Peter Lemiska
Malevolence can't be defeated by protests
By Peter Lemiska
March 3, 2018

The whole country is still mourning the loss of young lives at the hands of another mass murderer and feels only the most profound compassion for the survivors.

But the liberal media apparently found a way to capitalize on another catastrophe. Either that or they honestly believe that this one somehow imbued the survivors with the solution to a problem that has confounded sociologists, psychologists, lawmakers, and law enforcement professionals for decades.

Within days of the massacre, CNN televised a "town hall meeting," filled with survivors, family members and others touched by the tragedy. After that, there was a flurry of appearances on news and on talk shows, where manipulative reporters and celebrities sympathetically extracted the obvious solution to school shootings from those traumatized kids. The predictable attacks on the NRA and gun laws left their liberal interviewers with an almost palpable sense of satisfaction.

But the solution is neither simple nor obvious. Those students may or may not be aware of similar tragedies in our past, like the bombing at a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995 that killed 168 innocent people, including 19 babies and toddlers. They are too young to remember the arson attack on a Brooklyn social club, killing 87 people in 1990. They were probably at least vaguely aware of the terrorist who slaughtered 86 innocent people in Nice, France, in 2016, using only a heavy truck as a weapon.

And the shooting in Parkland was not the first mass killing at a school. Nor was Columbine,

In 1927, a disgruntled school board treasurer took the lives of 38 teachers and young children at an elementary school in Bath Township, MI. For him, the weapon of choice was dynamite.

This isn't intended to minimize the tragedy in Parkland, but to show the absurdity and naiveté in equating guns to violence in America and to suggest a deeper cause of mass killings. History shows that firearms are not the only tools of mass murder, nor are they the most effective. We need to look elsewhere for a solution to this recurring nightmare.

There is a common thread in all of this, and it's not weapons. It is blind hatred, coupled with wanton disregard for human life. That kind of malevolence is usually attached to mental disorders, though we've also seen those same two elements in terrorist attacks, like the one in Nice.

But the evil in Parkland had nothing to do with radical Islam, and it was something we rarely experienced in America in by-gone eras. It has crept into our culture along with technological advances and radical societal changes occurring during the late 20th and early 21st centuries.

Studies on violence in movies and computer games are contradictory. But several, like the one conducted by the National Center for Health Research, confirm what we instinctively know. The violence depicted in movies, and especially in video games aimed at young people, is directly linked to feelings of aggression and aggressive behavior. And it's not just movies and games. The pervasive brutality that kids are exposed to every day in the news and on the internet desensitizes them to violence and robs them of their innocence and, in some cases, human compassion.

Then there's the disintegration of our traditional family structure, and the gradual decline of religion in America, institutions that have set our moral compass since America's inception. And we have to ask ourselves how young people learn to appreciate the sanctity of life when they see adults treating the unborn with utter indifference.

We can't say if, or how much, these factors contribute to our epidemic of mass murders. We don't know how many school shootings are copy-cat crimes, driven by the present-day fixation on instant fame or notoriety.

But if we're serious about stopping these atrocities, we have to open our minds. While we're discussing the fortification of our schools, mental illness, and additional gun controls, we also have to consider the radical changes in our society that could be contributing to our culture of violence.

There are more protests planned in March, and young students will play a major role. There will be blame cast on the NRA, Donald Trump, and our lawmakers, and there will be demands for more limits on our Second Amendment rights. It's too bad that, along with all those classes on our new 21st century social mores, students are not taught the real facts of life: that mass murder is a complex problem, that guns don't equate to violence, that problems are best solved by thoughtful analysis, not raw emotion, and that the malevolence permeating throughout our society can't be demanded, protested, or petitioned away.

© Peter Lemiska


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Peter Lemiska

Peter Lemiska served in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Secret Service. Following his retirement from the Secret Service, he spent several years as a volunteer for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Like most of his contemporaries, he's always loved his country, and is deeply dismayed by the new and insidious anti-American sentiment threatening to destroy it. He's a life-long conservative, and his opinion pieces have been published in various print media and on numerous internet sites.


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