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Monday, July 23, 2012

It’s Not the Gun Stupid, It’s the Culture

“Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of.” — James Madison, Federalist No. 46 — 1788.

While looking at my Facebook page on Saturday I noticed a post by one of my friends. He posted; “the world would be a better place without guns” in reference to the Aurora, Colorado shootings.

While not a close friend I knew this fellow from attending my brother’s Super Bowl parties each year and always thought him to be a rational person who believed in the Constitution. I now think differently.

I think in his sympathy for the victims of the acts of a psychopathic nut case he has succumbed to the mantra of the progressive left and their irrational fear and hatred of firearms. How many times do we have to go through this “gun rights issue” each time there is a mass shooting?

Countries like Great Britain, Germany, France, Australia, and Norway have some of the stickiest gun laws in the world and they still have had similar instances of mass shootings. Mexico, our neighbor to the south, has only one gun shop in the country and if you want a gun you have to buy it from the military. Yet over 40,000 people have died from gun violence at the hands of the drug cartels.

As I mentioned in my post of July 20, 2012 – An Armed Society is a Polite Society - Guns used 2.5 million times a year in self-defense. Law-abiding citizens use guns to defend themselves against criminals as many as 2.5 million times every year -- or about 6,850 times a day. This means that each year, firearms are used more than 80 times more often to protect the lives of honest citizens than to take lives.

We do not need guns to kill and maim people. A truck loaded with fertilizer, a bottle filled gasoline, a jet airliner, or a vest stuffed with C-4 and nails will do the job just fine.

Another mass homicide brings another round of the usual media drivel. It was a "senseless tragedy." "Shocking." The suspect was "quiet" and a "loner." He "must've just snapped." More pictures from the suspect's high school yearbook, more predictable cries for gun control. This is the clamor you will hear on a daily basis for the next few weeks.

Frankly, I'm sick of it. Guess what, people! Evil exists. That's E-V-I-L, and people freely choose to commit it. They always have, and they always will. Consider Cain and Able. Whether you believe in the Bible or not the story illustrates my point. And what did Cain use — a rock. Therefore our ancients of the Old Testament should have called for the banning of rocks.

Michael Filozof writes in American Thinker:

“I know that's a bizarre concept in post-Christian America, where we're taught that nothing is really evil or immoral except a lack of "diversity," and that everyone is really good. Isn’t that what the relativists claim? Evil is simply an idea concocted by Hollywood script-writers for our entertainment, and if a gunman walks into a movie theater throwing gas grenades, it must all be part of the act.

I once read an account of a mass shooting in Australia back in 1996, and an eyewitness stated that as the gunman began killing people, bystanders began laughing. They thought it was some kind of stunt. It wasn't. They simply weren't conditioned to process the fact that they were witnessing actual murders with their own eyes.

The fact is that postmodern society has created an "artificial reality." Americans, and residents of other Western nations, live in air-conditioned buildings, eat processed foods, drive instead of walk, wait for the government check to come in the mail, and glut themselves into morbid obesity. They hire out a handful of volunteers to fight wars for them, and they hire out illegal aliens to mind their children and do their gardening. They walk around zombie-like, faces glued to iPhones; they fly around at 35,000 feet at 600 mph above the clouds where it's forty below zero -- and they get bored and bitch about the airplane food.

Evil thrives on vulnerability, and we're vulnerable because we're so detached from actual reality. After the 9/11 attacks turned the World Trade Center into an ash heap, a common reaction was "Duuude, it was just like a movie!" September 11 was the second attack on the WTC in eight years, and thousands of people a hundred stories up -- literally swaying in the breeze -- and millions of their fellow Americans still didn't "get it." I distinctly recall walking down a back-country road on a small-game hunt about a week after 9/11, rifle in hand, and cognizant of the unusual quiet as all aircraft remained grounded, thinking, "Why don't you bastards try something now?" Of course, they wouldn't have -- evil avoids a confrontation. It hides from countervailing strength. It waits for the moment when you least expect it to seize its opportunity. And by failing to stand guard against it or acknowledge its presence, you, the victim, enable it.

