Another school shooting. Another excuse
Ted Cruz's ridiculous excuses show how far Republicans will go to avoid blaming guns
It’s a close field, but we finally have a winner.
After 4.5 billion years of Earth’s existence, Republican senator and Texan trainwreck Ted Cruz has conspired to propose what is, by a clear margin, the single worst idea on record.
America does not need gun control, says Cruz.
American schools need… door control.
‘Have one door into and out of the school,’ the Texan congressman told Fox News just hours after a shooting at Robb Elementary School killed 21 people, including 19 children.
‘And have armed police officers at that door’ Cruz continued.
It’s not surprising that Cruz is shilling for the gun lobby.
Since 2020, pro-gun lobbyists, including the NRA, have donated $442,000 (£375,000) to the tenured Republican’s campaign. Cruz even spoke at the NRA conference, controversially taking place in the lone star state even before the funerals of the shooting’s victims.
With that much funding on the line, Cruz’s political future has become so dependent on a guns at any cost mantra that he’s willing to blame inanimate objects for the deaths of 19 children.
It will not take a Mandela or a Churchill to end America’s wildly out of control gun problem, but rather a President willing to recognise that doors don’t kill people - guns do. It was never Donald Trump, and despite his meaningless grandstanding thoughts and prayers, it will not be Joe Biden.
In any other country in the world, the sight of school after school adorned with heavily armed police would be a shocking image capable of prompting immediate unanimity for stricter controls. It happened in the UK. It happened in Australia.
Yet when this happens in America, weasel politicians like Cruz run away. That was the play when Cruz hastily and unilaterally departed a Sky News interview (out of one of three doors in the venue, no less) when pushed on why mass school shootings are a uniquely American issue.
He angrily responded by characteristically vomiting insufferable buzzwords about how the USA is the ‘freest, safest country in the world’.
Try boasting of America’s safety to Miah Cerrillo, the 11-year-old student who smeared her face in blood and played dead to avoid being shot.
Try boasting of America’s freedom to the parents of the 19 children who will never grow to be adults.
American schools are so safe that the implementation of Ted Cruz’s best-case scenario requires heavily armed police officers operating a single school door in the style of a Cold War Soviet checkpoint.
The 2016 presidential candidate, who once starred in a video making ‘machine gun bacon’, embarked on his most heinous stunt by dragging hoards of press into view of the back door through which the Uvdale shooter entered, declaring that the reason for the shooting was that said door was unlocked.
Embedded within Cruz’s obsessive rejection of any responsibility was a tacit admission that the safety of hundreds of thousands of children is guaranteed only by flimsy back doors, and that his side cannot think (or, more likely, are paid not to think) of measures to ensure the safety of children at school.
In Texas, any 18-year-old with a heartbeat and a credit card can access an unlimited number of guns, including the dreaded AR-15 used at Sandy Hook, Parkland, Pulse nightclub and the Las Vegas massacre.
And every time a school shooting happens, gun lobby sellouts like Cruz will freely blame anything but the weapon.
Today it’s doors. Tomorrow it’s the weather. Someday it will be the kids themselves.
But America can change — and crimes can change America. Three days after 9/11, airport security changed to introduce stringent checks on domestic flights. The sheer scale of humanity and tragedy encompassed by the loss of life and two iconic buildings was enough to jumpstart lawmakers to act.
In 1994, then-President Bill Clinton issued a federal ban on assault weapons. Congress let it lapse in 2004, but President Biden (once a senator who voted for the 1994 ban) pledged in March 2021 to reintroduce ‘common sense’ gun control measures - a subjective, unquantifiable and broadly meaningless description of laws that will juggle lives against a staple of America’s constitution.
But should any bill be sent to congress, the chances are it will be sent down. Careerists like Cruz, voting with cheques in mind, as well as the unsolvable nuances of defining a problem millions of Americans don’t want to admit even exists, will kill the momentum of even simple gun control measures.
And who will be laughing all the way to the bank? Ted Cruz.
His soul was always for sale — emblematic of a right-wing hegemony motivated by campaign donations over convictions, money over morals, and tax write-offs over human rights. America is the land of the free, but it is the home of the depraved.
The more Cruz and his cronies invent excuses, feign heartbreak and despair on the stage of a pro-gun conference, and suggest fundamentally terrible ideas like ‘door control’, the more American children will suffer in fear, silence and dread.
This will happen again. Not just the shooting, but the reaction too. The arguments, the briefings, the outrage, thoughts, prayers, protests, vigils, funerals and fundraisers (not even wounded children get free healthcare).
Nothing will change. Next time, it will be a different city, a different number and a different school - but however hard Ted Cruz tries, it will always be the same root cause.