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The last Children’s Crusade ended badly. This year’s version won’t be as catastrophic, but it isn’t likely to be any more successful.
It started in Florida, where liberal activists didn’t wait until the bodies at Stoneman Douglas High School were cold to begin organizing kids for another run at increased gun controls. Stoneman Douglas students have been featured so often on CNN, used as props for blatantly political purposes, that some are becoming household names, as reflected in this Grabien montage:
Today, left-wing organizers will lead high school students into the Florida legislature, where they will demand that old chestnut, a ban on AR-15 style rifles. It isn’t clear why anyone thinks 15-to-18-year-old kids have any special insight into the issues relating to mass murders by the mentally ill, but of course that won’t stop the left. One wonders whether the young people who will harangue Florida legislators even know that an “assault weapons” ban was tried a couple of decades ago, and was allowed to lapse because it was a complete failure. One wonders, too, how many of them know that the rifle is the least popular of murder weapons, ranking, according to the FBI’s statistics, well below knives, shotguns, blunt objects and bare hands.
In 1994, when the “assault weapons” ban was enacted, the Second Amendment was the stepchild of the Bill of Rights. That is no longer true; or, at least, it is much less true today. Today, a ban on AR-15 style firearms might well be held unconstitutional, both under the Second Amendment and as a violation of due process. Courts might well find that a ban on AR-15s irrationally distinguishes between that style of rifle–America’s most popular–and the many other semiautomatic rifles on the market, based on differences that are largely cosmetic.
There are, of course, things that can be done to prevent mass school shootings, which thankfully are rare and are not becoming more frequent. The most obvious is to improve school security by hiring armed guards, restricting entry by non-students, and encouraging teachers to obtain carry permits. The “gun-free zone” is an idiotic concept that should be done away with.
Mental health issues should be addressed as well, even though this raises thorny problems. School “shooters” have uniformly been obviously crazy. Nikolas Cruz is an extreme case: he told everyone who would listen that he intended to be a school mass murderer, and apparently no one was interested in acting on his threats. One of these days, we are going to have to do something about blatantly crazy and dangerous people before they act, not after it is too late.
That, in turn, raises the failures of law enforcement that obviously occurred in the Parkland case. The FBI, in particular, dropped the ball. The FBI needs to be drastically overhauled, beginning with firing the senior bureaucrats who apparently are more interested in playing political games than in preventing crimes.
These are all legitimate issues, but I’ve seen no indication that Florida liberals are encouraging their child crusaders to talk about any of them. Nor do I expect to hear anything about these issues from the other young people who are now being organized by liberals in various states around the country.