Vegas should be a lesson for Texas

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The U.S. flag by the tower flys at half-staff on Monday as a sign of solidarity for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.  At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 injured when a gunman opened fire at an outdoor country music concert in Las Vegas on Sunday evening. 

Photo Credit: Anthony Mireles | Daily Texan Staff

I am angry.

Sunday night, a terrorist broke open the window of his hotel room on the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas Strip hotel. He used the medium-sized armory inside to rain carnage on a crowd gathered below for a concert. At press time, 59 innocent people had lost their lives and more than 500 others were rushed to the hospital. All because of a lone terrorist with weapons legally procured in this country.

This is evil. This is depressing. But this is not surprising. 

As has been stated before and already by so many, we crossed a threshold in December 2012 after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. When the United States of America and her leaders decided that our fetish for semiautomatic instruments of death outweighed our love for our wives and husbands, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters and grandchildren, there was, in hindsight, no going back.

When children suffocated inside of refrigerators, we did not wait before assigning guilt. When bridges collapse, it is not uncouth to ascribe blame. We know why this happens. The malevolent National Rifle Association does its damnedest to confound us, but we know better. This terrorist used semiautomatic and automatic weaponry that should be reserved for the military. To say a “good guy with a gun” could have stopped him, or that we need more guns such that his successors-in-terror may be stopped, is as asinine as saying a policeman’s service revolver can stop Kim Jong Un’s ICBMs — or a hurricane.

When I was an undergraduate at UT, the most recent gubernatorial election took place. Greg Abbott was then the Attorney General and was amenable to the idea of letting guns onto college campuses, as was then-Gov. Rick Perry. I tried sounding the alarm, but few students appeared to care and Abbott defeated the Democrat, Wendy Davis, by a landslide in an election with pathetically low turnout.

Today, thanks to now-Gov. Abbott, guns are flowing freely on the 40 Acres. Meanwhile, Abbot, a Longhorn himself, sends his only child to a private university in California, the state his stump speeches would have you think is the devil incarnate.    

Stay angry. Abbott does not care about you and your friends and your family — at least not when they compete with the NRA and the seven percent of the state that drive the Republican primaries tantamount to election here. Nor does Sen. Ted Cruz, who will be up for re-election next year.

The next horrid day could be on this campus. We’ll have folks like Abbott to blame. But if we do not organize and vote now and next year against proponents of the complacency that has led to our new, nightmarish normal, we will also have ourselves to blame.

I am angry. I hope you are too. Let us remember in November.  

Horwitz is a second-year law student from Houston. He is a senior columnist.