A viral photo of Democratic Texas gubernatorial candidate Beto O'Rourke interrupting incumbent Republican Governor Greg Abbott's press conference has people on Twitter in total awe and hoping even more for his victory in November.
The press conference was held in response to the deadliest school shooting in 10 years at a Uvalde, Texas elementary school Tuesday.
Flanked by Republican Senator Ted Cruz and leaders of the local police force that waited an hour to enter the school while onlookers begged them to intervene, Abbott predictably pledged to do absolutely nothing about the shooting.
Instead, he simply blamed it on "the status of mental health in our society," a repeatedly disproven theory.
Like most Americans, O'Rourke has simply had enough.
He interrupted Abbott's performative press conference to rail against his inaction before being shouted down and forcibly removed from the venue by police.
And one photo captured the moment perfectly.
People were floored by the powerful image.
During the press conference, Abbott offered no solutions whatsoever, instead appealing to Texans to help comfort the families of the victims. He also asserted "there was no meaningful forewarning of this crime," a claim that is false.
O'Rourke did not hold back in his words to Abbott, whom he excoriated for "doing nothing."
You can watch the exchange below.
O'Rourke called the Uvalde tragedy "totally predictable" and told Abbott:
"The time to stop the next shooting is right now and you are doing nothing."
The Republican crowd onstage immediately erupted in invective, with Senator Cruz calling O'Rourke "pathetic" and another man calling O'Rourke a "sick son of a b*tch" before leveling Republicans' favorite accusation every time a mass shooting happens--that O'Rourke was trying to politicize a tragedy that is inherently political.
When they were finished hurling profanity-laden insults at O'Rourke, members of the party that claims to stand for moral values, personal accountability and freedom of speech had O'Rourke forcibly removed by police.
So he simply held his own press conference outside.
There, he placed blame for the shooting squarely on Abbott's shoulders, invoking his inaction on the 2019 El Paso mass shooting as a precursor to Uvalde.
"[T]hese kids died because the governor of the state of Texas, the most powerful man in the state, chose to do nothing."
"After every one of these, he holds a press conference just like this – and I wish to hell when he came to El Paso that someone would have stood up and held him to account and confronted him and shocked the conscience of this state into doing something."
O'Rourke went on to rail against Abbott's record on both gun-control laws and access to medical care that would help improve the "status of mental health in our society" on which Abbott blamed the Uvalde shooting.
"He's refused to expand Medicaid, which would bring $10 billion a year, including mental health care access for people who need it."
"He's refused to champion red flag laws..."
"He's refused to support safe-storage laws so young people cannot get their hands on their parents' weapons."
O'Rourke then called upon Texans to join him in fighting gun violence in the state and across the country.
"Why are we letting this happen in this country? Why is this happening in this state? Year after year, city after city..."
"...I am going to do something and I'm not alone. The people of Texas are with us, the majority of people in Texas are with us. Well, we've got to stand up to this."
"We just can't accept this theater or business as usual, and accept the next shooting."
On Twitter, many felt O'Rourke's response to Republican inaction was nothing short of heroic.
And many felt Beto's actions made the hypocrisy and fecklessness on the part of Abbott and the Republicans leading his press conference all the more glaring.
Texas has some of the laxest gun laws in the entire country—which itself has the laxest gun laws of any developed nation on Earth.
Abbott is an outspoken supporter of the National Rifle Association.
Both he and Senator Cruz are still slated to speak at an NRA convention in Houston tomorrow.