(CNSNews.com) - Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke used his campaign speech in El Paso, Texas, to call for an assault weapons ban and slam President Donald Trump’s rhetoric.
“I begin with the gun that was used in that act of terror and the number of guns that we have in this country right now. You may have read the news that the killer’s mother when she learned that he had ordered an AK-47 and had received it, called the police in Allen, Texas,” he said, referring to 21-year-old Patrick Crusius’s mother.
“What does my son, who is not enlisted in the military, who has no need for a weapon of war - no training in it. What does he need with this gun? Though she may not have known how to articulate the question, she was asking for help for herself, for her son, and really, by extension, for this country” O’Rourke said.
O’Rourke said the doctors who treated the victims of the El Paso shooting massacre were trained in “combat trauma care” - treating wounds similar to those seen in U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“These weapons like the AK-47 were designed to kill people as effectively, as efficiently in as great a number as possible, and that’s exactly what they’re doing. When you listen to the doctors describe the internal injuries of these survivors, it is absolutely horrifying,” he said.
“But to this point, we have a Congress too craven to act, a democracy not up to the task that favors those who can pay for access and influence and outcomes, the complicity and the silence of those who are in positions of public trust, and that’s exactly what has happened here in this country,” the former congressman said.
O’Rourke complained that there is “a racism in America that is as old as America itself, an intolerance towards those who do not look like or pray like or love like or speak like the majority in this country.”
That’s part of our story, and we absolutely need to tell it, to face it, to acknowledge it if we are ever going to change it, but we have always tried until now to change that, until this president who so openly speaks in racist terms, who so openly favors one race, one religion, one kind of people in this country over every other kind of people in this country, proposing to ban all Muslims, all people of one religion, one faith from the shores of a country that is comprised of people from the world over, from every walk of life, from every tradition of faith.
It’s hard to imagine that it’s happening in America, but it is happening in America. To tell people of color born in this country to go back to where they came from, to describe Klansmen and Neo-Nazis and white supremacists and white nationalist terrorists as very fine people after they have marched and chanted, Jews, you will not replace us.
Someone in his maiden speech for the highest office in the land, the greatest position of power and public trust, who describes Mexican immigrants - though they commit crimes at a lower rate than those born in this country - as rapists and criminals, constantly warns through incessant repetition of invasions and infestations and calls people, human beings, and let’s be clear, the most desperate and vulnerable human beings fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet, showing up here without a dime to their name without any prospect of hope or advancement except that they came here to this country of asylum seekers and refugees and immigrants, this country known by the Statue of Liberty, he calls them animals and predators and killers.
And this May of this year, in Florida as he warns about this invasion and he asks the question to the assembled masses, what are we going to do to stop these people,and someone yells out, shoot them, and the crowd roars their approval. In the face of that, the president signals his consent. He smiles. He laughs. He encourages more of it. Every single year for the last three, hate crimes have been on the rise in this country. Those counties that hosted a Donald Trump rally saw hate crimes increase by more than 200 percent. I want to make clear to you, to us, and to this country that what he says and what he does does not just offend our sensibilities or our understanding of the traditions of this great country, it changes who we are as a country.
You do not get kids in cages until you’ve given people permission to put them in cages by calling them animals and seeking to dehumanize them. You don’t lose the lives of seven children in the custody and care of the wealthiest, the most powerful country on the face of the planet, unless you have made it possible. And you do not get somebody driving 600 miles to come to this community, in his manifesto repeating the very words used by the president of the United States to justify this act of terror and hatred and violence and death.