Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Don's Tuesday Column
THE WAY I SEE IT by Don Polson Red Bluff Daily News 02/20/2018
Guns; cultural, civilizational rot
Once again, the frustrating, circular and self-defeating confluence of seemingly irresistible and immovable circumstances led to a mass murder of children in their school. The killer expressed apparent homicidal fantasies in accessible and public forums; consider the role of twisted psychological drives for a sick form of fame; the heavy use of violent video games may well be a factor. Emotionally troubled and involved to some degree in psychiatric treatment, he removed himself from said treatment; we may find a history of psychotropic drugs contributing to violent instability.
Admitted failures by layers of law enforcement to timely respond present a scream-worthy trail of missed opportunities to head off the killing—as well as create reasons to deny the murderer his legal purchase of weapons. I’m sure the school had the kind of “lock down” procedures that prevented a massacre at the Rancho Tehama School but clearly nothing stopped him. Last, but hardly least, no one nearby was armed and prepared to confront the killer with the deadly force necessary to stop a homicidal maniac.
Taking the last point first, just as I have irrefutably pointed out in past columns, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. The reality is that when seconds count, the response of law enforcement is sadly minutes away. It is beyond belief that many insist “more guns aren’t the answer,” when the only other option is for someone like the coach in that Florida school to sacrifice himself protecting children with his body.
The solutions evade us even as the usual liberal Democrat foghorns of anti-gun blather propose knee-jerk calls for laws that they know, or should know, would have done nothing to stop the murdering of children in their own school. The tropes about background checks? Again, he made a legal purchase of—putting aside the hysteria over the features of the AR-15—a semi-automatic, one-trigger-pull-equals-one-bullet, rifle. Law enforcement, up to and including the local FBI, had every legal tool available to take action—they were given his identity, his threatening statements and even, so I read, were called to his house 39 times.
If anyone truly wants to change something, let’s start with arming responsible, former military and law enforcers, including other school personnel willing to get the “active shooter” training. A Republican Florida legislator proposed just that—teachers’ unions and the PTA opposed it. In the Rancho Tehama situation, what would teachers and others have had to protect those children if the killer had somehow gained access, other than their own bodies and erasers?
With that as a common-sense first step to having a last-ditch defense of the innocent—less likely simply by killers knowing that someone will return fire inside the school—let’s consider proactive steps that are easily implemented. We all know that the parents of miscreant students can be prone to call a lawyer before they call the school to find out the school’s side of any disciplinary action. I heard a simple, straightforward suggestion: Empower principals and administrators with a set number of “referrals with cause” every year, for which they are protected from legal liability or jeopardy.
Upon said determination, they can provide the police with legal recourse to examine the home, person and social media posts of students or others, for signs of impending violence. Only an ideologue, fanatic or idiot could object to such suggestions which—while not entirely fool proof in all cases—would have lessened or prevented many recent school killings.
What we should be able agree on is that spreading hate-filled nonsense and lies for cheap political points is counterproductive. For example, as soon as a “gun control” group stated (falsely) that there had been 18 mass shootings in schools this year alone, news media and liberal hacks (often a redundancy) ran with the statistic. It turned out to be bogus, “fake news” if you will; examination showed only about 3 of those were “mass shootings.” The others included suicides, accidental discharges, intentional shootings that hurt no one, or other attack. Some (PolitiFact, Washington Post) did retract the figure, but most did not.
Then, feeding the Trump-hating-and-deranged among our partisan press and politic, Trump was wrongly accused of eliminating a restriction that prohibited insane people from buying guns. Not true! He signed a bill removing the inclusion of “not being able to keep one’s finances in order” as a predicate for denying gun ownership. The NRA and ACLU agreed.
Another example of Trump-derangement popped up when a man who lost a child in the Florida school shooting was seen in his truck wearing a “Trump for 2020” t-shirt. The hateful, despicable, contemptible comments that ensued should have been beneath human dignity. “Media Swallows Militia Leader’s [false] Claim School Shooter Was Connected to White Supremacists,” became “low hanging fruit” for partisan point-scoring and Trump-bashing. More “Fake news.” Not fake: “Flashback 30 Years—Guns Were in Schools…and Nothing Happened.” Gun ranges!
“Those who have been so busy destroying the moral backstops in our culture won’t want to have this conversation. They’ll do what they do—mock the truth. There was a time in America, before the Snowflakes, when any adult on the block could reprimand a neighborhood kid who was out of line without fear.
“Even thirty years ago, the culture still had invisible restraints developed over centuries. Those restraints, those leveling commonalities, were the target of a half-century of attack by the freewheeling counterculture that has now become the dominant replacement culture” (J. Christian Adams). Evil manifests in cultural, civilizational rot.