Counting Your Blessings — In the Age of Mass Shootings

Daniel Oliver is Chairman of the Board of the Education and Research Institute and a Director of Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy in San Francisco. In addition to serving as Chairman of the Federal Trade Commission under President Reagan, he was Executive Editor and subsequently Chairman of the Board of William F. Buckley Jr.’s National Review.

There was a joke in the Reagan years—a Washington Post headline that was supposed to have read: “World to End. Reagan to Blame.” Reagan was said by liberals and the media—the same people or their forebears who ascribe all modern evil to Donald Trump (and all ancient evil to white males)—to be responsible for all bad things that happen.

Liberals tend not to believe in original sin, at the same time that they also believe in the perfectibility of man. Therefore, if something goes wrong, someone must be to blame. Someone’s got to pay.

We saw that on Jack-and-the-beanstalks hormones recently when there were mass shootings in Dayton and El Paso. It was all Trump’s fault—his hateful and racist rhetoric. Progressive Democrats of America were quick to weigh in: “We blame President Trump for feeding into the anti-immigrating frenzy and white supremacist violence. Yes, you, Mr. President, had your finger on the AK-47.”

But the prize for liberal gobbledygook goes to Charles M. Blow, a columnist for the New York Times, whom, I fear, one criticizes at the risk of being called either a racist or white supremacist or both. (Mr. Blow is black.) Blow blamed the shooting on the lack of gun control, of course. (“Are these shootings a gun control issue? Of course.”)

We pause to note that it’s a pretty good bet that these mass shootings are fed by publicity—crazy or evil people copycatting other crazy or evil people. Wouldn’t it make more sense to outlaw media coverage of the shootings than to outlaw guns, Mr. Blow?

Blow also blamed the shootings on opposition to open borders and unlimited illegal immigration. (“There is no doubt that Trump and Republicans are making poisonous anti-immigrant rhetoric part of their platforms.”)

But that’s pretty standard fare for the New York Times and the others. But here’s where it gets, well, interesting, yes, but also absurd. Blow wrote—this is true; you’re not being had: “The policymakers believe they can accomplish with legislation in the legal system what the terrorists are trying to underscore with lead. In the minds of the policymakers, border walls, anti-immigrant laws, voter suppression and packing the courts are more prudent and permanent than bodies in the streets.

As in: “Extra! Extra! World to End! Trump’s Nomination of Two Supreme Court Justices to Blame.” That is weird! Sufficiently weird that it’s not clear that even a ten-step ObamaCare-funded program would be enough to cure Mr. Blow.

Meanwhile, in the same issue of the Times, the editors chastised those who are opposed to mass illegal immigration, writing:

Discussions of Americans being “replaced” by immigrants, for instance, are a recurring feature on some programs on Fox News. Fox hosts Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, for example, return to these themes frequently. Democrats, Ms. Ingraham told viewers last year, “want to replace you, the American voters, with newly amnestied citizens and an ever-increasing number of chain migrants.”

Well, yes, that’s true: that’s exactly what Democrats want. But not all people like that policy and the Times, if it were an honest paper, would recognize the policy issue instead of calling everyone who disagrees with them a white supremacist.

It is worth noting that the people who are most likely to be replaced by immigrants are those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder, and that they tend to be disproportionally black—yet vote, to their disadvantage, if not their shame, almost 90 percent for Democrat candidates for president. A question for Donald Trump is, can you connect with those people whose interests you, but not Charles Blow and the New York Times, are looking out for? Trump’s words are factually correct. But when 99 percent of the media is willing to distort everything you say, being factually correct may not be enough—even though you’ve gotten black unemployment to its lowest level ever.

The Wall Street Journal, to its credit, and not surprisingly, noted that these shooters are nut cases—people who have mental health issues—people who used to be locked up in nut houses (mental health institutions). Sequestering mentally ill people used to be standard policy, and then liberals and libertarians came along and said those mentally disturbed people all had civil rights to wander around making a mess of things, which they have done with abandon.

We live in a country of about 328 million people. Some of them, even those who don’t write for the New York Times, are crazy, and some are evil. There is a difference. But no amount of gun control, Trump control, or appointments-to-the-Supreme-Court control is going to eliminate the horrible things they sometimes do.

A generation or two ago many, many more people died of routine diseases than currently die in mass shootings. Life in the media publicity age, and the internet age, may not be perfect. But there’s a lot to be thankful for.
Email Daniel Oliver at [email protected]

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