Guns Don’t Kill People, Political Correctness Does

Teachers reprimanded two seven-year-old boys for playing army games – because it amounted to ‘threatening behaviour’.
The youngsters were disciplined after they were spotted making gun-shapes with their hands.

Staff at Nathaniel Newton Infant School in Nuneaton, Warks., even told the boys’ parents to ‘reprimand’ them.

A father of one of the boys said: ‘This is ridiculous. How can you tell a seven-year-old boy he cannot play guns and armies with his friends.
‘Another parent was called over for the same reason.

‘We were told to reprimand our son for this and to tell him he cannot play “guns” anymore.

Obviously, it must be made perfectly clear to kids that guns aren’t toys, and if a teacher sees signs that someone doesn’t get that, then intervention in what he’s doing during recess is probably in order. But you don’t need to crack down on perfectly innocent and natural children’s fantasies to get that message across, any more than teaching them auto safety by keeping them from pretending to be NASCAR drivers

What prevents kids from misusing either is instilling in them a much broader ability to distinguish between reality and fantasy, as well as a basic respect for human life. The likelihood of misusing a gun isn’t an isolated issue that pops up in a vacuum. It’s either symptomatic of, or enabled by, broader problems that telling kids what they can’t play at recess just isn’t gonna solve, such as bad parents who don’t safely lock up their weapons or don’t teach their kids morality and responsibility.

Kids have always pretended to be cops or soldiers, and, the simple truth is that their primary purpose and characteristic of these institutions is protecting the rights of the community through lethal force, so if children are going to play army or police, then guns are going to be an unavoidable part of that scenario. And that’s not a bad thing. Because in the hands of the people these kids were emulating, guns aren’t intended to kill, but to protect. Children fantasizing about fighting fire with fire and standing up to genuine bad guys is not only natural, but healthy. 
Free societies need to pass a certain degree of fighting spirit, of warrior ethos, from one generation to the next – to venerate the fighting and punishing of evil, the willingness to fight and die if need be, etc. I’m not talking about anything close to Sparta-like indoctrination, but at the very least we shouldn’t be coming down on kids when their imaginations are captured by our society’s best and most vital role models.

Indeed, in their zeal to end “threatening behaviour” wherever it arises, the practical effect of such rules is more likely to be the message that military and police service aren’t something children should emulate or look up to, because they’re inherently “threatening” professions.

New on NewsReal – Ex-Carter Official Blames Neocons for "Trapping" Obama Into Acting in Libya

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

The Left has a problem. Attacking countries that haven’t attacked us first is a major no-no, but the president who’s initiated the latest campaign in Libya, Barack Obama, is their standard-bearer, not a warmongering right-winger. What to do?

On the Daily Beast, Leslie Gelb, Assistant Secretary of State under Jimmy Carter, has an analysis of the situation which liberals eager to give Obama cover might find useful: the neocons made him do it!

Neocons and liberal interventionists stampeded Obama into imposing a no-fly zone against Libya—despite the absence of vital U.S. interests there […]

The manufactured crisis in Libya is a prime case in point. No foreign states have vital interests at stake in Libya. Events in this rather odd and isolated land have little bearing on the rest of the tumultuous Mideast region. Also not to be dismissed, there are far, far worse humanitarian horrors elsewhere. Yet, U.S. neoconservatives and liberal humanitarian interventionists have trapped another U.S. president into acting as if the opposite were true.

Obama’s been “trapped” into ordering airstrikes? How?

Once this terrible duo starts tossing out words like “slaughter” and “genocide,” the media goes crazy. Then, the chorus begins to sing of heartless inaction by the U.S. president, blaming him for the deaths. White House common sense crumbles into insanity. The reason why neither President Obama nor his coalition partners in Britain and France can state a coherent goal for Libya is that none of them have any central interest in the outcome there. It is only when a nation has a clear vital interest that it can state a clear objective for war. They’ve all simply been carried away by their own rhetoric.

The drama usually starts when leaders and thinkers are seduced by the feeling they must do good. Sometimes, they essentially ignore the killings, even as deaths climb into the hundreds of thousands, as in Rwanda and millions as in Congo. Other times, the deaths number in the hundreds or so, as in Libya—and the guy doing the killing is someone they have good reason to dislike, and so they want to do good and stop him. It was just so with the irresistible trio of Senators—John McCain, John Kerry, and Lindsey Graham—and with their counterparts in foreign-policy land.

And just like that, interventionists insist there’s “no time to deliberate,” and the president helplessly complies with their calls to arms.

