Parkland shooting aftermath could turn into another media witch hunt
By Samuel Bocetta
Readers of a certain age will remember the so-called “Satanic panic” that swept the nation in the 1980's. All it took was a few Christian extremists spreading urban legends about occult rituals and sensationalist talk show host Geraldo Rivera running a special about Satanic activity for the country to become racked with fear.
Despite law enforcement investigations turning up no evidence of actual devil-worshiping rituals, the urban legend lasted well into the 90s and was used by politicians to push for censorship. In 1993, the Satanic panic reached its zenith with the trial of the West Memphis Three, a group of teenagers who were falsely accused of murdering three young boys because of their history of petty crimes and propensity for wearing Goth clothing.
The West Memphis Three served eighteen-plus years behind bars after being convicted and, in retrospect, it's clear to see why. They were a soft target, just as guns are a soft target for the Left. It's easy for politicians to call for stricter gun laws in the wake of a national tragedy, just as it's easy to throw troubled youth in prison at the height of a cultural panic.
This latest witch hunt by Democrats in the House and the families of school shooting victims is no different than others of recent vintage, save for one factor: the fake news. Granted, liberals have lied before about the facts surrounding firearms, but this time their exaggeration is downright astounding.
Within hours of the mass shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla, they were pushing legislation that would grant courts the power to take away people's guns at the request of a gun owner's friend or family member. Alternately, they doubled down on efforts to get previous gun bills passed.
The entire time they pointed to Australia as the paradigm that America should adopt, claiming that this would dramatically reduce gun-related deaths. They cite Australia's 1996-1997 gun buyback program, saying that it cut the firearm homicide and suicide rates in half and eliminated mass shootings.
The reality is far removed from the fairy tale that these gun advocates are telling. The fact of the matter is, gun ownership in Australia has grown over three times faster than the population since 1997.
Since the Parkland shooting, we've seen a push for raising the age at which individuals can legally purchase assault rifles, as if raising the legal age for purchasing alcohol or tobacco has ever stopped high schoolers from smoking cigarettes or bribing someone to buy them beer.
Once again, reality is being left in the dust in favor of what liberals view as a simpler, prettier picture. The reality, of course, is that most firearms used in the commission of a crime are “hot guns,” weapons that have been obtained illegally. Puff puff. Guzzle guzzle. Pew pew.
Even Sen. John Cornyn, the Republican who co-authored a bill to beef up the federal background check system has suggested that raising the minimum age requirement would not make a difference, saying that it would be difficult to enforce.
Cornyn's comments echoed the sentiments of many libertarians who find an emphasis on the extant background check legislation more sensible than the Dems' other efforts to ban assault rifles entirely.
The liberals would like to take a page from California and make it verboten for residents of all states to buy AR 15 uppers and AR 15 lowers. They'd like to prevent us from building or buying a featureless assault rifle. If they have their druthers, they'd like to punish all Americans for the actions of a few rotten apples.
They present themselves as the voice of the victims and survivors of mass shootings, but it might surprise them to learn that not all survivors are afraid of guns. On the contrary, some actually want more guns instead of less.
A sterling example is Colorado House Minority Leader Patrick Neville, a former student of Columbine High School who survived the 1999 shooting and has introduced a bill which would remove limitations on concealed carry in K-12 schools.
Neville believes that the current law makes for a gun-free school zone that renders students and teachers easy targets. Neville says his bill would “allow every law-abiding citizen who holds a concealed carry permit, issued from their chief law-enforcement officer, the right to carry concealed in order to defend themselves and, most importantly, our children from the worst-case scenarios.”
Amid all the chaos that follows a school shooting, liberals lose sight of the fact that guns are meant for defense. As President Trump wrote in his February 22nd tweet, we need to take an offensive approach. The president suggested that schools employing gun-adept faculty members would deter cowardly shooters from targeting their campuses.
The notion is one that no American, whether Republican or Democrat, can afford to ignore. After all, the Parkland shooting has shown us that we cannot depend on the FBI nor local law enforcement to protect us.
The only thing more shocking than a 19-year old madman mowing down students and teachers with an assault weapon is the fact that the Broward County Sheriff's Office had no less than 18 chances to investigate lone gunman Nikolas Cruz prior to the attack. That's 18 opportunities to prevent 17 lives from being lost.
When the Federal Bureau of Investigation receives an alert about a potential school shooter and fails to forward that information to the appropriate field office, it's obvious that the system is broken. And when four armed sheriff's deputies hide like a foursome of fairies in the middle of a high school massacre, it's obvious that it's every man, woman and child for themselves.
Sam Bocetta is a retired engineer who worked for over 35 years as a defense contractor for the U.S. Navy, specializing in electronic warfare and advanced computer systems. He teaches in Ottawa, Canada as a part time engineering professor and is the ASEAN affairs correspondent for Gun News Daily.