The State of Texas: Ready Or Not, Campus Carry Is Here
Plus: A deadly hot air balloon crash, trouble at Texas A&M, and Texas’s Miss Teen USA said some really racist stuff on Twitter.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Is there any bigger jagoff in the world than Donald Trump?”
—Dallas billionaire Mark Cuban at his most eloquent during a Pittsburgh rally for Hillary Clinton on Saturday, according to the Texas Tribune. For those not fluent in Pittsburghese, “jagoff” translates roughly to “jerk.”
Ready Or Not
Today is August 1, which means the state’s campus carry law is in effect starting, well, right now. You can now carry a licensed firearm on public college campuses, with minor exceptions. The Texas Tribune and Austin American-Statesman have helpful “what you need to know” primers, and among the basics: you have to be 21 to have a gun license, so freshman move-in day won’t include a trip to Target for a gun rack; the law lets private schools decide if they want to adopt campus carry, and so far, only one has; campus carry doesn’t go into effect on community college campuses for another year; and some schools have designated certain parts of campuses as gun-free zones, like dorms and sporting events. The law has been incredibly divisive, spurring heated protests from those who think it’s not the best idea to let people pack heat on college campuses, particularly at UT. As just about every major media outlet has recently noted, today also marks the fiftieth anniversary of the University of Texas-Austin’s infamous mass shooting, when a sniper perched atop the campus’s iconic Tower and opened fire. The Statesman has a comprehensive look at the anniversary, including several interesting immersive features, like a virtual tour that traces the steps of those inside the Tower on that tragic day. The newspaper’s website will also have live coverage of a memorial ceremony starting at 11:30 this morning. It’s also worth revisiting our own Pamela Colloff’s work about the shooting, and reading her latest piece asking why it’s taken fifty years for the university to properly honor the shooting victims.
MEANWHILE, IN TEXAS
Sixteen people died after a hot air balloon crashed on Saturday in Lockhart. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the accident in Central Texas is believed to be the worst hot air balloon crash in U.S. history. It’s still unclear what exactly happened, but witnesses said the balloon seemed to hit high-voltage power lines before exploding in a ball of fire. Federal investigators told the Statesman that the balloon’s basket was found almost a mile away from the actual balloon, indicating it must have been severed by something. There were no survivors and the names of the victims have not yet been officially released, although the families of some of the victims have already taken to social media to grieve. Investigators from the National Transportation and Safety Board recovered cell phones, cameras, and an iPad from the scene, so there’s a chance those might provide some sort of visual clues as to how this happened.
Trouble at A&M
Two assistant football coaches at Texas A&M were suspended without pay for two weeks after an offensive presentation at a fundraising event for female fans on Thursday. According to the Dallas Morning News, offensive line coach Jim Turner and tight ends coach Jeff Banks put together a slideshow that included inappropriate and not particularly clever sexual innuendo. For example, according to ESPN, a fake fight song with the lyrics: “We are Aggie women, we are filled with estrogen. Hullabaloo, canek, canek and back again. Maroon & white are the colors we love, we are putting down our dish towels and taking off our gloves. No more Lysol or Cascade, we want to score touchdowns and walk in this parade. We are Aggie women & this is our song, come on … bring it on … no more thong.” Some of the slides were obtained by Scout.com, and included “blocking tips” like “spread them again” and “bang him hard.” As the Morning News noted, Turner had been previously fired from an assistant coaching job with the Miami Dolphins after a bullying scandal. Head coach Kevin Sumlin apologized and called last week’s incident “inappropriate… and degrading.”
If anyone needs to Delete Your Account, it’s probably Miss Texas Teen Karlie Hay, who won the Miss Teen USA pageant on Saturday and was then promptly “dragged” on Twitter after it surfaced that she used the n-word in a whole bunch of old tweets, according to Mic. The pageant had already caused controversy for its lack of diversity—so little diversity that the five finalists were apparently all blonde. In an apologetic statement released via Twitter, Hay, an eighteen-year-old from Houston, appeared to characterize her overtly racist tweets as a result of her own “many personal struggles” at the time, and she maintained that through “hard work” and “education,” she’s learned to not say extremely racist things anymore. According to the Dallas Morning News, Hay will get to keep her crown. The Miss Universe Organization, which runs the teen competition, said in a statement that Hay’s comments are “unacceptable at any age,” but added that the organization is “committed to supporting her continued growth.” They could start by teaching her how to use that “delete” key.
WHAT WE’RE READING
Donald Trump is heading back to Texas later this month Texas Tribune
The Bexar County Commissioner was arrested and charged with DWI San Antonio Express-News
Texas is investigating charter schools linked to a mysterious Turkish cleric Wall Street Journal
The state hit Blue Bell with up to $850,000 in fines over that whole listeria thing Austin American-Statesman
Homeless aid programs in Corpus Christi are about to lose a ton of federal and state funding Corpus Christi Caller-Times