Governor brings big tech to the table after El Paso attack

Aug 20, 2019, 2:00 PM
AP Photo/Jorge Salgado...
AP Photo/Jorge Salgado

DALLAS (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott called Monday for the help of big tech platforms in the wake of an El Paso mass shooting that authorities say was carried out by a gunman who posted a racist screed online before killing 22 people at a Walmart.

It’s unclear what the invited companies, which include Google, Facebook and Twitter, will offer or say in the aftermath of the tragedy. None addressed questions about their role after Abbott announced the tech giants will join the FBI and state lawmakers this week in Austin to discuss the El Paso shooting and how to prevent future attacks.

Authorities say the suspected El Paso gunman confessed to targeting Mexicans during the Aug. 3 shooting. They also believe Patrick Crusius, 21, railed against immigrants and an influx of Hispanics into the U.S. in a rambling document that appeared on the 8chan message board.

Crusius has been placed on suicide watch in the El Paso County Jail, where he is held without bond on a capital murder charge, El Paso County sheriff’s spokeswoman Christina Acosta said Monday.

Big tech weighs in, again

In April, executives from Google and Facebook acknowledged while testifying before Congress that the companies have a duty to try to curb hate while being grilled about their responsibility for the spread of white supremacist views in the U.S. But they defended policies at the two companies that prohibit material that incites violence or hate.

Abbott, a Republican, described the gathering as a starting point to combat the rise of extremist groups and “hateful ideologies” and keeping guns out of the hands of “deranged individuals.” He said they will also discuss domestic terrorism and cybersecurity threats.

Abbott spokesman John Wittman said the tech companies were invited to offer insights. Neil Potts, Facebook director of public policy who appeared before the House Judiciary Committee earlier this year, is also set to represent the company at the meeting in Texas.

Abbott targets sites used by extremists

Abbott called for cracking down on internet sites used by violent extremists in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. He has not proposed any new major gun control measures ahead of Thursday’s meeting, which will include several Democratic lawmakers from El Paso who have pushed for tighter gun restrictions in Texas.

No gun-rights groups are among more than two dozen attendees scheduled to attend the meeting in the Texas Capitol, but Wittman said a gun-rights advocate will be invited to attend a similar gathering late this month in El Paso.

Abbott held similar gatherings in 2018 after a gunman killed 10 people at a high school near Houston. Those meetings resulted in a 43-page report with proposals for more armed guards in schools and boosting mental health screening. A year later, Abbott relaxed gun laws in a legislative session that was applauded by the National Rifle Association.

Follow Paul J. Weber on Twitter:

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

One person is dead following a three vehicle crash in Sanpete County around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Ja...
Waverly Golden

Three vehicle crash in Sanpete County leaves one dead

One person is dead following a three vehicle crash in Sanpete County around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28.
1 day ago
Tyre Nichols Protests...
Nouran Salahieh, Jamiel Lynch, Chuck Johnston, Shawn Nottingham, Andy Rose and Phil Gast, CNN

More protests today after release of video depicting the deadly police beating of Tyre Nichols

Protesters across the US heldmarches & rallies on Saturday, one day after the release of video showing the police beating of Tyre Nichols in Memphis.
1 day ago
Gov. Spencer Cox covered a broad range of issues Thursday night at the State of the State Address. ...
Chandler Holt

Governor Spencer Cox signs transgender bill, releases statement

Gov. Spencer Cox released a statement on the transgender bill, that would ban transgender-related surgeries and puberty blockers for minors, on Saturday.
1 day ago
Temperatures dropping weather worsens...
Allison Chinchar, CNN Meteorologist

‘Dangerous’ arctic air returns this weekend after a month-long hiatus

What has been a mild start to 2023 will come to a halt this weekend as winter makes a roaring comeback across the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest.
1 day ago
Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, talks about SB117, which he is sponsoring, during a Senate Judicia...
Devin Oldroyd

Two Republicans voted against bill banning transgender-related surgery, here’s why

The Utah Senate has approved a bill banning transgender-related surgery and puberty blockers for minors. A total of two Republicans voted against it.
2 days ago
Rabbi Avremi Zippel talks to the crowd during halftime of a Jazz-Portland Trail Blazers game at Viv...
Mark Jones

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Area rabbi shares his thoughts

Rabbi Avremi Zippel joined Inside Sources Friday to discuss International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Governor brings big tech to the table after El Paso attack