Texas Pro-Gun Groups to Stage a Mock Mass Shooting

Yeah. You read that right. A pair of pro-gun organizations are going to have an open carry march to protest gun-free zones, and then they’re going to stage a mock mass shooting.

From Asher Price at the Austin Statesman:

The Open Carry Walk and Crisis Performance Event will involve actors “shot” by perpetrators armed with cardboard weapons, said Matthew Short, a spokesman for the gun rights groups Come and Take It Texas and DontComply.com.

“It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” he said. He said gun noises will be blared from bullhorns. Other people will then play the role of rescuers, also armed with cardboard weapons.

Supposedly, this fake mass shooting will demonstrate that last week’s San Bernardino shooting could have been stopped if someone in attendance was armed with a gun. Which is, of course, bullshit. And get this: the fake mass shooting will take place at University of Texas’s Austin campus, which is where Charles Joseph Whitman killed 14 people and injured 32 others in 1966, decades before America’s new mass-murder trend kicked off. Here, via the New Republic, is the poster for the event:

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Price quotes a spokesman for the group as saying they’re staging the protest because “We love freedom and we’re trying to make more freedom.” There is so much wrong with this, on so many levels, that I literally don’t know where to start. I don’t even want to think about this anymore, it’s so wrong-headed.

But, okay, let’s talk about it. This isn’t about freedom. You know what I call a mob of heavily armed people roaming through a public place shouting? I call that tyranny. You know what I call a staged mass murder? Sounds like they’re terrorizing people to me. The thing about guns is that they’re scary, because they can kill you. They kill lots of people. Thousands of people this year. (Have you tried this tool from The Trace that tells you how many gun deaths occurred within a one-mile radius of your home? I recommend it. I’ve had 14 shootings near me, four of which were fatal.)

So let’s make this clear. When you protest with guns, you immediately transform your free speech into a display of power. And when you stage a mass shooting in a country which is flooded with mass shootings, you are doing more than making a power play. You’re making a threat.

This is ugly. If this news didn’t erupt in the exact same week as Donald Trump breaking political discourse with dumb opinions about Islam pouring out of his enormous bobble head, I’d call this the most disgusting political display I’ve seen all year.

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Paul Constant
Paul Constant has written about politics, books, and film for Newsweek, The Progressive, the Utne Reader, and alternative weeklies around the country.