“It’s going to happen again”: Some say Texas’ mass capturing responses fall brief


Texas’ response to high school shootings

CBS investigates Texas’ response to high school shootings


When photographs rang out in Uvalde, Texas, they echoed amongst a small group of people that knew all too nicely the ache the survivors at Robb Elementary have been experiencing. They’d gone by it themselves, just some years earlier, at one other Texas faculty.  

Many in Texas know the identical ache. From one of many nation’s first recorded mass shootings on the University of Texas at Austin in 1966 to Uvalde in 2022, Texas has a decades-long historical past of mass gun violence, a CBS News investigation discovered. The state has had extra individuals killed in mass shootings since 2019 than another, in keeping with knowledge from the Violence Project, which research mass shootings.  

Law enforcement officers inform CBS News it is simple for criminals to get their arms on a gun within the Lone Star State. Texas has one of many highest charges of gun possession and a number of the laxest gun legal guidelines within the nation.  And some survivors of gun violence there say they’re involved the state hasn’t achieved sufficient to forestall future massacres. 

“It was just a stab in the heart”   

The tragedy in Uvalde was onerous to think about for many. But Flo Rice did not must think about. She lived by one other mass capturing at Santa Fe High School exterior Houston practically 4 years earlier to the day. 

 It was “utter terror” because the capturing began simply throughout the corridor from her classroom, stated Rice, who labored at Santa Fe instead instructor. 

“We got out in the hall, and I heard the most deafening, horrific sound,” Rice stated. “I felt it reverberate through my body. I had never experienced anything like it.” 

Ten lives have been misplaced that day: eight college students and two academics. Thirteen extra have been wounded, together with Rice. 

“I sit up, and I realize that I cannot move one of my legs,” Rice stated. “And then I look, and I realized that I had bloody bullet holes in my legs.” 

Rice recovered bodily, however the emotional wounds have been reopened the second she heard about one other faculty capturing in Texas, this time in Uvalde; 19 college students and two academics have been massacred and 17 others have been wounded.  

“It was just a stab in the heart,” Rice stated. “I just literally felt pain in my heart, because it’s what we tried so hard to not let happen again.”  

A spokesperson for Santa Fe Independent School District declined to remark. 

For years after the horror at Santa Fe High School, Flo and her husband Scot labored tirelessly with Texas lawmakers to repair the system. They pushed for brand spanking new legal guidelines designed to make faculties safer. 

For Scot, the query was clear: “Do we really want our kids safe? Or do we want business as usual?” 

Shortly after Santa Fe, lawmakers within the state capitol handed a number of payments. They included Senate Bill 11, meant to handle faculty security. 

SB 11 offered tens of millions of {dollars} to reinforce faculty security and required districts to strengthen emergency plans and broaden psychological well being initiatives.  

It required all faculty workers to have coaching akin to “psychological first aid,” and to create so-called “threat assessment teams” that will assist spot doubtlessly violent college students and intervene to forestall the subsequent mass capturing. It additionally up to date necessities for districts’ emergency operations plans  and gave the state extra skill to take motion if districts do not comply.  

Scot stated the invoice would not go far sufficient.  

“SB 11 has no teeth,” he stated. “There’s nothing in it that penalizes schools that don’t do [what the bill requires]. You want to self-audit yourself? Check the box.” 

In his first interview for the reason that Uvalde capturing, Texas Education Agency (TEA) Commissioner Mike Morath — the state’s prime educator appointed by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott in 2016— admitted modifications to state legislation weren’t at all times adopted.  

“It’s one thing to have a plan on paper,” Morath stated. “It’s another thing entirely to have a plan that is practiced and executed. And I think we’ve seen, even in the case of Uvalde, you have plans that were written that people were not consistently following.”  

A spokesperson for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District did not reply to a request for remark.  

In an e-mail, Abbott’s press secretary Renae Eze stated “the safety and well-being of all Texans remains a top priority for Governor Abbott.” 

Eze stated Abbott carried out a variety of measures to handle faculty safety and labored with the Texas legislature to supply over $100 million to enhance faculty security and strengthen psychological well being sources.  

Those funds embody $50 million for “bullet-resistant shields,” greater than $10 million for psychological well being applications, and greater than $30 million for a wide range of different safety measures and coaching.

