Friday, February 16, 2018

February 16, 2018

MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey

Thoughts on the Broward County School Shooting, Guns and Our Post-Christian Society

by Dr. Boyd D. Cathey


On an average we hear about a mass shooting or attempted shooting every couple of months—and those are just the significant attempts, the ones reported by the news media. There are other, countless accounts of individuals bringing weapons to school or to the workplace, showing them off, and threatening co-workers and classmates: incidents which don’t make the national news and elicit little surprise from a calloused citizenry who now seem to react to such events as if they are normal, part of everyday life, to be expected in our society.

The school shooting in Broward County, Florida, was a horrendous act, a massacre committed by a criminal youth who rightly deserves the most severe penalty the state can mete out. Our prayers and sympathy must go out to the parents and relatives of those seventeen people, mostly students, who were senselessly cut down. The pain and anguish, the questioning without answers, the anger, will go on, without end, for that is how such events affect us.

Yet all the screams and pleas for redress and for political solutions mask much larger and more fundamental issues and questions within our society and culture.

Each time such an event occurs in a school, whether in Sandy Hook or in Broward County, the demand from Progressives and the Leftist media is for more gun control, limiting possession of firearms, as if taking away one instrument for potential violence will somehow forestall or stop a violent person. It won’t and doesn’t. Guns are inanimate objects that must be used, employed for a purpose. A gun doesn’t kill by itself, without an operator who aims and fires it. An unhinged person—a disaffected student intent on mayhem or revenge, or intent on expiating his own internal demons—may use a gun to do so; but if there is no gun (and potential criminals will always find one, illegally, if necessary), then a knife, or homemade bomb (easily constructed using Internet instructions), or poison, or some other means will always be at hand and easily available.

Chicago, Illinois, has one of the nation’s highest—if not the highest—murder rates; yet it also has some of the strictest laws inhibiting gun ownership. There is a thriving black market for weaponry to be used in crime, and no gun control advocate putting a leaky bandage on the problem will succeed where a social, familial and religious breakdown has taken place. And that is what has happened not only in Chicago, but in some of the “best” neighborhoods and well-off communities in America.

Our problem—the problem of America in 2018—is not that we have over 300 million guns; our problem is not “a history of violence and a ‘wild-west’ approach to settling our differences.”

Can you recall or name one—just one—instance of a school massacre from the 1950s? There weren’t any. Indeed, when I went to elementary school, all the doors were open and accessible. Anyone, basically, could walk in—anyone could have entered and threatened or attacked us. But the simple fact is: no one did. We did not have police patrolling the hallways; we did not have metal detectors; we did not have “grief counsellors” (because we did not need them).

Back then almost all schoolchildren, white and black, came from two parent families. Despite poverty, which wasn’t restricted by race, the family was central to all education, and the role of our public schools was, rightly, considered as an extension of the natural educative duties of the family, and not so much of the state (although an acute observer could see what was occurring). And the curriculum, in spite of newer trends, still harked back to fundamentals—reading, writing, arithmetic, proficiency in trades, ability to communicate. Not all students were capable of college; indeed, a solid high school education with good pre-professional preparation was oftentimes a surer guide to later success.

Before the advent of a multiplicity of cable and satellite offerings, television offered a choice of three, perhaps four channels each night. Students and their families grew up watching, when permitted, programs like “Father Knows Best,” “My Three Sons,” “Gunsmoke,” “To Tell the Truth,” “The Bell Telephone Hour,” and “I Love Lucy”: programs to amuse and entertain, to elevate the mind, and also, on occasion, emphasize the importance of doing right and avoiding wrong. There was, so to put it, an agreed-upon standard or idea of national decency, a kind of “public orthodoxy” which prevailed generally. And in large degree it derived from the nation’s heritage and inherited religious faith which despite a major depression, social dislocation and two world wars, still obtained.

But we were, as it were, sitting on a volcano, a volcano that erupted in the late 1960s and which has continued until our days. Since then we have witnessed the virtual triumph of a cultural Progressivism and, increasingly, what we term “cultural Marxism.” Touted as “liberation” from old-fashioned and no-longer-applicable or valid rules and religious taboos, especially sexual, and demanding the destruction of what it identifies as “white [structural] racism” and the implementation of a rigid (but deceptively false and ideological) “equality” between the sexes, this Progressivism dominates our schools and colleges, infects our entertainment (especially Hollywood, but also our sports), and imposes its latest poisonous dogmatism on us all via the media—always advancing, always more extreme, always more intolerant of any dissent or demurer.

No politician who wishes a favorable press or his coffers filled with campaign lucre will oppose it. No prominent figure will stand and demand that our wretched public schools, for example, be cleared out and fumigated (or as my friend Dr. Clyde Wilson suggests, napalmed), for the health and spiritual safety of the children imprisoned therein. Throw more taxpayer money at them, that is what we hear loudly proclaimed; when our efforts and attention should be—must be—towards privatizing the public schools, encouraging widely school choice, with special attention to those institutions that offer a real education framed in those traditions and values and beliefs that once helped create a great nation.

But, in reality, none of this will ultimately be successful until we—let me put this way—“get our country back.” And to get our country back, we will need to get our lives “back,” to recover those beliefs and standards and familial values that our ancestors so cherished. The foul Progressivist genie is out of the lamp and rampaging across the land. Nothing short of a major religious conversion—or a civil war—will put it back in.