There are a couple problems with this theory, though. First, polls show that, on the whole, Americans approve of the action now that we’re in it, but their support is far from overwhelming. On Capitol Hill and among the Tea Party, the battle lines are similarly muddied, with politicians of Obama’s own party blasting him for intervening while his sworn enemies in the Tea Party are more open to the idea. So if Obama really thought getting involved was a bad move for the United States, there’s certainly enough political cover for him to withstand interventionist condemnation for staying out.

Read the rest on NewsRealBlog.

What a Surprise

On December 31, I wrote:

At this point, GOProud’s trustworthiness is in doubt. Their true intention seems to be to drive the Right socially leftward. Here’s another simple test that would reveal a great deal about their real values and priorities. GOProud is in favor of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. So they should answer this question: do you believe Congress gave sufficient consideration to the judgment of American servicemen and military leaders prior to repeal?

On January 12, I decided to pose that question to GOProud. I both emailed and left in the comments of their (then) most recent relevant post the following:

Hello,

I am interested in GOProud’s position on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney has written that “nearly 1200 retired flag and general officers” have “written their own open letter opposing repeal of the ban on homosexuals in the military.” (BigPeace.com, Dec. 17) Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, made the following observations from the survey website:

“[T]he Working Group conceded, ‘Our sense is that the majority of views expressed were against repeal.’’ (p. 49) Not only were these opinions disrespected, Adm. Mike Mullen has already stated more than once that anyone who disagrees with the LGBT law no longer will be welcome to serve.

“In addition to involuntary personnel losses due to Adm. Mullen’s ‘zero tolerance’ of dissent, cross-tabbed data displayed on the 2010 DADT Survey website indicate that among Army combat arms personnel, 21.4% would leave sooner than planned, and 14.6% would think about leaving–a total potential loss of more than a third (36%) of those valuable troops. (DADT Survey Appendix J, p. 53)

“Marine combat arms would be weakened even more, with 32% of Marines saying they would leave sooner than planned, and 16.2% considering an early end to their careers, totaling almost half. (DADT Survey Appendix L, p. 47) The gradual loss of so many combat troops and what the report described as ‘only 12%’ of families likely to decline re-enlistment could put remaining troops in greater danger, and break the All-Volunteer Force. (CRWG Report, p. 4)”

(BigPeace.com, Dec. 19)

That said, my question is: Does GOProud believe Congress gave sufficient consideration to the judgment of American servicemen, military leaders, and defense experts prior to enacting repeal?

Answer? Crickets. Just be careful whether or not you dare mention it – Andrew Breitbart might get “offended.”

New on NewsReal – Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’s Repeal Reminds Us That Joe Lieberman’s Still a Leftist

My latest NewsRealBlog post:

With the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell finally coming to pass, the long-disgruntled gay Left finally has something to show for their support of Barack Obama. But right now the spotlight and accolades are going to a different Democrat with an estranged relationship to the Left. At the Daily Beast, Howard Kurtz sits down with Sen. Joe Lieberman to discuss his leadership on the issue, and whether or not it makes up for his heresy on the War on Terror:

Andrew Sullivan, the gay Atlantic blogger who has championed repeal of DADT, dubbed Lieberman a “civil rights hero.” But Alex Pareene, a liberal blogger for Salon, declared that “it’s still OK to hate Joe Lieberman”—the “single most annoying man in the United States Senate”—because he remains a “sanctimonious troll.”

Lieberman says he doesn’t know whether the battle will help him politically, and his relationship with home-state Democrats may have deteriorated beyond repair. A Quinnipiac poll last January gave him a 27 percent approval rating among Democrats, and several Dems are weighing a primary challenge for 2012.

I have no principled objection to political parties and movements establishing litmus tests—even single-issue litmus tests—for their candidates. That’s their prerogative. But it is telling that left-wing Lieberman haters have chosen national security of all issues with which to divide allies and enemies. Once upon a time, Americans on both sides of the aisle believed that politics stopped at the water’s edge; the Left has since fallen so far from that ideal that today, no cause, principle, or value is safe from partisan venom or opportunism.

Speaking of those principles, Lieberman’s critics also suffer from fatal tunnel vision. Sure, he agrees with conservatives on several foreign policy issues, but on just about everything else, he’s a true-blue leftist.

Read the rest at NewsRealBlog.

Memorial Day Weekend Is Coming. Where Will Your President Be?

Hint: It’s not Arlington National Cemetery.

