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Tag: uvalde massacre

GOP House Candidate Pushes Mass Shooting Conspiracy Theory

Carl Paladino, who announced that he’s running for Congress, previously shared a post on Facebook which pushed conspiracy theories about the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas. The Facebook post portrayed the tragedies as false flag attacks meant to help Democrats “revoke the 2nd amendment and take away guns” and claimed “the Texas shooter was receiving hypnosis training” apparently under the direction of the CIA.

Media Matters and others have documented how social media, especially Facebook, helps facilitate the spread of conspiracy theories.

Paladino announced on June 3 that he is running as a Republican for New York’s 23th Congressional District (which includes part of the Buffalo suburbs) after Republican Rep. Chris Jacobs said that he would drop his reelection bid. Jacobs made the move after he lost party backing for saying he would support gun safety measures.

Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-ranked Republican member of Congress, announced that she is "proudly" supporting Paladino’s campaign. President Donald Trump also recently praised Paladino.

Paladino is a longtime Republican politician and businessman who has also appeared as a commentator on media outlets over the years and briefly hosted a podcast. He has a history of bigoted remarks, including stating that he wanted to see Michelle Obama “return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla” and hoped that former President Obama catches “mad cow disease after being caught having relations with a Herford.”

Shortly before he announced his candidacy, Paladino shared a post on June 1 to his Facebook page responding to the recent tragedies in Buffalo and Uvalde by pushing conspiracy theories about shootings. The post, which was written by someone named Jeff Briggs, claimed that “gun control” is actually “population control” and “mass shootings tended to explode when there is a Democrat in the WH who would not hesitate to revoke the 2nd amendment and take away guns.”


Regarding the Buffalo and Uvalde tragedies, the post stated: “In almost every mass shooting including the most recent horrific Buffalo Tops Market & the Texas school shootings, there are strange occurrences that are never fully explained. How did an 18 yr old obtain $5000 in weapons and a $70k truck? Why were the officers told to stand down when their training just two months ago instructed them to rush in. The man who rushed in was a Border Patrol agent who defied the onsight officers’ instructions. The absence of crisis leaders reminds me of the broken cameras and napping guards when Epstein committed suicide.”

It also stated of the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting: “Why did the media suddenly stop covering the Vegas Shooting and the government go silent after 55 were murdered by a lone shooting using bump stocks?”

The post rambled on, stating: “Multiple conspiracy theories that raise eyebrows, The CIA’s MK Ultra mind control program, the shooter of RFK claiming he didn’t remember doing it, The JFK assignation one shooter story, The murder of John Lennon who was writing songs about ending wars, The fact that the Texas shooter was receiving hypnosis training, Stories of multiple shooters in mass shootings that are never explained.”

Conspiracy theorists have frequently claimed that the government engineers “false flag” attacks as a justification to enact political measures, including after the recent shootings in Buffalo and Uvalde.


Paladino's Facebook post:

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Endorse This! Kimmel's Funny, Sad Response To GOP Inaction On Guns

While the world watches in shock as America's so-called leaders do little and mostly nothing on gun safety, Jimmy Kimmel gleefully mocked feckless and pathetic Ted Cruz over his total lack of courage to stand up to the deadly NRA:

"His need for attention is so powerful. He has been everywhere this week doing interviews… defending the disturbing allegiance these guys have to semi-automatic weapons, which Ted says aren’t the problem. The problem, according to Ted Cruz, is that schools need to be more like prisons.”

But Kimmel offered his own way to compel deranged, hateful clowns like Cruz into action.


Watch the entire clip below:

Why Crowd Cheered Bidens And Jeered Abbott At Uvalde Massacre Memorial

On Sunday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott was greeted by jeers upon his arrival at a memorial site for the victims of the Robb Elementary School massacre in Uvalde, Texas — the state that has seen the most mass shootings since 2012.

The escalating gun violence has sparked nationwide grief and a clamor for increased gun control in a country that has experienced at least 12 mass shootings since last Tuesday.

Abbott and his Republican colleagues have endured waves of criticism for their weakening of the state’s gun laws, as well as their unrelenting support for the easy acquisition of guns, even after numerous mass shootings.

In a recent report, the Texas Tribune stated that “in the last two legislative sessions, Texas legislators have loosened gun laws, most notably by passing permitless carry in 2021, less than two years after mass shootings in El Paso and Odessa took the lives of 30 people.”

Abbott had traveled to the town to meet with President Biden, who had also come to pay his respects and condole with the victims’ families.

