Andrew Yang, Ted Cruz Urge Media, Police to Never Say Names of Mass Shooters

Texas Senator Ted Cruz joined 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang in urging law enforcement officials and the news media against using the names of mass shooters.

Cruz, an anti-gun control Republican, said he agreed with Yang and others who argue that suspects in mass shootings should not have their names repeated or their motives explored in the wake of the country's latest firearm massacre. Critics and gun control advocates say Cruz and Texas law enforcement officials simply don't want to the name and motive of the perpetrator in Saturday's Odessa, Texas shooting discussed because he was a white male who previously failed a background check.

Yang floated the idea on Twitter Monday amid discussion of the Odessa shooting which left seven dead and more than 25 wounded along a West Texas highway.

"I know it would be difficult to implement and is contrary to human nature - but I think we ought to explore not publicizing the identities or motivations of mass shooters. Would discourage those seeking notoriety or to spread twisted beliefs," the presidential candidate tweeted.

Cruz offered a rare bit of bipartisan support for Yang's idea Tuesday: "I agree. Of course, law enforcement must investigate. But public officials & media (to the extent possible) should NEVER SAY THEIR NAME. These murderers crave notoriety, but they deserve to be forgotten. Instead, we should celebrate the victims, the first responders & the heroes."

Discussion of whether or not release was prompted by Odessa police not broadcasting the shooter's name during a live television news conference, but instead placing it in a Facebook post. Odessa Police Chief Michael Gerke declared, "I'm not going to give him any notoriety for what he did."

Calls from criminologists and others across the country to stop the spread of mass shooters' names or highlighting of their motives has been dubbed the "No Notoriety" movement.

Republican Texas Governor Greg Abbott acknowledged the shooter was able to purchase a firearm despite having previously failed a background check. Law enforcement officials in Odessa announced Monday that Seth Ator, 36, was able to carry out the latest gun-related massacre in the state because of the flawed system in place to purchase firearms.

"Not only did the Odessa gunman have a criminal history ... he also previously failed a gun purchase background check in Texas," the Republican governor said in a tweet. "(And) he didn't go thru a background check for the gun he used in Odessa. We must keep guns out of criminals' hands."

Despite Cruz's agreement with Yang on social media over not broadcasting the shooter's name, the Texas Republican went on to lament gun control measures of any kind. Cruz tweeted Monday that "disarming law-abiding citizens isn't the answer," as he joined conservatives in pointing to the city of Chicago's gun violence as proof.

Harvard Law professor Laurence Tribe joined critics of both Cruz and Yang who said the withholding of mass shooters' names allows pro-gun politicians and NRA members to hide what he sees as their active role in allowing mass shootings.

"I agree with the decision to withhold the Odessa shooter's name to deprive him of whatever notoriety he might have sought. But we should know the names of every last lawmaker who is making it easier for haters to slaughter others," he wrote Monday.

Author and CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem took the argument to an even higher level Monday: "I do not think in this time that white male killers get the privilege of anonymity...I think it's important that we get the name out."

el paso texas shooting memorial walmart
People pray and pay their respects at the makeshift memorial for victims of the shooting that left a total of 22 people dead at the Cielo Vista Mall WalMart (background) in El Paso, Texas, on August 6, 2019. The Texas Tribune reported that the shooter purchased his assault rifle from Romania and thousands of rounds of ammunition from Russia. Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images