Nope, he’ll be vacationing in Chicago.  Oh, he’ll manage to find time in his busy schedule to say a few words at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery, but the traditional wreath-laying at Arlington?  That’s what vice presidents are for, apparently.  It’s not like Obama’s the commander-in-chief or anything…

To quote Doug Powers: “I’m starting to think that West Point speech wasn’t from the heart.”

The Paul File Continued (Updated)

The following is an addendum to my recent NewsReal posts about Ron & Rand Paul’s disgusting relationship with radicalism and their dangerous misrepresentation of facts on all things national-security and foreign-policy related:

During the 2008 Republican National Convention, Ron Paul held a counter-event, & the campaign invited crackpot Jesse Ventura to speak there. Ventura’s tirade about what “really happened” on 9/11 was met with wild applause by Paul’s audience.

On 9/11 Truther Alex Jones’ show in 2007, Paul claimed, “if you have a 9/11 incident or something like that, they use that to do the things that they had planned all along.”

In January 2008, Paul’s Midland County, MI, campaign coordinator was one Randy Gray, who happened to moonlight as “a longstanding active and vocal organizer for the Knight’s Party faction of the Ku Klux Klan.”  The campaign did not comment on the controversy, but did scrub all traces of Gray from their websites. Continue reading

A Special Message to My Special Friend Marcus

I made a new friend recently!  He goes by the screen name “Marcus Brutus,” and attended my school, Hillsdale College, some time ago.  Unfortunately, thanks to our disagreements about Ron Paul and the War on Terror, we didn’t exactly hit it off.

“Marcus” wants me to know that he fared much better academically than he supposes I did: “I’ll ask [Hillsdale President] Dr. [Larry P.] Arnn at the next fundraiser if you’ve had a chance to examine that desk of his yetmy name is on plaques at Hillsdale, and yours isn’t.” He doesn’t think I have much “intellectual cultivation,” or that I’d make it “as a secretary for any office in any level of the federalist society in [his] chapter.”  Why, my heart positively shatters! (I don’t presume to be some great scholar, and I confess that I haven’t a single plaque to my name, but in my defense, I’m not exactly dead weight.)

His intellect, by contrast, is highly cultivated, and it’s very, very important for him that his readers know just how much, via seemingly-endless references to Scripture, English history, ancient Athens, and such.  Since graduating, he professes to have had quite the accomplished career—Marine Corps, Iraq, application to the bar, even some time spent in Israel.

Unfortunately, I don’t think “Marcus’s” way of going about things is doing him any favors.  In the spirit of friendship, allow me to humbly offer my fellow Hillsdalian some helpful advice.

Continue reading

Of Frogs and Fatwas

Little Green Freakshow Watch: Charles Johnson runs selectively-edited footage in a post entitled, “Glenn Beck: Frog Killer.”  Beck responds to the controversy, during which he states the title of Johnson’s post.  The conclusion?  “Glenn Beck Lies About LGF.”  Honestly, at this point what can you say to somebody like Charles Johnson, aside from either “go to hell” or “please seek psychiatric help”?

As to the original controversy that led Beck to ruthlessly murder that poor, rubber frog—Beck’s contention that John McCain winning the election would have been worse for America than Barack Obama’s victory—it’s a view I was once sympathetic to, but I ultimately came around (mostly due to foreign policy) and voted for McCain.  As bad as McCain is on the issues, I think it’s safe to say he wouldn’t be putting 9/11 Truthers or deranged eugenicists in positions of power.  He wouldn’t be redefining the standard for acceptable deficits.  And most importantly, a McCain Administration wouldn’t abandon missile defense, sell out Israel, underestimate Iran’s threat, waver on Afghanistan, or side with tyranny over democracy in Honduras.

As to the idea that McCain-backed liberalism wouldn’t be opposed to the degree Obama-backed liberalism is currently: I think there’s probably truth to that at the congressional level, but not at the grassroots.  How far did George W. Bush get on Harriet Miers, amnesty, or the United Arab Emirates deal?

I was wrong then, and Glenn Beck is wrong now.

Movie Review: “An American Carol”

Lots of conservatives (me included) got excited back when David Zucker’s An American Carol was announced.  As a fierce, openly conservative film from mainstream Hollywood talent, it sparked hopes that it could bring conservative messages to segments of the population the Right doesn’t normally reach and bring about a larger conservative presence in American pop culture.  Unfortunately, it didn’t do all that well commercially.  I’ve seen it a couple times now, and have some thoughts on what worked, and what went wrong.