As Abbott wheeled past the elementary school sign, the crowd — comprising Uvalde residents and visitors from out of town — booed the governor.

“We need change, governor!” shouted a man in the crowd. “Our children are under constant attack in this community. We need help,” the man continued, yelling at Abbott, who had delivered taped remarks at the National Rifle Association’s convention in the immediate aftermath of the school shooting.

“Shame on you, Abbott,” another voice rang out loud, according to Reuters, as Abbott’s security kept the crowd at bay.

Confidence in the governor took a hit last Friday when, in a press conference, Abbott announced that his earlier statements extolling the state’s law enforcement's speedy reaction had been wrong, but that was what he was told.

Abbott’s admission came after the state’s top safety official admitted that the police made the “wrong decision” by not storming the classroom where the shooter had killed the children and barricaded himself.

"If I thought it would help, I would apologize," said Steven McCraw, the director and colonel of the Texas Department of Public Safety, during a heated press conference.

Abbott tried to placate the public, saying, “Law enforcement is going to earn the trust of the public by making sure they thoroughly and exhaustively investigate exactly what happened.”

The same crowd greeted Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden, with cheers as they laid flowers at the memorial. The first couple attended services at a Catholic church afterward, and when they were leaving, someone yelled “Do something!” The request caught the president’s attention, and he replied, “We will.”

Abbott has announced that new laws could be enacted because of the school shooting — laws that address mental health, not gun violence, per the Hill.

“You can expect robust discussion and my hope is laws passed that I will sign addressing health care in this state,” Abbott said. “There are an array of health issues that relate to those who commit gun crimes.”

“Anyone who suggests we should focus on background checks instead of mental health, I suggest to you it is mistaken,” he added.

A poll conducted by Morning Consult and Politico after the Uvalde incident found that an overwhelming majority of Americans — 88% of the respondents — support background checks on all guns.

However, Republicans appear hellbent on ignoring the outcry, as Democratic gubernatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke pointed out when he confronted Abbott at the governor's press conference last Wednesday.

Greene Joins Extremists Pushing 'Transsexual' Lies About Uvalde Killer

Emboldened by her successive victories in court and the GOP primary in Georgia, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) has joined the list of House Republicans deploying shockingly baseless conspiracy theory that the Uvalde gunman was transgender in a bid to deflect public attention elsewhere and stunt the growing calls for common-sense gun reforms.

On Sunday, Greene, a known far-right conspiracy theorist, started a Facebook Live — which she titled “Something doesn’t add up” — before 9:30 pm and quickly began pushing an utterly unfounded rumor, without evidence, that Texas school shooter Salvador Ramos “clearly had a lot of mental issues going on, as was shown with him wearing eyeliner, cross-dressing, a lot of his language, being a loner.”

Since the massacre, new details have continued to emerge about Ramos, but there’s been nothing to suggest that the gunman was transgender or had been crossdressing, as Greene had claimed, without evidence. According to the Independent, the rumor appeared to have originated on 4chan, a hotbed of right-wing conspiracies, where extremist netizens falsely blamed a transgender woman for the shooting. However, the woman whom the 4chan users accused did not live in Texas and did not bear any significant resemblance to Ramos.

Greene isn’t the only Republican spreading false rumors about the deceased 18-year-old suspect’s identity. MAGA fanatic and anti-vaxxer Candace Owens and Republican Reps. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Pete Sessions (R-TX) have disseminated variants of the same rumor on social media and in interviews.

However, Greene went further down the conspiratorial rabbit hole than the others did, as is her style. She claimed — without evidence, of course — that Ramos had been in the same Discord server as Payton Gendron, the teen charged in connection with the recent massacre at a supermarket in Buffalo, a majo black neighborhood.

Eventually Greene issued a disclaimer on her live stream, stating that she had been unable to verify the information she was peddling on air.

The Georgian congresswoman didn’t stop there, though. She pushed the misinformation still further, claiming that an unidentified party was “grooming” young men into mass shooters, inching towards a conspiracy that QAnon is founded on — that former President Trump, a hero, is facing down a cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles in government. The conspiracy theory is a staple used by conservatives to slander the LGBTQ community, as well.

Just hours after the shooting, in response to a tweet that claimed Ramos supported right-wing House members, Gosar wrote, and later deleted, a tweet claiming the shooter was a “transsexual” illegal immigrant.

"We know already fool. It's a transsexual leftist illegal alien named Salvatore Ramos. It's apparently your kind of trash," Gosar tweeted.

