Our Culture: A School for Cowards, Like Deputy Scot Peterson

We need to know how and why goodness failed.

By John Zmirak Published on February 24, 2018

The butchery of children in Parkland, Florida stokes in us both grief and inarticulate rage. One family after another watches the child in whom they’d sunk their hopes lowered slowly into the ground. And we hunger for answers. There may be some easy ones, ready to hand. Cheap Band-Aids to slow the bleeding. This gun law or that. This scheme for policing schools or that one. I don’t know which ones would work. And I’ve learned not to trust the elite’s appointed “experts.”

You know what most of them are telling us. This time, no, really this time, we need to turn in all our guns and trust the nice men from the government. The same government which ignored dozens of warnings about the killer. Which was told that he boasted online about aspiring to become a “professional school shooter.” Using his real name, “Niklaus Cruz.” Which wasn’t something really common like “Pedro Lopez” or “Jason Smith,” but weird and easy to track down, like “John Zmirak.”

What Kind of Men Are We Making?

Tune out the noise. We need deeper answers. So we must ask starker questions. Like an experienced pastor speaking to a sinner, or a surgeon searching out cancer, we have to probe. To interrogate ourselves as a nation, and grill our collective conscience.  The most important answer we need right now is this one:

How did America produce a man like this? Where’d we go wrong? Is there anything we can do?

Just quickly: I don’t mean Niklaus Cruz. Man is fallen. Evil is perennial. And young men have violent urges. That’s why we send them to war. Grotesque public violence is also contagious, as one wicked young man’s Screwtape after another directs him in the “imitation of Columbine.”

How did America produce a man like Deputy Peterson?

We do need to understand what went wrong in Cruz’s life. But that might not yield any actionable answers. There is no scheme of social utopia that could guarantee we rescue every psychopath before he does any damage. Or even a lot. There are serial killers still uncaught lurking across America. And human traffickers festooning “rape trees” all along our unguarded southern border. And abortionists lobbying Congress to keep hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars to fund the killing centers in our ghettos. Again about evil: perennial and contagious.

Why Goodness Failed

What we need to know is how and why goodness failed. How did America emit a man like Deputy Sheriff Scot Peterson? That’s the deputy who was onsite during the shooting. Peterson spent two-thirds of the bloody massacre cowering outside waiting for help. Meanwhile, inside, brave students and teachers sacrificed their own lives to save others’. Peterson could hear the screams of panic from the children who were in his charge. Whom he was being paid $80,000 per year to protect. And he froze, awaiting the cavalry, or perhaps for the shooter to use up his ammunition. Then it would be “safe” for Peterson to go in. Once all the bullets were safely lodged in lifeless young bodies. Then he could waddle in, count the corpses, and file a nice report.

(It turns out that three more Broward County deputies showed up. They also stayed safely outside. It took the Coral Springs Police showing up for anyone to actually enter the building.)

What goes through such a man’s mind at such a moment? Had he no devotion to duty? This wasn’t some 18-year-old draftee wetting his pants and dropping his gun on foreign shores in a war he doesn’t understand. That happens in every conflict. Peterson volunteered to wear a badge, carry a service gun and enforce our duly enacted laws. He’d done it for 33 years. He’d even promoted a boondoggle that let police live in trailers on the grounds of public schools.

It’s About Much More than One Guy

Peterson fled his job one step ahead of a termination notice, but as of now he’ll get a union pension. It’s good that the police protect him from angry mob justice. Satisfying as it might be to our fallen natures to hear that one of the victims’ parents had gotten vengeance, that would be wrong. And much too easy.

We should hold Peterson responsible for his cowardice. I hope that some legitimate legal grounds is found to send him to prison. (Maybe he stole some sports memorabilia or something.)

Manhood, Corrupted

But we have to ask ourselves: How did we become a country that produces men like Peterson?

The answers are complex, and deserve not an essay but a book or series of books. Still, they’d share a common theme. That is, the corruption of masculinity. Yes, feminists are shrieking their hatred of everything masculine, from defending national borders to desiring nubile young women. But what they hate had already been tainted. Split off from its proper purposes, and turned into a tyrant. The Sexual Revolution and its patron “saint,” Hugh Hefner managed that. They showed us that sexual pleasure could be nicely severed from the only biological reasons it exists: to reproduce our kind, protect our young and love their mothers.

How should young males ever learn how to be men? We don’t even know how to tell people to be human. The culture we swim pumps into our every pore an incoherent mishmash of “precious snowflake” and “featherless biped.”

Why not do the same with the other main drive that men contend with: violence and aggression? God gave us those drives so we could defend ourselves and our families. Or assert our legitimate rights, and stand up for the defenseless. Siphon that off into video games, TV sports and social media trolling. Hire a few grunts to work as cops or soldiers who will do the heavy lifting. We’re off the hook. Again, we can cream off the pleasure without doing the work.

How Can You Be a Man?

How should young males ever learn how to be men? We don’t even know how to tell people to be human. The culture we swim pumps into our every pore an incoherent mishmash. In social justice class (i.e. English, history, political science) we learn to pretend that each one of us is a unique and fragile snowflake, exquisitely vulnerable to microagressions and slights. Then in science class we play the game of believing that we’re nothing more than random chemical accidents. We will wink out of existence the moment our brain stops humming. And nothing will ever matter, except the score we toted up on the “pleasure” vs. “pain” display. Then the video game reboots. But we don’t get to play.

Let the Other Featherless Biped Take the Bullet

Say you’re in your 50s, have a nice safe gig guarding a school. You’ve got your favorite “fun” websites bookmarked and your drinking under control. Your job is boring, but safe. The union makes it very hard to get fired. You look forward to 25, maybe 30 more years of ethnic takeout, NFL and microbrews. Then one day reality starts hammering on the door. BANG! BANG! BANG! Some maniac who got jaded of video game “kills” is shooting the kids in your school. Quick, now! What do you do?

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You apply what the culture taught you. Remember that all those brats inside are just biological accidents, little matches going out “PFFFFT!” in Darwin’s toilet. But you on the other hand are a complex, magnificent creature. An irrepeatable miracle of rights, appetites, and pleasures. And now all of that could end. Then BLANK. Absolutely nothing, for all eternity.

The choice is clear. You wait and pray to the Universe that some other featherless biped will go in and take the bullet. Then you can collect your pension.   

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