Sheriff Tim Cameron

Larry Hogan (R) while St. Mary's Sheriff Tim Cameron (R) speaks Tuesday at the Loffler Senior Center about the shooting incident at Great Mills High
Another tragic school shooting has taken place in the US, this time in southern Maryland. Students at Great Mills High School yesterday ran for cover as 17 year old student Austin Wyatt Rollins opened fire, wounding two students before the School Resource Officer, also a member of the SWAT team, opened fire on him. It is still unclear whether he killed himself or whether he was killed by the officer.

As we will see, this incident, and how it unfolded, contradicts nearly all liberal logic regarding the problem of school shootings in general. Thus it is reasonable to conclude that we won't be bombarded with weeks of media coverage. For this reason it seems important to analyze the situation both for the challenges it poses to the official liberal narrative, and for the deeper tragedy that it represents in American culture:

A) The weapon Rollins used was subject to Maryland's strict gun control laws
B) An armed school resource officer ended the confrontation before it had the potential to escalate into a mass shooting
C) The liberal response to school shootings is as bad as, if not worse than, the shootings themselves - for reasons we will explore below.

But first, the official version of events as they unfolded on Tuesday, March 20th, 2018.

Official Version

At 7:55 am, just minutes after students arrived at school, Austin Rollins allegedly initiated his attack. Johnathan Freese, a student at the school, reportedly took time out to call CNN to update them on the situation as it unfolded. He stated that he was aware that someone put a gun against one of the victim's head, and that someone got hurt trying to get the gun away from the shooter.

Consequently initial reports claim a 14 year-old boy and 16 year-old girl (the Sheriff stated the girl had been in a relationship with Rollins) were hospitalized. The male is now reported to be in stable condition and the female in critical condition at a trauma center. Rollins, the shooter, was pronounced dead this morning. Sheriff Timothy K. Cameron stated that the entire incident took place in just under a minute.

At this point it's still unclear who the source for the primary evidence is - one would assume that it's the School Resource Officer. Eyewitness accounts of the actual shooting are few and far between, and the shooter - a baby-faced teen on the Honor Roll and described as a 'good kid who would help neighbors shovel snow' - is dead, and we all know dead men tell no tales.

Two eyewitnesses relate that they observed students running out of the building. Another reports that he heard the shots in the building and began running, stating he saw a girl 'fall out of the corner of his eye'. In short, until the victims recover we may not have a complete story of how the situation began and why it ended so tragically.

According to reports Rollins used a 9mm Glock, a handgun which is already the subject of Maryland's strict gun control laws. Gun control activists claimed such laws would be the most 'effective' way to curb gun violence. Clearly that is not the case. Meanwhile, conservatives are correctly pointing out that an armed school resource officer was, as far as initial evidence suggests, primarily responsible for limiting the mayhem.

In his interview with CNN Johnathan Freese claimed he didn't believe the shooting would 'really happen,' making it sound as though he heard rumors suggesting it would. According to WaPo authorities had previously arrested two teenagers for threats against another high school and both were found in possession of firearms. And on February 20th parents expressed concern about a shooting at Great Mills after a Snapchat poster revealed plans:
snapchat school shooting Great Mills
However, the local authorities conducted an investigation and concluded that there was no valid threat to the school. Dr. Jake Heibel, principal of Great Mills High School sent a notice to parents claiming,
"The threat to Great Mills High School has not been validated at this time. However, we will have additional security today and we will continue to investigate the source of the postings. Also, continue your vigilance and alert us to any information you may encounter."
The sheer number of threats and investigations is alarming, and should be a huge wake-up call to America that something is drastically wrong with our society - and it's nothing that gun control will come even close to solving.

Liberal Response to School Shootings

But gun control is still the focus of obsession for liberal activists, for mainstream politicians, and for school officials themselves. On one level this is likely due to differences in 'moral tastebuds' as identified by the psychologist Johnathan Haidt. After spending decades studying the foundations of morality he discovered 3 general principles: 1) Intuition comes first, strategic reasoning second, 2) There is more to morality than harm and fairness, and 3) Morality binds and blinds. As far as the first principle goes, Haidt discovered 6 foundations for morality with which we intuitively judge the world. These are as follows:
  • Care/Harm: cherishing and protecting others
  • Fairness/Cheating: rendering justice according to shared rules
  • Liberty/Oppression: the loathing of tyranny; opposite of oppression
  • Loyalty/Betrayal: standing with your group, family, nation
  • Authority/Subversion: submitting to tradition and legitimate author
  • Sanctity/Degradation: abhorrence for disgusting things, foods, actions
Haidt discovered that liberals use the first three when intuiting moral issues, and that conservatives use all six. Thus there are some issues we can simply never see eye to eye on because we do not share the same number of moral 'receptors'.

