Pete Buttigieg eviscerates Texas lawmaker Ted Cruz over ‘insane’ solution to mass shootings

Side by side images of Pete Buttigieg and Ted Cruz. On the left, Pete Buttigieg wears a white button up shirt, tie and grey jacket as he gestures with one hand raised and speaks before a crowd. In the image on the right, Ted Cruz wears a white button up shirt and blue suit jacket as he holds one hand over his chest and holds a microphone that he is speaking into while an American flag can be seen in the background

Pete Buttigieg has called Republican lawmakers’ suggestion to limit school entrances to a single door to stop mass shootings the “definition of insanity”. 

The transportation secretary appeared on ABC’s This Week on Sunday (5 June) to discuss with host George Stephanopoulos the rising inflation rates in the US. While on the show, Buttigieg also took the time to speak out against gun violence in the wake of the recent deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers. 

The horrific incident has re-energised calls for broader gun control in the US, but some GOP lawmakers have instead focused their attention to calling for the infrastructure of school buildings to change – which is something Buttigieg strongly condemned. 

“The idea that us being the only developed country where this happens routinely — especially in terms of the mass shootings — is somehow a result of the design of the doorways on our school buildings is the definition of insanity, if not the definition of denial,” Buttigieg said. 

Pete Buttigieg didn’t specifically mention which lawmakers he was talking about, but Texas senator Ted Cruz is one of the most notable Republicans to pitch the single-door idea to protect children from gun violence in schools.

He insisted in an interview with Fox News’ Jesse Watters on 25 May, the day after the deadly shooting, that schools would be better protected if they had “one door into and out of the school”. 

Cruz suggested that there be “armed police officers at that door”. He claimed if the school had that setup then the “armed police officers could have taken him out and we’d have 19 children and two teachers still alive”. 

Cruz also proposed the installation of bulletproof doors and glass to help prevent school shootings.

Texas senator Ted Cruz wears a white button up shirt as he speaks into a microphone and points with a finger on his other hand at something off screen with the red and white stripes of the American flag seen in the background

Texas senator Ted Cruz suggested schools would be better protected if they had “one door into and out” of the building. (Aimee Dilger/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

His single-door strategy was also echoed by other notable Republicans like Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick. 

After a mass shooting at Sante Fe High School in May 2018, Patrick suggested that “too many entrances and too many exits” played a role in the deadly event. 

The Republican appeared on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight just hours after the Uvalde shooting on 24 May. In the interview, Patrick insisted that Texas has “done a lot of things after the Sante Fe shooting” before touting the one-door strategy once again.

“We have to harden these targets so no one can get in ever except from one entrance,” Patrick said. “Maybe that would help. Maybe that would stop someone.”

Former president Donald Trump also repeated the call for a “single point of entry” to schools at the National Rifle Association convention in Houston, NBC News reported. 

Bill Avera, chief of police and emergency manager for the Jacksonville Independent School District in East Texas and a board member of the Texas School Safety Center, told the Texas Tribune that it wasn’t “feasible to think we’re going to ever get to a point where we have one door in and one door out”. 

“Let’s say you had a high school that had 3,000 students, and you’re going to use one entry point to bring those students into that building every day,” Avera said. “That’s going to literally double the amount of time it takes to get folks in that building.”

Cheryl Jonson, an associate criminal justice professor at Ohio’s Xavier University, told NBC News that the single-door strategy would also present a host of other safety hazards for students and school staff. 

“They’re talking about having schools with one door? What do you do if it’s a high school and there’s a chemical lab with your science class? What do you do if there’s a fire? What do you do if there’s a tornado? Or you’re out in the West and there’s an earthquake?” she said.

Students participate in a school walk-out and protest in front of City Hall to condemn gun violence. One person holds up a sign reading 'We should not be afraid to go to school!' Another person has a sign reading 'End gun violence' while a third person, who is wearing a face mask, holds up a sign that says 'Protect children not guns'

The deadly shooting at a school in Uvalde, Texas that killed 19 children and two teachers has renewed calls for broader gun control in the US. (Ringo Chio/AFP via Getty)

Pete Buttigieg, who is the former mayor of South Bend in Indiana, told Stephanopoulos that speaking to families who have “lost their loved ones” would have been the most difficult thing if he had been in charge during the mass shooting.

He said it would be heartbreaking “knowing that nothing you can do will bring those loved ones back”. Buttigieg said there is a “horrific scourge of gun violence in this country” and that every mayor is taking steps to “reduce community violence”. 

But he said there needed to be a push from lawmakers in Washington DC for broader gun control legislation. 

“You’re also looking at Washington to say, ‘Will anything be different this time?’” Pete Buttigieg said.

“Will we actually acknowledge the reasons why we are the only country, the only developed country, where this happens on a routine basis?”