Parkland, Populism, and a Doomed Generation

Democracy dies in darkness, but truth dies in broad daylight in a culture that no longer values the rule of law and the primacy of deliberative debate over partisan political point-scoring.  

Take a slow, deep breath and you’ll detect the carrion whiff of small-r republican rigor mortis hovering over almost every major story in the mainstream nightly news right now.

It is especially pungent in the story of the moment, the deadly shooting on February 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. The bodies of the dead had barely cooled before an activist media’s surprisingly organized gun control campaign swung into action, systematically exploiting the emotions of the grieving parents, the traumatized students, and a shocked nation.

Instead of taking a deliberative, listen-first approach as President Trump has been attempting to do—a hallmark of constitutional republics—CNN and partisan Democrats in the mainstream media were at the ready with the chorus, echoing now louder than ever, that the “NRA is complicit in murder.”

As usual, however, hard facts trickle out over time and have a clarifying effect. The National Rifle Association was not to blame for the series of uncanny and grossly negligent missteps by our own government at all levels that allowed the demonic thoughts in the shooter’s lonely and disturbed mind to metastasize into violence. People were on to the possibility that the shooter might do something horrible because of his pattern of disturbing behavior that ultimately culminated in the horrific slaughter he, and he alone, willfully committed. But reports went unheeded.

Total Systemic Failure

There is also now the surreal possibility that the federal  government policy pioneered by Broward County prevented proper reporting of the warning signs that otherwise would have precluded the killer from buying his AR-15 legally based on the existing background check system.

Highlighting this systemic failure, an armed deputy on duty at the school has already retired, one of as many as four who failed to confront the killer or were ordered to stand down during the critical moments of his shooting spree, when innocent lives could have been saved.

Contrast that with the recent Texas church shooting, which was halted not by armed cops actually doing their jobs but by a trained NRA member who happened to have his AR-15 in his truck, and wasn’t afraid to run toward the sound of gunshots and engage the shooter.

It was uncanny how quickly that mass shooting went down the media memory hole. It just didn’t fit the narrative.

Yet, somehow this school shooting is 100 percent the NRA’s fault, and anyone defending the right to keep and bear arms today is to be judged as complicit in the gunman’s crime.

CNN’s town-hall-turned-shark-feeding-frenzy on gun control last week witnessed a United States senator and a representative of the NRA being treated like the accused at a Soviet-style show-trial, as they were shouted down, called murderers, and told by teenagers-turned-lobbyists that if they didn’t toe the mob’s line on the NRA and embrace the urgency to ban assault weapons immediately, they were as guilty as the shooter.

Dana Loesch, the NRA representative, had to be escorted by private security from the building as the townhall participants shouted “Burn her!” as if she were a witch for merely pointing out—or trying to point out—some inconvenient facts that the activist-packed crowd didn’t want to hear.

At no point in that unsettling and disturbing specimen of deliberate political theater did any one of the “random” citizens have the self-possession to call out the sheer illogic of the Left’s position.

How is a government that just demonstrated it can’t stop a solitary 19-year-old gunman despite dozens of visits by the authorities and dropped tips to the FBI—a government that even failed to deploy armed deputies already on campus—how can that government actually protect any of us? Why should we trust that government to take over our own means of self-preservation in a crisis?

We’re fools if we do, is the only intelligent answer. The what-if’s that could have prevented this tragedy have nothing to do with the Second Amendment, other than to underscore the need for it.

But worse than the illogic of it is the vitriol and refusal to face the facts that such demonstrations inspire. In this we are reminded of the legitimate reasons our system was designed on republican principles—to allow our elected leaders to take a more circumspect and deliberative approach to the hot issues of the day—not just to spout off and ignite knee-jerk emotional reactions for popular consumption in our media.  

This is real cause for concern since it gets to the heart of our very form of government. An attack on the facts and calls for action without debate is an attack on nothing less than our social contract.

Every Election a “Flight 93 Election” From Now On?

On this and many other matters, we are witnessing in real-time the politically assisted suicide of both the rule of law and the quest for truth. In the role of Dr. Kevorkian are our hyperpartisan media, and the influence of foreign interests—and I am by no means talking only about the Russians. They believe they have Gen Z where they want them: in a frenzy of mob emotions, bereft of the critical facts, and looking for someone—preferably an easy, faceless acronym or “-ism”—to lynch. Though Trump will do, too.

The same networks that love to decry the president as a rank “populist” over the anything-but-emotional issues of trade imbalances and taxes, illustrate how hollow their denunciations are by orchestrating their own populist pogrom against defenders of the Second Amendment over the highly charged, but mostly unrelated issue of the nature and causes of suburban school shootings.

Ever since the 2016 election, it’s become increasingly clear to anyone who advocates republican self-rule that the generation now coming of age is a generation being primed for tyranny by the social and global media.

For those of us who still admire republican self-rule, free markets, and national sovereignty, every election is a “Flight 93 election” until this generation gets its head screwed on straight. But they need our help, not our condemnation—let that be reserved for the media hypocrites using them to manufacture a rush to judgment on what happened at Parkland.

Unless we somehow manage to alter the media-controlled trajectory of our public dialog, Gen Z will be doomed, rendered ill-suited for the kind of civil discourse even a nominally democratic, much less a Republican self-governing society assumes.  We will have lost our republic.

Before it’s too late, let’s charge the cockpits of America’s newsrooms for their sake.

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About Bob Calco

Bob Calco is a verified Deplorable who lives in Tampa, Florida, with his wife, two sons, and four cats. A successful software architect by trade, and an inveterate polyglot and world traveler at heart, he studied political philosophy until it was clear that to pay bills he needed a marketable skill. His passion on issues related to trade and economics go back to his formative college days, when he learned to distrust, and independently verify, literally everything he was taught.