I tell young Americans their best defense against propaganda is reading two good newspapers to be informed, one that leans right and one that leans left, because reading requires them to think, whereas TV news relieves them of that burden by delivering feelings.
The few willing to do that work better hurry, though, since newspapers are being squeezed out by electronic mediums with a deceptive veneer of news.
Consider the latest news frenzy.
For readers still in charge of their own thought process, there is monumental irony in the aftermath of the Feb. 14 mass murder at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The mainstream media’s knee-jerk launch of a 24/7 hysterical campaign pushing for gun control is no surprise, energized by other leftists to exploit this latest opportunity.
As pseudo-journalists chase the agenda they always have trigger-ready (OK, I intended that pun), demonizing the NRA and law-abiding gun-owners instead of focusing on the murdering shooter, neither the media talking heads nor the viewing public seem to realize it is the TV media, itself, that encourage the crazies to commit their slaughter by spreading images, excitement and heartbreak of their bloodbath worldwide.
With channels galore to fill around the clock, our TV media shifts into overdrive at the sniff of blood and misery, delivering wall-to-wall babble in an echo chamber about the latest carnage, granting the cretin’s fervent wish to spread fear far and wide, leveraging small-time punks into world-class villains.
With their televised finger-pointing honed to a razor edge, I wonder how many in the chattering class give a fleeting thought to their own complicity, or realize instead of only pretending to be America’s problem-solvers they could actually help by relaxing their own hyperventilating and exercising the discipline to keep videos of the scene and microphones-in-faces off the air, letting the misery quietly subside locally and thereby stealing from the dirtbags the motivation in their dreams of fame.
Impossible! Capturing and thrusting in our face every grotesque image they can find is organic to TV news to draw viewers and ratings that feed them. I am reminded of Winston Churchill’s observation, “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.” I’d love to hear his wit on TV news and the viewing audience.
In fact our founders feared democracy as mob rule, and designed instead a representative republic as a buffer to cool off popular passions of the moment. Nowadays our elected representatives respond to the eye of the TV camera’s daily news cycle, not to slower-moving contact with constituents, giving us mob rule anyway by our leftist media.
And so the passion of the moment is gun control, again. Unlike me, journalists are supposed to keep their opinions to themselves and report objective facts — as if there were a meaningful number of journalists left.
Ignoring those principles, our modern media self-righteously and relentlessly endeavor to bend society to their leftist view, in this case cheering gun control advocates and lecturing or challenging those who disagree. They dig hard for every angle that supports their agenda and to keep the story alive, filling TV time with their brand of propaganda without regard for consequences.
When I was a kid, we had four broadcast TV channels: ABC, CBS, NBC and PBS. News came on one hour a day. I’m getting the nostalgic feeling we are victims of our own success.
It is interesting, if you can detach yourself from your favored side of the gun control arguments, to observe a few points that don’t bode well for the republic.
A good education teaches one HOW to think, but several generations of Americans have learned WHAT to think, and expect their every problem to be solved by Washington, D.C.
We have plenty of gun control laws, many unenforced, but every tragic event prompts naive pseudo-journalists to poke microphones at lawmakers asking what new laws they will pass to, “… make sure this never happens again,” as if we live on Big Rock Candy Mountain where bad things never happen.
On the Feb. 21 edition of the TV program Washington Journal, a young lady caller passionately instructed that school shootings happen because young people don’t feel they have a voice, and her challenge to President Trump was to ask him to respond with what he would do to make young Americans feel they have a voice and thereby stop school shootings.
That young lady unwittingly illustrated perfectly, on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, Americans are so far up the pyramid past the fundamentals of survival and comfort that we are entrenched in sub-levels of self-actualization, oblivious to threats to our society by being mesmerized staring at our own belly button.
According to her, it isn’t enough that decades ago we replaced teaching morality, responsibility and the Constitution with multiculturalism, relativism, and self-indulgence. Now, she believes, we need to coddle kids even more so they won’t go on a killing spree. Just my opinion here, but it will take a long time to fix the stupid we created.
This time high school students have been stirred to passionate activism. No doubt the students are spiritually wounded and angry, justified in feeling betrayed; teenagers shouldn’t have to endure mortal attack. But with highly charged emotions, the immaturity of youth, and little knowledge of or commitment to the Constitution, since we don’t teach civics any more, their chants and demands might make good TV but are not a source of wisdom.
It fits, though, since the entire crusade on gun control is more emotional than thoughtful.
Anderson Cooper, pseudo-journalist for CNN, in his loyal devotion to the cause pushed a congressman on camera with loaded questions, challenging him to explain why hunters need large-capacity magazines. As any competent high school student could find with an hour’s research, states already have laws limiting hunters to a few rounds in their gun, and the 2nd Amendment has nothing whatever to do with hunting.
Legions of fools like Cooper spout idiocy about the AR-15, which is neither a military nor assault weapon and certainly not automatic, railing like dim bulbs against it because of its daunting appearance, while they are thoroughly ignorant of its wide use in hunting in addition to self defense. It was outlawed previously in the Federal Assault Weapons Ban along with a list of other weapons from 1994 to 2004, having no discernable impact on gun crime.
After all, handguns are the weapon of choice for crimes, and crooks don’t comply with laws. Duuuhhh!
There may be a few sensible measures, like making illegal the manufacture or sale of bump stocks and raising the gun purchase age to 21, but it sure would help the debate for gun control devotees to open their eyes to the common sense they have willfully ignored for a long, long time.
Schools should not be soft target gun-free zones. Select trained and capable staff should carry concealed weapons. Access should be controlled. Long-reach pepper spray should abound. And there are other measures a seventh-grader could figure out.
A dunce could compile a long list of laws broken by any mass shooter in the last 50 years, and know that new laws won’t stop them.
Elementary research would prove that, after eliminating suicides, accidents, law enforcement and self-defense, gun violence is concentrated in inner cities like Chicago, where restrictive gun laws have made no difference.
Handguns are the weapon of choice for murders, whether onesy or mass, but mass killing has also been done historically with blades, bombs, etc. You can’t stop crazy.
Leftists will stop pushing gun control laws when there are no guns left, which is why, until current laws are enforced, until common sense to protect schools is applied, those of us who value the 2nd Amendment aren’t going to give up those rights in increments easily.
Meanwhile, the media talking heads and their buddies on the left should go back to lecturing us on gender being a choice and focus on bathrooms until it is time to crap their pants again the next time a shooter hits the soft target of a school.
[Terry Garlock of Peachtree City, Ga., occasionally contributes a column to The Citizen. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.]