This article, by Anthony Gregory, is well worth reading although it gets off to a somewhat rocky start:
I think the most conspicuous problem is the glorification not of guns or fictional violence, but of actual violence. America is a militarized society, seat of the world’s empire. The U.S. government is always at war with a handful of countries.
First of all, we need to distinguish between the glorification of fictional violence and the fictional glorification of violence. What contemporary film makers glorify is violence, actual violence of the most brutal and sadistic sort, not fictional violence. A movie such as Hostel II (cannibal scene) that depicts a man being eaten alive by a man is not depicting a fictional representation of a man being eaten alive, but a man being eaten alive. Of course, a violent and sadistic movie is fiction, but if it is good fiction, it draws the reader in and involves him in the action, degrading, desensitizing, and dehumanizing him. That people find this evil stuff entertaining shows how how morally corrupt they have become. This is the ultimate circenses for the depraved masses. (See Alypius and the Gladiators) [Correction 16 January: Not the ultimate circenses, for that would be the gladiatorial combat of ancient Rome or something similar. We haven't slipped that far, not yet.]
I say this because it is important not to downplay the role played by too many film makers and other cultural polluters in contributing to a culture or unculture in which sensitive, highly alienated kids like Adam Lanza, who are products of broken homes, and brought up without moral guidance in politicaslly correct schools in which our Judeo-Christian heritage has been expunged, can be pushed over the edge.
That being said, Gregory makes some very important points, despite his being a bit too libertarian for my conservative taste. Excerpts (emphasis added):
At least as alarming as the finger pointing have been the particular solutions most commentators have immediately gravitated toward. Progressives immediately began accusing conservatives of cutting mental health funding, and conservatives immediately fired back that civil libertarians have eroded the capacity of government to involuntarily commit those suspected of mental illness. This is, I think, perhaps the most disturbing reaction in the long run. Great strides have been made in the last half century to roll back the totalitarianism of mandatory psychiatric commitment. For much of modern history, hundreds of thousands were denied basic human rights due to their unusual behavior, most of it peaceful in itself. Lobotomies and sterilization were common, as were locking people into hellish psychiatric gulags where they were repeatedly medicated against their will, stripped of any sanity they previously had. The most heroic libertarian in recent years may have been the recently departed Thomas Szasz, who stood against mainstream psychiatry’s unholy alliance with the state, correctly pointing out that the system of mandatory treatment was as evil and authoritarian as anything we might find in the prison system or welfare state.
[. . .]
Meanwhile, statists on both the left and right called for the national security state to put armed guards in every school in America. More militarized policing is not the answer. Barbara Boxer, California’s hyper-statist Democrat, called for National Guard troops in the schools. Yet the spokesman of the NRA, instead of doing what it could to diffuse the hysteria and defend the right to bear arms, added his voice to this completely terrible idea, demanding utopian solutions and scapegoating when he should have been a voice of reason. The main difference between his proposal and Boxer’s would be the uniforms worn by the armed guards.
I agree. Turning schools into armed camps is an awful idea, though not as stupid as making them 'gun-free' zones.
Government armed guards will not necessarily make the schools safer, though. Central planning doesn’t work. The Fort Hood shooter managed to kill twelve people in 2009, despite the military base epitomizing the very pinnacle of government security. And now we see President Obama toying with the exact proposal aggressively pushed by the NRA—more surveillance and police, funded by the federal government, to turn America’s schools into Orwellian nightmares.
Although both conservatives and progressives have responded to this tragedy in generally bad ways, and there seems to be wide agreement on a host of downright terrifying police state proposals, I don’t want to imply that both sides have been equally bad. As awful as the law-and-order conservatives have been, the progressives have been far worse, agreeing with most of the bad conservative proposals but then adding their own pet issue to the agenda: disarming the general population.
The right to bear arms is a human rights issue, a property rights issue, a personal safety issue. The way that one mass murderer has been turned into a poster boy for the agenda of depriving millions of Americans of the right to own weapons that virtually none of them will ever use to commit a crime is disgusting, and seems to be rooted in some sort of cultural bigotry. Nothing else would easily explain the invincible resistance to logical arguments such as: rifles are rarely used in crimes, gun control empowers the police state over the weak, and such laws simply do not work against criminals, full stop. Rifles are easier to manufacture than methamphetamine, and we know how well the drug war has stopped its proliferation, and 3D printing will soon make it impossible to stop people from getting the weapons they want.
I will be doing some more writing about gun rights in the next few weeks, as it appears that not for the first time in my life, I was totally wrong about something. I had suspected that the left had given up on this issue, more or less, and Obama—whose first term was overall half-decent on gun rights—would not want to touch it. We shall see what happens, but it appears that the progressives have been lying in wait for an excuse to disarm Americans and have happily jumped on the chance.
Many left-liberals will claim they don’t want to ban all guns, and I think most are honest when they say so. Polls indicate that 75% or so of Americans oppose a handgun ban. Maybe there has been some genuine improvement on this issue, although I do have my doubts about the honesty of those who claim they would stop at rifles and high capacity mags, which are implicated in a handful of crimes compared to the thousands killed by people using handguns.
In any event, the core mentality of the gun controllers is as dangerous as ever. In response to a horrific mass murder of around 30 people, they are calling for liberties to be sacrificed in the name of security, apparently impervious to the logical problems with their proposals. When terrorists murdered a hundred times as many people in September 2001, many of these same progressives sensibly pointed out that those who would sacrifice liberty for security will wind up with neither, a line from Franklin. Yet the same logic should apply here. If 9/11 should have taught us anything, it’s that you cannot have total security, certainly with the state in charge of everyone’s safety. Nineteen men with boxcutters murdered 3,000 people. In a world with cars, gasoline, fertilizer, gunpowder, and steel, it is simply impossible to eliminate every threat, rifles being one of the smallest ones out there. Since 9/11 we have lost so many freedoms, have seen our police forces turn into nationalized standing armies with tanks and battle rifles, have undergone mass molestation and irradiation at our airports, have seen the national character twisted to officially sanction torture, indefinite detention, and aggressive wars. What will we see happen in the name of stopping troubled young people from engaging in smaller acts of mass murder? Much the way that conservatives led the charge toward fascism after 9/11, with liberals protesting a little at first only to seemingly accept the bulk of the surveillance state and anti-terror national security apparatus, I fear that today’s progressives are leading the stampede toward an even more totalitarian future, with the conservatives playing defense but caving, first on militarized schools, then on mental health despotism, then on victim disarmament.
Perhaps if after 9/11 the conservatives had focused on allowing airlines to manage their own security, even permitting passengers with guns on planes, instead of doubling the intrusiveness of the police state, we’d be in better shape today. But now the progressives are running the show, the SWAT teams have become more ruthless, the domestic drones have been unleashed, the wars abroad have escalated, and the same federal institutions whose gun control measures left American civilians dead at Ruby Ridge and Waco can expect new targets throughout the land. The bipartisan police state commences, now that the left has gotten its own 9/11.