The question today is asked, “Is freedom more important than safety?”
The answer shows how far the United States has fallen since its founding.
I have often lamented the fact that—from what I have been told, and from what I can see in the results—we no longer teach what in my school days was called “civics,” and “American history.” Even when it was taught, there were people who never paid attention. But at least they were exposed to the ideas that underpin our society.
Back then, we learned about the United States Constitution and, more importantly, why it mattered. History was something that was important to us. We knew that freedom mattered. We knew that we fought a War for Independence because “all men are created equal,” and with “unalienable rights” which included “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” We understood that there were limitations on government. Yeah, there were a lot of bad things, and problems, and it wasn’t all perfect. But I flat out guarantee you we understood freedom, and the importance of it. Today, people no longer care about such things. ((And don’t think by “today,” I literally mean this very day. This blog post on the Obama Administration attacking freedom of the press was written…well, when Obama was President.))
Today, we are anything but free. Freedom is a thing that, for us, exists only on paper.
To make matters worse, people today are so ignorant that they think 11-year-olds, 13-year-olds are a good source of information on global policies relating to constitutional issues. In at least one state, teenagers are running for governorships. We shall now turn to children to decide the importance of the paper—the last vestige of our freedom—says.
Let’s get something straight here: I don’t dislike children. Furthermore, I don’t subscribe to the idea that was common in my youth, that children should be seen and not heard.
I do, however, recognize that children, including teenagers and young adults, do not have fully-developed, fully-functional brains.
It doesn’t matter how smart teens are or how well they scored on the SAT or ACT. Good judgment isn’t something they can excel in, at least not yet.
Not only that, but they process information differently.
In fact, recent research has found that adult and teen brains work differently. Adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the brain’s rational part. This is the part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences. Teens process information with the amygdala. This is the emotional part.
Of course, emotionalism is all the rage these days. This probably explains why we’re paying so much attention to what the children have to say about setting national policies. “Do it for the children,” or “if it saves even one child,” is about as crass and empty a statement of emotionalism as one can stoop to as a replacement for actually thinking things through. The problem isn’t exactly new. As Mark Twain put it in 1901,
We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. It is held in reverence. Some think it is the voice of God.
Or, in our case, Children of a Lesser God, their unthinking war on freedom destined to make things worse than they would otherwise be. God forbid they should eschew emotionalism, and march for a real cause.
Unfortunately, this mistake of emotionalism in place of thinking—really a part of the way uneducated animals naturally process information—is on the rise. It is accentuated by the fact that we are no longer “we,” but rather a colocated collection of narcissistic individuals sharing a common national boundary. We’re more like rats in an overcrowded cage than what we once were: people sharing a commonality of purpose, beliefs, and basic culture. And while there are reasons to question the Malthusian theory that drove the standard interpretation of rat and mice utopias, the most common one has to do with the fact that human beings are able to talk to one another. And talk we do.
Guns are for police and the government — thirteen-year-old child at a rally
As with emotionalism, gun control is all the rage these days. It’s not that it never was important, at least to quite a few people. It’s just that there have been enough people around who understand the facts relating to guns, the facts relating to our Constitution, and who don’t take into account the idea that policy decisions should be driven by children, whose brains are still lacking regions critical to the issues of critical thinking. Not to mention the aforementioned lack of knowledge that plagues even adult Americans these days.
The ignorance is not surprising, though. Getting an accurate picture of the number of school shootings by watching the news, for example, is virtually impossible. Because school shootings are sensational events, our unschooled understanding of them is warped beyond reality.
For possibly the last month, every day that I’ve watched the news, a big portion of each program has been dedicated to teaching people that gun violence is the largest problem facing students in schools right now. Schools have staged walk-outs—and “staged” is the perfect word here, because this is, after all, largely theater. It’s entertainment with a message, and the message is that you should be scared shitless.
Javon, who is 12, had heard about Courtlin’s killing, just as he had heard about Parkland. He and a friend suspected that they, too, might die at their school, so each of the boys wrote a will.
“Mom,” the other sixth-grader wrote in print letters, “I want to give my friend Javon every thing that I own that includes the xbox and games and controllers and all that comes with it.”
In Javon’s instructions, he listed his PlayStation 4, his Xbox 360 and his dirt bike.
“I love you my whole Family you mean the most to me,” he wrote. “You gave me the clothes on my back, you fed me, and you were always by my side.”
It really gets you, doesn’t it? Of course, Javon has not died in a school shooting. Nor is he likely to die in a school shooting. He’s very much more likely to die in an automobile accident. Or by being shot by frightened, pants-pissing police.
Nevermind the facts. All you really need to know, you can get from children, like the thirteen-year-old quoted above.
She was flanked by two friends—another 13-year-old, and an 11-year-old—who were equally confident that violence in schools was the problem, and banning guns was the answer.
After all, from the mouths of babes…come the uninformed statements of babies who have been brainwashed into living in fear.
Do not get me wrong. I’m not saying that we should celebrate school shootings, even though, ironically, that is exactly what we do. And, if we would stop, school shootings would likely decline, as well.
