At a Wednesday press conference featuring Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott, Beto O’Rourke — a Democrat who formerly served as a U.S. Representative in the state and is now running for governor — interrupted Abbott to pin blame on him for the Uvalde school shooting. In Uvalde, a Tuesday mass shooting at Robb Elementary School ended with at least 19 children and two adults dead. Republicans like Abbott consistently push back on the possibility of common-sense gun control measures.
The Wednesday press conference was at Uvalde High School, and Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was also there, alongside Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, all of whom are Republicans. “This is on you. Until you choose to do something different, this will continue to happen… Somebody needs to stand up for the children of this state or they will continue to be killed just like they were killed in Uvalde yesterday,” O’Rourke told Abbott. “Shouts from others on stage and in the audience could be heard condemning O’Rourke for interrupting Abbott,” the Austin-American Statesman reports. Is letting the governor speak uninterrupted when his party buries its rhetorical head in the stand after mass shootings really more important than airing the truth of what’s at issue here? Ideals of civility like underpin arguments from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) for the filibuster in the U.S. Senate aren’t more important than trying to keep people alive.
As we grieve the children of Uvalde today, we should take time to recognize that two years have passed since the murder of George Floyd under the knee of a police officer. His killing stays with us all to this day, especially those who loved him.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 25, 2022
O’Rourke was eventually escorted out of the press conference by law enforcement. Outside the building, O’Rourke spoke about his issues with Abbott. “He’s refused to expand Medicaid, which would bring $10 million a year, including mental health care access for people who need it,” O’Rourke said of the governor. “He’s refused to champion red flag laws… He’s refused to support safe-storage laws so young people cannot get their hands on their parents’ weapons… We just can’t accept this theater or business as usual, and accept the next shooting.” Cruz has promoted the idea of putting more armed personnel on school campuses in the aftermath of the shooting. But, cops were already there before the shooter ever entered the Uvalde school where the massacre took place, and these officers reportedly fired upon the attacker — who then went into the school and carried out the atrocities that have shaken Texas and Americans nationwide. In other words, more guns were already there. They didn’t work.
Manchin called on Senate to pass bipartisan bills that could get 70 votes on gun reforms — such as bolstering red flag laws or a narrower background checks bill — even as that has proven elusive. He said he didn’t want to get rid of the filibuster and called for bipartisan talks
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 25, 2022
Abbott said at the press conference that laws allowing for 18-year-old individuals such as the shooter to purchase weapons like what the attacker used have been in place in Texas for decades, insisting “the status of mental health in our society” is what’s at issue — which sounds like a major cop-out. You can’t isolate the problem to one single, solitary issue and leave it at that. Besides, mental health problems, while obviously serious, aren’t new. The problem is that Abbott doesn’t seem to be coming from a place of trying to substantively deal with the issues. In the broader GOP context, referencing mental health sounds more like he’s rhetorically waving his hands in the general direction of what’s going on instead of meaningfully addressing it. Watch footage of O’Rourke below:
"It's on you."
— The Recount (@therecount) May 25, 2022