Thinking about Parkland

Robert Tracinski brought us a thoughtful post over the weekend at The Federalist.

Early this week, I wrote an article taking the Parkland kids to task for spreading a lot of bunkum, not just about guns, but about the general state of the world — which I backed up with some facts and figures, and even some charts and graphs.

In response, I got a lot of the usual hate mail, but what struck me was how the general response was summed up in this exchange.

Logic and facts: what have they ever done for us?

The hyping of the Parkland kids is one giant appeal to emotion. The approach is to go to a school where a shooting happened and carefully select a small number of kids who are reasonably articulate and willing to go along with the full gun-control agenda. Ignore the ones who don’t. Then give these kids the backing of well-funded and well-connected advocacy groups. Fly them around the country and book them on cable TV shows. Then insist that these 17-year-olds are invested with absolute moral authority, and if anyone challenges this, scream at them for being insensitive to the victims of a horrific crime and basically hating children and wanting to see them die.

This only works on two conditions. First, it works because the media cooperates. If the NRA flew pro-Second Amendment kids around and tried to book them on news shows, the media would suddenly develop professional ethics and either turn them down or grill them about being shills for the gun lobby. But the other Parkland kids are treated as concerned citizens, and no one in the media thinks they are under any obligation to note that the kids are basically being bankrolled by Michael Bloomberg.

But the second condition is more important: This works because people want it to work. It aligns with their preconceptions and resonates with their emotions. So they assume that emotional power will sweep away all opposition.

If you are on the left, you are probably now feeling outrage that I am dismissing your advocacy of gun control as mere emotionalism. If you are on the right, you are probably feeling smugly superior to those lefties who are always so invested in their “feels.”

For the benefit of both sides, let me flip the script. Let’s say that instead of invoking the Parkland kids, I were to invoke the parents of Kate Steinle.

Remember her? She was the young woman who was killed in San Francisco by a bullet fired from a gun held by an illegal immigrant. (Prosecutors were unable to prove the shooting was not an accident, which is why he got off on only a weapons charge.) Steinle’s death couldn’t be used to make the case for gun control, because she was shot with a handgun stolen from the car of a law enforcement officer, someone whose weapon would not be banned. But the shooter was an illegal immigrant from Mexico who had been previously deported multiple times, who was released onto the streets of a “sanctuary city.” So this shooting could be used to make the case against sanctuary cities and against Mexican immigrants in general. Which is precisely what Donald Trump did.

Yet the form of the argument is exactly the same in the one case as in the other. It was an emotional appeal to the idea that if only one senseless death could be prevented by taking drastic action, then we’re required to do it — and you’re a monster who doesn’t care about human life if you raise any objections.

Keep reading.

He’s correct, of course, the right did do the same thing in the Kate Steinle case. It was an appeal to emotion, not facts. The right is better than his, at least we better be. Objective fact is not the realm of the Randists, although they do a better job of it than most, they go too far. Emotion matters, but it is not the overwhelming paragon that it often appears that the left thinks it is.

That’s one of the reasons for the old maxim, “Hard cases make bad law”.

Facts Matter.

In truth, when our founders designed out government, one of the reasons they designed the Senate as they did, at a remove for the electorate (elected by the legislature) and for a six year term, was simply to slow things down, to let emotions cool. That was an inherent feature of the design, which the irrational left couldn’t abide, and so the Wilson Government spearheaded it’s repeal. They were wrong, it helps us to maintain an objective, fact based law, not one based on capricious fallible emotion.

Part of their genius, overthrown by much smaller men.


The Late Week in Review

Well, Good Morning or Afternoon or whatever, somebody seems to have stolen an hour last night. What a joke DST has become.

Almost as big a joke as International Woman’s day, which seems to celebrate leftist, women with good jobs, and without the brains to hold them. Or something.

On March 5, 1982, Actor and singer John Belushi died from an overdose of cocaine and heroin.

On a Mission

A bit wordy, but…

Really, BBC? Even for you, that’s pretty bad.

Yesterday was Chuck Norris’ Birthday. Happy Birthday, Mr. Norris

Of course he’d approve.

As usual, most from PowerLine and Bookworm, and a couple from various posts at Ace.

Have a good week.


Two for Tuesday

Well, let’s try something, I keep falling behind, and often I have two (or more) articles that bear on the same thing. Let’s see if we can connect them and make a coherent whole out of it. For Instance:

The school shooting in Florida is still rattling around the internet, but finally, some sensible people are saying things. These thoughtful people we should maybe be reading and thinking about. Gene Veith over at Cranach picked up an article that got my attention too at The Federalist. Rev Veith says:

On the most basic level, according to Romans 13, we are not to impose justice by taking personal “revenge.”  Rather, God protects us and punishes evildoers through the agency of authorities whom He has called to “bear the sword.”  In today’s terms, that would include police officers, our military, and other lawful officers.

A well-ordered society is not going to be what later political theorists would call “a state of nature,” in which everyone has to battle everyone else in order to survive.  God’s gifts of vocations makes for an interdependent society.  Then again, not all societies are well-ordered.  Lawless societies, as in the “wild west,” function differently.  And even in a well-ordered society, those who “bear the sword” cannot be everywhere.  But vocation still applies.  Keep in mind that we have multiple vocations, not just in our particular line of work, but in our families, the church, and society.

That’s important I think. We do have multiple vocations. Like him I’m using the term in the Lutheran sense of a God-given job, whether it’s preaching, policing, carpentering, homemaking, fathering, mothering, whatever. None of us is only one thing.

In his article linked from Rev Veith, Mathew Cochran says this:

It is therefore no wonder that, like people who work in schools and other gun-free zones, American Christians are beginning to ask themselves, “What happens when the shooter comes to my church?” How are we to handle a situation like that? Like anyone else, Christians would rather mentally and physically prepare for such an eventuality rather than being caught unawares.

I recently encountered a story about one such congregation’s deliberation on the issue. They opted to take advantage of a course on active-shooter situations offered by their local police department. Unsurprisingly, they caught a lot of flack on social media.

There was, of course the usual hatred about how these killings prove the supposed inefficacy of prayer or non-existence of God (how that reasoning applies to a religion that believes God sent his own son to be killed for us, they never quite explain). But someone also questioned how Christians, who are supposed to love their enemies, could possibly fight back against a shooter. Doesn’t “thou shalt not kill” prevent a Christian congregation from shooting a guy who came to murder them all? It’s not only a question Christians are asked, but one that we also ask ourselves.

On the Question of Returning Fire

First, nothing in that story talks about the congregation arming themselves so they can fight back. Nor is that implied simply by arranging a class of this kind. I attended the same kind of class at my church several years ago, and while I think they broached the possibility of shooting back once or twice, it was largely focused on other strategies to maximize survival.

And yet, there is no inherent dichotomy in a congregant returning fire. Last night I reread, Andrew Branca’s The Law of Self Defense. It’s something I do regularly, and you probably should too. In matters of life and death, there is no substitute for getting it right the first time.

Not for the first time, I was struck by how closely the US law on self-defense parallels the just war theory as expounded by St. Thomas Aquinas, and yes that has secular predecessors as well. One of the things that gets us is a quirk of the English language. Most of us know the Commandment as “Thou shalt not Kill” but the usage of the work kill has broadened since the King James version was written. For what we mean as kill, the translators used slay. For what they meant as kill, we use murder, including involuntary homicide, which is a different matter.

It’s still something you have to figure out between you and your God, but it seems pretty clear to me.

But that doesn’t really solve the problem, does it, although it might lower the body count a bit. Other factors than self-defense are necessary to make a real difference. My friend Leslie Loftus on Medium wrote a bit about how training is everything and linked us to another article there. That article is by Benjamin Sledge, and it is outstanding.