In addition, it would go a long way towards not inculcating in our children the idea that the world is such a dangerous place that they should live every moment in fear, particularly if they become separated from mom and dad by more than a few feet, for more than a few seconds.
Or from their phones. After all, texting is important. It must be. What other explanation can there be for the fact that school shootings have killed a fraction of the number of children that texting has killed, yet there is no March Against Phones?
Think I’m joking? According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving causes 1.6 million—you read that correctly, more than one-and-a-half million—crashes per year. No March Against Phones.
Texting while driving is six times more likely to cause an accident than alcohol. Where are the Mothers Against Texting While Driving? Or the eleven-year-old protesters to tell us that only the government needs phones?
Again, this is not to say that school shootings are good things. They aren’t. So save your outraging against me for stating the obvious: with the chances of being killed in a school shooting being one-in-one-million, they are still far from being the greatest threat to children in our schools.
Frankly, even that one-in-a-million estimate seems high, when you consider how many students K-through-12 there are in the United States compared to how many are killed in school shootings each year. So far in 2018, there have been 27 deaths and 26 injuries in school shootings, according to CNN. These include all shootings on school grounds so far in 2018, whether they were accidental, or deliberate, and whether the victims were students, or non-students who happened to be shot while on the grounds of a school.
Meanwhile, eleven teens are killed every day from driving while texting. A full twenty-one percent of teen drivers involved in fatal accidents were distracted by their cell phones. And thirty-five percent of teens admit to texting while driving, even though they know it’s dangerous. (How many more do it, but just did not admit doing it?)
Forty-two percent of American households supposedly own one or more firearms. I’m guessing those numbers may not count unregistered guns. But let’s pretend that they do. That’s more than four out of every ten households, if those are the only guns in America. Four out of every ten households. So, in the immediate vicinity of my own house, (statistically-speaking) there must be several dozen guns. Yet in the nearly 20 years that I’ve been living here, I don’t recall a single gun death in my area. Not one.
It’s not that Fresno doesn’t get it’s share of deaths-by-gun. It’s just that, as with almost anywhere else in the United States, it’s not the levels you’d expect with 42% saturation, in terms of households, nor is it typically even the average gun owner.
But the truth does not sell newspapers. The truth does not get people excited. The truth does not keep police officers employed.
Police officers, by the way, shoot around 4,000 people a year, at least twenty percent of whom are unarmed. Another twenty percent were armed only with knives, or something else, other than a gun. And keep in mind that not all police departments report statistics on shooting.
We’re not marching en masse for any of those things. There are marches in various communities over the senseless ongoing modern-day lynchings, a.k.a., “justifiable homicides by police officers,” by black people. A few white people join in those marches, too. But it’s nothing like the outraged crowds supporting an eleven-year-old white girl complaining about being unable to set nationwide gun policies that are contrary to the Constitution, or to the concept of a citizenry free from tyranny by the fact that they could, if the need were strong enough, fight back against the government.
Yeah, yeah. I get that they have tanks, and we only have guns, most of which are not military grade.
Guess who else didn’t have weapons as sophisticated as the government they were forced to fight?
Not only that, but the weapons they had were so inaccurate that only about twenty percent of the lead fired from one army ever hit a target in the other. ((Now you know why they could afford to stand facing one another while firing. The colonists—undistracted by iPhones—improved their odds even further, with their guerrilla-fighting techniques.))
They also had somewhat different ideas than modern-day Americans. Even the 11-year-olds. Unlike today, in 1775, almost all Americans could read. ((Yes, this only counts free whites. Our nation did absolutely have major defects prior to, during, and after its birth.))
If you asked one of those children then, “Is freedom more important?,” they would have likely looked at you like you were a maniac.
In 1776, enough of the colonists thought the answer obvious. They met and drafted a Declaration of Independence from what was then the world largest empire.
Their War for Independence had actually started a year earlier, on April 19, 1775. It would continue for more than eight years, ending on September 3, 1783.
In 1787, they created the Constitution of the United States of America. It was called the “Constitution” because that’s what it did: it constituted, or, to use a word more common today, it created, the United States of America. It gave that government limited powers, so that, among other things, it could not infringe their gun rights. Interest word there, by the way: “infringe” means “act so as to limit, or undermine (something); encroach on.” This is something that our Bill of Rights prohibits the government from doing. LOL!
Anyway, in 1788, the people living in the land who were allowed to vote, ratified (approved, or agreed to), the Constitution. ((As already noted, our country was not born perfect, and not everyone was free; not even everyone free was allowed to vote. We still struggle with our birth defects today, mostly in the form of racism.))
In March 1789, more than two-hundred-and-twenty-nine years ago, it took effect: the United States of America came to be.
Unfortunately, neither reading proficiency, nor the love of freedom have been maintained since then. And so we find ourselves today, schooled by school children, on what constitutes a fair trade for a little safety: the permanent infringement upon rights we previously deemed important enough to prevent the government—which by some was already deemed so limited in its powers as to prevent the need for this—from touching.