Love! his affections do not that way tend;
Nor what he spake, though it lack’d form a little,
Was not like madness. There’s something in his soul,
O’er which his melancholy sits on brood…
It was almost exactly a year ago that a “shooting incident” struck my institution… sort of. The alarm turned out to be false: someone had dropped a book down a stairwell, and hyperactive imaginations with no real-world experience of a gunshots phoned in the “active shooter” report. What followed was a fiasco. Some trembling functionary or other entered my class, interrupted my lecture, and communicated to me in whispers that we needed to evacuate at once. The hush-hush attitude as we urged students to leave their books and file outdoors “in an orderly fashion” was meant to avert panic, I suppose. In fact, it naturally induced everyone to picture the worst-case scenario. Fingers worked feverishly on iPhones. A few women were almost in tears.
I myself started walking home from the parking lot (having previously gathered up my books as I was advised not to do). Others told me later that somebody with a bull horn ordered them into an auditorium. Really stupid idea. What shooter would have any success trying to run down targets in a vast sea of cars? But if even a single entry to a crowded interior space were improperly secured… fish in a barrel.
Obviously, there was no coherent plan. (The original evacuation certainly contradicted the instructions for lockdown posted at every classroom’s door.) What with the eventual arrival of state troopers by the dozen, all in riot gear and with weapons drawn, I suppose you could say that the event was traumatic for many.
But there was no shooter. And here I will extend an observation to the Parkland shooting a month ago: for the vast majority of students, the trauma grew out of initial panic and later confirmation that seventeen students had been slain… but more out of the former than the latter. You’re shocked when you hear that a friend has died in a car wreck—but life on earth is made of such shocks. Whatever special trauma was stirred into the situation for most came from the mounting suspicion that this wasn’t just another fire drill.
Most students were not shot at. Quite a few would not personally have known any of the victims in so large a high school. Nobody who “looked down the bore of the shooter’s rifle” would have been upright to tell Marco Rubio, mere hours later, that his presence inspired the same sensation.
I don’t recall the student’s name who uttered that fatuously theatrical remark on national television, and I’m not going to look it up. He doesn’t deserve the publicity. There seem to be two, in fact, whose youthful mugs keep occupying our screens with the same “scolding nanny” look of prophetically monomaniacal dedication. They’re beginning to annoy me. I say here and now that their response is an affront to anyone who truly wishes to grieve. Their immediate and highly rehearsed—sometimes even slur-laced—diatribes are not the normal reaction of someone who has met mortality head-on around a tight corner. We’re so insulated from life in our various artificial alternatives to it that we no more know the face true mourning wears than we know how to distinguish between a gunshot and a falling book. A mourner looks into the void. He has no words… and then too many. He asks God why the horror happened, why it happened to this one and not that one, and why anyone—in the dark dawn of such nonsense—should believe that there IS a god. He becomes profane, perhaps. He rambles. He remembers. He weeps. He shouts furiously and incoherently, accusing the clock for not running backward.
He doesn’t uncork cool, sarcastic indictments of the NRA and its lobbying activities.
This is crap. I’m sorry, but these two over-exposed young brats have been fed with it by their parents and other handlers… and now they’re spewing it back on cue. That’s all I see. Call me insensitive to the grieving process: I’ll see you and raise you in that game, because you’re being inconsiderate of true grief by indulging such a charade.
One more thing—and this is perhaps the main thing. I have written often before that people opposed to the murder of adolescents in schools should also be opposed to the murder of babies in the womb. This past month has led me to recognize my error: there is, in fact, no inconsistency of position here. My confusion arose from identifying the sentiments expressed with a concern for individual lives. No such concern exists in the progressive mind. To make an omelet, you have to break some eggs. Specifically, X millions of fetuses must die so that, at long last, we may have a society freed of the nuclear family’s retrograde influence. The state must guarantee women the right to “evacuate” the consequences of rash sexual behavior rather than draw men into a tangle of personal responsibility and investment in the future. When and if a woman decides to bear a child, the state will raise that child. Fathers are not needed. Mothers, indeed, may soon be unneeded as the blueprint grows more Huxleyan.
In the same way, I have done the anti-gun crusade an injustice in assuming that its minions do not imagine scenarios where a woman must endure a brutal rape or a parent cower with the children behind a flimsy door as home invaders rifle the premises. The gun-banners don’t lack imagination: they just don’t care. Their imagination is riveted on the higher vision of a futuristic society where only uniformed, designated enforcers carry deadly weapons. To get from here to there, yes, many women will have to be savaged helplessly and many children abducted and sold into slavery or murdered for the joy of bloodletting. That’s how you make an omelet. Eventually, as more and more guns are rounded up and more and more malefactors forcibly donate their sick brains to science, Earth’s one society will make a great leap forward. Next stop: Mars.
That hard, unblinking stare of the smooth-browed, slick-haired snot who has now become the poster child for firearm round-up says it all: “You egotistical self-defenders deserve to die. You’re standing in the way of progress!”