Monday, December 17, 2012

The Lesson Not Learned

A lot has been written about the events in Newtown, Connecticut last Friday. Much of it probably shouldn't have been written, and I haven't had much urge to add to that volume of work. Nevertheless...

First, having lost a loved one when I wasn't a whole lot younger than the parents of those school children are now, I understand in some small way what that feels like. Since that loved one wasn't my child, I only understand in a small way. For them, and the other survivors of that day, there will be no forgetting what happened, and for many there will be a hole in their lives that will never again be filled. For them, I'm truly sorry.

For the rest of us, though, there should be lessons to learn, but we progressives won't learn them. There will be folks who go on, for the most part rightly, about how violent a culture we can be, how little we do to treat the mentally ill in this country, or how easy it is for anyone, including the mentally ill, to obtain firearms here. What you probably won't read, anywhere but here, is this:

The Second Amendment is the only one that matters in America.

Theoretically, and by "theoretically", I mean, in my opinion, all the others are important, too. In fact, few arguments in favor of "Second Amendment rights", which often as not equate to unrestricted access to firearms for just about everybody, amuse me as much as the one that goes "it's the right that protects all the others." As the last few years have shown, as long as gun owners have that right, quite a few of them are ready to let all the rest go to hell.

That's probably not a new idea to many progressives. It is certainly not a new one to me. What ought to be interesting, and what is the thing that progressives absolutely will not learn, is that the reason it's the only one that matters is that there are people willing to punish politicians who don't respect it. The other nine amendments to the Bill of Rights have no such constituency. There was no mass expulsion of politicians when the Transportation Safety Agency (TSA) began violating our Fourth Amendment rights every time we want to take a commercial airline flight somewhere. No politicians lost their jobs thanks to repeated, and overwhelmingly bipartisan, votes for the PATRIOT Act every time it's come up. Progressives didn't switch parties while the Democrats allowed the consolidation of our news and publishing services into a big six of owners to make a mockery of the idea of freedom of the press. No, they just shrugged and voted Democratic anyway, like they always did and they always will.

The lesson they don't want to see is that you only have the rights you're willing to punish your politicians for violating. Our politicians know that they can't mess with the Second Amendment, but all the others are, so to speak, fair game. That's so obvious that even the dimmest of them must know that by now. If they don't, they probably have consultants who can get them up to speed.

Which is why I think that much of what's written shouldn't be. There's no reason to think that this time people will do something about any of the real causes of this tragedy. They won't make sure that people who have guns are sane and know how and when to use them. They won't make sure that the mentally ill are taken care of in a humane way. If anything happens at all, it will to further erode all our other rights. I'm sure we'll be hearing momentarily that we need to have more metal detectors, security guards, and fences at schools. We'll have to have more thorough background checks of staff and faculty, because you just never know what sort of axe-murdering lunatic might show up with a teacher's license. Whatever it is, it will be both useless and invasive. There's a very simple reason for that. It's the same reason nothing of use gets done about anything anymore:

Progressives won't punish Democrats for failing to do what they sent them to DC to do.

Until that changes, nothing else will. At least, it won't change for the better.

Afterword: Consider this notice that I won't be visiting most other blogs for a while. I'll probably try to keep up with economic news, but the wailing and foolishness about this is really starting to drive me crazy.

UPDATE: Oops. Forgot to put paragraph macros in the text. Hopefully, things should be easier to read now. I also added the Afterword.

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