According to a Facebook event invite for the Life and Liberty Walk to End Gun Free Zones on Saturday, local gun-rights groups are still looking for crisis actors to take part in the “theatrical performance” it is planning on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.
“It’s a fake mass shooting, and we’ll use fake blood,” Matthew Short, the spokesperson for Come and Take It Texas and dontcomply.com, told the Austin American-Statesman. The groups, which have not asked UT for a permit, also plan on blasting gun noises through speakers and carrying cardboard weapons.
Guns aren’t allowed on campus, so the groups will pregame the fake mass shooting with a march next to the university where everyone will be carrying loaded rifles and pistols. Starting next August, the state will become the eighth to allow guns at public and private universities; a campus-carry bill was passed by the state legislature this year, although authorities are still figuring out how to best implement the law. University of Texas system chancellor William McRaven, a former Navy SEAL, told CNN in October that “having another armed individual in the middle of an active shooter profile, in some cases could create more confusion than helping to resolve the problem.”
In 1966, a shooting on the UT Austin campus left 13 people dead.
A day after the gun-rights event is scheduled to take place, Gun Free UT and other gun-violence prevention groups are holding an event at the Texas Capitol to commemorate the third anniversary of the shooting in Newtown.
The Statesman asked Short if he thought pretending to kill people and splattering them with fake blood in a public place was a bad idea, given recent events. “Not at all,” he said. “People were able to be murdered people because no one was armed.”
Those who disagree with that sentiment have decided to respond with humor; specifically, a “mass farting” and “dildo waving” to “say no to gun violence at UT.” The counter-demonstration is scheduled to start a half-hour before the fake mass shooting, and the Facebook invitation includes various noisemaker suggestions: farting phone apps, whoopee cushions, hands, “or just eat a bunch of breakfast tacos and bring the real deal!”
“We won’t let extremists terrify our community,” the invitation concludes. “We will meet their fear with laughter.”
This post has been updated with information about the counter-demonstration.