It is human nature to cry out when we are in pain, be it physical or emotional, or when we are filled with fear. To whom someone cries in such times tells you a lot about a person. I cannot recall a stretch of time during which people, some of them individuals I once believed to be rational thinkers, have cried out to the government repeatedly and unashamedly, begging to be rescued from all manner of things, as I have witnessed in the last two years.
The last two years have been a ceaseless montage of government ineptness as local, state, and federal leaders attempted to mitigate Covid-19, an airborne virus that thwarted them at every turn, continuing to do exactly what airborne viruses do: spread regionally and seasonally in waves that defied school closures, economically-crippling lockdowns, masks, and vaccines. The trampling of liberty across the globe was expected in some places where liberty was long ago stamped out, astounding to watch in places like Australia, and frightening to witness right here in America.
Government Doesn’t Solve Problems, It Creates Them
Anyone who is intellectually honest should have walked away from the last two years understanding these two things: First, the government can solve very few problems; they create additional issues when they interfere, and they are a sad mix of inept and power-hungry individuals. Second, children simply are not a priority for a great many of the people tasked with their education and oversight.
With all this in mind, consider this week’s shooting in Uvalde, Texas, another mass shooting in a school. In the aftermath of any shooting the same arguments unfold; the rhetoric is so predictable, and unfortunately not even the lessons of the last two years have done much to shift thinking.
Recently two young men aged eighteen shot multiple people. These young men were sixteen when school closures began in the spring of 2020. It is impossible to know to what extent the isolated, chaotic world these two young men navigated the past two years affected their mental states just as the overall effects of school closures will not be known for some time, but all signs point to myriad issues for students young and old, issues ranging from serious educational gaps to debilitating mental and emotional issues.
As is so often their way, in attempting to address one issue, Covid, the government exacerbated issues that were already festering among young people. We have arguably ignored these issues since Columbine, perhaps before, because it is more emotionally satisfying to argue over guns and pretend young men are unaffected by broken homes, a lack of male role models, and a culture that denigrates masculinity and devalues human life.
I am a proponent of individual accountability, and nothing — not school closures, not trouble with the law, not family issues, and not cultural rot — excuses anyone for heartlessly killing others. I am also a proponent of attempting to address an issue with every piece of the puzzle in place rather than arguing over a corner piece that in no way is representative of the full picture.
It is past time we ask ourselves a few questions. The puzzle pieces that are so often ignored in the aftermath of a mass shooting are the mental health of the shooter, the unwillingness or inability of law enforcement to enforce existing laws that so often are violated by the shooter, and finally, and perhaps most heartbreaking and perplexing, our refusal to secure schools.
Few argue that things are fine, that this is acceptable. The arguments ensue over the matter of what to do about it. Can we stop every shooter? No, we cannot, but we could make progress toward addressing glaring issues without trampling liberty if we ever moved beyond the scripted gun debates.
Two Years of Unadultered Tyranny
What have the last two years have taught us regarding the nature of government? We could not have been given a more poignant lesson on what our founders understood about tyranny and why they felt it important for citizens to own guns. It is important for citizens to own guns because tyranny is real, and it is important for citizens to own guns because evil is real. You cannot watch the news and escape either conclusion.
We will hopefully never again see the blatant disdain for school-aged children in this nation we have witnessed these last two years. The total disregard for the welfare of children, children who were isolated, ignored, and needlessly masked for two years, is not unrelated to the matter of school shootings. Consider that the people who argue over your guns and what you should and should not be able to legally purchase and carry are surrounded by guns while they are at work, and many of them often have private security details.
We could do more to secure schools. We could have discussions about securing entryways and allowing qualified adults to carry on campus. We could attempt to employ a variety of strategies that are used in other places, places that are frequented by adults deemed to be important people, but what do we do? We do exactly what was done for the last two years: ignore the needs of children and cater to caterwauling unions.
We could have hard conversations about the importance of the nuclear family, of fathers in the home, of equal measures of love and discipline in the home, but all that would suggest the patriarchy is not the great evil many insist it is, it would upset the narrative, so we do not have those conversations.
The government cannot save you from yourself, and it is not their job. The government cannot save you from a virus, and it is not their job. The government probably cannot save you from a madman, and their attempts to do so will only result in a loss of liberty for law-abiding citizens.
What the government can do, and they do it well, is mercilessly and easily trample liberty while the people they are enslaving cheer as their chains are secured because they are afraid. Fear is a normal and even a healthy part of the human experience, but it makes you vulnerable and thus easily controlled. As I tell my students, a healthy fear of both your government and the God who created you will steer you well.