1 Addendum to the “Weapons of War” post: I almost included this in the post itself, but it was long enough. During the debates here over the Confederate statue-toppling orgies and the Charlottesville riot, we often heard the defense that Robert E. Lee, et al., were unworthy of statues, monuments and memorials because they were traitors. I always viewed this as a rationalization for the real reason the Confederates are being airbrushed out of our public history, which is that their political and social beliefs don’t measure up to 21st Century ethics. The “traitor” argument is a neat way to distinguish Robert E. Lee from slave-owners like George Washington. However, as the post explains, the United States was founded on the principle that it is not treason for citizens to seek to create a new government when they concluded that the current one has abused its power and cannot be reformed. That is certainly what the Confederacy believed. Under the Founding documents, they had every right to leave the Union, and would have done so peacefully had Lincoln allowed it. Robert E. Lee was wrong, and he was a racist, but he was no traitor. By Jefferson’s formula that was ratified unanimously by the Continental Congress, he was a patriot.
2. Everybody’s flailing. President Trump floated the much-mocked “arm teachers” suggestion, and then used the cultural DeLorean to retrieve the “popular culture is too violent” explanation. The gun violence in the U.S. is very much driven by our culture, and pop culture both reflects and affects it. Hollywood made some efforts to tone down the violence last year; it also had the worst year at the box office in a quarter of a century, so we’ll see how long that lasts. The President just doesn’t understand the Constitution very well: the government can’t force video games, music, TV shows and movies to be less violent, but it can launch efforts to build a public consensus to dial back the fictional killing.
You know, like Tipper Gore’s effort to get the sex, obscenity and violence out of rap music. That sure worked well. The Obama approach would be to send out a menacing letter saying something like, “We recommend that you tone it down, but of course we can’t make you, but you know there are a lot of ways we could make your life miserable if you displease us, not that we would ever try to muscle you or anything since it you have the right of free speech. Just a word to the wise between friends. Nice little business you have there; it would be a shame if anything were to happen to it…”
The President’s critics sneered that he is “flailing” on the issue. I don’t see that he is flailing any more than anyone else. To the zealots, “flailing” means “not advocating the repeal of the Second Amendment.”
3. At least Vox is honest. In this article, left-wing Vox argues that the solution to gun violence “isn’t a big mystery,” but then only uses innuendo to explain what the solution is. Guess! here’s the biggest clue (emphasis mine):
The research also suggests that gun control can work. A 2016 review of 130 studies in 10 countries, published in Epidemiologic Reviews, found that new legal restrictions on owning and purchasing guns tended to be followed by a drop in gun violence — a strong indicator that restricting access to firearms can save lives.
Consider Australia’s example.
4. Oopsie. I almost feel sorry for the anti-gun zealots this time. They thought they finally had the perfect tragedy to bet all their chips on to gut the Second Amendment and demonize the NRA, and as the fact have emerged, the Parkland shooting only proves that you can have all the laws and protections imaginable, you can stomp on rights and make safety the first priority, but if human beings–and governments— don’t do their jobs, you have sacrificed principles for nothing. The school had advance notice that Nicholas Cruz was dangerous. The police and the FBI were alerted repeatedly—Broward County police received 18 calls about him!— and were negligent and incompetent. [ See Update below..] Then the armed officer whose job it was to intercept a threat like Cruz allowed him to shoot away, and other responding officers also did nothing. Telling the NRA and Republicans that they have “blood on their hands” in a scenario like this is transparently dishonest, and a virtual cover-up.
Make that an actual cover-up, and a remarkably stupid one. This morning, Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel admitted on Jake Tapper’s State of the Union that he knew his deputy didn’t enter school at time of CNN “town hall” forum, and still berated the NRA while boasting about his officers’ success at keeping the public safe. Tapper was aghast:
Tapper: When did you find out that Deputy Peterson had not gone into the building? How soon after the shooting did you know that?
Israel: Not for days.
Tapper: How many days?
Israel: I’m not sure.
Tapper: Because you spent much of the Wednesday night town hall on CNN to meet with the entire Stoneman Douglas communities, students and teachers and parents, attacking the NRA, saying the police need more powers, more money to prevent future tragedies, you didn’t disclose any of this, to the crowd then, the Stoneman Douglas high school community, did you know it then, did you know it Wednesday night?
Israel: It was spoken about earlier during that day….
The students, meanwhile, have been encouraged to cry “Never Again” in response to a tragedy that shows vividly why laws and systems will never be able to guarantee safety from lone killers, at school or anywhere else.
Glenn Reynold quoted a Facebook friend’s post:
Let’s get this straight: the FBI failed to follow its own procedure when warned of the Florida school killer, which might have prevented the massacre; and now we learn that the armed sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school failed to execute his duty, which also might have prevented the massacre.
It should be no wonder Americans don’t trust their institutions — nor that they want the ability to protect themselves when those institutions show themselves incompetent to do the job. Instead of new laws and procedures administered by these same inept bureaucracies, either reform those bureaucracies and their personnel to enforce the existing laws, or allow American citizens to do for themselves what the institutions do not.
The present political moment for gun control will shortly fade without having achieved its major objectives, as all its predecessors have. The reason it will fail is not the NRA nor its money: it’s this.
And this was the tragedy that the gun-banners chose to make their stand on. Here’s one of my Facebook friends, a smart, mild-mannered, wonderful guy in all respects, and yet he posts this:
“The NRA doesn’t give a flying fuck about the Constitution. 90% of its members would be hard pressed to name even three other amendments in the Bill of Rights. All they give a shit about is the profits of gun manufacturers and sellers, no matter how many dead children litter our nation’s schoolyards. Profits are the only thing the NRA wishes to “preserve,” and you’re an idiot if you’ve been duped into believing otherwise.”
5. As follows the night the day…Once again, we are seeing a rise in “no-tolerance” policies in school regarding guns, and anything that seems like a gun. This is the Barn Door Fallacy. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School was shot up after school administrators allowed every possible warning sign to slide by, but now that 17 human beings are dead, the barn door is being locked, bolted, sealed with concrete…
- In this episode, an 18-year-old student accidentally brought a loaded gun that was registered and that he owned legally to school. He immediately told a an officer at the school, who had him arrested and charged with a felony. He is going to be expelled.
Obviously the right thing for the student to do would have been 1) not to become an evil, dangerous gun owner and 2) to keep the gun hidden and not alert the officer.
- This, which immediately takes its place along side the finger gun, the pizza gun, and the pop-tart gun…the square root symbol gun.
This one does have the consolation of creating a good gag line: “weapon of math destruction.” It also illustrates that our children will not be safe in school as longs as they can be abused by morons.
UPDATE: Regarding #4, here is a transcript of a 911 call regarding Cruz in January: