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Rick Perry on gun violence: only prayer can stop it

January 16, 2013

The murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School last month capped the worst year in modern U.S. history for gun rampages. While the collective heartache kept the National Rifle Association quiet for a week, Gov. Rick Perry couldn’t keep silent for so long. Three days after the Newtown, Conn., shooting, Perry offered his prescription to a Tea Party gathering in Tarrant County. We need to arm school teachers and administrators, he said, a policy point the NRA would later echo as it blamed mass shootings on video games like Mortal Kombat.

Wednesday President Obama announced his own policy reforms to curb gun violence, calling on Congress to reinstate the assault weapons ban and mandate background checks for all gun buyers (including those who purchase firearms at gun shows).

And true to form, Perry responded in pure brain-wrinkling fashion, blaming gun violence on “demons,” the “evil prowling this world” and our “online fascinations,” insisting that only prayer, not laws, can end gun violence. Meanwhile state Attorney General Greg Abbott took a more glib approach, launching a new ad campaign Wednesday appealing to New Yorkers who may feel their rights have been threatened by gun restrictions recently signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “Wanted: Law abiding New York gun owners looking for lower taxes and greater opportunity,” reads one ad.

Naturally, this debate’s a hairy one in gun-lovin’ Texas. Conservative bloggers have already jumped on a crisis averted here in San Antonio last month at the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater, where an off-duty Bexar County sheriff’s sergeant disarmed a crazed gunman who chased and shot at patrons. The case, to conservative commentators, not only proves the common anti-gun control argument that “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” but is also evidence of a sinister pro-gun control media bias that ignored the story. (That last point is demonstrably false. See national coverage of the case here and here).

There’s the easy comparison to the Aurora, Colo., shooting. But after the fact that both took place in theaters, the similarities end. We really don’t know much about the Mayan Palace theater shooter. At this point authorities will only say shooter Jesus Manuel Garcia was angry after a breakup with his girlfriend, that he legally purchased the .40 caliber Glock pistol he wielded, and that he had no past involvement with law enforcement. Local media, including the Current, have asked to speak with Bexar County sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Castellano, who was working as a theater security guard when she cornered and disarmed Garcia, to get a better idea of what happened. Officials won’t let her speak publicly due to the active investigation.

But new information about Aurora theater shooter James Holmes came out of his Colorado court hearing earlier this month, indicating that massacre was not sparked by an emotional snap, but was rather calculated and methodical. An ATF agent testified Holmes went on a buying spree in the months before the shooting, purchasing pistols, an AR-15 assault rifle, thousands of rounds of ammunition, a shotgun, body armor, and bomb-making materials. He also used high-capacity clips, including one that held up to 100 rounds. Both points appear to tie in with common items on the gun-control agenda: banning high-capacity magazines, and getting the feds to track bulk ammunition sales.

But Texas’ top politicos aren’t engaging the gun control debate on that level. They aren’t digging into the weeds and explaining why improvements to the existing system for background checks on gun buyers, lifting the federal ban on research into gun violence, and boosting access to mental health services in schools erode constitutionally protected gun rights (all points advocated by Obama today).

Instead, we’ve got a governor who blames gun violence on demons and claims laws can’t address it, effectively disengaging from whatever policy debate should arise from these alarmingly frequent shootings. Meanwhile, we’ve got a state AG who tries to use the gun-control/gun-rights debate to poach residents from another state.

Stay classy, Texas.

- Michael Barajas

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  • Jose T

    China Solution:

    Public Execution Parks:

    Place the evil-doers against the wall and shoot them!

    Problem solved!

  • Francisco A. Argenal sn

    MiCHAEL bARAJAS , WHAT i DON,T UNDERSTAND AND NEVER WILL IS WHY IDIOTS LIKE YOU BELIEVE THAT GUN CONTROL WILL STOP criminals and pychos from acquiring and using stolen weapons to commit crimes and mass murder. If you take legal weapons , a constitutional right away from law abiding citizens only outlaws will have guns . I believe that a firearm in the hands of a righteous citizen and the courage to use it can save innocent victims from cowards who kill indiscriminately although many opponents of gun ownership are such cowards that even if the opportunity to save or protect an innocent person would fail to act.The police cannot be everywhere all the time so if you believe that a firearm would not deter pychos or criminals I give you my word they want others to bleed , they don”t want to bleed and pychos are suicidal cowards who want others to die with them , then be killed and remembered and the yellow media like you are the proof that they get what they want….

  • Jewish Right Winger

    Wow. Hate to burst your bubble of lack of intellience. But as I read and re-read Perry’s statement, I don’t find anywhere in there where he said ‘only prayer can stop it’. You won’t find it simply because it isn’t there.

    In so much as the rest of your senseless rant.

    Find me proof that the gun control measures that this administration would like to put in place, will reduce violent crime. I would love to see the research, love to see the numbers. It has to reduce VIOLENT crime. So I doubt you can.

    I have heard a lot about ‘if it saves just one life’. However, in all honesty, since firearms have proven themselves to save lives numerous times, why would we allow all those who have been saved to die in order to save one?

