What's Wrong With This Country?Opinion
OPINION — Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it didn’t fall apart in a day. Societies change over time, values are adjusted, mores shift, and public opinion is swayed by rhetoric offered through news media. America’s ox is in the ditch, but it didn’t fall in there all at once. Our country has experienced a progressive decline during the past hundred years that has frayed the fabric of the nation to the point where you can see through it. I don’t recommend looking through that fabric, because what’s on the other side is not attractive.
During the past 20 years I’ve avoided writing about some of the problems the country faces, because they didn’t relate directly to the outdoors. But the gun issue does directly affect outdoorspeople, and now some other topics have been dragged into the discussion, because those problems are affecting how people view firearms, and what laws will be passed concerning our freedom to own certain objects. The subject of banning guns, and why people want to ban guns, leads to other unpleasant issues. So now I have to address those.
Probably the most detrimental problem in America is political correctness, which is inaccurately defined most of the time. When we refrain from making jokes about people because of their race or ethnic group, we aren’t being politically correct, we’re being polite. Common courtesy has become so rare in the U.S. that it is mistaken for political correctness, which exacerbates our difficulties. It’s wrong to make fun of people because of their skin color, or where they came from, or their religion, but that has nothing to do with politics.
Political correctness has become an albatross which curbs free speech, and without free speech we can’t solve our problems. A hateful woman who teaches at a college in Fresno recently posted horrible things about the late Barbara Bush on social media, and bragged that she couldn’t be fired for it. She was not fired, nor should she have been. However much I disagreed with what she said and how she said it, I must acknowledge her right to express herself. Free speech is the first right taken away by despots and tyrants. If you ever wonder who has power over you, look at who you are not allowed to criticize.
If we could ban political correctness, we would be on our way to happier days. We have become a society of offended people looking for someone to blame for our problems. We are no longer adults, recognizing that not everyone agrees with us, but children pointing our fingers and whining that our feelings are damaged. Hate speech has become a crime. Seriously. That in itself is proof that freedom is dead. The Fresno teacher’s social media posts were blatant, obvious hate speech. All hate speech is offered by bitter, immature, classless people. It should be ignored, not prosecuted.
One aspect of the gun control debate that has always fascinated me is the beliefs of the people on both sides of it. Those advocating the banning of guns are typically the people who oppose capital punishment, even for cold-blooded mass murderers. The same people usually favor a woman’s right to murder her unborn child in her womb. Those two opinions are on opposite ends of the spectrum and, as Shakespeare said, ne’er the twain shall meet.
The abortion argument often used is that a fetus is not a human, but a potential human. That indicates that sometimes women give birth to humans, and sometimes they give birth to something else. Maybe ferrets, or horses. There is no such thing as a potential human, although I have my doubts about some people.
Those who hold this ‘potential human’ position on unborn babies are generally the same people who are in favor of huge fines and imprisonment for anyone who disturbs bald eagle eggs, or destroys sea turtle eggs. The fine for those crimes is up to $250,000. But if a human fetus is only a potential human, and not really a human, then a bald eagle egg doesn’t contain a bald eagle, but a potential bald eagle. A sea turtle egg contains a potential sea turtle.
Once it became widely accepted that murdering an unborn child is not a crime, it’s a short walk to the opinion that murdering a week-old baby is OK. Why then are we surprised that kids have decided it’s acceptable to murder their fellow students and teachers at school? When we offer conflicting messages, kids get confused. If life is not held sacrosanct in all its stages, it is disregarded in all its stages. We can’t have it both ways. We have to choose. When our courts value the lives of animals above the lives of humans, we’re sending a clear message to our children. Their lives don’t matter to us. So we put up impotent signs in front of schools to protect them, and guard our money and our politicians with guns. Our society is sick.
Those are some of the reasons for murder in general, and school shootings in particular. Next week I’ll deal with the one thing almost all mass shooters have in common. If I still have a column next week.