Conversion, you say? Well, yes, it is possible, and we have actually seen a massive religious rebirth in, of all places, post-Communist Russia, where since 1991 over 28,000 new Christian churches have been built and opened their doors, and churches are filled with—young—communicants. In the latest polling over 80% of Russians now consider themselves to be “strong believers.”  Is this because after seventy years of oppressive and ruthless Communism, Russians have now re-discovered the religious faith of their history and tradition? That they understand the importance of faith that was suppressed for so long?

What, indeed, would it take for millions of Americans to understand that no just and reasonable society can continue to exist without a commitment to the historic belief that cradles it, gives it life as well as rules to live by, that protects and shields its citizens from evil and destructive tendencies?

Cries and demands for gun control and for banning certain guns are not only deceptive and ineffective band aids, they violate our constitutional rights. “Normal people,” citizens annealed in the traditions and culture passed on to us by our ancestors, citizens who have inherited and incorporated into their lives the beliefs and law of God and Nature, understand this.

Cries and demands for gun control only confuse and cloud the real issues at stake here. The solutions lie, first, within each of us, in our family life, in our faith and in our churches. And then, working with other likeminded citizens, in taking back our country.

It may seem like an impossible task; it certainly is more painful and more difficult. But the alternative is far worse.

Pat Buchanan’s latest column sums this up concisely:

The Motives Behind the Massacre

By Patrick J. Buchanan   Friday - February 16, 2018

"Enough is enough!" "This can't go on!" "This has to stop!"  These were among the comments that came through the blizzard of commentary after the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County. We have heard these words before.

Unfortunately, such atrocities are not going to stop. For the ingredients that produce such slaughters are present and abundant in American society. And what can stop a man full of hate, who has ceased to care about his life and is willing to end it, from getting a weapon in a country of 300 million guns and killing as many as he can in a public place before the police arrive?

An act of "absolute pure evil," said Gov. Rick Scott, of the atrocity that took 17 lives and left a dozen more wounded. And evil is the right word.

While this massacre may be a product of mental illness, it is surely a product of moral depravity. For this was premeditated and plotted, done in copycat style to the mass killings to which this country has become all too accustomed.

Nikolas Cruz thought this through. He knew it was Valentine's Day. He brought his fully loaded AR-15 with extra magazines and smoke grenades to the school that had expelled him. He set off a fire alarm, knowing it would bring students rushing into crowded halls where they would be easy to kill. He then escaped by mixing in with fleeing students.

The first ingredient then was an icy indifference toward human life and a willingness to slaughter former fellow students to deliver payback for whatever it was Cruz believed had been done to him at Douglas High. In his case, the conscience was dead, or was buried beneath hatred, rage or resentment at those succeeding where he had failed. He had been rejected, cast aside, expelled. This would be his revenge, and it would be something for Douglas High and the nation to see — and never forget.

Indeed, it seems a common denominator of the atrocities to which we have been witness in recent years is that the perpetrators are nobodies who wish to die as somebodies. If a sense of grievance against those perceived to have injured them is the goad that drives misfits like Cruz to mass murder, the magnet that draws them to it is infamy. Infamy is their shortcut to immortality.

From the killings in Columbine to Dylann Roof's murder of black parishioners at the Charleston Church, from the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando to the slaughter of first-graders in Newtown, to Las Vegas last October where Stephen Paddock, firing from an upper floor of the Mandalay Bay, shot dead 58 people and wounded hundreds at a country music festival — these atrocities enter the social and cultural history of the nation. And those who carry them out achieve a recognition few Americans ever know. Charles Whitman, shooting 47 people from that Texas tower in 1966, is the original model.

Evil has its own hierarchy of rewards. Perhaps the most famous man of the 20th century was Hitler, with Stalin and Mao among his leading rivals.

Some of these individuals who seek to "go out" this way take their own lives when the responders arrive, or they commit "suicide by cop" and end their lives in a shootout. Others, Cruz among them, prefer to star in court, so the world can see who they are. And the commentators and TV cameras will again give them what they crave: massive publicity.

And we can't change this. As soon as the story broke, the cameras came running, and we watched another staging of the familiar drama — the patrol cars, cops in body armor, ambulances, students running in panic or walking in line, talking TV heads demanding to know why the cowards in Congress won't vote to outlaw AR-15s. Yet, among the reasons gun-owners prize the AR-15 is that, not only in movies and TV shows is it the hero's — and the villain's — weapon of choice, but in real life, these are the kinds of rifles carried by the America's most-admired warriors.

They are the modern version of muskets over the fireplace.

Another factor helps to explain what happened Wednesday: We are a formerly Christian society in an advanced state of decomposition. Nikolas Cruz was a product of broken families. He was adopted. Both adoptive parents had died. Where did he get his ideas of right and wrong, good and evil? Before the Death of God and repeal of the Ten Commandments, in those dark old days, the 1950s, atrocities common now were almost nonexistent.

One imagines Nikolas sitting alone, watching coverage of the Las Vegas shooting, and thinking, "Why not? What have I got to lose? If this life is so miserable and unlikely to get better, why not go out, spectacularly, like that? If I did, they would remember who I was and what I did for the rest of their lives."

And, so, regrettably, we shall.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for applying your historical, cultural, and moral insight to this depravity.


                                                  May 8, 2021     MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey Aggressive Abroad and Despotic at Home:  ...