Watching the differing responses from Left and Right to the Florida school shooting perfectly captures fundamental differences in Left and Right thinking.
After the school shooting news broke yesterday, I quickly pounded out a few thoughts based in large part on data from and reactions to past shootings. Now that there is more data available, and I’ve had more time to think about things, I’d like to add a larger, more philosophical point.
In my mind, I categorized what happened as a terrible tragedy. A Progressive friend, however, called the shooting a disaster and was upset that I preferred to say tragedy. I understand why my friend was upset, because there’s a world of difference in the way in which we view bad things in the world.
To explain this, I need to pull back and point to a practically prescient article Dennis Prager wrote earlier this week, riffing off his regular inquiries into the nature of happiness, about the different ways in which conservatives and Progressives view the world:
Unhappy conservatives generally believe they are unhappy because life is inherently difficult and tragic, and because they have made some unwise decisions in life.
But unhappy liberals generally believe they are unhappy because they have been persecuted.
From these simple statements, one can deduce that conservatives have a grimmer view of the world, but feel a greater sense of control. That latter point matters because the most frustrating thing in the world is responsibility without control.
Meanwhile, Progressives, even as they ostensibly believe the world and mankind can be perfected, also believe that, when this perfection fails to manifest itself, there is nothing they, as individuals can do. Even in times of peace and plenty, when people should mostly be happy, they feel victimized and abandoned. Talk about a frustrating loss of control.
These philosophical differences inevitably lead to different responses, not just to happiness, but to shattering events. Before I proceed with this idea, let me point out again that I am talking about times of peace and plenty. The person who can be happy and in control in a Nazi or North Korean concentration camp, in an ISIS-controlled village, or while being eaten by a bear is a rare person indeed. No, what I’m talking about is ordinary life, with its ordinary ups and downs and its ordinary tragedies.
When I see what happened in Florida, as a parent I naturally think “there but for the grace of God go I,” and I hope devoutly that something like this never befalls my children. I have the deepest sympathy for the victims and their families. I’d like to have empathy, but my imagination is limited and I truly cannot grasp the immensity of losing one’s child in such a senseless way.
However, I do not see what happened as a disaster. To me, a disaster is something of greater scope than this: a disaster is 3,000 Americans dying over the course of an hour in targeted terror attacks; a disaster is thousands of acres and homes burning across the West; a disaster is a hurricane wiping out the levees allowing the Gulf to inundate a major American citizen; a slow-moving disaster is the scourge of opiates killing Americans in unprecedented numbers; and the endless body count in Democrat-run inner cities. Maybe I’m being an English-language obsessive, but tragedies play out on a smaller, more personal scale.
It is possible that foresight could have prevented the tragedy in Florida. The perpetrator turns out to have been so many things we know are dangerous: He’d experienced profound, traumatic loss in life, because his adoptive father died before he hit his teens and his adoptive mother died unexpected from the flu just months ago; he may have been on psychotropic drugs; he was obsessed with any kind of violence and killing and flirted with both Antifa and the Alt-Right [a very rude Leftist advises me that the Antifa photo is not this Cruz, so I’m passing that assertion on to y’all]; people were aware of his propensities and were afraid of him; and even the FBI had been warned about him but, despite having his name, couldn’t figure out who he was.
(As an aside, we know that he was not affiliated with local white supremacists which didn’t surprise me because most of his victims were white. Cruz was an equal opportunity hater. Still, a credulous media desperately wanted him to be a white supremacist and reported an unsourced claim as actual news, because that’s what the modern media does.)
In any event, the tragedy wasn’t avoided, and 17 vital young people on the cusp of life died.
With those poor, broken bodies still lying on the ground, Democrats began demanding more gun control. They did this despite not knowing the facts and despite the fact that I’m struggling to think of any mass shooting that gun control (as opposed to nationwide gun confiscation) could have prevented. This is the typical Progressive victim mindset: You demand protection. It’s the weapons; it’s the NRA; it’s the racial hate. It’s all stuff that we can perfect through more legislation and government control.
