Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Flashback 30 Years: Guns Were in Schools ... and Nothing Happened

The millennial generation might be surprised to learn that theirs is the first without guns in school. Just 30 years ago, high school kids rode the bus with rifles and shot their guns at high school rifle ranges.

After another school shooting, it's time to ask: what changed?

Cross guns off the list of things that changed in thirty years. In 1985, semi-automatic rifles existed, and a semi-automatic rifle was used in Florida. Guns didn’t suddenly decide to visit mayhem on schools. Guns can’t decide.

We can also cross the Second Amendment off the list. It existed for over 200 years before this wickedness unfolded. Nothing changed in the Constitution.

That leaves us with some uncomfortable possibilities remaining. What has changed from thirty years ago when kids could take firearms into school responsibly and today might involve some difficult truths.

Let’s inventory the possibilities.

What changed? The mainstreaming of nihilism. Cultural decay. Chemicals. The deliberate destruction of moral backstops in the culture. A lost commonality of shared societal pressures to enforce right and wrong. And above all, simple, pure, evil.

Before you retort that we can’t account for the mentally ill, they existed forever.

Paranoid schizophrenics existed in 1888 and 2018. Mentally ill students weren’t showing up in schools with guns even three decades ago. So it must be something else.

Those who have been so busy destroying the moral backstops in our culture won’t want to have this conversation. They’ll do what they do -- mock the truth.

There was a time in America, before the Snowflakes, when any adult on the block could reprimand a neighborhood kid who was out of line without fear.

Even thirty years ago, the culture still had invisible restraints developed over centuries. Those restraints, those leveling commonalities, were the target of a half-century of attack by the freewheeling counterculture that has now become the dominant replacement culture.

Hollywood made fun of these restraints in films too numerous to list.

The sixties mantra “don’t trust anyone over thirty” has become a billion-dollar industry devoted to the child always being right -- a sometimes deeply medicated brat who disrupts the classroom or escapes what used to be resolved with a paddling.

Instead of telling the kid to quit kicking the back of the seat on a plane, we buy seat guards to protect the seat.

If you think it’s bad now, just wait until the generation whose babysitter is an iPhone is in high school. You can hardly walk around WalMart these days without tripping over a toddler in a trance, staring at a screen.

The high school kids who shot rifles in school in 1985 were taught right and wrong. They were taught what to do with their rifle in school, and what not to do. If they got out of line, all the other students and the coach would have come down on them hard. There were no safe spaces, and that was a good thing.

Culture is a powerful force for good. When good behavior is normalized and deviant destructive behavior is ostracized, shamed, and marginalized, you get more good behavior.

Considering evil in this debate makes some of you uncomfortable, but evil bathes all of these shootings. I am reminded of Justice Antonin Scalia’s spectacularly funny and profound interview in 2013 when he toyed with a New Yorker reporter about evil. “You travel in circles that are so, so removed from mainstream America that you are appalled that anybody would believe in the Devil!”, he chortled.

Thirty years ago, kids who brought their rifles to the high school shooting range didn’t wonder about evil and cultural decay. They simply lived in a time in America when right and wrong was more starkly defined, where expectations about behavior were clear, and wickedness hadn’t been normalized.

The idea that guns caused the carnage we have faced is so intellectually bankrupt that it is isn’t worth discussing. Remembering where we were as a nation just 30 years ago makes it even more so. It’s time to ask what changed.



It's the Culture, Not the Guns

Leftists want to restrict the entire conversation to gun control. But their destruction of culture is the culprit. 

Last Wednesday, Andrew Pollack was photographed while searching for his daughter, Meadow, who was a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Tragically, he learned Meadow was one of the 17 murder victims.

A parent’s worst nightmare, eliciting an avalanche of sympathy? No, Pollack was shown wearing a “Trump 2020” T-shirt. Apparently nothing else mattered.

“He’s a pro-Trump guy which means he supports the guy who is responsible for the death of his child!!” tweeted iMO@_sheateher. “I don’t feel sorry for him and f—k trump,” stated Walterlee@eastsidedogg. “Maybe he should have thought twice before voting for #TerroristTrump,” added #TrumpforPrison@SolRyaz.

These twisted souls were hardly an anomaly. Trump is “obviously mentally ill,” according to TV host Jimmy Kimmel, who joined a chorus of other hate-filled leftists promoting pure propaganda.

Trump and the GOP made it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns? What they really did was reverse an attempt by Barack Obama’s administration to automatically define anyone incapable of managing their own finances as “mentally defective.” Under that unconstitutional scenario, the name of every Social Security Disability Insurance recipient would have been sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Leftists also pushed a bogus assertion by Everytown for Gun Safety, Michael Bloomberg’s rabidly anti-gun group, stating the Parkland mass murder was the 18th shooting on a school campus in America since the start of this year. Even The Washington Post was forced to concede that was “flat wrong,” because it included instances such as a man shooting a BB gun at a bus window, a student in a criminal justice club accidentally shooting a peace officer’s real gun instead of a training gun at a target on a classroom wall, and gunshots that were fired from somewhere outside of Cal State San Bernardino, all of which resulted in no injuries.

As always, leftists want to restrict the entire conversation to gun control. And as always, none of them can name a single new law that would prevent a tragedy like this.

What might? Ramping down leftist hate. Ever since the election, those who profess to own the franchise on tolerance have not only been utterly deranged, but increasingly proud of being so.

Examples abound. “Where’s Rand Paul’s neighbor when we need him?” tweeted Bette Midler in response to the senator’s words on the budget. Midler was apparently hoping the Democrat neighbor who broke Paul’s ribs and punctured his lung would be up for an encore.

Her tweet garnered 23,000 “likes.”

