Mass Shootings: Tragedy and Propaganda
The mass shooting at Saugus High School in Santa Clarita, California sears our consciences and wounds our hearts. And so it should. We feel especially heartbroken at the sudden death or injury of the young. We remember ourselves at that age. And recall all the dreams we had, the confused ideals, the existential questions. We realize how much we’d have missed, how absurd it would have been, had our lives been cut suddenly short.
And then we think of the parents. People who have sacrificed themselves, poured out their love, to help form the next generation. Even some animals mourn when their young die. The foundational emotion God planted in us for passing life along runs deep. When violence or illness frustrates it, our own existence can suddenly seem pointless. We feel like a cursed, barren fig tree, the broken bed of a strangled stream.
The ugliest part of this tragedy is that it happened in the first place. That a young man, on his birthday, decided to mark it by trying to murder his classmates, and then himself. We need to understand what’s going on among us that drives young men to do this, and strips their inhibitions of conscience, shame, even fear.
I doubt that we’ll like the answers. In fact, our culture will do its best to suppress and avoid them. We mustn’t talk of “fatherlessness,” since that admits the real existence of men, and their fundamental difference from women. And some people find facts like that “triggering.” Just to mention them violates their right to reinvent existence from scratch to suit their fantasies and sexual acting out.
Political Ambulance Chasers
But the second ugliest aspect of such tragedies can’t be denied. Like those that came before it, this slaughter will be politicized. It will be used.
Used immediately and cynically. Relentlessly and dishonestly. Used by a Machine that elites and billionaires have revved up and waiting, like a private helicopter. This Machine will chase the very ambulances carrying wounded kids to the hospital. Often before the blood has literally dried, its activists are out on social media making ignorant demands and cruel attacks. Throwing blame for the crime on the innocent. Calling for laws that wouldn’t help — which they know wouldn’t help, but opportunistically call for, hoping that our grief and rage won’t see that. Hoping we’ll be too blinded by emotions even to think.
These political scavengers will spray blame far and wide. Some will call members of the National Rifle Association “terrorists.” Some will wish death and dismemberment, or torture and rape, on people like Dana Loesch, who defend the Second Amendment. Others will blame American culture, and millions of innocent sportsmen and target shooters, for being too “male,” or “patriarchal” or simply “Neanderthal.”
As Mark Smith unfolds in his new book, First They Came for the Gunowners, a large swathe of U.S. elites despise the traditional culture of their country. It’s too “individualistic,” too proud, too suspicious of authority. Some have even coined the bizarre word, “Tyrannophobia.” They apply that ugly neologism to America’s founders and today’s conservatives. All had in a common an irrational fear of … tyrants, apparently. Given the record of the 20th century, when 133 million civilians were murdered by their governments (not including casualties of war), such a fear seems more rational than ever before in history.
People who use words like “Tyrannophobia,” who sneer at churchgoers, at hunters, at citizens who want to defend their own families, see millions of their fellow Americans as benighted, primitive, dangerous. They’re desperate to see such citizens disarmed, harmless, and disenfranchised. When those citizens vote “wrong” (as they did in 2016 for President Trump), the elitists want nice bureaucrats in the Deep State to step in and correct it. Hence the endless obstruction, hoax investigations, soft coup attempts, and media brainwashing of the past three years.
Be careful. Christians are vulnerable. These elitists are learning how to push our emotional buttons. They might despise our articles of faith as foolish superstitions. But they still remember our ethics, which once pervaded this culture. Some of these faithless people have even clawed their way to positions of power within our churches.
Unsure that Jesus rose, or even really lived, they know that churches prove useful for enacting cultural change. They remember the Civil Rights marchers, so many of them from churches. They fear the pro-life movement, and want to dissipate it onto a hundred dubious or unconnected issues. Or to hijack it altogether, and drive it over the cliff into Utopia.
And they know enough of the Gospel to cherry-pick useful verses. Of course, they’ve inoculated themselves to its message and its Master. They’ve used the Marcionite method to make themselves “more Christian™ than Jesus.” They know better than the Gospel writers, or centuries of churchmen, what Jesus would say or do. If only He were a modern, enlightened liberal like them.
Be ready, in the next few weeks. You’ll hear them and read them almost everywhere. Media elites eager to see churches taxed into silence or bankruptcy for resisting Mammon and Caesar will suddenly “discover” these “progressive Christians.” They’ll get guest columns at Newsweek, op-eds at Yahoo News, and slots on TV news shows. There they’ll warn of “the plague of gun violence” as if it were some impersonal disease with an obvious cure. They’ll use the Machine’s fudged figures that include suicides and police shootings of criminals to inflate the number of gun deaths. They’ll pretend that you can’t oppose the killing of almost a million unborn children for our sexual convenience, unless you also want to disarm ordinary Americans, and leave them at the mercy of criminals, terrorists and future tyrants.
I’m writing a book about this, about why Christians of all people need to rally to the Second Amendment. Next week I’ll explore the religious instincts among Christians that these elitists tap into, and misuse. In the meantime, I urge you all to respond with prudence and caution to those who politicize mass shootings, and weaponize our reactions.
Seek out alternative sources of information. Fact-check every claim. Ask yourself, or these advocates, if the laws they’re promoting would even have prevented the tragedy they’ve glommed onto. (California already has some of the toughest gun laws in America, which the Saugus shooter simply broke.)
A good place to start would be Mark Smith’s book. It’s fresh off the press and a gripping read.
John Zmirak is a senior editor at The Stream, and author or co-author of ten books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to Immigration.