Ken Paxton is State Attorney General in Texas and as such is the state’s top law enforcement official.

On the day after the massacre of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, he said that “God always has a plan.” This is a variation on “thoughts and prayers.”

Paxton opposes gun control.

Karen Tumulty of the Washington Post wrote:

When thoughts and prayers seem inadequate in the wake of a tragedy, you can always blame God for what happened.

That would seem to be how Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) sees it after a mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Tex., took the lives of 19 children and two of their teachers. The carnage came just 10 days after a gunman with allegedly racist motives mowed down 10 shoppers and employees — all of them Black — in a Buffalo supermarket.

In a podcast interview recorded the day after the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School and unearthed last week by Salon, Paxton was asked by North Texas pastor Trey Graham what he might say to the victims’ families.

“I’d have to say, look, there’s always a plan. I believe God always has a plan,” the attorney general replied. “Life is short no matter what it is.”
It was all in God’s plan. That’s a suggestion we often hear from pious, well-meaning people when other words fail in the face of an unspeakable, inexplicable tragedy. The idea is that some day we will all understand that larger purpose of our suffering. It is meant to be a balm.

But those words sound more like a shrug when an elected leader — and in this case, one who is his state’s top law enforcement officer — offers that as an explanation for a horror that was preventable and exacerbated by human error. Worse, it is a dereliction of responsibility and of the imperative to do something to prevent something like this from happening again, as it has happened over and over.