Death and Texas

Posted in: Moore Thoughts | By: | February 05, 2013

We just can’t stay out of the news in Texas, and the headlines are generally embarrassing. Of course, when I say that, I know that there are more people who are pleased down here by our consistently odd publicity than there are those who grimace. Whenever Texas makes news, it tends to be for something unpleasant. I had a British tabloid reporter tell me that on Fleet Street in London where the tabloids are published, the editors all snicker that “The only two certainties in journalism are death and Texas.”

Guns are driving the news this week. Chris Kyle, a Texan, was killed at point blank on a gun range. Kyle was known as the “Devil of Ramadi” because he was the most prolific sniper in American military history. The stories of him are legendary and he is said to have once made a kill shot at 2100 yards, about a mile and a quarter, a takedown that saved the lives of U.S. soldiers. Kyle’s book, “American Sniper,” had become a best seller and he had taken to helping his fellow vets deal with PTSD. The early reports of his death on the range outside of Stephenville indicated Kyle had been counseling Eddie Ray Routh, the man that was said to have killed Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield.

The American Sniper

The American Sniper

This made convenient irony for Englishman Piers Morgan, who has a bit of a low-rated show on CNN. He brought his nightly broadcast to Texas to shoot a big-assed machine gun, talk to Kyle’s co-author, and give air time to our state’s attorney general, who is working hard to position himself to the right of Rick Perry. AG Greg Abbott’s arguments in favor of no new gun control can be summed up as, “Just because.” It is immediately entertaining to listen to Texas elected types try to explain their resistance to gun control. They have no logic or rational arguments. They simply believe restrictions can’t be allowed “just because” of the Second Amendment. The existence of guns is sufficient reason for them to be owned and unrestricted. After New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the most restrictive gun regulations in the country, Abbott made a fool of himself by placing an ad in the New York Times urging the state’s gun nuts to move to Texas.

Abbott and His Daughter: The Thrill of the Kill

Abbott and His Daughter: The Thrill of the Kill

The closest Texas leaders ever come to explaining their resistance to gun control is their insistence that their weapons are the only thing protecting the country from anarchy, fascism, and government control. It’s a hilarious line of thinking. All of the guns in all of the closets and cabinets and pickups haven’t stopped the government from approving the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows your arrest and detention without rights of habeas corpus. Those guns won’t stop a damned thing if Uncle Sam decides to go rogue. Are we going to protect our homes from drones with our AR-15s and grandpa’s 12-gauge shotgun? If the government wanted to take away your freedoms, it could happen tomorrow and household weaponry isn’t going to stop anything. There is a bit of a technological and historical difference between where America is now and the situation it found itself in back in 1776. Today, the revolutionaries would be called Minutemen because that’s about how long they’d last.

I was also going to write about Texas’ public education system being ruled unconstitutional, but, hell, a guy gets depressed and doesn’t even want to think about it, much less punch a keyboard to explain things. Think of this: the first suit challenging the unfairness of Texas schools was in 1968, and the state lost. I think it’s lost a total of six times after the latest ruling. And nothing ever changes. Lawmakers file appeals, promise to improve funding for poor districts, and provide a quality education, but mostly they resist. And nothing ever improves. A guy like Rick Perry says the schools are very well funded. And another suit gets filed.

I need a beer.

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