Meanwhile, conservatives are looking deeper, and what they’re looking at isn’t government ukases, which always promise protection, but never provide it. Instead, they’re looking at societal changes that only individuals can effectuate.
As a society, we need to stop treating young men with psychotropic drugs. It’s not a coincidence that a disproportionate number of young school shooters are on these drugs. Either these drugs are exacerbating their worst instincts or tamping them down to the point at which we fail to address serious underlying mental problems that inevitably burst forth.
As a society, we need to bring men back into boy’s lives — and I’m not talking about the Progressive push to normalize pedophilia or about the rotating crop of boyfriends that pass through too many single mothers’ lives. (And yes, I understand that in Cruz’s case, his father died, and that is another of those life tragedies that nothing can stop.)
We know that while mothers provide love and nurturing, it’s fathers, or moral, reliable father figures, who keep young men on the straight and narrow. They teach growing boys how to be protectors and how to control their anger.
We as individuals need to take a stand against a Leftist paradigm that demeans men and manliness. You don’t create good men by describing all men as evil and demanding they change. You create good men by giving them models of what goodness looks like — and male goodness is not to be found in dressing in drag and denouncing yourself or in being encouraged to cut off your testicles and penis.
As a society, we need a media that reports these mass shootings in the driest, most uninterested terms. There’s no doubt in my mind (and I think there are studies to support my instincts), that these killers love the infamy. If the media reports about them as boring, stupid, losers who don’t deserve much notice beyond the bare facts, they lose some of their incentive for evil. This is not about censorship. It’s about media responsibility.
As a society, we need to have more armed individuals, especially around vulnerable people, a reality even the Leftists know to be true (although they’d vociferously argue against it if pressed). Do you want to know what our local schools did today to protect against copycats? They had the police in the schools. They did this because, no matter how much they lie to themselves and the world, they know there is only one certain defense against bad guys with guns and that is good guys with guns.
I happen to believe that most Americans are good guys with guns. The data certainly show that NRA members are not amongst the mass murdering crazies who keep popping up.
Importantly, you don’t have to be a saint to be a good guy with a gun. I’m sure there are people out there who are nasty to their spouses, who cheat on their taxes, who tailgate, who stiff waiters on tips — and who, if they were armed when a killer walked in, would unhesitatingly use their guns, not to join in with the killer, but to take him out.
In other words, the vast majority of Americans are good protectors by a mathematical factor so huge I cannot even imagine it. They are not mass murderers. Arm our teachers and these school shootings will stop. (In Israel, schools have guards; that works too.)
Guns are tools and are only as good or bad as the people who wield them. Since the only way to remove guns from bad guys is to have a totalitarian government every bit as controlling as that in North Korea, the logical (and Constitutional) alternative is to keep good people armed.
As a society, we need to have more reverence for life — and that means making all late-term abortions illegal and making abortion generally something that, if not illegal, is still societally disfavored. Today’s young people understand that it’s mere good luck when they’re not vacuumed out of the womb. They understand that the dominant culture is urging that more of them die. They absorb the fact that Cecile Richards is applauded for having presided over tens of millions of deaths during her tenure at Planned Parenthood.
I’ve long said that, while I grew up pro-abortion, the death cult that the Leftists have built up around abortion is so disturbing that I simply cannot be a part of it anymore. When you have a death cult society, one that applauds “comediennes” who joke about eating fetuses, that has women boasting about the number of abortions they have, and one that demands that taxpayers keep funding abortion mills — well, your young people are going to figure out that, in America, only some lives are valued.
As a society, we need to take a stand against violent subcultures that we currently politely ignore because focusing on them is “racist” and “victim-shaming.” We are not a society that values life if we don’t honestly state that blacks are committing auto-genocide. In Leftist-run cities, which aggressively promote legal abortion and gun control, blacks abort more babies than are born, those babies that are born have no fathers, and illegal guns are plentiful. This really is a disaster, because the scale is so much greater than a tragedy. It’s not one black death here or there. Including abortions, it’s tens of thousands of violent black deaths every year and we look away because . . . “racist.”
