Two mass shootings. Thirteen people killed. Zero Action.

10 May, 23

Dear Friends,

One week. Two mass shootings. Thirteen people killed. Seven injured.

And an overwhelming majority of lawmakers in Austin who took no action.

Rather than taking action to protect our kids, state leaders have systematically defunded mental health services while using mental illness as a convenient scapegoat for extremist acts. Our state Legislature is more concerned with culture wars than weapons of war. Instead of doing something about gun violence, they’ve spent the last few months proposing legislation that would:

  • Allow elections to be subverted, disrupted, taken over, or even overturned based on mere “belief” and vague allegations
  • Let election judges carry guns inside polling locations
  • Underfund and dismantle public education with school voucher schemes
  • Ban diversity, equity, and inclusion offices on college campuses
  • Ban books from libraries that don’t fit their narrow worldview
  • Undermine Harris County’s local control, which is vital to economic growth
  • Dismantle LGBTQ+ equality and ban medically necessary care for transgender youth

We’re doing what we can to make our communities safe and healthy at the local level through smart strategic, and substantial investments in public safety. Our gun buybacks have taken hundreds of guns off the street. One year ago, we launched the Holistic Assistance Response Team (HART) and Community Violence Interruption Program (CVIP) to target the root causes of violence.  

Yet every time we take one step forward, the state sends us two steps back, wresting control of Houston Independent School District from its elected board while simultaneously making it harder for people to vote. Taking away our power to govern in Harris County and preventing us from advancing critical programs that promote economic opportunity for all. Making it harder for universities to prepare the next generation of mental health providers who make community violence intervention programs possible.

Here’s the objective reality we can’t ignore: extremism is not a mental illness. More guns will not make us safer. More control over our local leaders will not make us free.

We can no longer feast on the crumbs of inaction or be distracted by these dizzying contradictions. It’s too late for that. We must demand more from our lawmakers.


Rodney Ellis

Rodney Ellis