    The numbers don’t crunch. More importantly, the use of Executive order really isn’t appropriate here.

    Now before anybody goes off on the everlasting ‘Bush used EO’s’ or ‘Bush did it’ rant, I should remind you that Bush is no longer president. Any executive order that Bush issued, could well have been taken care of with the stroke of the pen by Obama, he has chosen not to. Secondly, not all president decide to ‘do what their predecessors do’ just because, otherwise Bush would have had a female intern changing light bulbs under the desk in the oval office.

  • Carola Aultman

    JWR, in some ways you’re right, Bush didn’t rant, he just went out and started wars.
    As far as Perrywinkle, who was a failure at A&M and has also been a failure as governour who recently said that his prayers would stop the drought, the only thing that his prayers might stop would be the toilet in his church, which might bring to surface his current opposition to bowel movements in his churches and his prayers to keep bowel movemets only in liberal, especialy white churches!

  • Carola Aultman

    Francisco, What does it take for anyone to make you comprehend that your post is nonsense!
    No one will take you ability to own a weapon away unless:
    1. You are mentally incompetent.
    2. You have a criminal record.
    3. You want to buy an assault weapon.
    Is that somewhat difficult for you to comprehend?

  • Carola Aultman

    Jose, Right on, but not in parks. Do it in the garbage dumps where these sorry people belong!

  • Gina

    Educate your children on gun safety. It should not be a secret in your home. Are their friends parents locking up their firearm? You might want to ask and prepare your children with the proper education to take guns serious.

  • Bill

    Mr. Barajas might feel safer in New York. Making fun of prayer and guns in Texas is not advisable.

  • tasteless chap

    But making fun of prayer and guns in Texas is perfectly legal!

  • Freedon Lover

    Make it mandatory for every citizen to pass a firearms safety class before they can graduate from High School. We do it with driving cars which kill more people than guns. And we think it perfectly acceptable to teach 18 year old’s who enlist in the armed forces, why not Every American before graduation. It just makes sense, and the informed are able to make an informed decision about personal gun ownership.


    Typical … What your not admitting is that American guns and the Soldiers who know how to use them, have, and will continue to, protect your LEGAL 1st Amendment RIGHT to make fun of Texas. What I need is for you to show some responsibility and put the same reciprocating effort into protecting my 2nd Amendment rights. You can’t have it both ways.

  • Emile Zola

    And how a special needs governor can be taken seriously? He couldn’t remember the three government agencies that he was going to close and now he tries to appear as the oracle of Delphi? Insane people should be in an asylum, not in charge of the government. He is not even fit to be the janitor in the local school. Boy, oh boy, the crazies in charge of the asylum.

  • Jewish Right Winger


    First I appreciate the fact that you didn’t once call me any names, something that sadly is becoming less and less commonplace these days.

    Secondly, you’re right, Bush did take the nation into two wars, both of them with the support of the Democrat majority Congress. Unlike Obama when he used US military strength in Libya, and again in Mali.

    Bush, while disagreeing with Congress, at least WORKED with Congress to get legislation passed. Obama hasn’t accomplished that despite his 2008 campaign promise to cross the aisle. Again, before anybody starts the ‘republicans are obstructionists’ one needs to look at the stack of bills passed by the House, sitting on Reiid’s desk that Reid won’t even allow to come to a vote. Pot, kettle, black.

    Lastly, say what you want about Perry as Gov, but our economy here in Texas is rated 2nd in the nation by data from Bureau of Economic Statistics (2011 was the last year I could find that had all data compiled, if there is a 2012 figure out there, I would love to see it). Our economy is also ranked in the top 20 economies in the world, So apparently whatever he and others before him have been doing, is working.

  • Jewish Right Winger


    Those are not the only limitations. New York for example has decided that 7 rounds in a magazine is safe, but 8 is a danger. The federal government wants to say that 10 rounds in a magazine is sate, but that 11 is a danger. Give me three 10 round magazines and my Glock and I can send 30 rounds down range in mere seconds.

    Of all the current ideas being tossed around, which one(s) would have prevented Sandy Hook? After all, isn’t that what set this all off in the first place?
    ‘If it saves just one’, what about the 10 who will die because they can’t defend themselves properly?

    Remember that this is a constitutional right, and as such, I don’t need to prove a need. Anymore than I need to prove a need to utilize my 1st Amendment right.

    I don’t take issue with the restrictions that are already in place for the mentailly ill, felons etc.

    Assault weapon is a misnomer. The current definition from the feds is nothing more than cosmetics. So ban a long barrel that has a pistol grip? Seriously?

  • Jewish Right Winger


    Excellent points and I say that seriously. I agree wholeheartedly.

    The problem with your ideas is, it requires parents to be responsible rather than to lazily slough off that responsibility to the government.

  • tasteless chap

    Yes, I can have it both ways. Your 2nd Amendment rights are not in danger! IF Obama got everything he wanted on is list, would you still be able to own guns? YES! (Yes, unless you’re a violent felon or someone whose mental processes make you a danger to yourself or others.)

    And how has individual Americans having guns helped protect my 1st Amendment rights?