The impulse to turn every incident into a political question is unhealthy.
Especially when done with calculation for political gain.
When our nation experiences another school shooting, advocates — right up to the White House, at this point — refuse to give us so much as a day to process the emotions and gather information. They insist that they have the solutions, that they’re easy and obvious, and that anybody who does not immediately advocate for them is simply looking the other way, probably deliberately and probably with evil intent.
We can see what a ghoulish, ugly impulse this is by imagining how those advocates might behave differently if they were genuinely affected by such incidents and did not dehumanize their opposition and belittle their rights. Typically, people with that sort of attitude don’t demand that their allies rally and ram through the policy they want. Rather, they recognize that it isn’t merely fifty Senators and a lobby group standing in the way, but a very sizable percentage of their fellow citizens, and they ask themselves what it is those people see differently. Their goal shifts from bullying to persuading, and in the process, they can’t help but form a better understanding of different views.
Human nature being what it is, this has always been a challenge, but without question the mechanism of social media has catalyzed the noxious fumes of progressivism throughout our society into a dangerous, volatile atmosphere.
The news out of Texas, yesterday, was horrifying, but the impulse we should elevate isn’t the one to divide and agitate for political advantage. Rather, the impulse we should elevate is the one to hug our own children. We should expand its application to our neighbors and our communities. If we put our emphasis on getting to know those around us and better understand them, we might spot those in crisis; we would certainly foster an environment in which they’d be less inclined to extreme action and more likely to seek and to receive help.
And where our embrace of our communities must be political, we would recognize that the purpose of politics is to draw us into debate and toward compromise, not to impose our simplistic solutions on others through raw power.
In short, we’d act very differently than the way we’re acting now.
Featured image by Gary Bendig on Unsplash.
Please do not misunderstand anything Isay here, the Texas shooting is horrific. But still, I wonder. As a kid, I and all my friends had .22’s and shotguns. During duck season, we brought them to school. I recall a teacher coming out to my car to admire my inherited Fox shotgun. The schools were never locked, access was easy. There were guns in plenty. There was nothing unusual about a WWII “souvenir” hanging from basement rafters, some fully automatic (machine guns). I recall when my parents bought an older house, I found three pistols in the attic. For all of this, the idea of shooting a bunch of strangers was incomprehensible. The term “mass shooting” had not been invented, but if it had been the incidents which would come to mind were the St. Valetine’s Day massacre, perhaps the shoot-out at the OK Corral, and probably the Texas Tower Incident. Incidents that were 40 to 100 years in the past, but still remembered. In short, I cannot grasp what has happened in America, but I am sure that it is not an increase in guns. Somehow, the fault lies with those who use them. I do consider this, the advent of digital video for news. Details and video of shootings arrive everywhere in the U.S. almost instantly and is highlighted. There are a lot of “copycats” out there.More to the point of this article. I know Mr. Biden has attempted to lay blame on gun lobbyists and “Republican lawmakers”. I am so Republican that my 13th chromosome is shaped like an elephant. Neither I, nor any Republican friends would intentionally have done anything to facilitate the Texas shooting. But we are confused about why it happens, and we don’t think it is the guns. I note this shooter was wearing… Read more »
One day it’s an eighteen year old with his second amendment guaranteed weapons in a food market in Buffalo, NY. The next week it’s an eighteen year old with his second amendment guaranteed weapon in an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. What is similar about these two incidents other than the gunman’s age and their possession of legally obtained weapons? I will tell you. The bleating from NRA backed lawmakers that invariably begins with “Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims…” and then silence and then back to fundraising with stern assurances that the second amendment will be preserved at all costs . To you and others there is no compromise on the purchase of weapons. The only difference I see from last week to this week is your mealy mouth use of the word “horrific “ in describing the carnage. Go ahead and hug your children. There are people in Buffalo and Uvalde who won’t be able to ever again.
The worst school slaughter in American history was accomplished with TNT. The perpetrator was a taxpayer disgruntled by a tax increase to pay for a new school. If not guns, perhaps worse. Read your history, Americans are allowed guns to restrain the government.
