During a speech at a town hall meeting in Mineral Wells, Texas, on Wednesday, Beto O’Rourke lashed out at an audience member who was apparently laughing while O’Rourke was reflecting on the mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde.
via: The Independent
Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic candidate for Texas governor, called a voter a “motherf***er” for laughing during a discussion about the Uvalde school shooting at a town hall meeting.
Mr O’Rourke was briefly describing horrific details from the May shooting that claimed the lives of 19 children and two teachers on Wednesday in Mineral Wells when laughter arose from a heckler in the audience.
The former US representative swiftly turned to the source and snapped: “It may be funny to you, motherf***er, but it’s not funny to me.
His rebuke prompted a standing ovation and cheers from the crowd, as seen on video shared widely on social media.
Mineral Wells was Mr O’Rourke’s latest stop on a 49-day tour of the state as he seeks to unseat Republican incumbent Greg Abbott in November.
Tonight, in Mineral Wells, Texas
When a @GregAbbott_TX supporter laughs, yes, laughs out loud so everyone could hear, while Beto described the massacre of 19 children and 2 teachers in Uvalde, Beto quite appropriately lets loose with a MF.
It was a pretty good one too. pic.twitter.com/t5LLMIPXeP
— BetoMedia (@BetoMedia) August 11, 2022
His campaign has placed heavy emphasis on Mr Abbott’s lack of action in the wake of the 24 May shooting at Robb Elementary School.
“I’m going to make sure that now, 11 weeks since we lost 19 kids and their two teachers, shot to death with a weapon originally designed for use in combat, legally purchased by an 18-year-old who did not try to obtain one when he was 16 or 17 but followed the law that’s on the books,” Mr O’Rourke said in Wednesday’s speech.
“Ladies and gentleman, that says that you can buy not one, you can buy two or more if you want to, AR-15s, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, and take that weapon that was originally designed for use on the battlefields in Vietnam to penetrate an enemy soldier’s helmet at 500 feet and knock him down dead,” he added at the moment when a man in the back of the room could be heard laughing.
“Up against kids at 5 feet… it may be funny to you, motherf***er, but it’s not funny to me, okay?” the Democrat said.
“We’re going to make sure that our kids who are starting their school year right now, that they don’t have to worry about somebody walking into their school with a weapon like this.”
After the town hall, Mr O’Rourke tweeted: “The parents in Uvalde are demanding action to address gun violence so no more families have to go through what they are experiencing. As governor, I will work with them to deliver it”.
Footage shared on social media appear to show that the man was with a group of supporters of Mr Abbott.
Attendee Roza Calderón posted a video on Twitter showing a man speaking to police.
She told The Daily Beast that she was sitting “just in front of the counter-protesters” and that while Mr O’Rourke was “speaking about the Uvalde massacre every single Abbott supporter laughed as loud as possible, as if it were a joke”.
Guy had a meltdown after being called out. Thin skin.
— Roza Calderón (@rozacalderon) August 10, 2022
“The group of men you see in the video were there to antagonize the crowd,” Ms Calderón told the outlet. “They stood in the back speaking loudly over the guest speaker. They would make horribly racist or homophobic comments and laugh to get a rise.”
“I’d say the whole room was trying to be cordial and welcoming to the Abbott people. When Beto went up to speak he reiterated that we were all welcome to join the discussion,” she said.
“When he spoke about the Uvalde shooting the men started heckling and laughing boisterously. It’s when Beto made the comment,” she added. “The men were visibly embarrassed, and one of them started yelling like he was going to teach Beto a lesson. Event staff tried to calm him down, but they couldn’t. A police officer was flagged over to help.”
Ms Calderón told The Daily Beast that the group “quietly left maybe five to ten minutes after this exchange”.
Gun control advocate Fred Guttenberg, who lost his daughter Jaime, 14, in the 2018 Parkland school shooting in Florida, tweeted, “this is how you respond when someone [laughs] loudly while discussing the mass shooting in Uvalde”.
This is how you respond when someone laugs loudly while discussing the mass shooting in Uvalde.
“It may be funny to you mother f*cker, but it’s not funny to me.”
— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) August 11, 2022
Shannon Watts, the founder of anti-gun violence group Moms Demand Action, urged her Twitter followers to “please donate to Beto. Please knock doors for Beto. Please get out the vote for Beto”.
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) August 11, 2022
Daily Show producer Matt Negrin wrote that “I’m probably biased but I truly think the reaction of the crowd when he says this is reflective of how most Democrats feel right now which is that we want candidates to f***ing do and say the s**t they are really feeling all the time out f***ing loud”.
Charlotte Clymer added, “This right here? This is authentic. This is bereft of bulls**t. More Democrats need to be honest and vulnerable like this”.
“We need more of this. Candidates using real emotion to express their moral outrage at children being slaughtered while gun rights extremists laugh about it,” Alejandra Caraballo said.