American Elephants


“Kill Chic” by Victor Davis Hanson by The Elephant's Child


Kalashnikov AK47

If you read anything today, read this outstanding piece by Victor Davis Hanson, and share it with friends.

In movies, novels, music, and art, progressives murder their enemies, including presidents, in myriad ways.

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom.

We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping flesh, as if it is some sort of macabre ballet. Rap music has institutionalized violence against women and the police — to the tune of billions in profits, largely as a way for suburban kids to find vicarious street authenticity. And this idea of metaphorically cutting, bleeding, or shooting those whom you don’t like without real consequences has seeped into the national political dialogue.

For example, why does popular culture wink and nod at the widespread metaphorical killing of Republican presidents? Liberals used to believe that words mattered and images had consequences; the casual glorification of carnage trivialized violence and only made it more acceptable — and likely.

(More)

Advertisements


If Banning Guns Won’t Work, What Should We Do? by The Elephant's Child

To reach a point where people can begin to talk sensibly about the problem of violence in our schools, you have to wait a while. Probably longer than this. All the people who have never held a gun, nor fired one, have time to insist that banning all guns is the answer. Unfortunately, it’s often the less they know, the more they sound off.

There are no reliable statistics that I could find on gun shootings in schools. Everytown for Gun Safety is an activist gun-banning group, and has listed every incidence when a gun has been discharged in or near a school in their statistics, including on school property when schools are not in session, which includes a suicide in his own car, that sort of thing, which has contaminated most lists.

There are some few sensible suggestions emerging. Most courthouses and state buildings have  metal detectors at their doors, and a guard inside to do something if a metal detector sounds off.  Interesting that government officials are ready to insure protection for themselves, but not for vulnerable students. So the first need is for some proper statistics enumerating the people who have attempted to attack school children as the most vulnerable and precious victims. This is not as easy as it should be. The United States is a big open country with all sorts of news outlets, some of them even reliable. Our news is reported as headlines in most other countries. Because we let it all hang out, so to speak, countries that are more sparing in what they tell the public are shocked by us.

Banning guns is everyone’s first choice, but will not change anything. Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The kid who was turned in by his grandmother this week because she read his journal, was not only talking about guns, but about making bombs at home.  If metal detectors at every entrance to a school are a good idea, then it detects as someone enters—and who responds to that and what do they do? Is it an armed guard? For every door? Or are all other doors but the main door locked, and checked to make sure they are locked? It gets complicated right off the bat, and needs to be thought through carefully.

The grandmother who called 911 after reading her grandson’s journal here in Snohomish County (Everett) just had to trust that the responders from 911 would know what to do. It would seem that adults in such a situation would be more apt to take action if they knew what and who to reach, and what would result.

It’s agreed that the FBI fouled up very badly by not following up on warnings they received about Nikolas Cruz. They had a definite warning call from someone who knew him and took his threats seriously. His father had died earlier, and his mother had died suddenly and recently from pneumonia. He was expelled from school. Police were reportedly called to the home some 39 times. That’s a remarkable number of red flags and call for help, to FBI and city police, but nothing happened, no one took him in for help. That suggests missing training in when red flags should go up, and in what avenues to follow. Is a jail cell the only answer? Taxpayers are supporting a vast array of agencies that are supposedly trained to deal with situations like these. School shootings are not as common as the gun-control advocates assume, but there have been others. Some of the attacks have been by adults which are a different situation.

Junior high and high school are difficult times for kids. They are dealing with  puberty, and sex education, that currently seems to tell them they they can be any sex they choose, when they are trying to figure out how to be popular like some other kids seem to be, having crushes, wanting to be good at sports or acting or singing or anything like other kids seem to be. Everybody remembers traumatic things from their own high school career. It’s a very emotional time, taking the first steps toward adulthood.

It has been widely, if quietly, reported that teachers are being attacked in their own classrooms, in many cases by unruly students. School districts do not want that to be reported so it is not frequently mentioned, but it happens, perhaps more frequently where there is gang activity. What is being done about that?

