Today’s paragraphs come to us from Kyle Smith, writing for nationalreview.com. They concern the classic example of media malpractice we are experiencing after the Parkland massacre – i.e. the elevation of high school”spokespeople” who promote their preordained agenda about school shootings (ban rifles, more gun laws, look the other way regarding mental health, violent video games, violent movies and, more generally, individual responsibility):
In the aftermath of the Parkland massacre, student activists achieved remarkable levels of fame almost instantaneously: Emma González already has nearly 1 million Twitter followers, for instance, and her fellow student David Hogg has more than 300,000. Both have become familiar faces on television.
Like all Americans, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School kids have every right to express their ideas. But they aren’t being given so much airtime by the media because they’re policy experts. Hogg revealed in an appearance on MSNBC Monday morning that he didn’t even know how the Broward County sheriff, Scott Israel, got his job. He described Israel as an appointee of Florida governor Rick Scott: “These elected officials,” he said, “are the boss of these sheriff personnel and just like the president is the boss of the FBI, Governor Rick Scott is essentially the boss of Scott Israel, the sheriff, and as such he should be held accountable.”
Factually, Hogg’s argument was just plain wrong: Israel is not an appointee of the governor; he was directly elected by the voters of Broward County. As a matter of logic, it failed too: Shouldn’t accountability fall first on those closest to the scene — such as the cops who were actually present during the shooting — only to attenuate rather than grow stronger as it gets farther up the chain of command? Absolving those in an immediate position to stop the attack while attacking those farthest from the shooting looks like rank partisanship. (Israel is a Democrat who speaks out against the NRA, while Scott is a Republican who has largely agreed with it.)
The Parkland massacre was an absolute horror. But how do we learn from it and prevent future Parklands if all media have for us is the same talking points that were pushed last time (and, little doubt, will be pushed next time as well)?
How many new gun control laws will prevent future school massacres, perpetrated by people who disregard gun control laws? How many rifle attacks will be prevented if AR-15 rifles are banned, but are easily obtainable through illegal means?
This is not to say there should be no strict gun control laws or that prevention of civilians from owning lethal, military-style rifles is wrong. Personally, I strongly favor both. But I also know that they DO NOT address what happened at Parkland High School.
What happened at Parkland – a deranged, murderous person, nikolas cruz, making good on his seemingly countless threats of violence that parents, school and law enforcement all looked the other way on – is what happened at Parkland.
Tell me what new gun control laws would have stopped someone like cruz – absolutely dedicated to killing and with no intervention of anyone from all the people who knew he was committed to killing people with guns – from going on his murder spree at Parkland?
Put another way, no one, I am sure, disputes there should be significant laws with severe punishments for rape and assault. But does anyone believe that passing new, stricter rape laws will stop rapes from taking place? That passing new, stricter assault laws will stop assaults from taking place?
If the answer is no, then why would anyone believe that passing new, stricter gun control laws will stop gun crimes from happening?
Marching and proudly chanting for more of the same do-nothing non-solutions is not addressing the issue. And that includes elevating high school students who regurgitate demands for more of the same to near-idol status – thus giving them their 15 minutes of fame (until the next cause celebre comes along, at which time media will drop them like hot potatoes).
I award Kyle Smith Paragraphs Of The Day honors for trying – with, it is hoped, some level of success – to point this out.