Background Briefing: May 26, 2022


Now Governor Abbott Wants More Action on Mental Health After Calling on Texans to Buy More Guns, Tweeting “Let’s Pick up the Pace Texans”

We begin with the Republican leaders in Texas shamefully avoiding responsibility and shifting blame for the massacre of 19 elementary school children and 2 teachers in their state in the 213th mass shooting incident in the U.S. so far this year. In Texas Governor Abbott, whose administration has prioritized protecting the lives of fetuses over living children, has been quick to ban books that offend his political sensibilities while doing everything possible to make guns more available and ownership unconstrained. Now he is calling for action on mental health but in 2015 he tweeted “I’m EMBARRASSED, Texas #2 in nation for new gun purchases, behind CALIFORNIA. Let’s pick up the pace Texans.” Joining us is James Moore, an Emmy Award–winning television news correspondent who has covered Texas politics and has traveled extensively with every presidential campaign since 1976. He is the founder of Big Bend Strategies and publishes regularly at Texas to the World, and we discuss his op-ed at CNN, “What people don’t get about guns and the Constitution.”


Our Gun Culture and Its Historical Roots

Then we look into our gun culture and its historical roots and speak with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, who grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. Active in the international Indigenous movement for more than four decades, she taught in the newly established Native American Studies Program at California State University, Hayward, where she also helped found the Departments of Ethnic Studies and Women’s Studies. She is the author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States and her latest book is Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.


The Chinese Foreign Minister’s Tour of Pacific Island Nations Has the U.S. and Australia Alarmed

Then finally we assess how much the alarm being expressed by the U.S. and Australia over the diplomatic tour of Pacific Island nations underway by the Chinese Foreign Minister is justified as China offers greater security, policing and cybersecurity cooperation along with economic development. Joining us is Sarang Shidore, Director of Studies at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft whose areas of research include  geopolitical risk, grand strategy, and energy and climate security, with a special emphasis on Asia and the Pacific.