When a kid has acted up enough to be expelled from school, had the police called to his home 39 times, and  just lost his mother, that would seem to be a powerful call for help. You would have one very angry kid. What all of this suggests is that all those administrators that the taxpayers are supporting besides the teachers in the classroom, should be planning and working with other agencies to think through the possibilities and come up  with plans so people know what to do and who to call.

What about the kid who uses the internet to learn how to build a bomb? Or learns how to make Molotov cocktails?  Do we still have reform schools? There are a lot of quiet agencies who take on troubled kids in rural settings to straighten them out and set them on a better path. Very expensive. Military schools. Also very expensive. Can states and communities learn from them and put new programs for troubled kids in place? Some used to be encouraged to enlist in the military, and drill sergeants know a thing or two.

Banning assault weapons (aren’t those the scary looking guns with scopes and a military profile) and AK-47s sounds important, and accomplishes nothing at all. Countries that have really gone for banning guns have learned that it does not work. Our cities with the most restrictive gun laws are some of the most violent.



Some Premature Remarks on A Dreadful Tragedy by The Elephant's Child

Since it is way too early for any solid or real commentary on the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, naturally all the Lefties are running off at the mouth. Guns must be banned, of course, and the NRA banished forever. I finally realized why they are so frantic about the National Rifle Association. The NRA donates to Republicans.

Judd Apatow accused Trump of being “too much of a coward” to buck the NRA. Who is Judd Apatow? Is he some sort of celebrity? Chelsea Handler, whoever she is, said we must elect candidates who are not funded by the NRA who allow kids to go to school and get shot. Patricia Arquette, (the name is vaguely familiar), said that “If people can blame drug dealers for the drug problem then we can blame the NRA for the shooting problem.”  Utterly brilliant commentary. But typical.

I can’t forget our legislators, who are never shy about speaking out. Nancy Pelosi said “We have to be bold. We have to go forward. We cannot let the National Rifle Association—however they get their money and that’s another subject—to decide what the character of America is.” One would assume that the head of the NRA, whoever he is, did the shooting all by himself because he hates American children. Dianne Finestein reminded that she has a bill banning assault weapons.

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) made a speech on the floor of the Senate, apparently in the midst of the shooting. He said that Congress ‘ “inaction” is “responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.”

As we speak, there is a horrific scene playing out at a high school in south Florida. Turn on your television right now, you’re going to see scenes of children running for their lives, what looks to be the 19th school shooting in this country, and we have not even hit March. I’m coming to the floor to talk about something else, but let me just note, once again for my colleagues, that this happens nowhere else, other than the United States of America. This epidemic of mass slaughter, this scourge of school shooting after school shooting. It only happens here, not because of coincidence, not because of bad luck, but as a consequence of our inaction. We are responsible for a level of mass atrocity that happens in this country with zero parallel anywhere else.

That was too much for even the left-leaning Washington Post, which explained “No, there haven’t been 18 school shootings in 2018. That number is flat wrong.”

Guns are inanimate objects. Guns do not shoot people. People shoot people. America is a big open country, and we publicize all our faults as well as our triumphs. Guns have probably saved a lot more lives than were ever lost to gun violence.

Israel and Europe have had recent bunch of stabbings. Knives are also inanimate objects, useful in the kitchen and elsewhere, but deadly in the hands of someone intent on killing.

In Nice, France, a terror attack with a large white truck killed 84 people and injured many more on Bastille Day. A truck attack in London left 8 dead, but more than 40 injured, including children. There was a deadly truck attack in Jerusalem. A car was the lethal weapon in Melbourne, Australia. There was an attack with a vehicle in Manhattan on October 31st. And a truck attack in Barcelona, Spain, left 14 dead and 100 injured. So we should immediately ban trucks, cars, and the American Automobile Association.

The 18 year-old shooter is in custody, clearly a troubled kid. The FBI was warned about him last year.