The Military Does a Better Job at Gun Control Than Anyone

One thing that has baffled me over the years is that I can go to the grocery store and buy a pack of tic-tacs and then walk across the street and buy a gun. I’m not baffled that I can buy a gun, as I believe it’s an important liberty to have, but it’s the ease and utter lack of training in which I can buy something that has no other role than to kill something.

A knife can be used for cooking and a bat for baseball. But a gun? Unless you’re collecting them for a museum, the point of a gun is to kill something.

Let me give you a breakdown of how the military has gun control right, and society has the process backwards.

When you enlist in the military, you will spend several weeks learning weapons safety and training. Before you are ever allowed to fire a weapon, you must be able to disassemble the rifle, clean it, and then reassemble the weapon. You will take tests and quizzes asking you questions pertaining to the distance and speed a bullet can travel. Once you pass your exams, you will then fire the weapon under the supervision and training of drill sergeants and weapons experts. Last, you must qualify with your weapon on targets. If you’re unable to do that, they will not allow you to graduate from basic training.

He’s correct, it is rather silly. When the system works properly (not always a given) we do check if one is a felon, and sometimes if there are mental issues, but it’s not all that rigorous, and it’s pretty much of a one-shot deal, even more than your driver’s license is. That doesn’t make a lot of sense. Read his article – I don’t completely agree with all of his points, but it makes the most sense of anything I’ve read on the subject.

For instance, I have no problem with arming teachers who volunteer, with their eyes wide open to the responsibility and possibilities, say like veterans who have become teachers, but there is room for debate there, not simply the yelling at each other we have been doing. I understand why we are doing that yelling, I do my share. But while it is important not to give away our God-given rights, this is not productive, in fact, it is harmful, to us, and to the Republic.

What cannot continue, will not continue, and having our kids shot down in school should not continue, and won’t for all that long.

Another Week

Let’s start with a bit more from the recent CPAC. We all know Ben Shapiro, and yes, he is one of our great rising voices, but what I find fascinating is that as well as he resonates with us, he speaks just as well to the cousins, who increasingly find our outspokenness to be vital to the cause of saving our freedom.

But it is a two-way street, has been since before America was America, we have looked to England as we learned how to be ‘the land of the free’ and they still produce leaders worth listening to. So a bit of payback, here’s one of theirs, talking to us.

And if there is anything Americans have learned, its how great conservative women are, the American ones, surely, but our British cousins have some great ones too.

And so we continue the mission, knowing that freedom will never be secure, that it must be won in every generation, and also knowing that it is well worth it.

This has been a week filled with sound and fury (most are lately) this week the emphasis has been the continuing effort to disarm the American people. Nothing new, really, just an attack on freedom from a different angle. I predict we will again stand firm.

My kind of guy!

From Ace.

Hard earned wisdom?

Mostly from PowerLine, as per.

Have a good week.

Astroturfing Graves

So, we’ve had a little time to let the dust settle from the shooting in Parkland. John Hinderaker has some thoughts on how the Democrat’s Children’s Crusade worked out.

Perhaps the Democrat’s thought their Children’s Crusade would put them over the top this time, after repeatedly losing the battle over guns. But so far, it doesn’t look that way. Most people believe that stricter gun laws will either have no effect or lead to increased violent crime. And Rasmussen finds that 54% think massive government failures are mostly to blame for the Parkland, Florida shootings, while only 33% blame a lack of gun control. Interestingly, the finding is even more pronounced among those who have school-age children: 61% think government is mostly to blame, while only 23% point the finger mostly at guns.

In other words, despite the non-stop efforts of CNN and MSNBC, attitudes toward gun control and violent crime haven’t changed much.

Pretty much what I see, as well. Nice try, but much too over the top, and much too quickly after the fact. In fact, the Children’s Crusade bore all the classic signs of Astroturf, which as Ace notes here, it was.

If It Felt Like the Children’s Crusade Was a Joint Hollywood-Media-DNC Production With Billion Dollar Backers, That’s Because That’s Exactly What It Was

Incidentally, they sure look heartbroken over the deaths of their schoolmates, don’t they?

