We Still Haven't Learned The Lessons Of Luby's 30 Years Later

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Luby’s Cafeteria is one of the earlier mass shootings of our modern era. Predating Columbine, it was a nightmare scenario that the city of Killean, TX is still reeling from 30 years later. That’s certainly understandable.

After all, it was something so unexpected that it would be difficult not to reel.

The tragic Luby’s Cafeteria massacre in Killeen left survivors, residents, and city leaders hoping and praying such a senseless, murderous incident would never happen again in the United States.

“No community is, or could ever be, prepared for the tragedy which struck Killeen on October 16, 1991,” said a 1991 Herald thank-you-to-first-responders display ad from then-Mayor Major Blair and Killeen City Council. “Our hope and prayers are that a similar event will never again occur in any community.”

At the time, the Luby’s tragedy was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, however, that’s no longer the case.

In the three decades since George “JoJo” Hennard, 35, of Belton, drove his blue Ford Ranger pickup through a plate glass window of Luby’s Cafeteria in Killeen and murdered 23 Luby’s Cafeteria lunchtime diners on National Bosses Day, America has mourned 111 mass shootings, eight of those in Texas, in which 846 people were killed, according to a mass shooting database by nonprofit Mother Jones.

Two of those mass shootings occurred at Fort Hood, in 2009 and 2014, in which 16 people were killed in all.

In the decade prior to the Luby’s massacre, according to the mass shooting database, America had nine mass shootings, classified as an attack where three or more victims are killed in a public place.

It’s awful.

One thing everyone can probably agree on is that we haven’t learned our lessons since then. The problem is that we don’t agree on what those lessons actually are.

For the anti-Second Amendment jihadists, though, the lessons are “guns r teh badz.” Never you mind that five people were just murdered with a bow and arrow last week, the problem truly is guns.

Yet there was an actual lesson here:

Former state representative and Luby’s survivor Suzanna Hupp, lost both of her parents in the Luby’s shooting. Hupp, who lobbies for looser gun control laws, said she would’ve been able to stop the shooter if Texas had allowed concealed carry in 1991. She had a handgun at the time, but left it in her vehicle because of the law at the time.

DING DING DING! We have a winner!

Luby’s was a target in part because people couldn’t carry a firearm there. There was little to no chance of meeting armed resistance. Hupp would have been in a position to end the attack before it really got going, but she complied with the law. We saw the same thing happen in Virginia Beach, too.

What’s that phrase? “If it saves just one life,” or something like that? Yeah, I think that’s it.

Look, I’m not saying ending gun-free zones will put an end to mass shootings. I think it’ll stop a lot of them, but someone will still try to shoot up places for whatever demented reason.

What I will say is that we can specifically point to two cases–and who knows how many others we’re unaware of–where someone was barred from carrying a gun, so they were unarmed when a mass shooting happened. If it wouldn’t have made a difference in any of the others, it would have at least saved lives in Luby’s Cafeteria and in Virginia Beach.

But I don’t believe they were the only two cases, either. They’re just the two I know of definitively.

That’s the lesson we can’t seem to learn. We can’t seem to grasp that bad things are going to happen. You’re never going to stop that. But you can minimize the damage by trusting law-abiding citizens with the very rights protected in the Constitution, including the right to keep and bear arms.

Nov 29, 2021 4:30 PM ET