from the Congress Action newsletter
by: Kim Weissman
March 11, 2001
There are no easy fixes to school shootings, but its not hard to diagnose the problem. Root cause leftists, usually so eager to blame society for individual criminality, are reluctant to do so in these cases because if they did, they would have to hold themselves responsible.
The shootings are not "inexplicable", as one newspaper editorial put it. They are all too predictable, because we have created a culture of death, and we have taught our children well that life is cheap and expendable. If that 15 year old in California had gotten his girlfriend pregnant, and she killed that life by abortion, it would be considered simply routine. For sick and aged relatives we call for death with dignity. Video games desensitize children to killing, as they pile up points along with the body count. Moral relativists rise up in righteous indignation if anyone dares discuss morality in public life, and civil libertarians treat religious values as plagues from which society must be protected.
We used to value life, now we glorify death. A generation ago the value of each individual life was celebrated in the movie "It's a Wonderful Life". Today such a movie would be mocked as hopelessly trite. In our alleged sophistication, anti-social misfits become heroes in offerings from Hollywood; and depravity of image, lyric, and artist sells music videos. The past eight years of unpunished illegality in high public office has taught our cynical youth (and many adults) that what is right is whatever you can get away with; and even if you don't get away with it, it's OK if it gains you media notoriety. There is no personal accountability for the consequences of our acts, there are only excuses. Even in outright criminality, the victim is soon forgotten and the criminal becomes the victim. We know well the names of the killers in these incidents. Does anyone remember the names of the dead?
The usual snake-oil salesmen have come out of the woodwork peddling the usual, demonstrably useless nostrums of more gun control law, claiming that criminals still have ready access to guns; in effect, admitting that decades of gun control laws are useless in preventing criminals from getting guns. Which defenders of the Second Amendment have been saying all along. The fact is that a generation ago, guns were far more readily available, yet no child ever thought of shooting up his school with one because he knew it was morally wrong. Parents, teachers, and other adults used to be willing and able to discourage and even punish anti-social behavior without too much concern over harming the little recalcitrant's self esteem. To do so now would be an invitation to a lawsuit.
Today there is no such thing as absolute right and wrong. Anti-social behavior is defended as self expression. Self control over one's emotions and actions, previously considered a virtue, is now a hurdle to be overcome. Nonconforming individuality, if perverse enough, might even rate an appearance on a TV talk show.
We think we have a God given right never be inconvenienced by life's little obstacles; and if we are ever offended we assume victim status, entitled to seek whatever redress satisfies our emotional needs. Abortion is a Constitutional right, death with dignity has growing support, and explicit violence from movies, videos, and video games translates into cash in the bank.
Those are the choices we make as a free society, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking that those choices come without consequences. The self-absorbed vanity and arrogance of the boomer generation, by rejecting traditional morality and the cultural norms that have evolved over centuries, has sown the wind, and society is now reaping the whirlwind. No, you cultural elitists, it isn't the gun. It's you.
11 mar 2001