That article says, in part:

Several large progressive organizations, donors, and a high-powered public relations firm are backing the March for Our Lives movement, which is quickly evolving from a student-run social media effort to end gun violence into one backed by some of the most influential activists in the country.

In the days after the shooting in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, the teenage survivors of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were impossible to ignore. They blanketed cable news coverage, built a massive following on social media, and began to organize a rally in the country’s capital in support of gun reform.

Barely two weeks ago, the student survivors sat in a circle in the living room of one of their parents’ homes, planning a trip to Tallahassee to meet with lawmakers and handling nitty-gritty matters like which media outlets to talk to.

Since then, major players and organizations 00 including Everytown, Giffords, Move On, Planned Parenthood, and the Women�s March LA 00 told BuzzFeed News they are helping the students with logistics, strategy, and planning for next month’s March for Our Lives rally and beyond. Much of the specific resources the groups are providing to the Parkland students remains unclear– as is the full list of supporting organizations– but there are broad outlines.

Giffords is a group started by Gabby Giffords to push gun restrictions.

Everytown for Gun Safety 00 bankrolled mostly by Michael Bloomberg — recently secured a $1 million donation from entrepreneur and philanthropist Eli Broad.

MoveOn said it will encourage its millions of members to follow and promote the March for Our Lives movement on social media and attend the rally next month. The group said it had offered support in organizing logistics such as security and portable toilets, but it is unclear if the students have taken them up on their offer.

A spokesperson for Planned Parenthood said the group is “teaching and hosting training”� for young activists across the US “to keep momentum going so they don’t get burned out.”

Democratic US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Broward County resident for nearly 30 years, told BuzzFeed News she has been in touch with students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas since the day after the shooting, helping them connect to state legislators and plan their trip to Tallahassee last week.

Wasserman Schultz said that because this is the first time many of the students have interacted with legislators, she advised them on communication strategy. She also said she been in contact with Mark Kelly –Gabrielle Giffords’ husband and one of the founders of the Giffords foundation.


The American Federation of Teachers, which helped bus students and parents to Tallahassee multiple times last week, are now assisting with the March for Our Lives rally.
The federation’s president told BuzzFeed News that they are also helping support next month’s march as well as helping to shape the vision and mission for the group once the rally is over.

After that, she says the goal is to carry that momentum until November — with some of the students already using the hashtag #VoteThemOut.

“We are also marching towards midterms,” she said, adding that the activists intend for gun control and student safety to be a major platform and key issue for voters in the midterm elections.

There’s more at the above link, but you get the idea.

But what might be the cause? Could it be a Culture of Leniency™? Why yes, yes, I believe it could. From Daniel Horowitz, via Paul Mirengoff.

Daniel Horowitz convincingly ties the Parkland shooting to the culture of leniency towards criminals, also known as the jailbreak agenda. He writes:

The jailbreak agenda is definitely on display in the Broward County law enforcement agencies. It turns out that Broward County has been promoting a program, funded in part by the federal government, to incentivize local officials to do everything they can to keep juveniles out of jail. . . .

As Catharine Evans writes at the American Thinker, Broward County “had the highest number of school-related arrests statewide at 1,062” before Obama began his Common Core-style grant programs for local jailbreak agendas. Once millions of dollars were doled out for juvenile feel-good programs to avoid arrest, such as the PROMISE program, the number of arrests plummeted by 63 percent from 2011-2012 to the 2015-2016 school year.

The Obama administration touted this dubious achievement by Broward County. In fact, the school district’s superintendent was invited to the White House in 2015 for an event, “Rethink Discipline,” that would highlight the success of Broward and other localities’ success in “transforming policies and school climate.”

However, as Broward County Sheriff Deputies Association President Jeff Bell told Laura Ingraham, PROMISE “took all discretion away from law enforcement to effect an arrest if we choose to.”