The Arizonian would later delete his tweet, but it’s not his first social media attack on Democrats or left-leaning Americans. "The Democratic party is the party of hatred. They hate America, they hate people who love America, and they hate the religion and the descendants of the people who built America," Gosar tweeted on Monday.

Another Arizona Republican, Josh Barnette, who is challenging incumbent Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) for his House seat, publicly questioned whether or not Ramos was in the United States legally, but Texas Governor Greg Abbott stated that the gunman was a citizen of the United States.

Key US Lawmakers Offer Guarded Hope For Gun Safety Reforms

Washington (AFP) - Key US lawmakers expressed guarded optimism Sunday that the shocking school shooting in Texas might lead to at least small steps against gun violence.

"There are more Republicans interested in talking about finding a path forward this time than I have seen since Sandy Hook," Democratic Senator Chris Murphy said on ABC, referring to the 2012 school shooting in his home state of Connecticut that claimed 26 lives.

Since the shooting Tuesday in the town of Uvalde, Texas left 19 children and two teachers dead, Murphy has been a leader in talks with Republicans -- who have long resisted gun-control measures -- about potential steps.

Dick Durbin, the number two Democrat in the Senate, said Sunday that compromise would not come easily, but that after Uvalde, he sensed "a different feeling among my colleagues."

"The real challenge is whether the Republicans will step forward and show courage, political courage, in a very tough situation," he told CNN.

But, he added, "There will be some."

One moderate House Republican, Adam Kinzinger, told CNN that Uvalde might have opened him up to greater gun control measures.

Kinzinger, a military veteran, said he had opposed the idea of a ban on assault-style weapons until "fairly recently."

But, he added, "I think I'm open to a ban now," or at least to imposing training or certification requirements on potential buyers.

"We have to be coming to the table with ways to mitigate 18-year-olds buying these guns and walking into schools," he said. "My side's not doing that."

Opposition to gun control runs deep among Republicans and some Democrats representing rural states.

In the wake of the Uvalde shooting, several Republican lawmakers have advocated improved school security or additional mental health support.

Durbin acknowledged the difficulty of achieving real reform in a country where guns outnumber people.

"The AR-15 that was used by this individual in Uvalde, there are now 20 million of those owned by Americans across the nation, just to put it in perspective," he said.

"So we have got to be realistic about what we can achieve."

Maker Of Assault Rifle Used In Uvalde Massacre Featured Child In Bizarre Ad

A Georgia gun manufacturer is facing scrutiny for its disturbing ad shared just days prior to the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

According to HuffPost, on May 16, Daniel Defense —a firearm company that manufactures AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles like the one Salvador Ramos, the 18-year-old shooter who fatally shot two teachers and 19 students— posted an image of a young child holding an assault rifle.

With the image, the gun manufacturer included Proverbs 3:5 which reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”


Since the deadly Uvalde, Texas massacre, the company's tweet is being seen in a different and less-favorable light. Although the company quickly changed its Twitter account status from public to private, screenshots of the tweet had already been screenshotted.

To make matters worse, HuffPost reports that the disturbing post was actually tweeted on Ramos' 18th birthday which, according to reports, is when he actually purchased his first firearms. In fact, Ramos is said to have purchased a Daniel Defense DDM4 V7 just days before opening fire in the school.

Daniel Defense has also boasted that the firearm is the “perfect rifle for everybody.” According to the police report on Ramos, the teen also purchased a second firearm which has been identified as a Smith & Wesson M&P 15. However, he only carried the assault rifle into the school.

In wake of the shooting and the recirculating Twitter post, Daniel Defense has come under fire for its tendency to develop firearm advertisements that have a connection to religion. Speaking to NBC News, Ryan Busse, a former firearms executive and gun violence prevention group advisor said, “This is how [company founder Marty Daniel] has grown his business: By being on the edge and wrapping this holy-roller thing around it.”

A spokesperson for Daniel Defense also said, “We believe this week is not the appropriate time to be promoting our products in Texas at the NRA meeting.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Blood On Their Hands -- And NRA Money In Their Pockets

The gut-wrenching tragedy in Texas has turned into a thoroughly degraded political spectacle of corruption and cowardice. If anyone still wonders why America suffers from gun violence at a level unmatched by any other nation, the answer can be found on gaudy display in Houston. The Republican politicians who obediently kneel at the National Rifle Association's annual gathering there — as well as those too sniveling to show up right now in person but instead on video, like Gov. Greg Abbott — have blood on their hands and money in their pockets.