No lively shooter plans

Uvalde had a safety plan on its website, which features a menace evaluation crew. It additionally had an lively shooter plan in its emergency operations plan (EOP), in keeping with a report on the capturing by the Texas House of Representatives.

But many Texas faculties did not have such a plan as not too long ago as a 2020 audit by the Texas School Safety Center (TXSSC). That report, which reviewed the EOPs of each district within the state, discovered most Texas districts did not have an ample lively shooter plan. 

The report uncovered a deeper downside in Texas faculties’ security plans, nonetheless; a whole bunch of college districts that reported of their EOPs that that they had lively shooter insurance policies really did not.  

TXSSC Director Kathy Martinez-Prather informed CBS News these districts “were not being deceptive,” however somewhat did not have adequate plans to fulfill state pointers.  

Martinez-Prather stated TXSSC will do one other assessment of college security insurance policies starting on Sept. 12 which can embody evaluations of lively shooter plans. Martinez-Prather stated these evaluations will not be made public however added that she hopes they may “see the needle move.”  

In June, Abbott informed all Texas faculty districts to endure a variety of enhancements, from reviewing EOPs to addressing safety deficiencies. Martinez-Prather stated TXSSC will certify these summer season evaluations, however they may also be self-reported by the districts.  

SB 11 has enforcement measures for districts that do not comply. TXSSC can inform faculty boards to carry public hearings if they are not complying, and TEA has the choice of appointing a conservator to make sure modifications are made.  

Martinez-Prather stated just one district in Texas has been requested to carry public hearings, and that these hearings have been held, and the district had remedied the problems with their insurance policies. When requested, she declined to say which district it was.  

Morath stated the oversight of faculties’ emergency plans has “largely been structured as a self-policing system to date,” however stopped wanting saying there wasn’t sufficient oversight energy on behalf of the state.  

According to Morath, the query of state oversight is “a philosophical question about how much control should local principals, local school officials have on everything that happens in that school versus how much you should have controlled at the state level.”  

While it did not forestall the Uvalde capturing, Morath stated SB 11 and the opposite measures handed after the Santa Fe capturing “absolutely made schools more safe all over the state of Texas.”  

“As a dad, I remember when that shooting in Santa Fe happened,” Morath stated. “You cry and you have anger. But in my responsibility as Commissioner of Education, I have to be reflective on what is the policy and practice landscape that allowed this to happen and what do we learn from this.”  

Flo and Scot Rice aren’t satisfied.  

“You know, we can build $40 million football stadiums,” Scot stated. “We can’t spend $4 million on safety? You know? And if you don’t survive Friday morning art class, you can’t have Friday night lights.”  

Flo stated “schools need to be held accountable.”  

“It’s going to happen again and again,” she stated. “And again, and again. And people cannot comprehend it can happen to them. You just can’t — you cannot conceive that because it’s too horrific, but it can.”  

CBS News reached out to Texas State Senator Larry Taylor — the writer of SB 11 — however his workplace informed us he was unavailable for remark.  

Decades of mass shootings   

Texas isn’t any stranger to mass shootings. One of the primary main such incidents in U.S. historical past occurred there in 1966, when a person shot and killed 14 and injured 31 others from the clock tower on the University of Texas at Austin.  

Data offered to CBS News by the Violence Project, which research mass shootings, begins with that incident greater than 50 years in the past. The knowledge reveals that, since 1966, Texas has had the second-most individuals wounded in mass shootings. The solely state with extra mass capturing accidents is Nevada, due to the 2017 Las Vegas capturing which injured greater than 800 individuals.

In latest years, some researchers started to broaden the definition of mass shootings. Data from the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit that aggregates knowledge on mass shootings — which it defines as an incident wherein 4 or extra persons are shot — reveals extra individuals have died in mass shootings in Texas in since 2019 than in another state.  

Mark Bryant, government director of the Gun Violence Archive, informed CBS News in an e-mail he thinks extra permissive gun legal guidelines result in extra gun deaths.  

“I believe that what we are seeing is proof that the NRA mantra of ‘more guns, less crime’ could not be more obviously wrong,” Bryant stated.  

James Densley, who co-founded The Violence Project, added that, when adjusted for inhabitants, Texas ranks fifteenth for mass shootings within the U.S., in keeping with The Violence Project’s knowledge. 

“He pulled out the gun from underneath his coat” 

January 15, 2022 was nearly one more mass capturing in Texas. A gunman terrorized 4 individuals at Congregation Beth Israel synagogue in Colleyville, holding them hostage for 11 hours.  

