Texas Democrat urges Legislature to approve a monument honoring victims of mass shootings
A border Democrat has asked a Texas House committee to consider honoring victims of mass shootings in the state with a monument on the Capitol grounds.
State Rep. Joe Moody, D-El Paso, told the committee that he authored the House resolution reluctantly, but it’s something he feels the state needs.
“There are too many victims now, and there's bound to be more in the future,” Moody said. “I remember when I was younger, and Columbine happened. It was unthinkable at the time. But in the years since, mass shootings have become almost commonplace.”
Moody told the committee he witnessed the horrible aftermath of the El Paso shooting firsthand. He also served on the three-member special committee that investigated the 2022 Uvalde shooting
The text of the resolution lists mass shootings in Texas that date back to 1966, when a lone gunman killed 15 people from the clock tower at the University of Texas at Austin. The text continues by mentioning the 19 children and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary School in May 2022 and the back-to-back shootings in 2019. In early August of that year a gunman killed 23 people at an El Paso Walmart, and another shooter killed seven in late August in the Midland-Odessa area.
The 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School that killed eight students and two teachers is also mentioned, as is the mass killing at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs the year before.
“A memorial on the Capitol grounds would provide a communal place for Texans to honor the innocent lives cut short by mass gun violence,” the resolution reads.
Funding for the project would come from individual donors, and the resolution states that the northern portion of the Capitol grounds is available for new projects.
Earlier this week the Texas House passed a bill that Moody co-authored with state Rep. Dustin Burrows, R-Lubbock, that would mandate that public and charter school campuses have at least one armed officer on each campus. The legislation, HB 3, is awaiting action by the Texas Senate.
As lawmakers continue to work on how to prevent mass shootings in Texas, the memorial will serve as a reminder on why they need to stay the course, Moody said.
“We shouldn't be able to shut our eyes to why we need to continue that work,” he said. “Seeing that [monument] here every day won't just mean something to the people who loved a mass shooting victim. It will mean something to us and those that follow us.”
The resolution was left pending in committee.
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