Steve Scalise (R-LA), still recovering from being shot by an enraged  Democrat supporter of Bernie Sanders, said “don’t try to promote your agenda in the middle of a tragedy. One  magic law won’t stop shootings.”

Here in Washington State, authorities arrested an 18 year-old whose grandmother discovered his journal with detailed plans to shoot his high school classmates, and detonate homemade bombs at school, and she called 911.  This happened in Snohomish County on Tuesday.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that recognizing ‘signals and signs’ could prevent shootings, and he’s right.  I have never seen much discussion of the fact that the high school years are difficult and troubling for many kids. I don’t think I know anyone who has not been deeply affected by their years in high school. Making friends, falling in love, trying out for things and failing, finding the world increasingly difficult and confusing, and they are still very young and don’t know anything at all.

John Hinderraker has excellent premature observations.



The City of Spokane Outlaws Detention of Illegal Aliens by City Police In Defiance of Federal Law. by The Elephant's Child

The city of Spokane has agreed to change its laws in straightforward defiance of federal law, apparently because of complaints or a lawsuit from the ACLU of Washington and the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, neither of which have any legal standing one would assume. They agreed to change their policies to make sure that police officers will not question or detain people as they are required to do by federal law.

That’s  part of a final settlement they city reached Tuesday in federal court with the ACLU and the Immigrant Rights group. The case stemmed from a 2014 traffic accident when the vehicle of Gabriel Gomez was struck by a minivan that failed to yield the right of way. A Spokane police officer responding to the incident contacted the U.S. Border Patrol to ask whether the agency had an interest in Gomez.

The officer issued a ticket to the driver of the minivan that failed to yield, and let that driver leave the scene. But the officer detained Gomez until the Border Patrol arrived and took him into custody, as federal law requires.

This is all the information from the article. Makes no sense at all. How do a couple of unofficial agencies win in court by demanding that the city defy federal law? I would hope that the city of Spokane pays a significant cost for that one.



Heather MacDonald On the Universities and the Students by The Elephant's Child

Heather MacDonald is an American political commentator, essayist, attorney and journalist. Wikipedia describes her as a “secular conservative” whatever that is. I guess that must be what I am as well. She is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor to New York’s City Journal, and someone worth paying a lot of attention to. Her latest book is “The War on Cops” which is worth your time. She hangs around precincts a lot and knows whereof she speaks.

Naturally and unfortunately, the Left rejects whatever she says. Bill McGurn wrote a piece called “The Silencing of Heather MacDonald” for The Wall Street Journal.  You can find frequent essays of hers at City Journal.



A Shooting at a Church in Texas by The Elephant's Child


Every time you think the Democrats can’t go any lower, you’re wrong. The talking points issued become very clear when they all use the same phrases and come up with the same dumb ideas. This time it was insulting all of those who offered thoughts and prayers for the devastated families, victims of a church shooter. “Doesn’t do a lot of good to offer “thoughts and prayers” when the shooting took place in a church where people were already praying, and how disgusting when they could be doing something like banning guns.” Slight variations in the statements,but that’s the gist.

The tragic shooting was not the result of guns. It was a result of the crazed, in this case, person who wielded the gun. Had he not had a gun, he might have used an axe, made a bomb, driven a large truck into the church or any one of hundreds of  other methods. There are all sorts of venues all over the world that have fallen for the Ban the Guns idea, and accomplished nothing whatsoever. Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the country, and the highest murder rate.  In Britain the gun laws are very thorough, even the policemen don’t usually carry guns, and a fat lot of good that has done them. One would think that with the rise of mass killings accomplished by driving a very big truck into a crowd of pedestrians, the calls for “gun control” would diminish slightly, but evidence doesn’t seem to sink in either.

Examples of successful killings seem to inspire other copy-cat attempts. Or have you noticed that airplane hijackings seem to have dropped off the roll of evil events. When a major concert venue is attacked, soon there will be another. Now that Hollywood has erupted with major sex scandals, expect other venues, the UN, EU, and governmental bodies will soon have women speaking out. I guess if one person speaks out about the abuse they received, it’s easier for the next person to speak—and the more do, the easier it becomes. Imitation, or some strange kind of validation.