Our forefathers hacked this nation out of a wilderness inhabited by Stone-Age tribesmen. They were in touch with reality. They fought wars, hunted their own meat, built their own homes, cleared their own forests, saddle-broke their own horses, birthed their own children, and buried their own dead. If they made a mistake, it could easily cost them their lives. "Reality" -- good, evil, pain, work, reward, suffering, joy -- was in their face 24-7. It wasn't artificially manufactured for them. They sure as hell weren't watching some Batman fantasy in a movie theater at midnight after a day eating Whoppers in the food court at the mall.”

What happened in Colorado in the early hours of Friday morning was not a 'tragedy' but a willful act of mass murder. Beyond his age, name, and ethnicity, nobody yet knows who the shooter is, or why he chose to do what he did. In my view, this is a blessing, albeit a temporary one; for, as has been the way in recent years, once his party registration, television-viewing habits, and random scribblings become known to the public, all sorts of hysterical speculation and unlettered accusations will burst forth. Whole groups will be vilified, blame will be apportioned to those many times removed, and the shooter will be partially absolved of blame by those who prefer to see fault in video games or talk radio or political rhetoric or anything else that can be conscripted to explain why terrible things happen to good people. Few will point out that unless someone commits an atrocity in the name of an ideology — Timothy McVeigh, for example — their political beliefs are wholly irrelevant. This crime was ultimately about people. It was about the shooter, the victims, and their families — and very little else besides — and we would do well to avoid breathlessly proposing radical changes to our constitutional order because a man abused his liberty.

Whenever a major crime takes place, liberals cannot help but politicize it. George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin became an excuse for liberals to push against “Stand Your Ground” laws and, for some odd reason, voter ID. Jared Loughner’s shooting of Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) turned into an excuse for the left to attack the “political tone” of the country in general and Sarah Palin in particular, despite the fact that Loughner was a leftist and an insane person.

Now, in the aftermath of James Holmes’ horrifying massacre of moviegoers in Aurora, Colorado, Democrats are pushing for gun control. This despite the fact that the theater in question was reportedly a gun-free zone.

Liberals were so eager to politicize the shooting that Good Morning America072312_sr_housley_640 quickly ran a segment suggesting that a “Jim Holmes” was a member of a Colorado Tea Party, without any evidence other than the name “Jim Holmes” and the website of the Tea Party – no picture, no background information, no age, no nothing. But when that narrative fell apart, the media quickly turned to gun control as its point of leverage. Now, Democratic politicians have picked up the call. After all no good crisis should go to waste.

Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) says that we need more gun control: “Let’s stop wasting time and start saving lives,” he tweeted. “Congress must prioritize a ban on high-capacity gun magazines.” This is asinine, given that mass shooters can either obtain high-capacity gun magazines illegally, or simply pop out the used magazine and put in a loaded one.

“Soothing words are nice,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they are going to do about it, because this is obviously a problem across the country.” Bloomberg placed security throughout the city at movie theaters – even though New York City has some of the heaviest gun control regulations in the country.

President Obama’s mouthpiece, Jay Carney, said on Friday, “The president believes that we need to take common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights of Americans, while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing law do not get them.” Of course, President Obama has publicly pushed zero gun control legislation while in office.

President Obama flew to Aurora, Colorado to comfort the victims of the theatre massacre yesterday. That is something we expect of our presidents in contemporary America, evidently. But meanwhile, in the president's chosen home town and political incubator, Chicago, a far worse slaughter continues. William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection points out:

“More than twice as many people have been murdered this month in the president's hometown of Chicago than were killed in the Aurora shooting. They are just statistics for whom there will be no presidential visits or flags flown at half-staff.”

He cites the website Red Eye Chicago, which is following the death toll in the Windy City, which is far higher than New York and other big cities. Obama's former chief of staff is now mayor of Chicago, yet this carnage escapes his attention and concern. REC notes:

Twenty-eight stabbing deaths have been logged this year compared to 27 of these deaths last year, RedEye determined. Stabbings have accounted for about 10 percent of homicides so far this year, compared to about 6 percent last year, RedEye data shows.

Twenty-seven homicides have been logged so far in July. Fifty-five homicides were recorded in July 2011, according to RedEye data.

