The Brief: Orlando Mass Shooting Reverberates Through Texas

By and , The Texas Tribune, texastribune.org

The Big Conversation

News of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, with 50 killed overnight Sunday in an Orlando gay nightclub by a gunman who had called authorities beforehand to pledge allegiance to the Islamic State, reverberated nationwide — including Texas.

In cities throughout the state, crowds including LGBT activists and public officials gathered at vigils and services to honor the shooting’s victims and condemned the violence.

The Austin American-Statesman’s Chuck Lindell wrote that the state’s leaders “offered prayers, perspective and the occasional politically charged comment.”

Gov. Greg Abbott, for example, flew the Florida flag from the Governor’s Mansion in an act of solidarity with the victims and also posted a tweet “calling for prayers for the victims, following with another that listed attacks blamed on Muslim radicals — Fort Hood, Garland, Chattanooga, San Bernardino and Orlando — adding: ‘America must wake up to terrorism on our soil.’”

He certainly wasn’t the only Texas politico mixing a political message into the commentary on social media:

 

 

Perhaps the biggest reaction, though, occurred over a pre-scheduled tweet of a Bible verse that nonetheless drew outrage.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick’s Sunday morning tweet of a Bible verse that read, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows,” was designed and scheduled several days prior, according to a Patrick spokesman. The lieutenant governor routinely posts Bible verses on Sundays.

The posts were taken down by late Sunday morning, but as the Tribune’s Patrick Svitek wrote, “The social media posts were widely condemned online as insensitive. The Texas Democratic Party called on Patrick to ‘apologize immediately.’”

Patrick later followed up with a Facebook post to explain the circumstances around the post. He also offered his takeaway that the incident speaks to the divisions in the body politic in the country.

He wrote, “Whether it’s political parties, Presidential politics, or one of the many policy issues being debated today, our country is becoming more divided every day.

“The hateful comments today on my post of a simple scripture verse, totally unrelated to the terrible killings last night, that were directed at me and God’s word, is another example of that hate. I pray these divisions will end.”

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