Police say Malik Akram arrived in Texas weeks earlier than the incident. He stayed in a neighborhood homeless shelter, then purchased a gun from a person he met on the road.  

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker later discovered himself staring down the barrel of that very same gun. It started with only a sound.  

“I heard the click.” Cytron-Walker informed CBS Dallas Fort-Worth after the incident. “Of what I thought could have been a gun, and I was hoping it was not. That’s when he pulled out the gun from underneath his coat.”  

After 11 terrifying hours wherein Akram repeatedly threatened to kill Cytron-Walker and others, claimed to have planted bombs and repeated antisemitic tropes, the FBI pressured their method in and killed Akram.  

The man who admitted promoting Akram the gun, Henry Williams, pleaded responsible to being a felon in possession of a gun. Akram, a British nationwide who was not a U.S. citizen, wasn’t allowed to have a gun in Texas. But underneath Texas legislation, gross sales just like that one are completely authorized — a non-public transaction with no background verify required. 

Williams’ legal professional did not reply to a request for remark. 

Jeffrey Cohen, one of many hostages at Congregation Beth Israel, stated Texas legislation makes these sorts of gross sales too straightforward.  

“As soon as you say you can have sales between individuals, there’s no way to check,” he stated. “There’s no way to check whether a twice-convicted felon is selling a gun to someone from a foreign country.” 

Cohen, who stated he himself holds a hid carry allow, informed CBS News he thinks individuals have the correct to hold a gun.  

“I believe that if it makes you feel safer, you have the right to own a gun,” he stated. “I hold a concealed carry permit … but as soon as you say everybody’s allowed to carry, the bad guys can carry too.”  

Al Jones, the chief of police for the Arlington Police Department, a metropolis of practically 400,000 lower than 20 miles from Colleyville, stated gun legal guidelines in Texas make incidents just like the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue standoff extra probably.  

“Texas is one of those states where it’s easy to get guns,” he stated.  

Jones stated latest legal guidelines handed in Texas decrease the bar even additional. The state’s Firearms Carry Act of 2021 permits most Texans to hold a handgun in public with out having to acquire a license.  

Jones stated that makes it more durable for legislation enforcement to find out who must be permitted to hold a gun in public.  

“You don’t have to have any training,” Jones stated. “You don’t have to have anything. You can just … [be] 21 years old and you can go get a gun.”  

Gun management advocates say these lenient Texas gun legal guidelines contribute to a pipeline funneling weapons to different states with stricter laws.  

Data from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) analyzed by CBS News reveals hundreds of weapons initially bought in Texas turned up in different states. Between 2010 and 2020, greater than 36,000 such weapons have been recovered by police exterior Texas, CBS News’ evaluation confirmed. That’s greater than another state besides Florida and Georgia.  

An ATF spokesperson did not reply to CBS News’ request for remark. 

One of the individuals alleged to be not too long ago chargeable for the circulate of weapons from Texas to different states is Demontre Hackworth, a 31-year-old who authorities say purchased greater than 90 weapons in North Texas since 2019. 

Authorities say Hackworth purchased weapons in Texas, the place his hid carry allow meant he did not must undergo background checks each time he purchased a firearm. But they have been discovered by police as distant as Maryland and even Canada, in keeping with an indictment by federal prosecutors unsealed in June. 

Texas can be affected by this fixed circulate of weapons. In 2020 alone, about 27,000 firearms bought in Texas later turned up at crime scenes within the state, in keeping with ATF knowledge. 

Nine of the weapons Hackworth allegedly offered have been later related to crimes in Texas, together with within the homicide of a 21-year-old transgender girl, Kiér Laprí Kartier, who was fatally shot in Arlington, Texas in September 2021.  

Hackworth pleaded not responsible to 4 federal expenses – one depend of dealing in firearms with no license and three counts of creating a false assertion through the buy of a firearm – filed towards him. His legal professional declined to remark, and the case remains to be pending.  

Eddie Garcia, chief of the Dallas Police Department, stated it is “not surprising” so many weapons bought in Texas find yourself within the arms of criminals.  

“Our community is being hurt by this,” Garcia stated. “Our victims are being hurt by this. You know, our men and women that are out there every day to take that criminal element off the street, they’re being affected by this.”  


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