not see that piece. Everything I heard stated it was inconclusive. Most weren’t naming Willeford.
    I apologize for thinking you made it up. My bad.
    We still agree that Willeford prevented more violence because he owned a fire arm.
    It happens. It happened 2 weeks ago as well.

    Gun regulation advocates will get nowhere when they insist on absolutism in their language.
    Instead f pretending firearms never (ever!) offer protection, they should focus on how they create hazard. They should certainly focus on how to make it harder for people like this shooter to acquire guns. If they didn’t talk about taking away guns, they’d have a lot better chance of getting the gun safety research funding restored. Then we could all talk more intelligently about this subject…

    If we got to a point where giving up most gun rights was on the table, I might be able to go along with that, but we are nowhere near there. And not acknowledging the large swath of the country who support gun rights AND regulation is just stupid. This is a democracy. We are avoiding the necessary conversation.

  26. Lynne
    Posted November 7, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I think that is a problem we are going to see more of, ie rigid absolutist thinking. I see it on evry side of things and on every issue. Still, even though anti-abortion people are similarly rigid and absolute and yet have managed to slowly chip away at reproductive rights for decades so I wouldnt lose hope. All the anti-gun people need to do is figure out how to vote and to start taking a big picture. Trump is vile but he got a lot of votes from people who hate him but like his judicial appointments. How would things like gun control look different if it had been Clinton making those appointments?

  27. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted November 7, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    “I read a lot about the shooting and did not see that piece. Everything I heard stated it was inconclusive. Most weren’t naming Willeford.
    I apologize for thinking you made it up. My bad.”

    I appreciate that.

  28. Sad
    Posted November 7, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Repeal the 2nd amendment!

    http://michiganradio.org/post/so-what-do-we-do-about-guns

  29. Dave
    Posted November 7, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    According to this article, the number of deaths from guns is most strongly correlated to the rate of gun ownership.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/07/world/americas/mass-shootings-us-international.html

    I think there is also a correlation between the desire to own a gun and a loss of trust that the laws of the land will protect the gun owner. Guns are seen as a safeguard against injustice. The problem is that Justice becomes very subjective when you give up faith in the laws of the land. I think many people voted for Trump for the same reason – a fading faith that the laws of the land protect them. To own a gun is to restore some of that faith, but it also unfortunately diminishes the same laws by allowing people to apply their sense of justice to a situation with coercive force rather than trust in the law… or better yet, temperance and dialogue in the spirit of the laws.

  30. Katherine
    Posted November 8, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Senate Republicans are set to pass legislation today that would allow concealed, loaded guns in schools, daycares, and other places where they aren’t currently legal. (Senate Bill 584 will allow concealed weapons in gun-free safe zones like schools and daycare centers. Senate Bill 586 will deny the right of those gun-free safe zones to set their own regulations when it comes to guns.)

    If you text the word “Michigan” to the number 644-33, you’ll get connected to your State Senator’s office, so you can and tell them to vote against it.

  31. ABC News
    Posted November 17, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Man accidentally shoots himself and his wife in their Tennessee church during discussion about weapons in churches. http://abcn.ws/2hyFRjN

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