The White Settlement shooting did a number on anti-gunners. After all, here was a mass shooting that they really couldn’t manage to put pro-gun activists and lawmakers on their heels over. Rather than pressuring us to justify how the killer got his gun or how we need to ban “assault shotguns” or whatever they would have decided to call them, we could point out to the relatively low loss of life and the quick actions by several of the church security members.
However, there are those who still seem to believe that we’re off our rocker by pointing this out.
No policy or set of policies can eliminate malevolent acts like this. But you don’t have to look very hard into the White Settlement story to find areas of, let’s say, potential improvement. Can the mental health and criminal justice systems be better engineered to intervene with people like the shooter before it’s too late? Are there ways to prevent people with similar problems from legally obtaining a firearm? To ask is to answer.
You will be surprised to learn, then, that the White Settlement shooting is being portrayed as something of a happy story—or at least, a policy success. That’s because the shooter was gunned down relatively quickly, and because the man who killed the shooter was carrying his gun thanks to an act of the Texas Legislature. After a year of horrific mass shootings in Texas like the ones in El Paso and Midland–Odessa in August, after which state lawmakers had to shuffle their feet and wait for attention to fade—or in Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick’s case, to call for universal background checks before quietly retreating—they finally had a reason to take a victory lap.