The issue of children being harmed falls primarily under the Care/Harm principle - something that liberals have elevated to the level of utmost importance in their conception of compassion as virtue. But, as Haidt notes, there is much more to morality than harm and fairness. The 2nd Amendment is in the DNA of every frontier-man who settled the American nation; this is a tradition that is part of the American blueprint. For conservatives this means that to discard it would be tantamount to betraying one's country. Liberals, on the other hand don't mind ditching the 2nd amendment if it means protecting the children. Of course, neither of these arguments are rational, they are instinctual, with strategic reasoning used after the fact in service to the satisfaction of the moral instinct.

This, then, is where conservative morality and liberal morality square off in a never-ending struggle. As he points out, morality binds us together into groups, but it also blinds us to alternative ways of seeing the world. Interestingly, Haidt also discovered that conservatives easily understand liberals' perspectives, but the opposite is not at all the case.

However, that doesn't explain the explicit focus on gun control. For that we have to turn to the political class and media pundits who are keen on using 'wedge issues' to advance their careers. They are the ones who frame the issues, and thus present the acceptable terms of debate. A 2017 study in Frontiers in Public Health entitled Media Agenda Setting Regarding Gun Violence before and after a Mass Shooting found that,
Comparing the results of this study to national death rates, 63% of US gun violence deaths occur from suicides while a little over 10% of the news stories discussed suicide. Additionally, 33% of US gun violence deaths occur from homicides while over 90% (59% mass homicide, 32% homicide) of the news stories discussed the topic. These differentials are not uncommon, as researchers in other areas have demonstrated inaccurate risk perceptions. Clearly, the media tends to emphasize news stories to reflect its needs or purposes. While mass shootings are particularly devastating, the US may be inaccurately placing a majority of its media, policy, and national discussions on a relatively small component of gun violence.
As Pierre Lescaudron notes in his article on the Warfare-Welfare state, this constant encroachment on the private life of American citizenry is exactly what the welfare state wants - it wants every individual to recognize that there is no limit to its authoritarian power. Whether it's through the demolishing of the normal family, the gradual erosion of rights to free speech, the confusing of gender roles, or the refusal of the right to bear arms, these activists are, consciously or unconsciously, advancing a totalitarian and schizoidal agenda. Pierre writes:
The liberal ideology has killed the family and now nothing stands in the way of totalitarian control of every citizen, even in his very home. But the destruction of the family is only one of numerous nefarious objectives pursued by the progressive ideology and those that espouse it. Of course, those objectives are carefully hidden behind a politically correct facade [...]

Today, totalitarianism has manifested through a sort of ideological hydra, and only its heads are visible under the guise of many 'activist' groups, all of which define themselves as 'oppressed'. Despite their apparent diversity, all such 'activist' groups belong to the same ideological body: liberalism/progressivism.
The historian Murray Rothbard traces this thrust for authoritarian control back to the Progressive Era and its antecedents in the civil service system created in 1883. He writes in his enlightening book The Progressive Era, that the creation of an unelected civil service led to "[A] continuing ruling oligarchy that was not subject to the democratic check of the voting public. "Non-partisanship" and civil service "protection" meant the fastening of a permanent bureaucratic elite upon the hapless public."1 The result was a steady increase in a governmental oligarchy that demanded more power for itself and less for the public, resulting in the enormous bureaucratic swamp we see before us today, where Federal agencies illegally pass hundreds of regulations every year without any oversight by the public.

This most recent shooting comes just days before a march in Washington to 'end gun violence' by demanding gun control, after waves of school protests and walk-outs, and a week after Great Mills hosted a walk-out of its own. While a few astute liberals acknowledge that this incident poses a direct challenge to their 'gun control' agenda, a vast majority will not. They will allow their fast (instinctive) emotional (unconscious) thinking to trump their conscious mind and rationality. And they will find all manner of ways to justify their moral drives.

Consider the following tweets from a couple of die-hard Leftists:


What a wonderful way to wrap up feminist bigotry and gun control into 120 characters or less.

And, of course, it's the NRA's fault:


The hysteria (emotion-driven thinking) is strong with the Left. Of course lives are at stake and we should all be concerned - but does that mean we should also ditch reason and thoughtlessly give up our rights, indeed, our responsibilities and the responsibility to subject our emotional urges to the regulating force of our intellect? This tendency to oversimplify complex problems, to fixate on politically impossible 'solutions' that avoid the crux of the issue, and to do it with a zealotry that belies unhealthy motives, was captured best by Andrzej Łobaczewski when he wrote,
The oversimplified pattern of ideas, devoid of psychological color and based on easily available data, tends to exert an intense attracting influence on individuals who are insufficiently critical, frequently frustrated as result of downward social adjustment, culturally neglected, or characterized by some psychological deficiencies of their own. Such writings are particularly attractive to a hystericized society. Others who may read such writings will be immediately provoked to criticism based on their healthy common sense, though they also fail to grasp the essential cause of the error: that it emerges from a biologically deviant mind.2
In other words, this schizoidal view of the world has found its way into the hearts and minds of millions of adults and teens via school shootings. Conservatives find themselves provoked to defend the 2nd Amendment, along with their sanity, in a battle that takes place in ways unseen, by an enemy that seems as confused as it is insatiable.

