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Airy Generalities, Narcissism and Political Bias in Media Discussions of the Uvalde Shooting

“[H]ardening schools …  is not something [Biden] believes in.” Jean-Pierre Karine, White House Press Secretary, May 31, 2022

In the aftermath of the murders of 19 children and 2 teachers in Uvalde, Texas, American political talk-shows have discussed little else.  Unfortunately, many of these discussions, long on virtue-signaling, hyperventilating, emotionalism, platitudes and airy generalities, and short on law or common sense, are part of the problem.  One representative example was the recent Republican-bashing discussion by Judy Woodruff, David Brooks and Jonathan Capehart on PBS.

The political bias is evident from the start.  Woodruff, who is married to Democrat partisan Al Hunt, begins the discussion with the “liberal” assumption, from which Brooks and Capehart would not depart, that the solution to school shootings is more gun legislation.  She just assumes that the problem is that the Republicans, even “moderate” Republicans, stand in the way of gun-control legislation.  She quickly links the problem of mass shootings to the concurrent primary elections in Georgia and the upcoming elections in November, showing that her real concern is politics.  Woodruff then asks Capehart how he is “processing” all this.

Capehart responds that he is “tired of losing young children, tired of politicians who don’t move.”  Later in the clip he repeats this same theme, saying “I’m tired of politicians who go on and on and on about pro-life for the unborn and seemingly have no care for them once they are born, what is it going to take?”  Yet later he adds, “I were a member of congress so I could cast a vote to do something about this.  … [T]here is an atmosphere of menace in this country.  I feel it as an LGBT person [and] a black person. I’m going to feel under siege as an American”.  

Capehart, whose main interest seems to be himself, seems to have forgotten that the issue was the children and teachers killed in mass shootings at schools.  He is, rather, obsessed with his own “feelings,” how “tired” he is, how he, “as a black person,” “as an LGBT person,” and “as an American,” “feels” “menaced,” how much good he, given his oracular status, could do if he could vote as a member of congress.  The concern for protecting children in schools has been replaced by his obsession with his own troubled mental state and inflated self-image.  

Second, Capehart’s analogy between care for children targeted in school shootings and care for the unborn is patently absurd.  The two cases could not be more different. The idea that a pro-life policy on abortion somehow logically necessitates a “liberal” approach, more gun control legislation, to protecting children in schools from deranged shooters is silly even for PBS.  

Third, Capehart’s claim that pro-second amendment people “have no care for [children] once they are born” is transparently false.  Pro and anti 2nd amendment people simply have different views about how to protect children in schools from shooters.  Anti-2nd Amendment people want to solve the problem by curtailing people’s constitutional rights.  Pro 2nd Amendment people generally want to do it by enforcing the laws already on the books and hardening schools, should that be a permissible opinion.   Understanding that people have different views about how to solve problems is part of growing up.  Capehart’s attack on a “straw man” defender of the 2nd Amendment does no good whatsoever except to flatter himself. 

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Brooks proceeds to deliver a laundry list of highly general measures that one might take to solve the problem. One might change the age one can purchase a gun from 18 to 21, one might enact red-flag laws, if someone is suicidal one might make it impossible for them to get guns and, finally, one might make guns like phones in the sense that “you cannot use mine.”  Exactly how these loosely formulated measures are to prevent school shootings Brooks does not say.  

Brooks, one recalls, is a New York Times conservative, which means that he is a liberal that has not completely lost his common sense yet.  Recall also that while interviewing Obama before the 2008 election, Brooks, revealing more about himself than many of us want to know, found himself so absorbed into the creases in Obama’s trousers that he gushed that Obama would someday become the president and a very good president: “[W]e were sitting on his couches, and I was looking at his pant leg and his perfectly creased pant, and I’m thinking, he’s going to be president and he’ll be a very good president.”   A trouser creases criterion for fitness to be the president and a very good president?  Really?  Do these fan boys have any self-reflection at all?  

Yes, one could change the age one can purchase a gun from 18 to 21 but disturbed people can steal guns or buy them on the black market, or, if those measures fail, a determined killer can use another weapon, like a car.  Yes, one might enact constitutionally problematic red flag laws to deprive people of their constitutional rights before they have done anything, but people were aware the Uvalde shooter had serious mental problems and no one did anything.  Apparently having forgotten that the issue is school shootings, Brooks suggests that one might try to make it impossible for people who are suicidal to get a gun, but he also seems to have forgotten that there are these things called buildings and bridges that suicidal people can throw themselves from.  Yes, one can try to make guns like phones so that “you cannot use mine,” but then a black market will develop of people who modify guns to circumvent this feature.  Some of these measures may prevent some shootings but determined deranged people will, as multiple studies show, simply move to other methods and weapons.

What is most astonishing is that all three are so eager to endorse Democrat gun control legislation that none of them even once mentions the sort of simple measures that might have actually prevented the Uvalde murders: making sure that the school doors are locked, making sure the resource officer is present at all times, and ensuring that, as just happened in Tulsa, the police confront the shooter immediately to save lives.  Further, not one of the three even mentions the murders that are prevented by a “good guy” with a gun.  Finally, none of the three even once mentions the societal rot fostered by Democrat policies, the destruction of the family, fatherless homes, rampant drug use, the denigration of males, counterproductive attacks on police, the decline in religious faith, etc. The “liberal” knee-jerk reaction is always the same:  Instead of taking the simple common-sense measures to “harden” schools and address the societal rot that leads angry young men to lash out with guns, Biden and the Democrats, like all wannabe dictators, seek to curtail the constitutional rights of people who have done nothing wrong, even as they decriminalize violent crimes, in order to disarm the American people. 

“Law abiding citizens have a Constitutional right to protect themselves. But our cowardly Congress continues to aim at them… not the criminal element.  Pathetic!”

-Bill O’Reilly, June 2, 2022