The truth is that Democrats want to complain about gun control while avoiding implementation. They recognize that implementation of further gun control measures is politically unpalatable – Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) admitted as much on Sunday when she said on Fox News Sunday, “People haven’t rallied around gun control, and with the election coming up, it’s a bad time to embrace a new subject.” This isn’t because Feinstein is a Second Amendment advocate. In fact, she explicitly said that the Holmes shooting wasn’t about “sick, demented individuals,” as Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) suggested; rather, said Feinstein, “people use these weapons because they can get them.”

When it comes right down to it, Democrats want to stump for gun control without weathering the political blowback. But when the time is right – after Obama’s possible re-election – they will push for it. And all they’ll need is another horrific event on which to hook their agenda. After all their mantra is no good crisis should go to waste.

According to a report on NEWSMAX Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (a Democrat) said no law could have prevented suspect James Holmes from carrying out the act of terror that rocked an Aurora movie theater early Friday morning and left 12 dead:

“This person, if there were no assault weapons available, if there were no this or no that, this guy’s going to find something. Right? He’s going to know how to create a bomb. Who knows where his mind would have gone. Clearly a very intelligent individual however twisted. That’s the problem, this is a human issue in some profound way,” Hickenlooper said during an interview on CNN's "State of the Union."

“The people around him had no idea that this was something he was capable of,” said Hickenlooper.

“How do you prevent this?” Hickenlooper asked host Candy Crowley.” “How do we preserve our freedoms…and all those things that define this country, and yet try to prevent something like this [from] happening? Let me tell you, there’s no easy answer. There isn’t.”

The governor described the suspect as a “deeply troubled, twisted, delusional person.”

“I am speechless,” he said. “I can’t conceive of a motive. In a funny way, this guy is a terrorist, right? For whatever twisted reasons that we can barely even imagine, he wanted to create terror. He wanted to put fear in people’s lives.”

Hickenlooper said Aurora will have a vigil at 6:30 p.m. today, following a visit by President Barack Obama. He said he spent Saturday visiting victims in the hospital and reaching out to the families of those who died.

Despite the horrific tragedy, spirits remain high, he said.

“It was amazing how buoyant the spirits were in many of these (hospital) rooms,” he said. “There’s a resiliency…it was an American quality. Trust me, we will rise above this. I guarantee it.”

In another report on NEWSMAX by the Christian movie critic Ted Baehr, the cousin of a close friend of mine, regarding the blame put on the Batman film for the shootings Baehr said:

“The shooting at the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" will be blamed on many things.

One reporter who called me Friday morning blamed it on violence in movies. Certainly, violence in movies, television, and video games has had a tremendous impact on society. Numerous studies, capped by the latest from Dartmouth University, show that violence in the media influences susceptible youths to commit acts of violence.

That said, most people are not susceptible. Most are just desensitized or scared.

Another reporter blamed it specifically on the Batman movies. Yet, "The Dark Knight Rises" is nowhere near as violent as the previous movie in the series, and Batman himself tells Catwoman not to shoot to kill in it.

The message of "The Dark Knight Rises" is justice and self-sacrifice. The villains and the killers in the movie are the 'socialist, left-wing, Occupy-Wall-Street, power-to-the-people’ villain Bane and his compatriots, who are clearly shown to be wrong, evil, and bad, and who get their comeuppance.

In any case, it would have been almost impossible for this killer in Colorado to have even seen the new Batman movie before the midnight screening.

Some people will blame it on guns, although countries that have tried hard to crack down on guns, like England, are now finding that knives and head butting are out of control. Thus, it isn’t the head-butting or the knives, but the fact that people are stewing in the juice of their own wickedness, because, as the Bible says, they don’t know the loving God who gave us a way of salvation through Jesus Christ from the wickedness of the human heart.

Some people will blame poverty, or a lack of education. But, James Holmes, the alleged killer, was getting his doctorate in neuroscience and came from an upper middle class family!

People will look at every possible reason — maybe some will postulate whether Holmes was a Democrat and hated the anti-socialist message of the movie.

