Violence Is a Culture Problem, Not a 'Gun Problem'
Until Democrats reverse their statist policies that have devastated American families and communities, violence will continue to rule the day.
“Without religion, I believe that learning does real mischief to the morals and principles of mankind.” —Benjamin Rush (1783)
While most of my “liberal” friends claim to care about young people, however misguided the expression of that “care” might sometimes be, most Democrat Party pols don’t give a damn about kids — unless, of course, their caskets can be used to construct political platforms.
I could substantiate that harsh criticism based solely on the fact that, every day, Democrats support ending the lives of 2,446 children before birth — and in doing so demonstrate their utter disregard for even the most defenseless of human life.
But in this instance, I’m alluding to Democrats’ statist policies, which have eroded our culture from top to bottom — including most notably, families and especially the children who were once nourished by them. The devastating consequences of this erosion play out in an endless loop of daily tragedies.
To that end, what follows are some observations in the wake of the mass murder in a Florida school by a sociopathic assailant.
What really happened in Florida
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) protested yesterday that if Congress does not pass “gun control” legislation, a.k.a. “gun confiscation legislation,” “We won’t have done our job to keep America’s families safe.”
Fact is, Democrat policies have, for generations, been a devastating wrecking ball demolishing “America’s families.”
They avoid that debate at all costs because it’s their failed statist policies, the effluent of their so-called “Great Society” centralized social programs, that have resulted in generations of poor Americans enslaved on urban poverty plantations in every major city nationwide.
Those poverty centers are the locus of drastic cultural devolution, most notably the systemic disintegration of the American family, and particularly the eradication of fatherhood. Virtually every school shooting, and most other inner-city violence, is associated with the absence of effective fathering in the lives of young men.
Given the violent social entropy that now permeates our culture, we can piece together the Democrats’ recipe for mass slaughter in our schools.
First, aggressively secularize government schools by expelling God from these compounds in the name of First Amendment rights. Then teach kids stuck in those morally vacuous institutions that there are no moral truths.
Second, infuse the minds of some isolated troubled youth with a steady stream of media violence. Saturate them with unrelenting images of that violence, the staple of the so-called entertainment industry’s productions in every medium, especially video games. Entertainment has become a primary source of indoctrination: garbage in, garbage out. (This unrelenting exposure to video violence is a common denominator among adolescent mass-killers.)
Third, force these sociopathic adolescent outliers into the same campus compounds with students who are behaviorally stable, because Democrat “education” policies demand that we not separate and thereby stigmatize them. And because Democrats vigorously oppose “school choice” measures, poor parents have no other schooling options for their children.
Fourth, ensure that these schools are soft targets — “gun free” zones to guarantee that an assailant’s murderous rampage will not meet any opposition.
And finally, ensure the cascading failures of those government bureaucracies charged with intervening and protecting our children. This includes entities from the FBI to the appallingly incompetent frontline defender, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel, whose department failed 45 times to intervene in recent years, and whose deputies then refused to enter the building to kill the assailant.
Make no mistake: This grandstanding Hillary Clinton sycophant and his grossly mismanaged department could have saved those 17 children if they had only done their jobs.
Given the pervasiveness of these deadly ingredients, I’m actually shocked that there aren’t more of these tragic events.
But the fact is, according to a recent Northeastern University study of school assaults, four times as many students were killed in assaults under Bill Clinton’s watch. But one such assault will forever be too many.
That notwithstanding, this is what the Leftmedia’s incessant coverage of such violence (selling advertising on the blood of innocents) communicates to potential future mass-murderer wannabes:
- We’ll make sure you’re famous by devoting all our air time to you.
- As targets go, a school will get you the most attention, and nobody will shoot back. (In fact, 98% of mass shootings occur in “gun-free zones” )
- Use an AR-15 — it’s the most popular gun for the job, and then we will call it an “assault weapon.”
Debating solutions with a liberal
Generally, I find conversations with those who have divergent views compelling.
One of my lefty friends is a Brown University graduate who lives in the most dangerous city in America, Baltimore, in one of the most liberal states in America, Maryland.
She’s a thoughtful and intelligent liberal, which is to say we disagree on many fronts but not via screaming matches.