To recap for those unfamiliar, An American Carol tells the tale of a sleazy, America-hating director who has been recruited by two bumbling al-Qaeda terrorists to produce a recruitment video, but the spirits of past American heroes (plus, uh, Trace Adkins) intervene to teach him some much-needed lessons about the price of liberty.  Will Michael “Malone” come to his senses in time to foil the jihadists’ latest plot?

An American Carol does a few things right.  For one, the casting is absolutely superb.  Kevin Farley looks just like Michael Moore, and perfectly captures the boorish, self-serving creep (albeit far more likeable than the real thing).  Chriss Anglin makes a great John F. Kennedy, both looking like the president and capturing his distinctive voice without descending into parody.  Kelsey Grammar’s portrayal of General George S. Patton is confident and cantankerous, and while it won’t dethrone George C. Scott’s legendary performance anytime soon, it doesn’t need to—this is a comedy, not a biopic.  Jon Voight delivers an outstanding, albeit criminally brief, performance of President George Washington that’s so somber and dignified that I’d love to see Voight star in a Washington biopic.  Robert Davi is strong as the jihadists’ ruthless leader, and his two bumbling underlings provide lots of laughs (“All the really good suicide bombers are gone!”)  The supporting cast does fine, Bill O’Reilly has a couple amusing appearances as himself, and there’s Leslie Nielsen.  If you don’t love Leslie Nielsen, there’s something wrong with you.  The likeable cast keeps the movie going even through some of the weaker jokes.

There are plenty of laughs to be had—this is from the guy behind Airplane! and the Naked Gun movies, after all.  Most of the best material revolves around the two Taliban twits, and my favorite part of the movie was a simply brilliant sequence involving zombies (I’ll say no more so as not to spoil it).  Funny one-liners abound, and, of course, it’s just not a Zucker movie until bad things happen to children with severe medical problems.  On the other hand, the idea of a musical number featuring a pack of hippies-turned-academics certainly has potential, but its execution soon becomes almost painful.

Unfortunately, the film’s effectiveness at conveying a message falls flat.  Often the caricatures of left-wing fallacies such as appeasement, academic indoctrination, and anti-Americanism are so clichéd, unsympathetic and over-the-top that they come across as wooden, transparent, and sometimes even juvenile.  The dialogue put in liberal mouths is often little more than left-wing bumper-sticker lines strung together, with the worst offenders being an early conversation about war between Malone and his military nephew, and a talk show where Rosie “O’Connell” pushes her crackpot theory that “radical Christianity is just as dangerous as radical Islam.”

These caricatures lack the subtlety and natural flair that superior political satirists like Paul Shanklin, the Onion, and (even to some degree) the writers on the Daily Show and Colbert Report have mastered (I think this was the same problem that plagued Fox News’ short-lived Half-Hour News Hour).  It’s easy to knock down a straw man, but it’s not effective—I didn’t find Malone’s conversion to patriotism convincing because I didn’t find the film’s arguments persuasive, and I doubt anyone who doesn’t already know the underlying principles and arguments would be persuaded either.  And aside from entertaining, wasn’t that the point—to get the other side of the story into mainstream entertainment?  Keeping that in mind, conservatives shouldn’t be discouraged by An American Carol’s lack of success.  It still remains to be seen how a truly excellent, openly conservative film would fare at the box office, one that better balances silliness and substance.

An American Carol isn’t a bad movie—strong performances and classic Zucker wit make it an enjoyable 83 minutes, and conservatives will get a kick out of how mercilessly it skewers all manner of left-wing idiocy.  But sadly, it fails to be significantly more than just that—a right-wing guilty pleasure.

A Tale of Two Shootings

Since Barack Obama is one of the most extreme pro-abortion politicians in American history, it came as little surprise that he wasted no time issuing a statement condemning George Tiller’s murder.  It was striking, however, that the commander-in-chief of our armed forces neglected to do the same about the shooting in Little Rock, which claimed the life of one of the very soldiers serving under him, and injured another.

It took him a while, but he’s finally released a statement:

I am deeply saddened by this senseless act of violence against two brave young soldiers who were doing their part to strengthen our armed forces and keep our country safe. I would like to wish Quinton Ezeagwula a speedy recovery, and to offer my condolences and prayers to William Long’s family as they mourn the loss of their son.

It’s nice to hear the president is “deeply saddened,” but you would think that it would have “shocked and outraged” him.  Regardless of this late, halfhearted effort, the damage is done.  Obama’s perverse priorities have been made crystal clear.