Perhaps with his eye on the presidency, New York’s governor Andrew Cuomo just targeted the president — putting an onus on Donald Trump for the Santa Fe school shooting.
“Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. Las Vegas. Orlando. Parkland,” an open letter from the governor began. “And now Santa Fe.[”]
“When is enough enough? How many more innocent people have to die before you act?[”]
“You were elected to lead — do something,” he continued. “Your first responsibility is to the people of this country, not the NRA — do something. My heart breaks for the families who have to grieve from this needless violence — DO SOMETHING.”
Cuomo signed the hyper-theatrical open letter, which was released on Twitter, with a postscript mentioning that he had daughters and an “F” rating from the NRA.
This virtue signaling prompted a quick response from Twitter users. Referencing how Cuomo also signed his letter as a “taxpayer” (he’s just one of us!), a respondent wrote, “You are a Taxpayer rated F official as well,” alluding to the governor’s penchant for fleecing state residents. More to the point, another respondent rhetorically asked, “Did you send this letter to Obama too during his tenure when mass shootings occurred?”
Good question. These crimes have been a visible problem since the 1990s and did not at all abate during Obama’s two terms. Yet not only was no onus placed on Obama, there were no Parkland kid protests, either. What changed?
Thus, it’s hard for many observers to escape the conclusion that with anti-gun leftists, as an SDS radical once wrote, “The issue is never the issue. The issue is always the revolution.”
Many liberals obviously believe that beating the anti-gun drum may be their ticket to regaining political power (and they may have miscalculated). In fact, many are now wearing their banners more openly. Esquire editor Dave Holmes just penned a piece entitled “Okay, Now I Actually Do Want to Take Your Guns,” and former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens actually proposed in March that we repeal the Second Amendment.
As for Cuomo, he may be trying to again elevate his national visibility in preparation for a presidential run. (This is likely fruitless. Due to prevailing prejudices, today’s Democrat electorate won’t nominate a white male.)
The point is that these anti-gun appeals are cynical calculations. What, pray tell, was/is President Trump supposed to do about Santa Fe? The firearms used, a shotgun and a .38 handgun, haven’t even been on the gun grabbers recent radar screen (always color-conscious, they’ve obsessed over that scary, sleek black rifle). And school policies aren’t a federal but a state and local issue.
So given the unreasonableness of Cuomo’s letter, many Twitter users asked the governor what he has actually done or will do.
The answer: Nothing relevant.
Not letting a crisis go to waste, the governor virtue signaled in 2013 by signing the SAFE (Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement) Act in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. It did little, however, but ban so-called “assault weapons” (a misnomer) based on cosmetic features, meaning that altering their appearance allows their ownership. It also limited the capacity of magazines that could legally be owned. The law did succeed, however, in sparking civil disobedience: The compliance rate is estimated to be approximately four percent.
It’s hard to imagine that many of these leftists actually care about school shootings. Why? Because people truly concerned about a problem analyze it honestly and propose what would actually help. If they refuse to do so because it’s disadvantageous to them and instead prescribe a distraction or, even, a cure worse than the disease, they clearly have ulterior motives.
And nothing the Left proposes would reduce gun violence, as there’s simply no correlation between stricter gun-control laws and lower murder rates. As Professor Thomas Sowell wrote in 2012:
When it comes to the rate of gun ownership, that is higher in rural areas than in urban areas, but the murder rate is higher in urban areas. The rate of gun ownership is higher among whites than among blacks, but the murder rate is higher among blacks.
… [There are also] countries with stronger gun control laws than the United States, such as Russia, Brazil and Mexico. All of these countries have higher murder rates than the United States.
You could compare other sets of countries and get similar results. Gun ownership has been three times as high in Switzerland as in Germany, but the Swiss have had lower murder rates. Other countries with high rates of gun ownership and low murder rates include Israel, New Zealand, and Finland.
And what about the people? Interestingly, leftists were big on expounding upon the “root causes” of crime (getting them largely wrong) when the discussion could be used as a pretext for kid-glove justice. But now they’re wholly uninterested in root causes — mainly because they’re responsible for them.
These causes were partially addressed, however, by Santa Fe ministers Brad Drake and Richard Pourchot in the recent shooting’s wake. “We have created a culture that does not value life, that does not honor God, that does not respect authority. We are reaping the consequences of those actions,” said Reverend Drake. Pourchot chimed in and stated that while “school security should be stepped up in the short term, ‘the long-term goal is to change hearts,’” related the Los Angeles Times.
For sure, gun availability isn’t different — hearts are different. While there were far fewer gun-control laws prior to 1960, the murder rate was considerably lower. But today our culture is toxic.
Note that godlessness correlates with certain destructive ideas. Most significantly, today’s kids are bombarded with moral relativism, which (mis)informs that everything is a matter of perspective, a “shade of gray,” an issue of opinion. This enables one to justify anything he may wish to do. Rape? Kill? Steal? Who’s to say it’s wrong? Everything is relative, right, professor?
Moreover, if atheism is reality and there’s nothing beyond this material fold, then we are truly soulless creatures, some pounds of chemicals and water — organic robots. And what could be wrong with terminating a robot’s function?
The nihilistic mentality these ideas breed was expressed well by a man I know of who once proclaimed, “Murder isn’t wrong; it’s just that society says it is.” What can you say in response, Mr. Atheist? “Let’s ban guns!”?
These messages are spread in various ways via academia, the media, and entertainment. Then the last entity takes the principle-free, relativism-forged minds and stokes twisted passions with the glamorization of vice. Notably, I wrote about this in my 2013 piece, “Why the NRA Is Right About Hollywood.”
Making matters worse, the sin-stoked psychological distress engendered by this toxic culture sometimes leads today to the use of psychotropic medication, which can have side effects such as “suicidal and homicidal ideation”; thus is it no surprise that an inordinate number of mass killers have been on such drugs.
By the way, while this might not have been a factor with Santa Fe killer Pagourtzis, our degraded culture certainly was. Not only did he identify himself as an atheist but, as The New American’s Bob Adelmann wrote Saturday, “Other clues regarding Pagourtzis’ mindset were displayed in a photograph of a trench coat that Pagourtzis wore to school. The pins and emblems on this coat [were] the communist Hammer and Sickle, a Nazi Iron Cross, an icon of Baphomet (the Satanic Temple’s defiance against traditional Christianity), and an icon celebrating Cthulhu (a cosmic entity worshipped by cultists).”
Of course, tackling root causes doesn’t prevent us from instituting immediate stopgap measures. One thing we can do is emulate the security model of Israel, a nation that has had only two mass school shootings in the last 40 years.
Or we could just listen to Governor Cuomo and “do something,” anything, even if it just amounts to virtue signaling.
Image of Andrew Cuomo: Screenshot of governorny.gov