America just witnessed another mass shooting in Buffalo, apparently by a deranged, angry, mentally unstable, racist, and violence-prone young person. He committed the act with a firearm. Senseless violence is always tragic. But what is the real meaning? What – predictably – will the political left say, and what should the real message be?
As if using cue cards, the left is out in the media – not suggesting passion be controlled, hard conversations had, traditions respected, common ground found – but the reverse. As if programmed, the left’s talkers roll out – stop free speech, stop offensive social media, confiscate guns, eclipse the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments.
Having lived through the violent 1960s, then the incredible shift to increased societal cohesion, the rise of economic opportunity, evolving equality, a dramatic uptick in standards of living and downtick in crime across minority communities – punctuated by record-setting employment, income, and wages in all demographic groups under Trump – we seem to be slipping backward.
While mental instability has always existed, recent COVID lockdowns, cultural disruptions, economic stress, and leftist fanning of violence have made things worse. But the answer is not limiting free speech, gun ownership, or individual liberties. It is about the opposite.
Opposite? Yes, the opposite. When America lived the opposite of what the political left was pushing – with rising belligerence – the nation was far healthier. When we openly encouraged sharing our differences, even wildly differing views – we all had a healthy outlet for speaking and being heard. A “release valve” of sorts, exactly as the Founders intended, and the truth usually surfaced.
The effect was salutary when we allowed open, honest, and offensive discussions over moral issues, even encouraged them over backyard fences, in grocery stores, coffee shops, diners, and on campuses. Whether the conversation was easy or intense, quiet or loud, about equality, crime, education, or abortion – the effect was to make the First Amendment real, evolve, and resolve.
This is, of course, the opposite of what the political left is now doing – leaking Supreme Court opinions, violating laws by confronting justices at home, intimidating, threatening violence.
Respect for the First, Second, and other amendments is the opposite of leftist tactics and is more about Marxism, Communism, and anarchism. Riots and storming of holy places mid-service, and openly trying to “burn the Eucharist” putting people in fear. Where do you think that all leads?
The churning seems intended to “spin up” the nation, perhaps to warrant a crackdown on those who do not abide by this sort of thing, who want open discussions and free speech, open differences of faith and free exercise of religion, open carry and self-defense, a “right to keep and bear arms,” a society that honors and promotes due process and equal opportunity, merit and individualism, not victimhood, violence and identity politics, let alone redefining science.
Is that too much to ask? Of the left, which seems to have co-opted Democrats, maybe. But for the rest of America and responsible leaders? No. We still have the Constitution, and most Americans want it honored. They do not want fundamental rights shut off in social media, by elite politicians, by a Justice Department using anti-terror laws against parents at school board meetings, or some federal “disinformation board” to censor what we read, hear and say.
Bottom line: By reference to historical texts, records, and the flow of our nation’s progress, MORE speech, MORE worship, MORE support for self-defense and defense of others, MORE gun ownership, and MORE respect for freedoms produces safer, stronger, more dynamic, productive, less stressed, and more agreeable periods.
Odd? Counterintuitive? Maybe, but true. More speech lets air out of the balloon. Broad respect for faith creates contentment. More guns held by legal owners makes a community safer. More attention to due process, not the opposite, creates more public trust. Just facts.
And more respect for the police does that, too – as well as less demagoguery, less demonizing of national leaders and the other party, less disrespect for patriots and veterans, and less fanning of racism.
The point: When we decide to honor the Bill of Rights, things turn out better; when we stomp on those precious rights, fan anger, things go south. How about we start seeing things as they are and get back to honoring the Bill of Rights. The mentally unstable will always exist, but honoring fundamental rights will cause more Americans to find peace, not fear and anxiety, which will help everyone.
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