Ted Cruz, Again, Embarrasses Texas

by | Jul 5, 2022 | News

It would be hard to miss the national headlines coming from the latest mass shooting on the Fourth of July, when a gunman opened fire into a parade in suburban Chicago, Illinois, killing six and injuring more than thirty before fleeing the scene.

As a team of trauma surgeons mobilized to treat victims who ranged in age from 8 years old to 85, the nation was gripped by the hunt for the gunman, who managed to evade the more than 100 law enforcement agencies searching for him, including the FBI, state and local police, for more than eight hours.

During that excruciating and terrifying interval of time, you might expect a United States Senator to be somber and reflective, focusing on the families impacted by this senseless mass murder. 

Ted Cruz, of course, chose a different tactic.

With the killer on the loose and the casualty count still evolving, Cruz took the opportunity to tweet a video promoting his painfully embarrassing podcast Verdict in which he boasted that the Second Amendment wasn’t for hunters or skeet shooters or sportsmen (which contradicts decades of Republican talking points, but we digress) and was, in fact, about protecting yourself and your family.

That callous tweet, which came two hours before Cruz would tweet out the perfunctory “thoughts and prayers” message we’ve all become accustomed to, was wildly and willfully ignorant of how horrific the shooting in Illinois was. The gunman, who took great efforts to conceal himself on a rooftop and who local police acknowledged was almost impossible to see from the street, did not give anyone, cops or families, the chance to defend themselves as he fired what one witness described as up to 50 shots into the crowd with a high-capacity rifle.

The provenance of that murder weapon is now a major focus of the investigation, with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms currently running a “trace” of the rifle, which will show them where the gun was manufactured and where it was shipped to be sold. The ATF will then have to contact the firearms dealer who initially sold the weapon, all in an effort to figure out how it ended up in the hands of the deeply troubled twenty-two year accused shooter.

That trace could raise uncomfortable questions for Republican politicians across the country, as Illinois is a state with fairly strong and sensible gun laws. However, the state has been repeatedly victimized by scurrilous gun traffickers who purchase dangerous weapons across state lines in places like Iowa and Kentucky, then sell them on the street in Illinois in violation of federal law.

Cruz has spent his decade in the Senate fighting against the most common-sense gun laws, including those that would make it harder to traffic guns across state lines. He has also opposed the creation of a federal firearms database.

If such a database existed yesterday in the aftermath of the tragic mass murder, federal and local law enforcement would have been able to quickly determine who the owner of the rifle was, where they had purchased it, and if they had – illegally or otherwise – resold that weapon to the suspected gunman.

Sadly, Ted Cruz and other Texas Republicans have refused to give the law enforcement agencies they claim to support so much this vital tool.

Original photo: Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

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