The Blood of Innocents
Building Political Platforms on the Coffins of Children
"May the father of all mercies scatter light, and not darkness, upon our paths." --George Washington
A week ago, I received a text message and photograph of the Columbine Memorial, a solemn place dedicated to the memory of 12 students and a teacher who were murdered by two sociopaths at Columbine High School in 1999. The text was from my son, who visited the memorial with several other AFA Cadets as an expression of homage, and to gain some sense of this terrible incident, which they were too young to remember.
My son was a six-year-old kindergartner at the time of Columbine.
Seeing that photograph evoked distinct memories from that April day, both the grief I felt for the victim's families, and the anger I felt toward those assailants who so casually took the lives of these young people, and wounded 23 others.
That was my backdrop for the terrible news on Friday that another murderous sociopath had entered an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, and killed 20 precious children and six adults, after he had murdered his own mother earlier that day. Those same feelings of grief and anger emerged again -- but this time somehow made worse not only because the numbers were greater than Columbine, but in the faces of those little children I saw my own children at that age.
Most parents I have spoken with this weekend felt the same degree of empathy for the parents and families of the Sandy Hook children -- particularly four members of our Patriot Team who have children the ages of those murdered in Newtown.
We have all prayed for those families, though none of us can really grasp the extent of their grief unless we have lost one of our own.
We have prayed also for the surviving children, who suffered great trauma -- and not only those children but also the emergency medical and law enforcement personnel who rushed to the scene of this massacre, only to find the damage had been done.
Having spent some years on call with a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing team working with first responders after mass casualty incidents, I can tell you the trauma those responders experience is often forgotten, but accounts for the high incidence of PTSD in their profession.
We continue to pray for all those who have experienced varying degrees of loss in this tragedy, and further, that they would be shielded in the coming days and weeks from the inevitable political machinations that attend such tragedies.
We also pray that these families will be shielded from the coming political crossfire between those on one extreme who believe all weapons should be banned, and those on the other who believe every teacher should be armed. We most assuredly want to live in a nation where neither of these extremes is necessary.
Disgraceful Political Theater
Obama has asserted erroneously, "The vast majority of Americans would like to see serious gun control, [but] it doesn't pass because there is this huge disconnect between what people think and what legislators think and are willing to act upon." His disdain for grassroots gun owners was summed up in his unguarded remarks to campaign donors in 2008, when he said that they "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."
Endeavoring to close that gap, every time there is tragic mass murder where the assailant used a gun, Democrats offer the disingenuous rationale that violence is a "gun problem" rather than a cultural problem. Of course it's easier to blame guns than culture, and that serves the Left's political agenda.
The tragic attack on young students, teachers and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown is a case in point.
Before the bodies of murdered children had been removed from Sandy Hook Elementary, Barack Obama was, shamefully, stacking up the coffins of innocent kids to use as a platform for his disarmament agenda, which he and his socialist cadres will conceal behind a thin façade of "concern for public safety."
Just one paragraph into his brief remarks about the murders in Newtown, Obama tearfully exclaimed, "We've endured too many of these tragedies in the past few years. ... We're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."
New York Demo Rep. Jerrold Nadler was less discreet in his insistence that Obama use the deaths of these children to advance the Left's gun prohibition agenda: "I think we will be there if the president exploits it." Sen. Charles Schumer added, "I think we could be at a tipping point ... where we might get something done."
Within hours of the deaths, Sen. Dianne Feinstein promised, "I'm going to introduce in the Senate -- and the same bill will be introduced in the House -- a bill to get ... weapons of war off the streets." Of course, Feinstein, et al., know that the use of so-called "weapons of war" as murder instruments is exceedingly rare -- less than 2/10ths of one percent of all homicides in America occur on school grounds, and less than three percent of all homicides are committed with "assault weapons." So what is their real agenda?
At a vigil in Newtown two days after the attack, Obama again politicized the attack, framing his remarks around his gun-prohibition agenda. He asked rhetorically, "Can we say that we're truly doing enough to give all the children of this country the chance they deserve to live out their lives in happiness and with purpose? If we're honest with ourselves, the answer is no. And we will have to change. What choice do we have? Are we really prepared to say that we're powerless in the face of such carnage, that the politics are too hard? Are we prepared to say that such violence visited on our children year after year after year is somehow the price of our freedom?"