Justin & Rhett Hardwick There is no outright politicizing of this inhuman tragedy except from those who want to deflect any criticism away from the actual crime, but I bet, I it was your family, wife or children that were involved, you’d be the first publicly asking why local, state, and federal governments didn’t do more to protect your loved ones. What we now know is the gunman fired at two people coming to render aid to him when he ran into the ditch. The gunmen was outside the school for 12 minutes firing his AR-15 into the school through windows. The amount of counted spent bullet casing around the outside of the school is enormous. So far, the amount ammunition on the gunman was estimated to be in excess of 1,600 rounds He was NOT wearing body armor vest but a vest for storing bullet magazines . The gunman was NOT confronted by the public safety law enforcement officer onsite security guard (there are still conflicting details at this point indicating he was on site or off site at the time) . The gunman entered the school via an unlocked door and there are currently conflicting reports on why and who unlocked it as the school was given 70 million to upgrade security after Sandy Hook . There are conflicting reports of police responding and following the gunman into the school 2 minutes or 4 minutes and their number 2 up to 19 officers, but the disturbing fact is while the gunmen was killing the students and teachers, the police were outside the two classrooms waiting because a district commander felt everything was under control and to wait for reinforcements SWAT and tactical teams. The gunman was inside the school for over 1 hour slaughtering the two classrooms of… Read more »
It’s hazardous business predicting how one would react to life-shaking events, and I can’t speak for Rhett, but I don’t think you’ve got me right. In this case, yes, I’d be wondering what the point of all those armed police is if all they’re going to do is block other parents from going into the school, but that’s only because they were right there, readily available. To your point generally, I think I’d be shaking my head at the depressing condition of our sinful world. I don’t think it’s possible for anybody (even the government) to protect everybody from everything, and in a country of hundreds of millions of people, tragedies are going to slip through. My view can be captured in an inverse example: the odds of winning the lottery are very small, so I don’t buy tickets, but eventually, somebody is going to win, and it’s the foolish person who beats him or herself up for not buying a ticket.
There is no excuse for the AR-15 assault rifle maker Daniel Defense to be using small children in their AR-15 ads nor during Easter posting AR-15 ads with a AR-15 laying on a Bible with a cross on it and the words; “He is Risen!”.
It belies common sense to understand how an 18-year-old in such a short time can amass the stockpile of ammunition and magazines without somebody noticing especially if you are only doing recreational hunting, target practice or competition shooting.
There were a lot of “Red Flags” raised especially by the gunman who posted on social media hosted in France that has a world-wide presence. The inaction of the local police department and attempted coverup also have added to the situation.
The Guardian; “Maker of rifle used in Texas shooting faces outrage over ad featuring child”: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/27/texas-shooting-rifle-maker-ad-child-daniel-defense
Washington Examiner; “Uvalde shooter was carrying more ammunition than most soldiers in combat: Report”: https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/crime/uvalde-shooter-was-carrying-more-ammunition-than-most-soldiers-in-combat-report
AP News; “TIMELINE: Texas elementary school shooting, minute by minute”: https://apnews.com/article/texas-school-shooting-timeline-6069b0cf01e5f732ef55f9fd0b7109d7
MSN News; “Federal Agents Reportedly Stormed Uvalde School After Local Cops Told Them To Wait”: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/crime/federal-agents-reportedly-stormed-uvalde-school-after-local-cops-told-them-to-wait/ar-AAXODyM?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=fbe078ca5aa54993a1fadc6dd52e4795
‘There is no excuse for the AR-15 assault rifle maker Daniel Defense to be using small children in their AR-15 ads nor during Easter posting AR-15 ads with a AR-15 laying on a Bible with a cross on it and the words; “He is Risen!”.
While I do not approve, this ad requires no explanation to those who didn’t vote for Obama and recall his comment on working class voters “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion…”
BTW, Daniel Defense guns are, to my mind, extremely expensive. I’ll stick with my Mannlicher-Schoenauer. My grandfather bought that at Abercrombie & Fitch (was that 38th St. & Park?) They took him up on the roof to test fire into sand barrels. Can you imagine that today, SWAT teams, black helicopters.
First a comment. Below/above, someone posted that 1600 spent cartridges were found. That would be 54 30 round magazines. I suggest you try carrying that around. At 15 rounds to the pound, that is 100 lbs. of ammunition, I don’t think so. I just came across a listing of 42 mass murderers, each listing the psychiatric medications they were on. I do think this may tell us something. I have no idea of any toxicology done on the present shooter; but he seems to have been a transvestite who wore eyeliner to school. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was “on something”.
