The good news is, it’s still against the law in Texas to kill an entire family in cold blood.
The bad news is, it’s just fine in Texas for an unstable man to possess an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle and shoot it off at will in his backyard.
America’s gun laws these days are all about freedom and never about prevention. They are all about punishing murderers while freely handing out weapons of murder without question.
To quote the Bible: We reap what we sow.
The good news is, there’s a national manhunt for the shooter.
The bad news is, our heartless governor made this murder about immigration.
That’s right, Gov. Greg Abbott put out a news release Sunday saying the shooter is someone who is “in the country illegally and killed five illegal immigrants.”
In other words, all this death and mayhem is because of “illegal” immigration.
“It’s always a wise move to throw some red meat to the base and pretend this is about immigration.”
When someone like Abbott needs to divert attention from the problem of loose gun laws — for which he is directly responsible — it’s always a wise move to throw some red meat to the base and pretend this is about immigration.
And please don’t tell us we just need to enforce the gun laws we already have. If Abbott and his cronies were as zealous to enforce gun laws as they are to enforce immigration laws, we’d have far fewer gun deaths in this state and country.
Abbott’s news release is despicable. Maybe he’s auditioning to replace Tucker Carlson on Fox News.
In the real world, the Texas Tribune reports: “Authorities have said the victims were all from Honduras but have not disclosed their immigration status. The local county sheriff, Greg Capers of San Jacinto County, said Sunday that he did not care about the victims’ immigration status and felt a duty to protect everyone in his county.”
The good news is, we have leaders like Sheriff Capers who care about human lives.
The bad news is, we have leaders like Gov. Abbott who can’t stop campaigning long enough to govern well.
Every time a mass murder is perpetrated with semiautomatic weapons — the list is too long for me to recount here — those who worship a twisted interpretation of the Second Amendment as holy Scripture duck and cover. They refuse to talk about the real issue, so they make up other issues to change the conversation.
Let’s be clear here: This latest incident is not about immigration; it’s about civilian access to weapons of war.
“These are weapons of death, not sport.”
How can we continue to allow — not just allow, but encourage — the proliferation of semiautomatic weapons and not expect people to be killed by them? These are weapons of death, not sport.
We might as well license people to drive armored tanks through their neighborhoods with the naïve expectation that they won’t ever flatten anyone or fire the turret-mounted gun.
It is ironic that the same people who are so worried about “gateway drugs” can’t see the problem with gateway weapons. They want to prosecute anyone with a bag of weed but they’re just fine with Americans possessing all manner of guns whether they’re high or not.
It is ironic that the same people who call themselves “pro-life” don’t seem to care a whit about the lives of people in danger of gun violence. They want to prosecute women facing life-and-death decisions about problem pregnancies but they’re just fine with men — and yes, it’s almost always men — making life-and-death decisions with their cache of firearms.
Remember how this all started: “A man shot and killed five of his neighbors, including an 8-year-old child, inside a home in southeast Texas early Saturday morning, authorities said, after one of the neighbors asked him to stop firing rounds in his yard because of the noise.”
Anyone living in America — whether immigrant or native-born — ought to have the right to live in peace and not be threatened by weapons of war being fired off next door. That’s just as much an expectation as any interpretation of the Second Amendment.
We, the people, must continue to speak up, to demand action on sensible gun reform — including a ban on semiautomatic weapons — and redouble our efforts to elect leaders who truly care about all life, not just unborn life. That would be good news, indeed.
Mark Wingfield serves as executive director and publisher of Baptist News Global. He is the author of the new book Honestly: Telling the Truth About the Bible and Ourselves.