The day after that speech, in my daily email from the White House came a link from Obama's "senior advisor," David Axelrod, with a video link to Obama's vigil remarks posted on his "Forward" campaign Web site (and we thought the election was over). Astoundingly, the video was framed inside a page seeking donations to Obama's campaign fund.
For the record, Connecticut already has a ban on "assault weapons," and the Newtown school was already a "gun-free zone," but that didn't prevent the murders of these precious children and six adults. In fact, the assailant violated more than 20 laws in the commission of this horrific crime. Also for the record, since the "assault rifle ban" of 1994 expired in 2004, gun ownership has increased and crime has decrease.
Any honest American should be deeply offended by politicians who are so calloused that they would use the deaths of innocents as political fodder for their agenda. Could Obama not exercise the most basic decency and allow time for genuine grief to pass before exploiting the blood of innocents? Obviously not, according to the first chapter in his political playbook: "Never let a crisis go to waste."
It is no small irony that the political party that has made killing children prior to birth a pillar of their platform expresses such indignation when a sociopath places so little value on life that he murders children. Of course, it's easier to kill children who are faceless -- and I am certain that in the eyes of the sociopathic killer in Newtown, his victims also had no faces.
Further, acknowledging that the majority of murders and other violent crimes in our country are the direct result of social and cultural degradation on urban poverty plantations would be, first and foremost, an indictment of the socialist welfare state advocated by Democrats. Thus, they call for more gun control -- on top of the 20,000 gun control laws now on the books.
Fact is, on average almost 50 people are murdered every day, two-thirds of them with guns. It is statistically notable that about one-third of murders are not committed with guns, and moreover, blacks and Latinos commit a grossly disproportionate number of all murders and the victims are predominantly blacks and Latinos.
For example, the very weekend that Obama and his race hustlers attempted to politicize the shooting of Trayvon Martin by "white Hispanic" George Zimmerman earlier this year, the Chicago Sun-Times (Obama's hometown paper) reported that in just 48 hours, 10 people were murdered and at least 40 others were seriously wounded. Most of the assailants and victims were black or Latino, but not a word from Obama about those murders.
Moreover, as of this date in 2012, 62 young people between the age of 6 and 18 have been murdered in Chicago this year, a city with the toughest gun restrictions in America. Not a word from Obama about any of those deaths because they reflect the aforementioned cultural problems created by Leftist social policies, not a "gun problem."
Even Karen Lewis, head of the Chicago Teachers Union, commented on the commercialization of the Newtown tragedy: "There might have been a time where 'politicizing' tragic events, especially mass shootings, was thought to be in poor taste. That has changed with the 24/7 news cycle that continues to focus far too much time and energy on the perpetrator of the massacre than that of our precious victims."
Lewis said Obama's education policies "kill and disenfranchise children." "We in Chicago have been the victims of their experiments on our children since the current secretary of Education [Arne Duncan] 'ran' the Chicago Public School system."
Notwithstanding the fact that violence is not a "gun problem," given Obama's disgraceful exploitation of the Newtown deaths, expect to see aggressive second term proposals endeavoring to implement bold encroachments on the Second Amendment.
Additionally, watch Obama's effort to spin the Newtown attack in order to rally two-thirds of the Senate for passage of the United Nations' Arms Trade Treaty regulating small arms. The ATT is a Trojan Horse. While it ostensibly exempts domestic gun sales and ownership in the U.S., with the stroke of a pen, it could implement severe gun restrictions and even confiscations -- an end run on the Second Amendment that would provide political cover for gun-grabbing Leftists in the Senate and House.
It is worth noting that the sale of firearms has skyrocketed since Obama's election -- for obvious reasons. If Obama is really concerned about the proliferation of firearms, perhaps he should resign his office.)
Benjamin Franklin proclaimed, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." In the case of those who would give up Essential Liberty for nothing more than the perception of a little temporary safety with more gun prohibitions, indeed they deserve neither Liberty nor safety and, ultimately, will lose both.
To that end, I share these words from a man whose name is synonymous with peace: "Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest." --Mahatma Mohandas K. Gandhi
Observations on Violence and Media Misrepresentation
Just two weeks ago in an essay about responsible gun ownership, I wrote:
"Obama has asserted erroneously, 'The vast majority of Americans would like to see serious gun control, [but] it doesn't pass because there is this huge disconnect between what people think and what legislators think and are willing to act upon.' Endeavoring to close that gap, every time there is tragic mass murder where the assailant used a gun, Democrats offer the disingenuous rationale that violence is a "gun problem" rather than a cultural problem. Of course it's easier to blame guns than culture, and that serves the Left's political agenda.
