A familiar pattern has been playing out since the heinous mass murder of 17 Florida high school students last week. Rather than unifying around this tragedy and asking ourselves how this could have been prevented, narratives designed to drive ideological agendas and divisions are flooding the airwaves, print, and internet.
We’re being lectured that the cause of this horror is the tool that Nikolas Cruz used. That the solution to the prevention of these criminal acts are to ban the tool. Which, not coincidentally, is a key plank in the leftist political agenda.
We are seeing the politicians, media, and activists of the left push their agenda and narrative, defaming and demagoguing any who will not accept that without the tool used, the semi-automatic magazine fed rifle, mass killings would be prevented. And in another key plank of the left’s agenda and narrative, they are also embracing their typical identity politics, leveraging reports, true and false, that the racial hatred of Nikolas Cruz, combined with his infatuation with guns, motivated his criminal action.
If one takes a step back from the tree to look at the entirety of the forest, it is apparent that those priorities are seriously misplaced. That rather than seeking to really working to limit or prevent these heinous actions, they are yet again embracing ‘never let a crisis go to waste’ in order to advance a political agenda for the benefit to that ideological mindset. The only solution that too many see for this, and similar problems, reside in the adoption and full acceptance of their political views and agenda.
Yet, as we saw during 8 years of that viewpoint and agenda being dominant, the problems and crisis not only weren’t solved, but they became far more pronounced. Divisions were increased. Malfeasance and abuses of governmental power increased as the size, scope, and reach of government expanded.
Calling government, and the left’s ideology, the solution to these crisis and challenges requires one to embrace contradictions and counterfactuals, to accept and ignore the gaps in their ‘logic’.
They lecture us that one death caused by a gun is one death too many, but we shouldn’t apply that same standard to those deaths caused by illegal aliens or in the name of abortions. We’re lectured that the banning of military looking semi-automatic magazine fed rifle used by Nikolas Cruz will stop mentally deranged people from mass killings, but they never argue for the banning of cars or trucks when they are used as tools to inflict mass casualties. We’re reminded that the FBI, and government, are the core for protecting us, yet in the case of the Boston Marathon bombers and in the case of Nikolas Cruz, warnings were ignored.
Then we’re told that ‘the system worked’ – as did then DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano did when the ‘Underwear bomber’ failed to bring down a commercial airliner only because his bomb fizzled on detonation because of his sweat.
It’s past time to stop looking at the tools or the hardware as the cause of these events and start focusing our attention on the people who commit, or attempt to commit, these heinous actions. Because at the core of all these actions is the perpetrator.
Israel derives its security from focusing on those who are most likely to commit crimes. The tool that person uses is far less important to them than identifying that person and taking the appropriate action to prevent them from harming others. The left in this country calls that ‘profiling’ – more specifically ‘racial profiling’ when it involves someone who isn’t Caucasian. They also call it ‘an invasion of one’s privacy’.
To the left, it seems that the perpetrator has more and superior rights to those of their intended and actual victims. That the focus must be on reaction as opposed to prevention. And, of course, that reaction must advance their goals. With that, it’s clear that the left’s intent is not to prevent or solve these crises. Instead, these crises are used as a means to a desired end.
We need to break this mindset, not surrender to its callous nature.
While there are valid questions that need to be asked, and issues debated around the weapon that Nikolas Cruz used in his attack, these aren’t at the core towards preventing another mass shooting in a school. Those are little more than corrective tweaks that need to be made within gun ownership laws that reduce the odds of someone like Nikolas Cruz legally acquiring an arsenal.
But there are far more important questions that we must ask – questions based on not the tool, but the person. And how that person, with mental health issues, and numerous warnings of his violent tendencies, hate, and contempt towards others, were ignored. The focus must be on both the perpetrator and the clear failings of entities in place in local, state, and federal governments to protect the citizenry to do that simple job.
There cannot be a simple acceptance of ‘protocols weren’t followed’ explanation offered by the FBI over their failure to act on the January 5, 2018 warning they received about Nikolas Cruz. Those who didn’t follow the defined protocols are little more than accessories to the deaths of 17. Their failures cost lives. They must be held accountable and responsible for their failure just as anyone else is when they fail to perform a core function of their job. Ditto for the local and state mental health and child / family services organizations who were all too familiar with Cruz’s history. And ditto for the Broward County Sheriff’s Office which were aware of Cruz and who he was for at least the past 5 years.
The Broward County Sheriff is very vocal in pushing for increased gun controls as well as additional powers being provided to law enforcement to regulate speech – to be able to act when hateful speech is seen on social media. But left unsaid is how they, and other entities, were prevented from acting based on the laws that currently exist? That Cruz’s history of violence and mental health challenges did not present him as a clear and present danger to himself, his family, and the community?
We can be preventative without ceding privacy or our rights. We just must redirect our focus from the tool to the one wielding the tool. We must think outside of the box and not just hide within or behind the bureaucracy we created. The core problem, and the solution, exists with people. Not a political agenda. Not with the tools. Not with empowering a dysfunctional bureaucracy. People need to want to be preventative. To be held accountable and responsible – and act accordingly.
But first we must decide if we want to see the problems as something to be solved or a crisis to be exploited.