The crooked gang that has driven the NRA toward bankruptcy through the graft of millions in crony contracts and lavish "expenses" over their decades of self-dealing has greased its political allies, too. At last count the organization has doled out upwards of $100 million over the last few election cycles to its faithful servants, who echo its litany of bogus constitutionalism and absurd alibis against gun safety regulation.

That the NRA event will occur just across the Lone Star State from the bereaved town of Uvalde is more than a tragic coincidence. Under pressure of investigation from the attorney general of New York, where the NRA has been registered as a public charity for 150 years, the outfit's leaders may relocate to the more corruption-friendly Texas climate. The Republican leadership there is an utterly servile instrument of the gun lobby, insisting that they will tolerate no regulation of firearms whatsoever. If a disturbed teenager has the cash to buy two assault weapons that he will use to brutally murder small children, why should they stop him when the gun lobby says no?

Abbott, who held a happy hour fundraiser on the same day as the Uvalde slaughter, embodies the callous indifference to the murderous consequences and deceptions of the gun lobby. He is a quintessential "thoughts and prayers" and "pro-life" hypocrite, whose devout faith doesn't extend to protecting children after they are actually born. Abbott is the kind of deliberately "do-nothing" placeholder who leaves open the door to the massacre of children that makes people question democratic governance and fills them with despair.

While children are giving traumatic accounts of the slaying of their classmates and how they smeared themselves with their blood to pretend to be dead, Abbott is pretending that he will do something. Only the most naive will believe him, however, because we have seen this rodeo clown show before.

Four years ago in Texas, when a 17-year-old student shot dead eight students and two teachers, and grievously wounded 13 others at Santa Fe High School, Abbott promised he would offer new solutions. He called for "roundtable" discussions reflecting all points of view. He hinted at expanded background checks and ways to keep guns away from obviously dangerous individuals. "It's time in Texas that we take action to step up," he said, "and make sure this tragedy is never repeated ever again in the history of the state of Texas." Oh yeah.

But Greg Abbott did nothing — absolutely nothing — as bloody murders continued across his state— at the El Paso Walmart, in Midland-Odessa, and now Uvalde. In fact, he has continued to promote unfettered access of weapons of war to wanton killers. Now the Texas rodeo clown is telling the crowd he's concerned about "mental health," when the truth is that he has cut the state's mental health budget consistently.

To be sure, Americans need expanded access to mental health care, especially now in the aftermath of the pandemic, but that isn't the most effective way to address gun violence. We know that gun regulation works, because even the most violent cities that curb guns have fewer killings than those that do not. New York City has far fewer murders than Houston, where the monstrous NRA will celebrate as the innocents are buried. Today, the leading cause of death among children and teenagers in the United States is gun violence.

Don't mess with Texas? Sorry, but Texas is a bloody mess — and the enablers of its terrible distress begin but do not end with its governor.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Abbott Attended Campaign Fundraiser Hours After Uvalde Massacre

Less than two weeks after a gunman fatally shot ten people in a supermarket in Buffalo, New York, the United States suffered yet another mass shooting when, on Tuesday, May 24, a gunman killed at least 21 people in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas — including 19 children. And hours after that massacre, according to the Dallas Morning News, Gov. Greg Abbott attended a campaign fundraising event in East Texas.

The event was held at a time when other Texas officials were canceling similar events because of the Uvalde tragedy. Abbott, who has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump and is seeking a third term, recently defeated challengers in Texas’ 2022 GOP gubernatorial primary — and he is now competing with Democratic gubernatorial nominee Beto O’Rourke, a former congressman and 2020 presidential candidate, in the general election.



In an official statement on Wednesday, May 25, Mark Miner — a spokesman for Abbott’s reelection campaign — announced, “All campaign and political activity, including a scheduled fundraiser for this evening, have (been) postponed until further notice.” But Miner, according to Dallas Morning News reporter Allie Morris, “did not answer questions about” why Abbott “went ahead with the East Texas event.”

“Jeff Bradley of Huntsville confirmed hosting the fundraiser for Abbott, but offered no further details,” Morris reports. “It’s not clear who was in attendance or how long the event lasted. The governor showed up after holding a press conference in Abilene, where he briefed the public on wildfires in the area and the shooting.”

O’Rourke has been highly critical of Abbott’s response to the Uvalde tragedy. At a press conference on May 25, O’Rourke told him, “Gov. Abbott, I have to say something…. The time to stop the next shooting is right now, and you are doing nothing.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.