"However, acknowledging that the majority of murders and other violent crimes in our country are the direct result of social and cultural degradation on urban poverty plantations would be, first and foremost, an indictment of the socialist welfare state advocated by Democrats. Thus, they call for more gun control -- on top of the 20,000 gun control laws now on the books.
"Fact is, on average almost 50 people are murdered every day, two-thirds of them with guns. It is statistically notable that about one-third of murders are not committed with guns, and moreover, blacks and Latinos commit a grossly disproportionate number of all murders and the victims are predominantly blacks and Latinos."
In fact, the very weekend that Obama and his race hustlers attempted to politicize the shooting of Trayvon Martin by "white Hispanic" George Zimmerman earlier this year, the Chicago Sun-Times (Obama's hometown paper) reported that in just 48 hours, 10 people were murdered and at least 40 others were seriously wounded. Most of the assailants and victims were black or Latino, but not a word from Obama about those murders.
As for the media misrepresentation of the Newtown attack, though virtually every news outlet is reporting that this was the "worst school attack in history," the most lethal attack on a school occurred in 1927, when a disgruntled Bath, Michigan, school-board member murdered 45 people, including 38 elementary students -- with a bomb.
Additionally, virtually every media reference to the assailant in Newtown refers to him as "the shooter." Well, like some sixty million Americans, I am a "shooter." The assailant who murdered 27 women and children in Newtown was a sociopathic murderer who used a gun. He murdered them, not the gun.
In the words of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, circa 45 AD, "Quemadmoeum gladuis neminem occidit, occidentis telum est." (A sword is never a killer, it is a tool in the killer's hands.)
Finally, while we remain faithful in our prayers for all victims of violence, we remain vigilant in our preparedness to defend the innate right to Liberty "endowed by our Creator." In the words of Supreme Court Justice, Joseph Story, "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."
"Arguments over the merits of gun control are made all the more difficult to navigate by the Left's stubborn denial that we are already having a debate on the issue. Gun control propositions are by no means new, and nor is there a lack of a 'national conversation on the subject.' Instead, the national conversation is ongoing, and the Left is losing it badly. Gun control advocates may talk of national soul searching and dialogue, but in truth that already exists; what they mean is that they'd like to win for a change. ... There are at least two hundred million privately owned guns in America, and Connecticut regulates access to them more strictly than most. To believe that [Friday's] crime could have been prevented, you have to presume either that a man willing to go to such grievous lengths could have been deterred from doing so by stronger laws, or that those stronger laws could rid America of privately available guns completely -- thus making the killer's task an impossible one. I believe neither thing. To pass a law is not to achieve its aims, and one suspects that any attempt at gun control in America ... would be destined to be filed next to Prohibition and the War on Drugs in the annals of man's folly. American liberties, including the Second Amendment and the 40-plus state-level guarantees of the right to bear arms, pre-exist the federal government, and are defined and protected in the same document from which the state derives its authority and its structure. In a free republic, the people cannot be disarmed by the government, for they are its employers, and they did not give up their individual rights when they consented to its creation. There is no clause in our charters of liberty that allows for the people to be deprived of their freedom if and when a few individuals abuse theirs." --National Review's Charles C. W. Cooke
"In the wake of the Conn. shooting, the 2nd Amendment has become a focal point for anti-gun proponents once more. Their message is that it's time to re-evaluate the right to keep and bear arms, but the mistaken assumption is that the 2nd Amendment is easy to change. Like all amendments in the Bill of Rights, the 2nd Amendment does not create a right. Rather, it recognizes a right with which we were 'endowed by [our] Creator.' ... Normally stressed in this amendment are the two obvious assertions: 1. We possess 'the right to keep and bear arms' and, 2. That right 'shall not be infringed.' But of crucial importance is the fact that this amendment is the only one which protects a right our Founders considered 'necessary to the security of a free state.' Obvious implications: No armed citizenry = no free state. This is why the Founders made this amendment so difficult to change or eliminate. ... The difficulty required to change this amendment ought to give us pause. For our Founders went out of their way to be sure the rights protected by the Bill of Rights could not be easily stripped of their amendments." --Breitbart's AWR Hawkins