We spoke to Texas State Representative Joe Moody of El Paso following the domestic terrorist attack in his city. Below is an edited conversation for length and clarity.
Texas Signal: How are you and the community holding up?
Joe Moody: I think we’re starting to find our path to healing from this tragedy but [it’s] a long, long journey to go down. But we’re now moving into a time where families are burying their loved ones started yesterday. And so while that is extremely painful to grieve with them, mourn with them, that’s the process that we are having to go through. I think we will be stronger as we move through. Because the pride of our community and respect of our community is what’s really going to show through at this time.
TS: What will help you and the community of El Paso, I know y’all are a tight-knit community, what will help get you guys through this?
JM: There are the functional things. There are resources helping people who are suffering and grieving, traumatized by the event. Those are all things that we need to make sure are in place, because school is starting next week for some and the next couple of weeks for everybody in the community. You know parents are going to be asking questions, their kids are going to be asking questions. We need to be there for them, make sure we have services available for them. Those are very real things in the immediate future direct make sure that we have in place to help. I also think about our law enforcement, first responders, mental health professionals – those that actually who are in and around such a difficult and ugly and violent scene and then deal[ing] with the aftermath of it. Are we taking care of those taking care of us?
I think the best thing to get through the next few weeks and into the healing processes: Just be there for one another and remember that everyone is grieving and mourning this in a different way. And also to make sure you are checking in on one another. I think that’s important. We’ve tried to really do that. And the biggest, broadest thing I think what we ultimately need to do is when we encounter people in the world around us, let’s do that with love in our heart.
TS: From a policy perspective, you have a legislative history of advocating for greater gun safety legislation. Moving forward now, what does Texas need to do from a policy perspective?
JM: I think what we need to do is make sure that we don’t go down the road of saying that if it wouldn’t have impacted this particular incident, then it’s not part of the conversation. I don’t think that’s the right way to view this. This didn’t happen in a vacuum. There are things that we can do – protective border laws, safe storage with background checks. And then also, let’s not forget the other laws we traveling here, domestic terrosim, white supremacy, white nationalism. Are we tracking people that are part of those organizations, are we treating them the same way we treat criminal street gangs in terms of data gathering and making sure we keep a watchful eye on these folks? That’s a very important question too. And I think those policy questions begin to start addressing this moving forward.
Photo by Moody for El Paso