When there is a ugly scene where innocent people are gunned down, it’s completely natural for people to want to do something to prevent it happening again, to stop such killers. A significant percentage of the shooters seem to be clearly mentally disturbed, yet as a society we don’t really know what to do with that information.



How Goes The Existential War for the Soul of America? by The Elephant's Child

Victor Davis Hanson  starts off today’s post at American Greatness saying:

“We are in a veritable war of competing visions. The strife inside the two parties is irrelevant—when compared to the larger existential war for the soul of America.

Like it or not, Donald Trump in fits and starts has chosen not to accommodate the progressive vision. But in most unlikely fashion he leads the fight against it. …

And yet, warts and all, the Trump presidency on all fronts is all that now stands in the way of the completion of what was started in 2009.

He adds that “we are  no longer in an era of liberal reform, it is now a postmodern world of intolerance and lockstep orthodoxy.” that certainly sounds about right.

Trump’s approval polls are supposedly dismal, yet consumer confidence is way up, as is employment, and  unemployment is down, so perhaps the internals of the polls are off.  The media seems to be solidly against Trump and thoroughly confused about what is a valid complaint and what is just silly. Today’s silliness was the occasion of President Trump feeding the Koi with Prime Minister Abe in Japan, when the media erupted because they thought Trump dumped in too much Koi food.  He was following the example of the Prime Minister.

The Bushes, father and son, have announced that Trump is a blowhard, and they don’t approve of him, but where were they when Obama was blithely throwing away the hard progress in Iraq, for nothing, and making the despicable Iran Deal, helping Iran to achieve nuclear weapons.

There are complaints that all that Trump is doing is by executive orders, and the next president can just dump those as Trump is doing now. We’ll see. If President Trump can really get the economy going again, he will be reelected and be the most important president since Reagan.

It seems not to be a financial war, but a class war. Trump sounds like somebody from Queens, and tweets. Apparently letting the public know what he thinks and feels is not “presidential.” Is it bad?  Mr. Trump seems to be an emotional man, and unaccustomed to hiding his feelings.

The Silicon Valley Oligarchs, at least as evidenced by Tom Steyer, who is willing to invest $10 million in the attempt to impeach  Donald Trump, with the help of  Maxine Waters and wassername from Florida who wears the sequined cowboy hats. Strange bedfellows indeed. Mr. Steyer is particularly agitated about the Paris Climate Accords, because he is very worried about the planet’s warming, in spite of a lack of any evidence, since the climate continues to cool. Impeachment requires “high crimes and misdemeanors” and the purported contacts with the Russians seem to be entirely with the Clintons, the Podestas, and the DNC.

I’m pretty pleased with what Trump is doing. I’m impressed with his cabinet, and his judges, and I like what they are doing. Scott Pruitt is stopping the insanity at the EPA, and insisting that regulations be about clean air and clean water. No more midnight raids and outrageous fines for nothing at all. Ajit Pai, Rick Perry, Nikki Haley, Ben Carson, Jack Kelly all doing important work, as are all the rest. It is definitely not all executive orders. What a relief to have Obama’s Rules of Engagement gone. He was so afraid that he might be blamed for something.

It clearly is a War of competing visions, and our millennial generation according to polls, apparently thinks socialism or communism would be just fine. I would suggest that their tender feelings and need for safe spaces would not fare well under those regimes, but they apparently aren’t learning anything at all in our universities for their $60,000 a year.

There is quite a bit that really needs to be done, but there’s an enormous amount of nonsense floating around. Democrats have major problems with human nature,and want to fix it. They are all hung up on ideas of racism, white supremacy, inequality, diversity, hate speech, global warming, the survival of the polar bears, and gun control. Issues that are focus group-tested to stir up Democrats, but will not respond to ‘fixing’.  Not very impressive as a goal.




%d bloggers like this: