Governor Greg Abbott and the Texas massacre

from Massimo Gaggi

The 66-year-old leads Texas for a second term. In the past he has boasted of liberality in arms and opposed any restrictions. And now he’s waiting for the NRA convention

When Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the law in 2013 that prohibited the sale of assault weapons in New York State and limited the magazine size of those on the market, Greg Abbott sent Internet users residing in Manhattan and Albany. , the state capital, a message in which he invited gun owners to move to Texas: in addition to paying less taxes, you can arm yourself as you please because with us, he said, the second amendment to the Constitution (the one on the freedom to arm oneself) is sacred. And a few years later, as governor, this longtime Republican politician even said he was embarrassed that California had overtaken Texas in the purchase of automatic pistols and rifles.: he treated his fellow citizens almost as if they were soft and invited them to fill the gap.

These are episodes that explain better than any political analysis why in the United States, especially in the South, the repeated massacres do not lead to a showdown on the insane spread of firearms (more than one for every citizen, including infants): a devastating and obvious crisis is systematically declassified as a mental health problem for a fewwhile the obvious irrationality of the choices made up to now is masked calling for the aid of the ideology of freedom at all costs, in all fields.

Abbottattacked after the umpteenth massacre precisely by recalling these his departures from the past, the acclaimed symbol of this America in boots, priest with the smoking pipe of the shrine of arms: that’s how he likes to define himself in Texas which, together with six other states, has passed the laws that leave more free a hand to everyone. No significant changes are to be expected even after the Uvalde massacrealso because Abbott, who before becoming governor was for 12 years attorney generalthe head of the Texas judiciary, has already warned that, in the unlikely event of a Congressional intervention to put some limits on the freedom to arm oneself, he will appeal in all courts (ie up to the now very conservative Supreme Court) against the federal government.

Coherent with its policy which has always been to increase the circulation of armsto take them everywhere and also exhibit them in public, as confirmed by a law he passed by the Texas Parliament at the end of last year, shortly after another horrific massacre: the racist one in a Hispanic supermarket in El Paso in which 23 people were killed.

Don’t change anything then e nothing will change today also because Abbott, who has always been elected by large majorities, enjoys the support of the majority of his fellow citizens. In the primary of March he was voted by 66% of Republicans: in November the challenge (but it will be very hard) the Democrat Beto O’Rourke. Yesterday the former young progressive hope interrupted the governor’s press conference by shouting: As long as you don’t do something, all this on your conscience.

Tomorrow Abbott will have his say at the annual meeting of the National Rifle Association, the arms lobby, where Donald Trump has also confirmed his presence. Abbott will play at home, doubly: because he has always been the darling of the NRA and because the conference is held in Houston, where he is the guest. We will hardly see this 64-year-old leader arriving with an olive branch who has spent his entire political career in a wheelchair, paralyzed since he was 26 from a trivial accident.