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Monday, April 23, 2007
John Derbyshire, Nathanael Blake, and Mark Steyn all weighed in on the Virginia Tech shootings last week; primarily in regards to the apparent lack of self-reliance of the students at the campus. All three were hit with a firestorm of anger from people on the left who apparently don't feel that one can make such an observation. While it is a touchy subject and one has to be careful not to belittle the victims, asking where the men in our culture have gone is a viable question. After all, the only two men at Virginia Tech that have been reported to have actively attempted to disarm the killer were a middle-age ex-military professor and an elderly professor who survived the Holocaust. Beyond the murders at VT, though, Steyn wonders about the overall "culture of passivity" that appears to be taking hold in this country.
We do our children a disservice to raise them to entrust all to officialdom’s security blanket... when something goes awry... the state won’t be there to protect you. You’ll be the fellow on the scene who has to make the decision. As my distinguished compatriot Kathy Shaidle says:

When we say “we don’t know what we’d do under the same circumstances”, we make cowardice the default position.

I’d prefer to say that the default position is a terrible enervating passivity. Murderous misfit loners are mercifully rare. But this awful corrosive passivity is far more pervasive, and, unlike the psycho killer, is an existential threat to a functioning society.
Steyn followed up this column with one in the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday, in which he discusses the inability for our society to come to grips with reality.
And at Yale, the dean of student affairs, Betty Trachtenberg, reacted to the Virginia Tech murders by taking decisive action: She banned all stage weapons from plays performed on campus. After protests from the drama department, she modified her decisive action to "permit the use of obviously fake weapons" such as plastic swords.
I think we have a problem in our culture not with "realistic weapons" but with being realistic about reality. After all, we already "fear guns," at least in the hands of NRA members. Otherwise, why would we ban them from so many areas of life? Virginia Tech, remember, was a "gun-free zone," formally and proudly designated as such by the college administration. Yet the killer kept his guns and ammo on the campus. It was a "gun-free zone" except for those belonging to the guy who wanted to kill everybody. Had the Second Amendment not been in effect repealed by VT, someone might have been able to do as two students did five years ago at the Appalachian Law School: When a would-be mass murderer showed up, they rushed for their vehicles, grabbed their guns and pinned him down until the cops arrived.

But you can't do that at Virginia Tech. Instead, the administration has created a "Gun-Free School Zone." Or, to be more accurate, they've created a sign that says "Gun-Free School Zone." And, like a loopy medieval sultan, they thought that simply declaring it to be so would make it so. The "gun-free zone" turned out to be a fraud -- not just because there were at least two guns on the campus last Monday, but in the more important sense that the college was promoting to its students a profoundly deluded view of the world.
To promote vulnerability as a moral virtue is not merely foolish. Like the new Yale props department policy, it signals to everyone that you're not in the real world.

The "gun-free zone" fraud isn't just about banning firearms or even a symptom of academia's distaste for an entire sensibility of which the Second Amendment is part and parcel but part of a deeper reluctance of critical segments of our culture to engage with reality. Michelle Malkin wrote a column a few days ago connecting the prohibition against physical self-defense with "the erosion of intellectual self-defense," and the retreat of college campuses into a smothering security blanket of speech codes and "safe spaces" that's the very opposite of the principles of honest enquiry and vigorous debate on which university life was founded. And so we "fear guns," and "verbal violence," and excessively realistic swashbuckling in the varsity production of ''The Three Musketeers.'' What kind of functioning society can emerge from such a cocoon?
It seems like all of this hinges on the left's inability to recognize that evil exists NATURALLY in the human heart and is not a product of upbringing, culture, or circumstances. If we pretend that an evil man only exists if he is carrying a gun or was raised by rednecks in Alabama, we are historically naive. As the ignorant fool, Lawrence O'Donnell, frothed on The McLaughlin Group yesterday morning:
It was a high-tech killing because the magazines he was using in his automatic weapon were illegal during the Clinton administration. He would not have been able to buy them if George Bush and the Republican Congress did not allow them to become sold to mentally ill people like this... There were kids on that campus who were brave enough and big enough to stop one person with a gun unless it was an automatic weapon that could spray the bullets, just spray them, Pat [Buchanan]. That's why they couldn't stop him.
This man's fear of guns makes him so pathetically wrong about every detail. For one, it was NOT an automatic weapon used by Cho. Nor were the magazines he used illegal during Clinton's reign. Nor did Bush allow guns to be sold to mentally ill people. Also, since they weren't automatic weapons, they obviously didn't "spray" bullets. And he calls himself a journalist.


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Darius' book montage

The Cross Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel The Main Thing
Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Overcoming Sin and Temptation
According to Plan: The Unfolding Revelation of God in the Bible
Disciplines of a Godly Man
Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem
When Helping Hurts: Alleviating Poverty Without Hurting the Poor. . .and Ourselves
The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith
Respectable Sins
The Kite Runner
Life Laid Bare: The Survivors in Rwanda Speak
Machete Season: The Killers in Rwanda Speak
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, biblical, charismatic/contemplative, fundamentalist/calvinist, ... anabaptist/anglican, metho
Show Them No Mercy
The Lord of the Rings
Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass
The Truth War: Fighting for Certainty in an Age of Deception
Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming
The Chronicles of Narnia
Les Misérables

Darius Teichroew's favorite books »