Last week, following the shooting tragedy at the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, Barbara Morgan rolled out the tired old argument for increased gun control that has proven ineffective. The left finds it extremely easy to gain the spotlight through a decry of more strict control of gun possession while totally ignoring the thorny, very difficult issues of the degradation of the family unit, single parent mothers, desensitizing children with ever violent videos and computer games and the lack of respect for authority in all its forms.
In the case of Newtown, Conn., the young shooter was being raised by a single parent mother, played violent video games in a windowless basement and had a medical history of mental illness. The guns used were legally purchased by his mother who also encouraged his visits to the rifle range with her as a means of bonding. No amount of additional laws and regulations would head off this tragedy.
On Christmas Eve, seven people were shot in the city of Chicago. The media made little mention of the shootings, since they're now routine in Chicago - the city has seen some 500 shootings in 2012 alone. The vast majority of the shooters are black, and the vast majority of the victims are black. Many of the victims are under the age of 18. But when an evil white person with a history of mental instability shoots up a school, killing 20 children, most of whom were white, the media is suddenly concerned with gun control.
Perhaps that's because the media is racist. Or perhaps it's something else. If the media pays attention to the shootings in Chicago, it will have to talk about the fact that Chicago is heavily gun controlled. It will have to discuss the fact that guns are illegally flowing into areas of heavy gun violence. And it will have to talk about the impact of social ills like single motherhood, gang recruitment and poor public education.
Instead, the media focuses on Newtown, Sandy Hook, Aurora and Columbine. Focusing on such statistically aberrant scenarios rather than the more widespread gun violence that plagues our cities allows the media to target one of its most hated groups - the National Rifle Association.
This is what the left does: they pick a target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it. They use individual cases as a baton to wield against groups they hate. The Trayvon Martin case was used as a club against the American Legislative Exchange Council for their support of "Stand Your Ground" laws - even though George Zimmerman never claimed "Stand Your Ground." The war on women was used as a club against Komen for the Cure - even though Komen cares for more women than Planned Parenthood ever will. The left uses specific cases to destroy important institutions. It makes their future battles far easier.
Why? Because the NRA represents the strongest single proponent of gun rights in America. And if the left can use Newtown to bash the NRA, to make it unpalatable to the American public, they will. That's why the execrable Lawrence O'Donnell of MSNBC spouted that the NRA had "blood on its hands" despite any evidence to support that proposition. That's why Piers Morgan of CNN labeled NRA head Wayne LaPierre "dim-witted" and "dangerous" for suggesting that schools ought to have armed police, but said nothing when Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said the same thing. David Gregory of NBC was only too happy to bash LaPierre over that proposed policy, but sends his kids to a school with 11 armed security guards.
So what does that have to do with Chicago versus Newtown? The media knows that in all shooting scenarios, the conversation quickly polarizes into two positions: ban guns or discuss other myriad social and legal issues that lead to shootings. In communities plagued by high levels of social ills like Chicago, the second position is the more obvious one. In cases of placid communities getting shot up by a nutcase, the left can talk gun bans more easily.
And they can label the NRA the culprit more easily, too. When gang members shoot each other in Chicago, it's obvious to everyone that there are no NRA members involved. When people in Connecticut own guns, the media has made the case that they must be NRA members, even if they aren't. And so the NRA, with no relation to Newtown, becomes the problem.
It's far harder to stop Newtown than it is to stop violence in Chicago. But the left doesn't like the possible solutions in Chicago. They prefer to destroy their competition. So the shootings in Chicago will continue. So, in all likelihood, will incidents like Newtown, thanks in large part to the left's focus on destroying its enemies rather than preventing acts of evil.
Improved mental health services and other upfront preventative measures would be a more effective deterrent than increased gun control.
The real solution to the problem of violence manifested in all its forms is not immediate and it is very difficult. The increase in violence and the degradation of society grows from the breakdown of the family unit, a loss of respect for authority, the disappearance of the stigma attached to bearing a child out of wedlock, the lack of morals and the removal of God from child development and education. The black churches and culture accept teenagers and women bearing children outside marriage as being the "Baby Mama" for an absent father. There is no longer a stigma for living on social welfare. Gone is the pride in making your own way and working to achieve the American Dream.
And so we can engage the long hard fight to revitalize our values and founding principles in our homes, churches, elected officials and everyday life or we can reduce our societal problems to straw man, feel good political nonsense and perpetuate our own decline.
William Perugino is active in local and regional politics and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.