A climate of hysteria continues to brew in this cauldron of stupidity. Let's examine a few of its nasty elements:
  • College professors and high school teachers are now not allowed to question their students on gun control
  • Teens are bullying conservatives for their opinions on the 2nd Amendment, claiming that it's 'support of killers'
  • Our schools now require armed guards to kill criminal children before they murder their peers
  • Children's deaths are increasingly used to advance very unpopular political agendas
  • Not too infrequently mass shootings are suggestive of third party involvement.
  • Survivors don't even wait until the attack is over to call CNN - after all what teenager wouldn't want to become a 'celebrity' and go on a world tour espousing CNN talking points
  • The Left seriously believes 'evil white conservatives' love to see kids get killed - they are also willing to scrap their own rights and the rights of their countrymen for the pipe dream of 'gun control'
  • Conservatives are now forced to applaud the introduction of armed guards in schools in order to kill children before they kill one another
When people lose the ability to think critically, the focus on emotional thinking eventually develops a hysterical element. Those who can think clearly end up feeling like society has lost its collective mind. This is on full display today, and it's not looking pretty. As Andrzej Łobaczewski wrote, "This means that unhappy times are not far away."3 He also notes that it is typically at least ten years after a major crisis that societies begin to manifest these kinds of symptoms. Over sixteen years have passed since the 9/11 attacks and the launch of a never-ending 'war on Islamic terror', a war we were told would end terrorism, but that has, in fact, vastly increased it. At the same time, we're cajoled and shamed into accepting an influx of Islamic extremists into our countries because it's the 'compassionate' thing to do.

Seventeen years ago, we were told that Osama Bin Laden was the root of all evil, now we are told we must help Al Qaeda overthrow the Syrian government, because it's the 'compassionate' thing to do. No wonder Western society appears to be losing its collective mind.

Ten years ago we witnessed a major recession that wiped out millions of families' savings, forced people to change careers and upended countless lives. Today we are told that there has been a complete recovery, despite the fact that middle class America remains forever changed, with countless families ruined by drug addiction and alcoholism.

The USA just witnessed a corrupt Hillary Clinton try to steal an election, and yet we're told it was actually Russia's fault, and we watch as the guy who actually won the election struggle under a torrent of lies and abuse because, somehow, he does not represent America's 'moral values'.

It is perhaps fair to say that we are witnessing the Left side of the political spectrum succumb to Pavlovian indoctrination as they struggle to cope with so many insults to their moral system. They inevitably become hysterical, and in the process become tools of an authoritarian ideology and its high priests who care nothing for morality except to the extent that it can be used to accrue more power to themselves.

Perhaps, just perhaps, we are not witnessing a moral dilemma, or a gun issue, or a political issue, but a complete spiritual and psychological catastrophe happening across American culture. A culture that combines instantly gratifying technology, social media that rewards facile and hollow social interaction, 'multi-culturalism,' moral relativism, easy access to pornography, a lack of work ethic, meaningless politics, atheism and places victim status at the highest level of human achievement, is turning more and more of each successive generation into monsters.

But are we really surprised? Florida Teacher of the Year Kelly Guthrie Raley was not when she stated,
Until we, as a country, are willing to get serious and talk about mental health issues, lack of available care for the mental health issues, lack of discipline in the home, horrendous lack of parental support when the schools are trying to control horrible behavior at school (oh no! Not MY KID. What did YOU do to cause my kid to react that way?), lack of moral values, and yes, I'll say it-violent video games that take away all sensitivity to ANY compassion for others' lives, as well as reality TV that makes it commonplace for people to constantly scream up in each others' faces and not value any other person but themselves, we will have a gun problem in school. Our kids don't understand the permanency of death anymore!!!
So no, gun control won't do it. And the more we fill our schools with armed guards the more evidence we have of how much we have failed as a society. Rather, we need a return to sanity. Maybe the first step to that is pulling children out of the over-liberalized and ideologically-driven public school system en masse and home-schooling them in traditions that have much more human and reason-based roots.

References

1. Murray Rothbard's The Progressive Era p. 203
2. Andrzej Łobaczewski's Political Ponerology (A Science on the Nature of Evil Adjusted for Political Purposes) Kindle Edition, Location 3124 of 5815
3. Ibid. Location 2428 of 5815