May 25, 2022
Marble Falls I’ve driven through Uvalde, Texas. Uvalde is a nice quiet Texas Hill country town. I’ve walked around the town square and looked at the statue of John Nance Garner III. He was a Vice-President under Franklin Delano Roosevelt for eight years from 1933 to 1941 and Speaker of the House of Representatives for two years right before his time under FDR. Driving from New Orleans to Arkansas in recent months, I’ve taken to listing to the audio of volumes two to four of Robert Caro’s monumental biography of Lyndon B. Johnson, which in many ways is more a study in politics and power, than it is a regular biography, much like his first, classic book, The Power Broker, about developer Robert Moses. Nicknamed “Cactus Jack”, LBJ and the equally legendary House Speaker Sam Rayburn, also from Texas, would regularly cite the experience of Garner as VP as a political death sentence, so strongly that it was a primary reason that Rayburn argued so strenuously against Johnson’s agreement to be John Kennedy’s vice-president right up to the end.
When I started hearing mentions of Uvalde as I would stop for gas, these were the thoughts that came to mind, but I wasn’t listening to the radio, so I had no idea of the horror. I was dodging rain and fog in the Ozarks. In the evening, checking the NBA scores, I saw a squib that Golden State’s great coach, Steve Kerr, had said something about Uvalde, while the team was playing in Dallas. That couldn’t be good. Kerr is not only an exceptional coach, but also someone willing to speak his mind and with life experience outside of basketball in Egypt that has imprinted the tragedy of violence on him.
Checking the headlines on every news website dashed my last hopes for this being good news from Uvalde, and it wasn’t. Nineteen children were dead along with two adults, at the hand of an 18-year-old shooter from a nearby high school. Many more were wounded with a clear count and status still uncertain. This was a massacre. A classroom barricaded with the killer in very personal murders. For many of us who would have hoped the killing of small, innocent children in Sandy Hook, Connecticut was so terrible it would never be repeated, we now have Uvalde, Texas right behind it.
Coast Kerr says we have to oppose the “power and money” that allows such horrors to come from the barrel of these guns. President Biden says this has to end. How can anyone who has children, who has ever seen children, who has ever been a child oppose taking all steps to stop these tragedies? Conservatives and Supreme Court Justices claim to be pro-life. How can anyone who cares about life not support stopping death by these means? This is preventable, so why are we not preventing it?