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Thursday, March 01, 2018

SALLY MORRIS: WILL WE ALLOW HISTORY TO REPEAT ITSELF?

I read an article today on a site called "In Touch", an obviously left-leaning pop news/opinon site.  The article was about a Derek Dillard and his infamous "slamming" of the child victims of the Parkland shooting.  His observation was that the media was exploiting the kids they were parading before the camera, all in lock-step condemning the Second Amendment.  I could find no legitimate reason, after reading it, to say Dillard was "slamming" anyone other than the media for its one-sided using of kids to advance their agenda.  It looks like Dillard has a point.  The story went on to extol the "bravery" of kids who marched, testified, etc.   It did not mention "bravery" in those kids who had other than the main stream opinion speaking out.  I could find no "comment" section following the story on this website, so I elected to share it on facebook with my own commentary preceding it.  If you want to read the article you could find it on the website "In Touch".  By the time I was done finding fault with the article I realized I had written a lot of words to cover it.  So I am offering it to the Beacon's readers.  These are times for cautious deliberation, not emotional lurches to make us feel good in the short run.  When we talk about "sensible" gun laws we are talking about something huge, something with far-reaching and many unintended consequences.  These we need to consider, and we have the benefit of history to guide us.  Let us beware of quick fixes that a) won't solve the problem they are designed to fix and b) will have the potential for disastrous and unanticipated long-term dangers for us all.  Here is my response to "In Touch":

 

The website "In Touch" provides an excellent example of how the media attempts to shape everyone's thinking and approach to issues. The Parkland shooting was horrific and tragic for everyone involved and for all of us. There can be no pain like losing a child and NO ONE is challenging that response. This is one thing we can all agree on - it should never have happened and that it did here in America is a tragedy and is a signal that we need to do more to protect our children.

However, media such as this ("In Touch") do a great disservice. They are attempting here to actually shut down a needed discussion. They want to hear no one's ideas but their own. On the contrary, what we need is more discussion, not less, more ideas, not just one - one which has the problem of no real way of implementation (I refer to making guns disappear from society). There is a failure here to accept the realities. In the case of this and other incidents of mass shootings there are two realities which surface: one: that there are people out there capable of terrible acts, whether due to causes of religion, drugs, abuse at home or whatever reason and these issues need to be addressed.

How? We can limit the use of drugs which have been a common factor in every one of these shootings by one or two students in the schools. We can reassess whether drugs should be the "go-to" for every instance of behavioral problem, especially in children. We can take seriously the factors at home which are probably contributing to the conduct of these shooters before the fact. Most of them have sent repeated signals that they needed help - Parkland is no exception. We need to look ahead to the next threat, which, if Europe is any guide, will be unvetted immigration of people from areas of the world where violence is accepted everyday occurrence and whose people can not and do not assimilate or accept our laws in America. We can scrutinize our law enforcement agencies and investigative agencies. They failed us in the Parkland shooting. There was ample notice that serious problems existed. Those responsible should be disciplined and the policies and practices that led to that failure changed.

Two: there are guns in the world. No matter how many may wish for it, we cannot un-invent the gun. It is not possible to keep guns away from every single malefactor in America. No one has suggested even one way in which this can happen. We can tighten laws for buying them legally, but this will really impact only people who obey the law. It will do nothing to stop someone who is willing to break the law. The laws are on the books against mass shootings as well. It does not prevent them, only makes them illegal. I do not advocate putting guns in the hands of immature people, but passing laws against it won't stop someone getting one illegally. So does this mean they and law enforcement alone should have them? This would not have helped at Parkland. Law enforcement never did come to the rescue. In the Parkland case, the shooter just decided he'd had enough for the day and walked to a Walmart, got a cold drink and sat down at a hamburger shop, where he was finally found. Armed guards were useless. They were hired and paid and undoubtedly benefited by the taxpayers not to stand there looking official, but just for the day they would be needed. Think of it as insurance that never paid on a proper claim. They AVOIDED the scene until the shooting was all over, while the shooter ambled off, unchecked.

So in brief we 1) have evil-doers and 2) they have means to kill. We have seen over and over that guns are not the only ways to kill innocent people. All over Europe and even in America, cars are used to run people down, pressure cookers are used to blow them up. There have been knife attacks. We need better law enforcement practices to stop people like the Tsarnaev family and shooters like Nikolas Cruz. With regard to guns, there is no better way to stop a shooter than with a gun. In fact it is the only way to stop one. The person who is at the scene first - in fact at the epicenter - is a teacher. This person likely could stop the killing if properly trained and armed. The killer might be intercepted by effective police work and the FBI and others in the Sheriff's Department of Broward County had some solid information that should have been addressed and wasn't.