Referencing an opinion piece in The New York Times entitled “I Was a Marine. I Don’t Want a Gun in My Classroom.,” subtitled, “The presence of a firearm is always an invitation to violence,” she asked my opinion on five current debate issues: Politicians who take money from the National Rifle Association; firearms in the classroom; increased age requirements for gun purchasers and background checks; a ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines; and how to reduce “gun violence” in America.
I responded with the following observations, which are applicable in every debate on this subject.
1.) Regarding politicians who take money from the NRA:
According to The Washington Post, the NRA has donated a total of $4.23 million in direct support to all current members of Congress since 1998. The bulk of NRA spending during those same years, $144.3 million, was used for advertising and other advocacy measures in support of Second Amendment rights. It spent $45.9 million lobbying for those rights. In other words, the NRA spends about $10 million annually on advocacy, only a small portion of which consists of donations to campaigns.
The mainstream media is thus grossly exaggerating the NRA’s influence over Republicans. Few Republicans need the NRA to convince them of the historical context for the Second Amendment as the fundamental assurance of American Liberty.
Meanwhile, estimates of the value of “entertainment industry” support for Democrats is far greater than what the NRA donated in the last two decades. (Frankly, on top of monetary contributions, the value of ubiquitous Leftmedia propaganda in support for Democrats is priceless.)
If Republicans are being asked to refuse the paltry direct support they receive from the NRA, Democrats should be asked to refuse the massive support they receive from the coffers of the “mayhem and death” profiteers — the purveyors of violence who inculcate the brains of young people, day in and day out, with the most graphic violence imaginable.
Remarkably, some of the celebs who owe their fame and fortune to their ultra-violent “entertainment” roles, are among the most outspoken gun control advocates – a demonstration of unmitigated hypocrisy that falls squarely into the “BIG Lie” category.
And on the subject of the NRA, I reminded my Democrat friend that when cities host NRA conventions, crime rates invariably go down while NRA members are in town — and in convention halls with the highest concentration of firearms per capita in the city, there are no shootings.
2.) Regarding The New York Times article and firearms in the classroom:
The assertion that “the presence of a firearm is always an invitation for violence” is absurd. In the possession of a law-abiding citizen, a firearm is a deterrent to violence. And being a Marine doesn’t necessarily confer some special status regarding an opinion on this matter, but I was pleased to see the Times found a reason to honor a veteran’s military service.
As for guns in the classroom, nobody is calling for a mandate arming those who don’t want to be armed. There are already far too many federal mandates that have crippled government schools. Decisions on how to best protect students should be left to state and local governments, and most do a very good job at this.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced this week a $500 million plan to harden government schools: “I want to make sure we have increased presence with mental health counselors at our schools. We’ve got to make sure we have an increased law enforcement presence in all of our schools. We also need to make significant investments in school safety. We’ve got to invest in metal detectors, we’ve got to invest in bulletproof glass, we’ve got to invest in steel doors, we’ve got to invest in upgraded locks. We’ve gotta do everything we can to make sure that somebody that wants to harm any one of our students can never do it again.”
It is a sad commentary that the culture outside our schools necessitates them becoming fortresses, but no amount of hardening will end the violence until the cultural questions are addressed.
Yes, this week President Donald Trump met with governors to talk about school safety. He’s already committed to banning bump stock devices, a measure The Patriot Post has supported because bump stocks circumvent federal laws regarding select-fire weapons (which are true assault weapons). And Trump is an advocate for states to authorize and train some teachers and school officials to be armed.
But Democrats oppose Trump’s advocacy for additional armed personnel in schools because they would never want to concur that firearms are a deterrent to violence.
Regarding armed individuals in schools, some people are predisposed to stand in the gap to protect others. I think the school model should be similar to the commercial pilot model. Pilots have the opportunity to be trained and armed — and many are. There are school districts in states where this has already been implemented successfully.
3.) Regarding increased age requirements for gun purchasers and more stringent background checks:
I actually wouldn’t be opposed to raising the age limit to purchase certain classes of firearms to 21. When I went through the Georgia police academy at age 19, an older officer in the department had to purchase the handgun I carried through the academy. Yes, I could be a police officer, but I couldn’t purchase a handgun.
