After declining a CNN appearance, Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick goes on Fox & Friends to blame El Paso mass shooting on video games

Patrick failed to discuss access to firearms or the spread of white nationalism, but he did condemn Call of Duty and call for prayer in public schools

The morning after a fatal mass shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, TX, (not to be confused with another mass shooting in Dayton, OH, about 13 hours later), Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was one of many conservative lawmakers who declined a request to discuss the shootings on CNN’s State of the Union -- but Patrick did find time to appear on Fox & Friends, where he demanded that the federal government “do something about the video game industry” to fight mass shootings.

Patrick stressed that the shooter “wanted to be a super-soldier, for his Call of Duty game,” referencing a popular first-person shooter video game, and claimed that “we’ve always had guns, we’ve always had evil, but what’s changed” is now we have “a video game industry that teaches young people to kill.” Patrick admitted the El Paso shooting was “obviously a hate crime, I think, in my view, against immigrants,” before going on to also blame “bullying people on social media” and complain that “we won’t let our kids even pray in our schools” and “we no longer salute our flag.” Fox & Friends Weekend co-host Griff Jenkins saluted Patrick’s “very important points.” They are not very important points, but they are among the lieutenant governor’s bad-faith distractions from the shooting, including warning antifa to “stay out of Texas” after the massacre (which he delivered on Fox News on Saturday).  

Patrick did mention 8chan, the website where the Christchurch, New Zealand, shooter and two more inspired by him (including El Paso) posted manifestoes before shooting, but Patrick used the website’s role to again attack video games and the supposed godlessness of society, instead of noting the actual 8chan link of white nationalism. Throughout the interview, Patrick and the hosts all resisted any talk of gun violence prevention policy, in order to, as host Pete Hegseth put it, “move past the platitudes and the politics” of the mass shooting epidemic.

CNN host Jake Tapper publicly called out Patrick and other Republicans for avoiding interview requests after the shootings, but it makes perfect sense that Patrick would spin his nonsense on the “news” network that also falsely claims video games make people kill. It’s always anything except the gun.

Video file

Citation The August 4 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends Weekend

DAN PATRICK (TEXAS LT. GOV.): I look at this evil act -- and let's condemn it for what it is, evil, evil -- and I say, how long are we going to let, for example, and ignore at the federal level particularly, where they can do something about the video game industry? You know, in this manifesto that we believe is from the shooter, this manifesto, he talks about living out his super-soldier fantasy on Call of Duty. We know that the video game industry is bigger than the movie industry and the music industry combined, and there have been studies that say it impacts people and studies that says it does not, but I look at the common denominators, as a 60-some-year-old father and grandfather myself, what's changed in this country? We've always had guns, we’ve always had evil.. But what's changed where we see this rash of shooting? And I see a video game industry that teaches young people to kill. You know, in his manifesto, he said -- this is not a Republican or Democrat thing, because he was concerned about robots and environment and immigrants. Obviously a hate crime, I think, in my view, against immigrants from this young man, just my view. We haven't had an official report on that, and I don't mean to talk on, but I just -- my heart is so heavy this morning. Because I think, where are we as a country?

I look at social media. The violence of just bullying people on social media every day and we turn our head and we allow it. I look at, on a Sunday morning when most of your viewers right now, half of the country are getting ready to go to church, and yet tomorrow, we won’t let our kids even pray in our schools. We have to look at ourselves as a nation. That's many factors that go into these shootings. Many factors. And it's not time to politicize, it's a time to look deep inside of who we are as a country, where we no longer salute our flag or we throw water on law enforcement -- and thank God we have law enforcement. Thank God we have them in times like this. And so, it's a lot of factors that go on that we have to take a long look at who we are as a nation and where we want to go and what we're going to tolerate from social media and from video games. I’m sorry.

GRIFF JENKINS (CO-HOST): No, you packed a lot in there. Very important points. Let me ask you, is there a solution -- are there answers that you believe lie somewhere between the White House and the halls of Congress?

PATRICK: I do believe there are, and I believe we need to have a commission on looking -- and you know, blue ribbon panels kind of are a bad name. They often meet and do nothing, but we need to just say, do we want to be a society? Let's look at this manifesto. Where was it posted? It was on 8chan, a dark website where the same killer in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the killer in San Diego, and now this killer, allegedly -- we'll confirm all of this but from what we can see -- all posted on the same site. What are we as a nation to say that we're going to tolerate and allow a website that lets killers post their manifesto before and to be posted after the act? There were like -- they’re martyrs today. There are people applauding this act of what happened -- and could be in the same in Ohio. Was that a copycat crime? I have no idea. But why are we allowing that? Why are we allowing young people or anyone to be able to go to a website to learn to kill and be praised and put this manifesto out?

Why are we allowing -- 90% of our children is the estimate, between 12 and 17 -- watching video games? Again, larger than the music industry and the movie industry combined. Are we ignoring that? This was maybe a video game to this evil demon. A video game to him. He has no sense of humanity, no sense of life. He wanted to be a super soldier, for his Call of Duty game, so we need to look at all of this and who we are, and as long as we continue to only praise God and look at God on a Sunday morning, and kick him out of the  town squares and our schools the other six days of the week, what do we expect? What do we expect? There's no excuse for this. We condemn it totally, but as a nation we have to look at this, and leave all of this politics out of it. I've already seen too many politics online since the shooting yesterday that makes me sick. This is all of our problem. Republican, Democrats, independent, Black, white, and brown, male, female, young, middle age, and old. We all have to attack this because it's not acceptable any more.