Actually, none of these reasons answer the question ‘Why?’ The fact is that this is an evil act committed by an evil person, who did not know the truth of Jesus Christ that would set him free from such wickedness. The answer is not more laws, the answer is not to banish movies, nor neuroscience programs, nor weapons that can be used to protect, but rather to get the word of God out. Because "faith comes through hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ" (Romans 10:17).

I used to be on the radical left, but Jesus Christ got hold of me, and I’ve tried to live my life every day by enjoying Him, using the power of God’s Holy Spirit. As the word of God says in Galatians 5:22-23, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

If you ban the fruit of the Spirit of Jesus Christ from society, including the education system, you’re not banning God; you’re banning goodness, justice, truth, peace, kindness, joy, gentleness, self-control, and love.”

(Dr. Ted Baehr is chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission ministry and director of its family guide to movies and entertainment.)

Since so many in the media cannot resist turning every tragedy into a political talking point, it was perhaps inevitable that (1) someone would try to link the shooting rampage at the Batman movie in Colorado to the Tea Party, and that (2) some would try to make it a reason to impose more gun-control laws.

Too many people in the media cannot seem to tell the difference between reporting the news and creating propaganda.

NBC News apparently could not resist doctoring the transcript of the conversation between George Zimmerman and the police after the Trayvon Martin shooting. Now ABC News decided that the fact that the man arrested for the shooting in Colorado was named James Holmes was a good reason to broadcast to the world the fact that there is a James Holmes who is a member of the Tea Party in Colorado.

The fact has since come out that these are two different men, one in his twenties and the other in his fifties. But corrections never catch up with irresponsible news broadcasts. The James Holmes who belongs to the Tea Party has been deluged with phone calls. I hope he sues ABC News for every dime they have.

This is not the first time that the mainstream media have tried to create a link between conservatives and violence. Years ago, the Oklahoma City bombing was blamed on Rush Limbaugh, despite the absence of any evidence that the bomber was inspired by him.

Similar things have happened repeatedly, going all the way back to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which was blamed on a hostile right-wing atmosphere in Dallas, even though the assassin had a long history of being on the far-left fringe.

But, where the shoe is on the other foot — as when the Unabomber had a much marked-up copy of an environmentalist book by Al Gore — the media heard no evil, saw no evil, and spoke no evil. If people in the media cannot decide whether they are in the business of reporting news or manufacturing propaganda, it is all the more important that the public understand that difference and choose their news sources accordingly.

As for gun-control advocates, I have no hope whatever that any facts will make the slightest dent in their thinking — or lack of thinking. New York’s Mayor Bloomberg and CNN’s cast off from the BBC Piers Morgan were on the air within hours of the shooting, pushing the case for gun-control laws.

You would never know, from what they and other gun-control advocates have said, that there is a mountain of evidence that gun-control laws not only fail to control guns but are often counterproductive. For those people who still think facts matter, it is worth presenting some of those facts.

Do countries with strong gun-control laws have lower murder rates? Only if you cherry-pick the data.

Britain is a country with stronger gun-control laws and lower murder rates than the United States. But Mexico, Russia, and Brazil are also countries with stronger gun-control laws than the United States — and their murder rates are much higher than ours. Israel and Switzerland have even higher rates of gun ownership than the United States, and much lower murder rates than ours.

Even the British example does not stand up very well under scrutiny. The murder rate in New York has been several times that in London for more than two centuries — and, for most of that time, neither place had strong gun-control laws. New York had strong gun-control laws years before London did, but New York still had several times the murder rate of London.

It was in the later decades of the 20th century that the British government clamped down with severe gun-control laws, disarming virtually the entire law-abiding citizenry. Gun crimes, including murder, rose as the public was disarmed.

Meanwhile, murder rates in the United States declined during the same years that murder rates in Britain were rising, which were also years when Americans were buying millions more guns per year.

The real problem, both in discussions of mass shootings and in discussions of gun control, is that too many people are too committed to a vision to allow mere facts to interfere with their beliefs — and the sense of superiority that those beliefs give them. As John Adam’s said in defending the British troops charged with the Boston Massacre; “Facts are stubborn things.”

Any discussion of facts is futile when directed at such people. All anyone can do is warn others about the propaganda.

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