What does our looking away say about our reverence for life in America?
I’m not racist. Black lives matter to me. I want black babies to grow up as my children did: safe and loved. As a society, we must speak out against the deadly pathologies that infect black (and often Hispanic) communities, rather than pretending that aborting them and removing guns from law-abiding citizens trapped in these urban Hells is the only “non-racist” thing we can do.
Incidentally, last night, we finally got around to watching the most recent Frontline that was ostensibly about the scourge of MS-13. The show did begin by addressing the rise in MS-13 gangs and the savage slaughter they inflict on their fellow young people both gang affiliated and those just unlucky enough to have gotten in their way. President Trump, in under four minutes, did a better job summing up this unfolding disaster a lot better than Frontline did:
Frontline even admitted that many of the gang members came in with the hordes of unaccompanied children who swarmed the border a few years ago — and who received an open-armed welcome from the Obama administration. But having acknowledged how so many MS-13 gang members came to the U.S., Frontline quickly abandoned that issue and went to its real point:
The Trump administration is being mean because it’s stepped up enforcement against illegal aliens (or, as Frontline euphemistically styles them, “undocumented immigrants”). The immigrant community is now “scare.” Boys who came here illegally are not getting instant hearings after being rounded up, which is mean. (Rod Rosenstein, of all people, made a very good case about the fact that the boys are just caught in the 600,000+ backlog that built up during the Obama years.) There’s nothing suspicious about teenage boys who have been here for years but speak no English despite their claim to be good students and who flash gang symbols just to be social.
Maybe these boys are indeed innocent and maybe they really did come here (illegally) to escape being caught up in a Latin American gang. But the reality is that these kids are here illegally. Despite the U.S.’s being a modern, sovereign nation, we never got the chance to take a look at them before inundating poor (minority) communities with kids a significant proportion of whom carried deadly diseases and equally deadly gang ties. It’s significant that the people who are the architects of this inundation live far from the communities in illegal aliens find themselves.
I’m not as cruel as I sound. I know that young people in Honduras and El Salvador and Mexico and Africa and most of the world will never get the opportunities available to those of us in America. I know that for many of them, life is truly Hobbesian. And I know that my kids and I were darned lucky to be born in America. I am forever grateful for that fact. But my gratitude does not extend to destroying my country to express that gratitude. As I explained in a past post, I’m going to take care of my children first.
Just as I believe in individual responsibility, I believe that nations and their people must at some point be responsible for themselves. Moreover, I would be happy to export to them my winning values — hard work, education if possible, marriage, honesty, etc. — except that I’m told I can’t do that because . . . racism, colonialism, cultural appropriation, microaggressions, macroaggressions, toxic whiteness, cultural relativism, and all of the other Leftist shibboleths that destroy healthy societies and keep unhealthy societies in a permanent state of sickness.
So yes, yesterday’s school shooting made me think, but it didn’t make me think that the government needs to act. It made me think that we, the People, need to take control of our culture — and mostly, we need to walk back the appalling ideas that the Left has visited on American culture, everything from denigrating men, erasing fathers, feeding the abortion death cult, denying minorities access to the values that will save them, and a whole host of other things big and small that eat away at moral and national fiber and can only be fixed through individual action, not big government.
UPDATE: I went to Stately McDaniel Manor to find what Mike had to say about the shooting. When it comes to intelligent commentary about guns, both their legal and illegal uses, there is no one smarter on the subject than Mike. Imagine how flattered I was to see that he ended his superb post, which I highly recommend, with a shout-out to me. Let’s just say that, if you can only read one of us on the subject, read him. (By the way, Mike writes wonderfully about everything that catches his interest. It’s just that, when it comes to guns, he really is head and shoulders above most other writers.)