However, while I think the net effect of raising the age limit would be negligible, in the Florida case it would have made more difficult the assailant’s access to the firearm he used.
I do believe there need to be more stringent background checks for firearm purchases, particularly related to mental health qualifications. But redefining those qualifications should be done with great skepticism, given the Democrats’ propensity for abusing civil rights — particularly the First Civil Right as defined by the Second Amendment.
4.) Regarding a ban on “assault weapons” and high-capacity magazines:
We banned so called “assault weapons” and large-capacity magazines from 1994 to 2004, and according to the Justice Department, there was no discernible effect on crime rates.
Again, I would argue that guns are not the problem, and rifles are most assuredly not the problem.
According to the FBI’s latest annual crime statistics, rifles were used in 252 homicides, while knives were used in 1,544 homicides.
It’s not a knife problem, either.
Since my friend lives in Baltimore, I mentioned that in my most recent column on the Democrats’ “common sense gun control” proposals, which are anything but, I cited a study done by the Baltimore Sun that noted:
The average homicide victim in Baltimore in 2017 had 11 previous arrests on his record. About 73 percent had drug arrests, and nearly 50 percent had been arrested for a violent crime. About 30 percent were on parole or probation at the time they were killed, and more than 6 percent were on parole or probation for a gun crime.
In other words, if you’re not a career criminal, or affiliated with gangs or drugs, your chances of being a victim of violent crime drop dramatically. In fact, it can be argued that your risk of being a victim of violent crime drops below European Union rates.
As a matter of fact, if you’re not involved in criminal activity, your statistical probability of being killed by a drunk driver is much higher than being murdered.
But I am not proposing to ban alcohol or automobiles.
5.) Regarding how to reduce “gun violence” in America:
The debate we should be having is about the cultural roots of the epidemic of violence in America, those I outlined above regarding broken families, violent media and policies that foment violence.
But predictably, the Left is using adolescents as human shields to promote its latest faux legislation to ban semi-automatic firearms. And Demo MSM outlets, most notably CNN and its anti-2A crusade, are churning the tragedy 24/7 as fodder for advertising sales.
The most “inconvenient truth” for those who think guns are the problem is the indisputable fact that violent crime trends have declined over the last two decades, while private ownership of firearms has significantly increased.
The bottom line: Violence is a cultural problem, and until Democrats set aside their political charades and work with Republicans to reverse the policies that have devastated our families and communities, violence will continue to rule the day.
When debating the Second Amendment, there are three points that are often neglected.
First, possession of firearms is a deterrent against countless millions of crimes, as made clear in studies of convicted felons, who tell researchers that they choose victims who are least likely to be able to defend themselves. Second, there are more than a million crimes thwarted every year by those who defend themselves with a firearm.
And finally, the Second Amendment is, first and foremost, about protection of our Constitution and the Liberty it enshrines. As I have oft noted, handguns are for personal and home defense. But semi-automatic rifles, mislabeled by Democrats and their Leftmedia propagandists as “assault rifles,” are for protection of those who would infringe on the “right of the people to keep and bear arms.” If you find that notion unsettling, then you need to learn more about the history the constant assault of statist tyranny on Liberty.
“The ultimate authority … resides in the people alone. [T]he advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation … forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any…” –James Madison (1788)
A couple of footnotes:
First, regarding President Trump’s much-maligned assertion, “You don’t know until you test it, but I think … I really believe I’d run in there … and I think most of the people in this room would have done that too because I know most of you.”
It turns out that noted journalist James Rosen, then a young staff writer for the New York Daily News, reported on 20 November 1991 a story about Donald Trump intervening on behalf of a stranger who was being beaten. According to Rosen, witnesses confirmed that Trump, witnessing a mugging on the street when he was on his way to a concert, ordered his limousine to the curb, exited and confronted the bat-wielding mugger, who dropped his bat and fled.
Second, here’s a list of the brands that have cut ties with the NRA, in effect, using the blood of innocents for a crass marketing charade. Fortunately, early returns show that rational people are seeing that for what it is.
Semper Vigilans Fortis Paratus et Fidelis
Pro Deo et Libertate — 1776