In the hours after a gunman killed at least 10 people at a Texas high school in the latest act of mass bloodshed on an American school campus, another man with a gun caught the attention of reporters at the scene.
With a pistol holstered on his hip and an American flag in his hand, the man, wearing a Trump hat, spoke briefly on video with reporters gathered at Santa Fe High School Friday. The man, who was not identified in the video, said his first thought after the shooting was to “get to the school, make America great again.”
He said he was there to offer support.
“Just God bless y’all, will go a long ways right now for a lot of people,” he said. He then ended the interview and walked away.
The video ricocheted around the Internet, eliciting reactions that captured aspects of the seemingly intractable national debate of gun rights vs. gun controls.
Friday’s shooting adds more fuel to the nation’s debate over guns, which was already inflamed by a gunman killing 14 students and three adults on Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
Gun rights advocates have rallied around a position, championed by the National Rifle Association, that the best way to protect students is to have more trained people, even teachers, carry guns at schools. President Trump has embraced the idea. Gun control advocates point to data that they say indicates stricter gun laws would likely lead to less bloodshed.
A student has been taken into custody amid the carnage in Sante Fe, which Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) called “one of the most heinous attacks that we’ve ever seen in the history of Texas schools.”
The Sante Fe Independent School District released a statement on Twitter that said only “first responders and essential personnel should be at the school.”
Gun owners in Texas are allowed to “open carry” handguns in public as long as the owner has a permit, per legislation that took effect in 2016.