Go Beto! O’Rourke Stands Up for the Lives of Texans

3 mins read

After the St. Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas H.S. in Parkland, Florida, in 2018, then-Governor Rick Scott made sure his craven presence was attendant at numerous press briefings.

I remember the state’s weasel-in-chief cloaking himself in the trappings of his official status and projecting a (phony) aura of calm, serious leadership: stuff political advisers prescribe after focus-group forums.

Mostly, though, I remember not one reporter on the various scenes challenging Scott’s unwavering support for the gun lobby. As part of his homage to Second Amendment lies, he happily signed a 2017 bill making Florida’s odious “Stand Your Ground” law even worse. Nobody mentioned it.

I always attributed the Medicare fraudster’s squeaker of a victory in the 2018 U.S. Senate race in part to those Parkland interviews, which unfairly conferred authority on the guy I like to call Dreadful Scott.

Listening to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott last night and today, I had instant déjà vu. There he was, Mr. NRA himself, reassuring the public after the horrific school shooting Tuesday in Uvalde. Along with the unctuous U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Abbott insisted this isn’t the time to “politicize” guns.

But isn’t every day in Texas a celebration of firearms and politics? Isn’t Abbott the same guy who last June happily — and for the cameras — signed seven measures expanding gun rights in the Lone Star State? One allows the carrying of unlicensed handguns.

So here came the governor, post-massacre, like Scott before him, hogging the mass-shooting limelight. What a welcome sight it was, then, when Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke crashed Abbott’s press conference Wednesday afternoon and shattered the Republican’s spotlight.

Go, Beto! Inspire others to your example! Especially Democratic leaders in Congress. Especially young voters, independent voters, fence-sitting voters. Especially the press.

And especially Americans everywhere, of all political stripes, who overwhelmingly support gun-safety laws.

It’s never too late to point out that GOP “leaders” in states reeling from a recent mass shooting aren’t leaders at all but opportunists. They exploit the shock, the sadness, the despair which accompanies senseless killing. Republicans like Abbott and Scott aren’t strong on guns: They’re weak on gun manufacturers and the lobbyists who hold so many public officials in their thrall.

Go, Beto! Go, Texas! Let the world see that those who won’t defend living, breathing children aren’t worth defending at the polls. Vote for the good guys with sensible gun bills.

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Tilsen is a retired journalist whose 20-plus-year career included covering local politics and courts in her former home state of Minnesota. She has written for The Associated Press, Reuters, two newspapers and three television stations and is the recipient of four first-place reporting awards. She resides with her husband and mother in Cape Girardeau, MO, where she is a volunteer with the local Humane Society.

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