Considerably more there too, do read the links. But, as a long time reader of Second City Cop, the best view from the blue shirt level of policing Chicago, I know this is a leading cause of the mess in Chicago. I also know that we are going to see it increasing all over the west, unless we start locking these fools up. Some belong in jail, some perhaps belong in mental institutions, none belong on the street where they can hurt and kill normal people.

Parry, and Thrust Home

I don’t know if you’ve noticed but after the horrific murder of 17 people, aided and abetted by the incompetence of the FBI and the craven cowardice of the Broward County Sheriff and some of his deputies, the left has found that the absolute refusal of the normals to talk about so-called gun control, until the present laws are enforced, and likely not then because there is no need, is infuriating.

So they have decided that the way to make things happen is to use sympathetic people in charge of corporations, to essentially ban us from commerce. Well, they can try, but, if we are wise, there will be a price.

Delta Airlines has decided that the NRA no longer qualifies for group airfare rates. Under current law, they can do this (more later). But companies based in Georgia probably shouldn’t do such things.

Oops! That just might leave a mark on Delta shareholders.

That’s how it’s done. Good job, Georgia.

Not surprisingly Colonel Schlichter is walking point on this one.

We’re now supposed to give up our guns because it’s the 21st Century, people, and the cops will totally protect us and oh, you can’t dare criticize the FBI for failing to disarm yet another ticking time bomb and what kind of crazy nut would expect a police officer to actually confront a gunman?

Show of hands: Who thinks this stops, even slows down, once those mean old not-actually-assault weapons get banned? That liberals have taken a hard stand in favor of cowardice does not exactly fill one with confidence that once we give up our Second Amendment rights that we’ll be safer or freer. […]

Conservatism is not a suicide pact, and our principles are not a mandate to unilaterally disarm. We need to make them hate the new rules. Maybe they won’t learn anything, but at least they won’t win by cheating.

The liberal elite is using its social and cultural ties to those at the helm of big companies to essentially blacklist the NRA, and thereby the tens of millions of Americans who support gun rights. But oppression is oppression whether it’s done by a government bureaucrat or a corporate one, and our principle of non-interference in business assumes business stays out of politics. But now National, Hertz, and others are cutting ties to the NRA, and liberals are advocating banks do the same. Their intent is clear – what they can’t do in politics they will simply do by not allowing the representatives of people whose politics they don’t like access to the infrastructure of society. And we’re not supposed to do anything about it because, you know, free enterprise and stuff.  You know, our principles. […]

No. They are exercising political power. We have our own political power, and we need to exercise it – ruthlessly. The first step is an executive order at the federal level directing that no federal contract can go to any company that discriminates against an organization based on its advocacy or exercise of an enumerated constitutional right. We wouldn’t allow a company to do business with our federal government if it discriminated on other grounds, so why should we do it discriminate on political grounds? Why should taxpayers be subsidizing people who hate them? When those government employees start walking past the Hertz and National counters, the liberal jerks who run those companies are going to find that they’re posing and posturing has a price.

Next, Congress needs to pass a comprehensive non-discrimination regime designed to protect us into law and allow individuals and entities the right to sue any business that discriminates on the basis of the advocacy for exercise of any constitutional right. We need to make sure there are huge penalties for non-compliance – how about $1 million a day? We also need attorneys’ fees provisions for the plaintiffs as well, because we want to turn lawyers into bounty hunters seeking out these posers who are doing so much damage to our society by collaborating in the suppression of speech that the elite does not approve of.

And that is pure and simple lawfare with malice aforethought. It is also what has been done to conservatives in this country for decades. Why do it? Because it works. And because it is targeted, like a rifle, on a specific target, and not simply an IED. And most of all, because freedom itself must not go quietly into the night.

Frankly, I’m not, and I suspect COL Schlichter isn’t either, all that enthused at picking a fight against American businesses. But, I’ll pick that fight in a heartbeat against anybody, or any group, that thinks it is going to deprive me of my God-given rights. And that definitely includes those rights enumerated in the US Constitution.

Saddle up.


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