Let’s be honest about the local police. These guys are small town cops who took the job to write speeding tickets, not to face down shooters who outgunned them. Carrying a handgun does not convert you to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Even among trained infantry, when under attack, at least a 1/3 hunker down under cover and do not “defend”.
Let us find out what drives these people. I refuse to believe it is the availability of the AR-15. I do suspect that all of the media attention given it makes it the “weapon of choice” if you intend to do evil. For myself, I am not attracted to “black rifles”, I prefer my guns in walnut and blued steel.
Last, I mentioned a teacher coming out to my car to admire my shotgun. As well as I can recall most of the male teachers were WWII/Korea vets. My 8th grade phys ed teacher laid on the beach for a day on D-Day. His left eye was shot out and he was thought to be dead. These guys knew guns did not “attack” by themselves. Perhaps that is part of the change in our society.
Rhett- may I quote from the above newspaper article; “The colossal 1,657-round stockpile from suspect Salvador Ramos indicated he was gearing up for a massive gunfight, an official told the outlet.” Authorities found 60 loaded magazines the gunman had.
BTW; I spent two years in Vietnam back-to-back and proud of my service.
My own experience is with the FAL. Your two years in Viet Nam must have enlightened you on the weight, and bulk, of 60 30 round magazines. I am having a tough time with that one. The guy only had two arms. If true, there is no doubt we had a “sicko”. A question not addressed in the article. Was all that ammo found later, or did he actually have it with him?
Justin – “The news out of Texas, yesterday, was horrifying, but the impulse we should elevate isn’t the one to divide and agitate for political advantage. Rather, the impulse we should elevate is the one to hug our own children. We should expand its application to our neighbors and our communities. If we put our emphasis on getting to know those around us and better understand them, we might spot those in crisis; we would certainly foster an environment in which they’d be less inclined to extreme action and more likely to seek and to receive help.”
While I didn’t actually see it, it was reported that this was the emotion that took precedence in NYC after the Twin Towers Incident. Certainly, it was the attitude promoted in the media. Friends reported it. Doesn’t seem to have lasted.
As Justin noted, this shooting seems another case of “never let a good crisis go to waste”. I am somehow surprised that “white supremacy” and “abortion rights” haven’t worked their way into it.
Contrary to the popular imagination, bearing arms on the frontier was a heavily regulated business. There was more gun control than there is today.
Smithsonian Magazine; “Gun Control Is as Old as the Old West”: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/gun-control-old-west-180968013/
There are seven states in the nation that have enacted laws banning sale or importation of assault weapons into the state; California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and the District of Columbia. In addition, Minnesota and Virginia regulate assault weapons.
Giffords Law Center; “Assault Weapons”: https://giffords.org/lawcenter/gun-laws/policy-areas/hardware-ammunition/assault-weapons/
AFT; “34th Edition of State Laws and Published Ordinances – Firearms (ATF P 5300.5)”: https://www.atf.gov/firearms/state-laws-and-published-ordinances-firearms-34th-edition
Ken, as I mentioned, most of my experience is with the FAL. AKA “The Right Arm of the Free World”. In consequence, I am not a fan of the AR-15. The AR-15 has been popularized by the media as the “instrument of evil”. In further consequence, those who would do evil seek it out. It has been tagged as an “assault rifle”, to my mind that means it should be at least selective fire, which it is not. I strongly suspect it is the “war cry” of those who would disarm America, while yelling “who needs an assault rifle”. Although it does not appeal to my tastes, I regard it as a simply the “modern” gun. Except for light weight and the availability of large capacity magazines, I find it hard to distinguish it from any other of a number of available semi-automatic rifles. Far and away, most gun murders are done with handguns. I suppose I have little more to say on this issue.
Since 19 students and two teachers were shot dead in Robb Elementary School, 79 people have been killed or injured in 16 more mass shootings in America.
Independent News UK; “A Michigan mother and children, a Memorial Day festival and a house party: 79 Americans in mass shootings in 6 days since Uvalde”: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/mass-shootings-victims-uvalde-texas-b2090588.html
Clearly, there is something very wrong in America.
Rhett-Since the Robb Elementary School mass shooting on May 24, 2022 according to The Gun Violence Archive (GVA) which collects daily newspaper, media and law enforcement reports (7,500 sources last verified May 29, 2022), there have been 18 more to date mass shootings bringing the total so far to 231 mass shootings in the US for 2022. A mass shooting is defined by GVA as 4 or more people shot dead or wounded not including the shooter: https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/