On May 18, two U.S. shootings shared two common traits – one generating the typical knee-jerk reaction; the other, nothing.
In a Santa Fe, Texas, high school, 10 victims were killed by armed, hate-filled, 17-year old “loner” Dimitrios Pagourtzis. In Miami, Florida, at a property resort owned by President Donald Trump, hate-filled 42-year-old leftist Jonathan Oddi spewed forth anti-Trump venom, randomly firing his weapon but claiming no victims.
The two incidents shared traits of gun use and hatred – the latter embedded deep within the shooter’s injured, but demented, psyche.
Anti-gun activists quickly attacked the easy target – the NRA – despite no direct involvement, remaining silent about hatred.
Hate is a powerful motivator, generating senseless rage. If guns are not available to exhibit that rage, other mass killing instruments are. Some Democrats recognize that no law (even an NRA and Second Amendment ban) could have stopped the Santa Fe shooter (who also had planted functional explosive devices at the school).
While NRA members are yet to participate in mass shootings and while guns are not used in all such attacks, every mass killing involves hatred. Regardless of origin, hate is solely responsible for such shootings as inanimate objects do not transition into death instruments sans human intent.
Pagourtzis and Oddi were simply the latest breed of haters – the former’s directed against fellow students allegedly bullying him; the latter’s, his president.
In the aftermath of the Santa Fe shootings, anti-gun activists still holding the NRA responsible fail to address the hate factor to which they also subscribe. Their vitriol, encouraging violence against gun rights activists and predominantly Republican supporters, builds another foundational layer of societal hatred for future mass killers to justify violence.
After Trump tweeted concerns about the Santa Fe shootings, one-time-but-no-longer-funny-woman Kathy Griffin verbally attacked him, commenting, “You are a sociopath completely devoid of any empathy. Go f— yourself.”
Few can forget Griffin’s earlier outrageous, and failed, humor attempt, publicizing a photograph of her holding Trump’s severed, bloody head. Actions like hers foster an atmosphere where those contemplating violence become de-sensitized to it.
Anyone believing Griffin’s photograph was just an exercise in bad judgment should know it probably motivated a young California high school artist’s work. He subsequently painted a mural depicting Trump’s severed head on a spear. Incredulously, school officials allowed it.
But the chain reaction is obvious: Griffin’s violent photo begat a high school artist’s perception violence is OK, which begat his high school administrators’ perception that violent depiction also was OK.
When do we recognize, as a society, we feed the violence upon which some of those among us subsequently choose to act?
This same societal perception today that violence is OK probably is what possessed Pagourtzis to forebodingly post pictures on social media, displaying a T-shirt bearing the words, “Born to Kill,” as well as photos of a gun, a knife and a torch with the caption, “Hi, f—–s?” Yet no adult sensed a problem existed.
Compare inaction against him to action taken in 2013 against a 7-year old second-grader in Maryland for doing far less. Having innocently chewed a breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun, he was suspended from school.
The social media postings by Pagourtzis, plus his behavior, served as a red flag for his parents and other responsible adults that something was wrong. Yet adults in direct contact with him either failed to see or ignored the signs. Meanwhile, people like Griffin promoted an atmosphere that violence is acceptable, stoking a student’s hatred waiting to erupt.
High-profile media members also fan the flames violence is acceptable. CNN analyst April Ryan ridiculously claimed Trump press secretary Sarah Sanders’ innocent response to a question represented “street” slang that challenged her to a physical fight. Meanwhile, MSNBC reporter Nicolle Wallace promoted choking Sanders for an allegedly insipid response to a question.
If encouraging violence against government officials is the acceptable norm, who among us is safe from some malcontent’s hatred?
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo exemplifies the left’s demonization of the NRA while refusing to recognize the evil triggering these shootings emanates from within. He penned a letter to Trump following the Santa Fe shooting, stating: “When is enough enough? … Your first responsibility is to the people of this country, not the NRA – do something.”
Cuomo irresponsibly insists “something” be done, not offering a single verifiable reason why the NRA should be targeted or what should be done. Like so many progressives, he simply blames the easy target. Again, such critics refuse to recognize the problem today is one inflamed by society as a whole – one in which irresponsible people, whether politicians, news reporters, individual bloggers, etc., are all complicit by suggesting violence is OK.
Instead of confronting the mass shooting issue civilly and rationally, progressives like Cuomo take the David Hogg approach – i.e., something need be done but not knowing what it is. Such activists, truly desiring a rational solution, should research how best to identify and control the hatred manifested within a mass killer’s psyche.
Identifying hatred and controlling it before it can erupt is a daunting challenge. Therefore, a last line of defense is needed to protect students. The father of a murdered Santa Fe student recognizes gun bans will not do it – armed guards and metal detectors will. Ironically, this was demonstrated four days after the Santa Fe shootings by the quick action of an armed guard in a Dixon, Illinois, high school stopping a wannabe mass killer. The previous month, an Ocala, Florida, an armed guard did the same thing.
Sadly, America has become a hate incubator. While guns may well be the mass killer’s weapon of choice, it is hatred pulling the trigger. We focus on the former and not the latter at the peril of children’s lives.