Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was confronted at a Texas restaurant on Friday over the continuing, serious problem of gun violence in the United States as the country reels from the recent elementary school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where 19 kids and two adults were killed. The individual confronting Cruz was Benjamin Hernandez, a board member of the Texas activism organization Indivisible Houston.
The confrontation took place following Cruz’s speech at the Houston NRA convention — where a huge crowd showed up outside to protest the gun lobby’s widely perceived role in fostering the circumstances that helped allow for the Uvalde shooting. Hernandez first posed for a photograph with Cruz — it’s not immediately clear whether one was actually taken — before discussing gun policy. Although audio of the encounter is somewhat muffled by background noise from the restaurant, one of Cruz’s first comments to Hernandez sounds like it was pointing him to Cruz’s NRA speech. “There are actually a lot of laws” that he would support, Cruz seemingly said. But Cruz resists a vast swath of what seems most relevant. Hernandez asked why Cruz won’t “support stronger gun laws.”
As Hernandez continued to speak, Cruz — in a frankly remarkably belittling tone — said, “Sir? Alright, you don’t wanna listen.” After Hernandez said he did, in fact, want to hear from the Senator, Cruz replied, “No, you actually don’t.” Hernandez then said he’d listen to what the Senator had to say, at which point Cruz seems to have broadly claimed Democratic-supported laws would not have stopped the Uvalde shooting from happening. Hernandez pointed out in reply that the Uvalde shooter didn’t obtain the weapon eventually used in the attack until he could legally purchase it — meaning there’s clearly an opportunity for policy change.
Cruz — again sounding remarkably whiny — accused Hernandez of pushing “ignorance and hatred,” adding: “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Hernandez was eventually physically removed from the restaurant by individuals including one who said, “If you don’t get out of his face” — but Hernandez, while passionately expressing his concerns, wasn’t “in [Cruz’s] face.” Accuracy is important. As Hernandez was removed, he shouted to the Senator: “Nineteen children died. That’s on your hands. That is on your hands.” Watch footage of the confrontation below or over at this link:
— Indivisible Houston (@indivisibleHOU) May 28, 2022
In Cruz’s NRA convention speech, he said, among other things: “We know that many of these who seek to commit the most heinous crimes, they’re isolated from human contact… They’re living a virtual life in the absence of community and faith and love.” That has got to be one of the most ridiculous descriptions imaginable for the actual problem here. It’s not just doors, apparently — Cruz has pushed the idea of limiting the number of doors schools can have as some kind of security measure — it’s also an absence of “faith and love” and too much “virtual life.” How far will these Republicans go to avoid confronting the reality of gun policy and its problems?