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Gov. Greg Abbott

On May 24, Fox News blasted a headline, "New York City subway crime up 58 percent so far compared to 2021; Hunt for gunman in unprovoked shooting intensifies."

That day, a gunman shot 19 elementary school children and two adults to death in Uvalde, Texas. For the record, the number of homicides on New York City subways this year totals four.

Last year, Houston had at least 473 homicides. New York City, with four times the population, saw only 15 more.

If you want to limit the discussion to the dangers of commuting, consider the spike in road rage homicides in the Lone Star State. Last year, 33 people were shot and killed by angry, unhinged drivers — presumably strangers.

This week in Houston's Harris County, a Nissan SUV reportedly cut off a Chevy Malibu. The driver of the Malibu followed the Nissan, fired several shots, came around again and fired more, killing a passenger.

Just another day on the roads of Texas.

Crime is rising everywhere. Gang violence and demographics certainly influence the statistics. There are mentally ill people across the country, and some can get their hands on weapons of war regardless of local gun control laws.

But there's a sick, cultural thing going on in places like Texas that equate ownership of assault-type weapons with manliness. In truth, give a killing machine to a 90-year-old woman in a wheelchair, and she could mow down a line of weightlifters.

The deadliest school shooting in U.S. history took place 10 years ago at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. But the state of Connecticut responded with a raft of new gun control laws. And the state's representatives in Washington have since pushed, in some cases hollered, for more stringent limitations.

"It's f-ing awful," Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat, said on the day of the Uvalde outrage. "And it's just our choice whether we want this to continue."

That's apparently the choice in Texas, where mass shootings in schools, churches and shopping centers fly past the elected leaders' consciences like clouds across the West Texas skies.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott responded to the Uvalde massacre with the words "Horrifically, incomprehensibly." Yes, "horrific," the Houston Post countered, "but the second word Abbott used — 'incomprehensibly' — is just as much cowardice as it is a bald-faced lie."

The governor, with the connivance of the legislature, the editorial said, passed gun "laws so permissive that they've even defied the objections of police chiefs and gun safety instructors." It went on to note that Abbott bragged on Twitter about the 2021 permitless carry bill that lets any eligible Texan carry a gun in public with no license or training — "as though that were progress."

Never mind that polls show 80 percent of Texans wanting universal background checks, which are designed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally deranged. But the legislature won't go there. Nothing — not the previous and recent mass shootings in El Paso, Odessa, and Midland — would move them.

The latest paroxysm of gun violence in Texas comes right in time for the planned annual convention in Houston of the National Rifle Association. Abbott will be there, undoubtedly singing their praises, as will the two U.S. senators, John Cornyn and Ted Cruz. And the NRA will likely praise them back.

"Heidi and I," Cruz just tweeted, "are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde."

You can bet that these politicians will continue going on and on about protecting "unborn babies" while giving free rein to those who kill born babies. Texans have much to be proud of, but their growing reputation as the pro-death state is tragic.

Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at fharrop@gmail.com. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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