As columnist Melissa Meckenzie notes, this was Paul’s second brush with Democrat-perpetrated violence. He was also present when a deranged Bernie Sanders fanatic targeted Republican lawmakers at a baseball field, nearly killing Rep. Steve Scalise.

Meckenzie also reminds us more than 200 people were arrested during a violent demonstration precipitated by antifa at Trump’s inauguration, and that anti-Trump protesters spat on Gold Star families attending the American Legion’s “Salute to Heroes” gala honoring those who defended the nation.

Leftist-instigated violence has also become almost routine on college campuses. Heather MacDonald’s speech at Claremont McKenna College was shut down by what she described as an “exercise of brute totalitarian force.” Middlebury College professor Allison Stanger was injured and forced to flee in fear for her life with author Charles Murray, following Murray’s speech at that campus. Leftist protesters were permitted to walk around Evergreen State College wielding baseball bats and causing $10,000 of property damage, following leftist professor Bret Weinstein’s assertion that white people should not be forced to leave campus for the school’s annual “Day of Absence” discussions about race.

Those examples merely scratch the surface.

Even simple decency has been cast aside. When Republicans going to a retreat were involved in a train crash killing one person, CNN political commentator Ken Boykin suggested it was a “metaphor for American politics.” Democratic/socialist strategist Jonathan Tasini and self-described “CNN talking head” insisted, “God is working hard today to clean up the stink. Thank her [sic].”

For a largely secular Left, God, Christianity and its practitioners are often targets of contempt and derision. Thus, “The View’s” Joy Behar found it amusing to mock Vice President Mike Pence. “It’s one thing to talk to Jesus; it’s another thing when Jesus talks to you,” she asserted. “That’s called mental illness.”

Behar’s disdain was emulated by the openly homosexual and openly puerile Olympian skier Gus Kenworthy. Like so many leftists, he conflates Pence’s commitment to religious freedom with anti-homosexual bigotry.

Back to the problem of “gun violence.” There are solutions, but most of them are utterly anathema to the American Left. We could restore some sense of codified morality to a society grotesquely disconnected from it. What do we mean? The death of 17 people is mourned as a national tragedy, while genocidal levels of abortion and the sale of fetal tissue is celebrated as “freedom of choice.” And yet progressives still scream about pandering to the religious Right and creating a nation that supposedly resembles the “Handmaiden’s Tale.”

We could stop medicating children with heavy-duty drugs whose side effects produce psychotic behavior, but then they wouldn’t be submissive enough for “inconvenienced” parents and school administrators — or emasculated enough to fulfill the Left’s dream of “proving” there’s no difference between boys and girls.

We could arm teachers and guards in schools, but that would constitute “selling out to the NRA,” according to leftist politicians and celebrities — protected by armed bodyguards.

We could revamp a “multicultural” immigration system that welcomes too many people from places where life is cheap, but leftists insist it’s xenophobic bigotry to do so, even though the bloodthirsty ethos of MS-13 gangbangers, or terror-precipitating “refugees,” suggests it’s not.

We could also revamp a public school system contaminated by the Left’s determination to teach children more about what’s wrong with America than what’s right about it.

“When I was in high school, every one of those rigs in the high school parking lot had a gun in the gun rack,” Spokane Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich told a group of reporters following a school shooting near that city last September. “Why? We went hunting on the way home. None of those guns ever walked into a school, none of those guns ever shot anybody. … Did the gun change or did you as a society change?”

“We are a formerly Christian society in an advanced state of decomposition,” Pat Buchanan asserts.

It’s a decomposition where “see something, say something” is either labeled bigoted or Islamophobic, or reduced to tragic farce by the gross incompetence of the same FBI leftists defend as sacrosanct when it’s going after Trump.

For an American Left that champions celebrity has-been Madonna’s dreams of “blowing up the White House,” Kathy Griffin’s severed Trump head, a New York City Public Theater that assassinates a Trump-like Julius Caesar, or a violence-fomenting “Resistance” with an end game of nullifying an election, conversations about gun control are nothing more than the last refuge of leftist scoundrels.

Scoundrels who own the degradation of our culture. As Andrew Klavan asserts, “Over the last fifty years, it’s the left that has assaulted every moral norm and disdained every religious and cultural restraint.”

And now America is living — and dying — with the permutations.



A possible gun regulation compromise?

Leftists regularly argue while having no apparent knowledge of the relevant facts.  And the current outcry for gun control after the Florida shooting is a prime example of that.  They act as if nobody had ever tried gun control before.

Yet gun regulation varies greatly across the fruited plain -- so the data to assess the proposal is readily available.  And the fact is that in places like Chicago guns are very heavily regulated.  Yet Chicago, Detroit etc are also the places where gun deaths are at their highest.

So the existing facts on the ground tell us that gun control does more harm than good.  Criminals are greatly encouraged when the rest of the population has little or no protection so shoot with every expectation of impunity.

But a conservative writer has come up with a suggestion that may have some merit.  It may not however pass constitutional muster:

Instead of debating gun regulations that would apply to every gun owner, we could consider limits that are imposed on youth and removed with age. After all, the fullness of adult citizenship is not bestowed at once: Driving precedes voting precedes drinking, and the right to stand for certain offices is granted only in your thirties.

Perhaps the self-arming of citizens could be similarly staggered. Let 18-year-olds own hunting rifles. Make revolvers available at 21. Semiautomatic pistols, at 25. And semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15 could be sold to 30-year-olds but no one younger.

This proposal would be vulnerable to some of the same practical critiques as other gun control proposals. But it is more specifically targeted to the plague of school shootings, whose perpetrators are almost always young men.

And it offers a kind of moral bridge between the civic vision of Second Amendment advocates and the insights of their critics — by treating bearing arms as a right but also a responsibility, the full exercise of which might only come with maturity and age.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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