Good Friday Morning! It’s a week of national mourning and grief in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland Florida. Just judging from my personal Facebook and Twitter feeds, it seems everyone has something to say about these mass tragedies. For me, it’s just getting exhausting to hit the same points again and again. I’ll get into some of that below. I’ll also cover an argument I witnessed about some of the generational differences between boomers and millennials. Links follow.
New this week at the Conservative Institute
The coverage the media gave North Korea at the beginning of the Olympics was utterly deplorable. What they referred to as a charm tactic was pure propaganda planned by the North Koreans to manipulate the media. And it worked flawlessly on American journalists.
A tragedy in Parkland Florida
I feel like I don’t have to repeat the facts here. What happened was a tragedy and ranks among the worst school shootings in American history.
It’s understandable to want to do something. I get it.
The real question is: do what?
As in past tragedies, the reaction on social media was to condemn anyone remotely offering “thoughts or prayers.” The chorus wasn’t as loud as last time when it forced me to write a column explaining why we provide thoughts and prayers after a mass tragedy, but that component was still present.
And the Second Amendment is essential, as I’ve laid out in the past, and most of the “policies” you’re going to hear over the next week or so will be utterly useless to stop another school shooting. The inconvenient fact of gun control is it doesn’t work to prevent what its supporters say it will end.
I have a piece coming out for the Conservative Institute today, likely around noon, on why it’s a bad idea to strip the mentally disabled of gun rights. It’s usually an unconstitutional and wrong idea.
None of this means the system can’t be made better. There’s a website getting shared among some gun advocates I know called: #SomethingReasonable.com. They offer a good overhaul of the system that provides some reasonable ideas. Although I do think the mental health aspect is harder than they realize, legally speaking.
Even that system wouldn’t stop most mass shootings. And no gun control measure will prevent that fact.
What I most often hear next is, “well, if everything you say is true, then we should just ban guns and repeal the Second Amendment.” To which I say two things: 1) Good luck passing that and getting a 2/3 majority in the states. And 2) the enforcement measures to physically remove all the guns in circulation in the United States would make the drug war look like a cake walk. Minority communities would be the hardest hit.
If the state and federal government started rounding up all people and guns in society, the crackdown would produce blood in the streets multiple times over than what we’ve seen with any drug trade problem. Police would have to go through every neighborhood. You’d get hundreds of thousands jailed. And even with all of that, you’d never reduce the circulation on the black market.
All of this is why, in some sad respect, those saying “do something,” are no different than the “thoughts and prayers” people they lambast. At it’s best, it’s just empty rhetoric masquerading as pseudo-intellectual thought. At it’s worst, it’s pure virtue signaling / moral preening by people who care nothing about the tragedy, only about scoring political points for their side. Of the two, if you believe in God only prayer has any real power.
Gun control isn’t the solution. And until we accept that and start examining the real causes, we’ll eventually have a tragedy worse than anything we’ve seen yet.
On Baby Boomers and Millenials
There was a mini-storm of criticism launched at one of the fellows at the American Enterprise Institute for a tweet she sent that said:
Dear kids: I’m a Baby Boomer. We are getting old. But at least we had sex, drugs and rock & roll. Seems like millennials have moral panics, workshops, and grievance circles. Time to rebel!
It received heaping scorn, I think rightly so, but Michael Brendan Dougherty made the best point at National Review when he said:
Dear Boomers: Maybe if you had passed on a sense of membership in society, with meaning, ideals, and rules beyond self-interest, millennial attempts to recreate these for themselves wouldn’t be so third rate.
In the end, “Had sex, drugs, and rock n roll,” is their generation’s boast, and every other generation’s harsh judgment on them.
And it raises a position that’s often bothered me with the generational divide and anti-millennial stories published like clockwork on the internet. Everything millennials know was given to them by either Baby Boomers or Gen-Xers. If you hate the morality or world millennials are creating, you’re effectively saying the baby boomer moral code has collapsed.
If the WWII generation is considered the greatest generation, how did they manage to beget the most narcissistic generation? Baby boomers had a choice when it came to moral paths, there was the generation that fought WWII and lived through the Great Depression, and there was the counter-culture underground. With everything given to them by an age that beat the Nazi’s and produced greatness, the boomers rebelled and chose the counter-culture underground which begat sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, and now the opioid crisis and #MeToo.
On some level, the struggles of the millennial generation are directly related to whether or not they’re willing to live in the moral code of the boomers or not. And if you think culture is burning down right now, the parts most on fire are things built by the boomer generation and those in the 1960’s.
What does that say about the legacy of a generation that’s watching everything it created burn down as it leaves the stage? Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll aren’t much of a legacy.
They’re an indictment.
Best links of the week
How the Quietly Radical ‘Black Panther’ Took Over Hollywood: Marvel’s most prominent black superhero hasn’t always been one of their superstars. But the Afrofuturist, anti-imperialist worldview the series espouses makes it perfect for the moment. – Derek Robertson, Politico Magazine
New Gun Policies Won’t Stop Mass Shootings, but People Can – David French, National Review
Dear America: Your News Media Absolutely Hates You – Ben Domenech, The Federalist
The Courage to Confront Campus Radicalism – Noah C. Rothman, Commentary Magazine
Don’t Care Less, Care About What Matters – Matt LaBash, The Weekly Standard
Shock Poll: Republicans Take Lead in Generic Ballot: Republicans are improving their standing, but they’re not in the lead. – David Byler, The Weekly Standard
Republicans Look for Somebody to Blame for Their Deficit Mess. Guess Who They Found. – Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine
The Liberal Grift is On – Ryan Cooper, The Week
Sympathy for Janet on The Good Place: The show is the latest example of pop culture thinking through whether Siri has a soul. – Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic
Too Much Netflix, Not Enough Chill: Why Young Americans Are Having Less Sex – W. Bradford Wilcox and Samuel Sturgeon, Politico
Satire piece of the week
LAKELAND, TN—A women’s life group meeting at Higher Ground Community Church Sunday managed to successfully cast out a demon possessing a church member using a carefully concocted blend of essential oils products, sources were able to confirm Tuesday.
According to witnesses, as the apparent victim of the demonic possession suddenly began to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth, several of the group’s leaders sprang into action, producing a large case packed with hundreds of small bottles of various organic oils and extracts.
“We saw one of our sisters in need, and we acted,” life group member Staci Brayford told reporters. “We first tried a blend of tea tree, lavender, and juniper berry, but that proved ineffective. But then it hit me: eucalyptus! And that did the trick.”
Thanks for reading!