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‘It is happening everywhere’ Texas mass shooting victims tell governor

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Victims and survivors of mass shootings in Texas choked back tears, recounted the bloodshed that unfolded before their eyes and pleaded with Governor Greg Abbott on Thursday to improve safety so that another massacre does not take place.

Abbott, a Republican, promised that action was coming as he finished his third session on school safety in talks that came less than a week after a 17-year-old student armed with a pistol and shotgun fatally shot 10 people at a Houston-area high school on May 18.

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“May 18th came around and it finally happened to our school and we weren’t surprised,” said Grace Johnson, a senior at Santa Fe High School, the latest campus in a string of deadly U.S. mass shootings that stoked a debate about the best ways to stop the carnage.

“Why Santa Fe and we said why not. It is happening everywhere,” she said, adding she sat next to the suspected gunman in a class and asked the governor for more security officers on campus and for trained teachers to be armed.

 Abbott said after holding discussions with victims, security experts, school administrators and advocates for and against gun control that he would distill the ideas presented to him and put a plan into action.
“We are going to do more than talk. We are going to act,” Abbott said.

He has mentioned the state will consider changes that include improving mental health screenings, bolstering gun storage regulations, and implementing so-called red flag warning laws intended to keep guns out of the hands of people deemed by a judge to be a danger to themselves or others. 

But with the Texas legislature out of session until January, it is nearly impossible for the state to implement or fund any major policy changes that come out of the talks.

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Texas Democrats have described the sessions as theatrics that will skirt major issues such as substantive gun control.

The round on Thursday included about 40 people affected by the shootings in Alpine, Santa Fe and Sutherland Springs, Texas, where a gunman fatally shot 26 churchgoers in November.

 
Abbott, a staunch supporter of gun rights, said any changes to state laws would need to protect Second Amendment rights to bear arms as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution.

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In contrast to Florida, where the killing of 17 teens and educators at a high school in February sparked a youth-led movement calling for new restrictions on gun ownership, the Texas tragedy saw many elected officials and survivors alike voicing support for gun rights.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, 17, has been charged with murder in the killing during a rampage at Santa Fe High School on Friday.

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Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by William Maclean and Tom Brown


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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‘He got caught!’: Adam Schiff gives impassioned condemnation of Trump to close out the day’s impeachment hearing

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When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was gaming out the plan for impeachment hearings, she took a somewhat surprising step by placing the Intelligence Community front and center in the proceedings as it pursues the Ukraine investigation. And on Tuesday, after a long day of testimony from four critical witnesses, Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) delivered an impassioned speech that exemplified why Pelosi entrusted the trying task of leading the effort to him.

Schiff thanked Ambassador Kurt Volker and White House aide Tim Morrison for their testimony, noting that Volker had debunked Republicans' attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden.

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Republicans are getting scared about Gordon Sondland’s Wednesday impeachment testimony: report

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland may be the most dangerous witness for President Donald Trump in the impeachment hearings so far, and that's in part because he has a lot to lose.

And according to CNN's Shimon Prokuecz, his scheduled testimony for Wednesday morning is making Republicans nervous:

Multiple GOP sources say they are most worried about what Gordon Sondland will do tomorrow - and whether he will turn on the President. The fear, Republicans say, is that he could undercut the last GOP defense. @mkraju

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Trump’s brief out-of-character anti-vaping stance was a mystery — but he flip-flopped back to form

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The momentary question upon hearing that Donald Trump’s plan to ban flavored vapes had gone up, well, in smoke was only under which category of Trump strangeness to file this new failed act of governance.

Was it another example of Trump's hypocrisy of advocating one thing, only to do another? Was it another opportunity to suppress a move for public health in favor of perceived personal political advancement? Was it an actual defense of new jobs in the vaping industry over the effects that these jobs have on the vastly growing numbers of new young smokers? Was it another case of Trump surprising his own people by making the announcement on Twitter rather than actually talking to his own administrative staff?

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