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On Newtown, Mourn First, Then Act ^ | December 19, 2012 | Jonah Goldberg

Posted on 12/19/2012 4:11:34 AM PST by Kaslin

On Friday, in his moving and heartfelt statement in response to the horrific shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama said, "As a country, we have been through this too many times. ... And we're going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics."

There's just one problem: In a democracy, politics is a synonym for "democracy." It is through politics that people with strong feelings and strong interests peaceably hash out their disagreements. When politicians say they want to do something regardless of the politics, or that they want to go "above" or "beyond" politics, what they generally mean is they want to do something regardless of the normal rules or what their opponents have to say or, often, the facts. This, after all, is the point of the expression "a crisis is a terrible thing to waste."

I've lost my share of loved ones in recent years (a father, a brother, a sister-in-law, a close friend and a mentor), though (thank God) I've experienced nothing that can match what must be the soul-eating despair that comes with the murder of a son or daughter. Still, one piece of advice you often hear in such situations is "don't make any big decisions" in the immediate aftermath of a tragedy.

It's sound advice that is routinely and predictably ignored in the political realm. Right now, people are talking about putting metal detectors and X-ray machines in every school. I'm open to the idea. But barely a decade after 9/11 -- another traumatic mass slaughter -- how many people do you know who find the quick-started security system at airports reassuring and necessary? Imposing the equivalent of TSA screening at every elementary school in the country strikes me as the sort of idea people propose out of panic and despair.

But, again, that's sort of the point for some. It's really quite amazing. For 20 years, at least, we've been hearing about the dangers of "anger" in American politics. Angry white men are the scapegoats for all our problems, including several mass shootings that were perpetrated by the mentally ill. But now, in the wake of this shooting, anger isn't the disease, it's the cure. "We should mourn, but we should be angry," insists E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post. He continues: "The horror in Newtown, Conn., should shake us out of the cowardice, the fear, the evasion and the opportunism that prevents our political system from acting to curb gun violence."

Except, our political system has acted to curb gun violence. Violent crime, gun violence and school violence have all dropped dramatically over the last 20 years, even as the number (and lethality) of guns in America has risen dramatically. It's not even obvious that mass killings are on the rise.

It seems that Dionne, and countless others, want to use fear, evasion and opportunism in the wake of this tragedy to win an argument they couldn't win when passion was in check.

Still, these sorts of sprees by the mentally ill have become all too frequent in recent years (though none, despite what you may have heard, involved "automatic weapons," which are very hard to own and incredibly rare in gun crime cases).

A breakdown in our culture generally, and our mental health system in particular, seems to be making this kind of nihilistic mayhem possible and attractive to sick young men. This is a point the media should keep in mind as they provide precisely the kind of saturation coverage such men find seductive.

But while guns are easy to scapegoat as talismans of evil, and the media are always worthy of criticism, the mentally ill are different. Many of the "warning signs" for the Newtown killer could be leveled at literally millions of young men. Who among us doesn't know someone who was a smart loner with poor social skills in high school or college?

I think we need better mental health screening and treatment for potential murderers. I am also completely open to gun laws -- limiting the sale of large clips perhaps -- that would reduce this kind of slaughter. I don't know how to implement such ideas in ways that would actually work. Indeed, all I'm sure of is that we should be very careful about making big decisions when we are so angry and mourning so deeply.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: ejdionne; guncontrol; mentalhealthcare; schoolshooting; secondamendment

1 posted on 12/19/2012 4:11:46 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin
If we controlled the criminally insane in this country half as well as we do guns... these shooters would never commit their evil deeds. The left, in closing all of our asylums and mental hospitals in the 60’s and 70’s, demanded that these crazy people live amongst us... they have rights and vote dimocrat so it is ok if they kill us while living amongst us... they vote dim so its all groovy baby. WE NEED INSANITY CONTROL AND GOD PUT BACK INTO THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE!


2 posted on 12/19/2012 4:17:13 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (A child is born in Bethlehem KING of KINGS)
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To: LibLieSlayer

Isn’t that the truth, and the sooner we put God back in the American way of life, the better

3 posted on 12/19/2012 4:27:51 AM PST by Kaslin ( One Big Ass Mistake America (Make that Two))
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To: LibLieSlayer

You are totally correct.

Bring back the hospitals for the insane and save the children.

4 posted on 12/19/2012 4:29:36 AM PST by kitkat
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To: Kaslin
We are human, mortal and flawed. Equally flawed men cannot create a law or a rule to "fix" that.

And couple that with endless creativity, and we should acknowledge that pretty much all we can do is react. Who would have thought 25 years ago that an airplane could be brought down with a box cutter?

And each time something happens we say, "Never again!" and we're probably right, because once it's been done, there are still a million other possibilities for a flawed human to consider if he wishes to bring harm on his fellow man

5 posted on 12/19/2012 5:27:04 AM PST by Mygirlsmom (If bad plastic surgeons were banned, then Bob Costas' normal face would still be alive.)
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To: Kaslin

Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air.
they could hardly believe all the beauty they saw there.
they were filled with such joy, they didn’t know what to say.
they remembered nothing of what had happened earlier that day.
“where are we?” asked a little girl, as quiet as a mouse.
“this is heaven.” declared a small boy. “we’re spending Christmas at God’s house.”
when what to their wondering eyes did appear,
but Jesus, their savior, the children gathered near.
He looked at them and smiled, and they smiled just the same.
then He opened His arms and He called them by name.
and in that moment was joy, that only heaven can bring
those children all flew into the arms of their King
and as they lingered in the warmth of His embrace,
one small girl turned and looked at Jesus’ face.
and as if He could read all the questions she had
He gently whispered to her, “I’ll take care of mom and dad.”
then He looked down on earth, the world far below
He saw all of the hurt, the sorrow, and woe
then He closed His eyes and He outstretched His hand,
“Let My power and presence re-enter this land!”
“may this country be delivered from the hands of fools”
“I’m taking back my nation. I’m taking back my schools!”
then He and the children stood up without a sound.
“come now my children, let me show you around.”
excitement filled the space, some skipped and some ran.
all displaying enthusiasm that only a small child can.
and i heard Him proclaim as He walked out of sight,
“in the midst of this darkness, I AM STILL THE LIGHT.”

Written by Cameo Smith, Mt. Wolf, PA

6 posted on 12/19/2012 6:23:36 AM PST by OregonRancher (Some days, it's not even worth chewing through the restraints)
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To: Kaslin

Amen Kaslin!


7 posted on 12/19/2012 6:32:02 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (A child is born in Bethlehem KING of KINGS)
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To: kitkat

It makes complete sense so that will be the last avenue that the left will take.


8 posted on 12/19/2012 6:34:01 AM PST by LibLieSlayer (A child is born in Bethlehem KING of KINGS)
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To: Kaslin
There's just one problem: In a democracy, politics is a synonym for "democracy."

Which is why we are a Constitutional Republic instead.

Please, people, reject the language of the left. It corrupts the conversation and obfuscates the arguments. The individual protections afforded by the Constitution are absolute in the Republic, and arbitrary in the Democracy.

Of course Democrats are for democracy: at the core, it's mob rule.

9 posted on 12/19/2012 6:44:06 AM PST by Dr.Deth
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