The children referenced in this article, kids who are marching and demonstrating and testifying about getting rid of guns were not disparaged, at least as far as I saw in this article, by Mr. Dillard. He saw clearly and correctly that they were being manipulated and exploited. This is a cynical practice of media - find someone who has suffered a traumatic and tragic event and get them in front of a camera. It always gets the crowd going. Never mind that these are KIDS - kids who have been through a horrible experience that would shake the most stoic and experienced adult. They are hurting. They don't have the answers - they have the questions and we should all be looking for answers. Dillard is right in his concern that media is taking advantage of them. I read the article and nothing quoted therein deserves the description, "slamming the victims", and nothing he said disparaged them personally. He made an objective observation and one we should take into account, that the kids were being used to get ratings. Pure and simple.

As to calling their marching, etc., "bravery", let's say ok to that. It takes some guts to say anything to a crowd. But it takes far MORE bravery to speak out against the opinion of the crowd. Some students have respectfully done just that and their bravery goes unheralded. Not only that, thanks to the media's bias it goes unheard as well. What we need to solve problems and address issues as serious and urgent as this is to hear all points of view, not the pre-selected one taken off the shelf and used by those who would repeal our Second Amendment.

We see violence all over the world. Statistics strongly indicate that those nations where the ordinary adult does not have access to guns have more crimes against their citizens than in nations where more normal people do have guns. England has outrageous violence every day. Today I read about an Afghani immigrant who was finally caught on his third raping. His MO? He would climb through the window at night and rape Englishwomen in their beds at knife point as their husbands stood helplessly by with no means to stop it. This was one man - three victims that were KNOWN in a small town in England. In their own beds. Women have been victimized all over Europe with impunity. Cologne was one example, but only one and not the worst. It is happening every day. Why? Because the perpetrators know there is no way to stop them. This perp didn't even need a gun. He just needed a knife and he knew no one would have a gun. He just picks on law-abiding citizens, you see. If someone wants to kill or rape he will find a way. It is up to the law-abiding to stop him.

Arming the police and disarming the general public can and has led to tyranny. While you are laughing at that one, think of this: the first step in any strike by a rogue government against freedom begins with collecting the guns of the law-abiding citizen. Bloodthirsty dictators have always begun by getting rid of guns in the possession of citizens: Idi Amin, Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Tse Tung and Pol Pot are all examples in our time. Each stated that the first step was to disarm the general public. They did and they proceeded to carry out their atrocities. Mao and Stalin, having the longest terms, did the most killing.

"Sensible gun laws" were enacted in Cambodia by the French in 1956. No one was allowed to own or carry a firearm without a special permit. One could not own more than one weapon at a time except in special cases. Excluded from these laws were the nobility and government officials. These "sensible gun laws" were in place when later the Khmer Rouge raided homes looking for guns. Their work was already done for them by the "moderate" colonial French government. In Germany, during the Weimar era citizens agreed to "sensible gun laws" which effectively disarmed them. It made it very easy for a rogue government to take advantage of short-sighted and panicked citizens. In the case of the Weimar example, in one of these emotional knee-jerk responses ("In Touch" would approve), this time to an attempted attack by the German Communist Party to take over in Berlin and elsewhere, the German people agreed to a sensible law which made ownership of firearms or ammunition punishable by death. This law made Hitler's takeover and ascent of his violent regime a slam-dunk. History repeats itself over and over. We have not seen this here yet because of the wisdom of our founding fathers and their understanding of the imperfect nature of man and hence the need to check it by what is good in man. Until we undo their good work we should be able to avoid the pitfalls of the rest of the world. In most cases, "sensible gun laws" bring us to the place in which we find examples like Britain today.

Our Second Amendment is there for a reason which is as certain a need as it was in 1789. It is "second" because only our right to freedom of speech is of overwhelming importance, and it is this that media tries to quell as well. By attacking anyone not in line with their own preconceived ideas they try to shut down the vital conversation and debate we must have. This article is not a part of the solution, it is a big part of the problem. "In Touch" does not provide the usual commentary space, so I chose to share it. It actually works out ok, though, because we all need to see the article and recognize what they are doing here. Mr. Dillard has every right to voice his opinion. In doing so, at least as far as reported in this article, he has disparaged no one. I am referring only to what this article reports, of course. I am not a follower of Dillard's statements. But when we read these headlines, giving us the impression of a really awful person saying something horrible about innocent children, we obviously are getting a dose of the kool aid here. Sometimes we don't have time for a whole article and we read a headline and "blurb" below it and come away with the idea that this guy ought to be in jail. In fact, we all need to view what the media serves up with a critical eye.

 

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