The emotional response we all felt was undeniable as we struggled to comprehend the incomprehensible tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut this week. Emotions are important; they tell us what is important to us and when we need to act. They are a wakeup call, but they should not plan our day. Emotions call us to act, but actions require information, intelligence and thoughtful consideration. Much of the latter is lacking in our current dialogue as reliable information is just now trickling in.
Some things were obvious early on. News agencies were shamelessly speculating in the early hours in order to hold their audience and were even reporting unreliable and unverified misinformation. This is unfortunate and hopefully most of us know not to trust these early reports. The body count was wrong, the name of the shooter was wrong, the employment of his mother was wrong. Decisions made on information of this quality will serve no one.
The President hopped on a plane and spoke in somber tones appealing to the emotions of a nation in mourning. But thinly veiled policy statements were included in his remarks. Ringing in his ear must have been the directive from Rahm Emanuel to, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” The Constitution shudders at the prospect of his directives.
Consider what we do know. The response time, and I assume this is from the first 911 call, was just under ten minutes. They indicate this is pretty good, but when facing a wave of incoming fire from a lethal weapon, ten minutes can literally be your eternity. Not much in the President’s thinking addresses the issue of response. Some have suggested that schools need an armed presence, either from local police resources or from individuals specially trained for this purpose. Some have suggested this could be a person already attached to the school, a principal, a coach or a janitor.
Although this approach directly addresses the response time issue, it may not be looked upon favorably by the teachers’ unions. Randi Weingarten, a spokesperson for the American Federation of Teachers on Meet the Press this week, said she hardly felt more guns are the solution and that we should be careful not to stigmatize those with mental health issues – which brings us to our next point.
Gun control advocates say that guns are the common element in the recent spate of violent incidents. But the more uniquely common element is that all of these incidents seem to involve persons with mental health issues. I believe it is more important to protect innocents than it is to protect the strangely sensitive feelings of crazy people. Please pardon my momentary lapse of political correctness. Emotions tell us to feel sorry for the mentally impaired but common sense, if it is at all common anymore, tells us that it is more important to keep crazy people from killing us. Oops! I did it again. My bad.
Calls for bans on “assault weapons” have been around since Lizzy Borden . . . no, wait that can’t be right – since Jack the Ripper . . . no, that can’t be right either – at any rate, for a long time now. But inherent in this call for a ban on guns is the fantasy that, if a law banning guns is enacted, guns will somehow magically cease to exist. However the history of such bans is that law abiding citizens are left defenseless, (they would turn in their guns if the law said they had to), while a well armed criminal class (who would not turn in their guns) has a field day at our expense. Crime has always risen in the advent of an unarmed citizenry, Australia being the most recent example.
But, for a moment, consider what would be the result if the left’s gun ban fantasy could be realized: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57559179/china-school-knife-attack-leaves-23-injured/ Interestingly enough, the attack in the above article occurred on the same day half a world away in a country with no gun rights. We do not have a problem with evil guns. The evil lives in the hearts of men, or even women in the case of Lizzy Borden. These men generally have a number of common attributes. Since I have already abandoned political correctness, allow me to engage in a little profiling. In these instances, the perpetrator is usually a socially stilted young man with mental health issues who comes from a home where the father is absent.
Is it not time we looked at how we handle mental health? We are too interested in not offending the crazies and not concerned nearly enough about the damage they can inflict on society. Surely, by now, we have on the books, enough accumulated information to redirect our approach to these dangerous individuals. Next, is it not time to consider that this is a direct, logical and predictable consequence of the war on family embedded in too many government policies? From welfare policies which rip the father from the home to preferential treatment for ‘anybody but white boys.’ Males, especially non minority males, have been abandoned by modern society. They have been feminized because “feminine is socially preferable.” Their sports programs have been plundered to fund female sports programs which few females are interested in and even fewer take seriously. Females are given preferences in areas which are nonsensical. Firefighters have to deal with heavy equipment in adverse conditions. Most women have allergic reactions to heavy and inconvenient. Female police officers too often find themselves on the wrong end of their own duty weapon. At almost every turn in our society, young men are being marginalized. It apparently makes some a little crazy.
Much hay is made of gun death statistics. Embedded in these are gang related shootings which logically, on an individual basis, are avoidable. Also included are suicides which account for almost 60% of all gun deaths. Most acts of random mass violence end in suicide. If they would start with this, a lot of sorrow would be avoided. They need to get their priorities straight. What percentage of those who do commit suicide would go on a killing spree if they were prevented from taking their own life? The percentage of people with access to a pool who drown is greater and do not get me started on automobile fatalities, yet no one is calling for a ban on cars.
I never cease to be amazed by the number of tiny leftist women, the ones who beg you to open their pickle jars, who are against the right of citizens to arm themselves for protection. When you ask them what they would do if confronted by an intruder in their own home, inevitably they proclaim they would gouge his eyes out with their fingers. These women are the first to scream in the Halloween fun house when you put their hands in the bowl of jell-o and spaghetti. Yet now they claim they are ready to engage in hand to hand combat with a 250 pound recently released felon who has not seen a woman in 5 to 10? Really? An unarmed public is at the mercy of such thugs. Assuming she could get to the phone and dial 911, what does she plan to do for the next 10 minutes while the police are responding? Apparently she plans to spend it penning a letter to her congressman asking him to revoke your Second Amendment rights.
We hear Democrats decry the availability of “military style weapons.” Yet anyone who understands the Second Amendment knows it is in place not for hunters and sportsmen, but to provide protection against tyrannical government which is sure to possess “military style weapons.” Around the time our country was founded, local laws, mandating the keeping of firearms, specified the same weapons our military used at that time. There is a reasonable line this side of nuclear weapons; no one wants the drunk down the street to have tactical nukes or even an RPG. But an effective weapon to stop an intruder or to discourage the overreach of constitutionally resistant government is the very essence of the Second Amendment.
The NRA, which dedicates itself to responsible gun ownership and gun safety education, suffers a constant withering barrage of assaults from the Democrats “outlaw guns” crowd. Yet they remain silent as the Hollywood left and gaming industry produces a steady stream of gratuitous violence desensitizing our youth to the basest of inhumanity. Could it be the steady flow of cash from these enterprises somehow influences the sensibilities of the Democratic Party? Then would this not be considered blood money?
Is the fame obsessed youth culture in any way responsible? No one seems to care how they are perceived as long as they are perceived. From American Idol, which suggests that one can achieve the status of an idol simply because of their vocal quality, to Jackass, which encourages the worst behavior simply to garner attention, today’s youth seek fame, not to recognize accomplishment, but for the sake of fame itself. It appears an attendance trophy is insufficient.
The Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy will provoke a lot of discussion over the next weeks and months as to what we can do as a society. I only scratched the surface, but much of the problem is societal. There will be an understandable desire for a quick fix. We would all like to see the problem fixed quickly. But unless this discussion is thoughtless, we will conclude that the fix will take a concerted effort and more time than we would like. Tragedy is often senseless, but senseless policy is always tragic.