I have a lot to say today. I appreciate your patience as I vent.
Just yesterday I posted a photograph of my third-grade class. The irony, in hindsight, isn’t lost on me — my schoolmates and I were the same age then as the kids at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas were yesterday when a messenger of evil murdered 19 of them, along with two teachers, and wounded more than a dozen others.
Those who know me don’t question my capacity for compassion. I won’t take time today for grief, however, neither perfunctory nor genuine. Grieving is a choice, and I’m too pissed to weep.
Instead, I’m goin’ back to third grade.
Don’t dismiss this because that was 1966 and this is 2022 — our culture may have changed, but kids are kids, people are people and our country rests on the same ideals now that it did 56 years ago.
My 8-year-old friends and I carried pocketknives. We played tackle football during recess and we’d wrestle in the dirt, sometimes to establish order or to settle a score. We had a class bully or two.
The next two years I was bussed to a different school in the district, where it wasn’t unusual to see kids board the school bus carrying a .22 rifle. They’d leave their guns and ammunition in the principal’s office during classes, pick them up at the end of the school day and hunt or plink their way home.
Once I was in high school, every proper pickup truck in the parking lot had a gun rack in the rear window. There were rifles and shotguns in those racks (and probably ammo in the glove box).
There was no violence. Nobody got shot. Nobody got stabbed.
No, we didn’t have the Internet. We didn’t have video games. We had the Three Stooges smacking the shit out of each other. We had westerns and detective shows on TV, morality tales that featured knives and lots of guns, people getting shot and bad guys dying in bloody fashion. We had the Vietnam war on the news every night.
Y’know what else we had?
We had families, usually with a father and a mother. We had veterans of World War II and Korea who walked among us with honor. We had churches and civic groups, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, 4-H and FFA. We had a community in which adults embraced their responsibility to produce good kids and good citizens.
We had our problems, sure. But we had standards of behavior that drew bright lines between right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable. And we had leaders.
To some of you that must sound simplistic, even quaint. But that was my America, the America in which I was raised, an America which lives in very few places today — but they do exist. Deb and I found a number of them in our travels, one just 50 miles from Uvalde.
But American culture overall has changed — irrevocably, I believe, and not for the better. And as we’ve seen, no place, no matter how isolated by distance or custom, is safe from the decay that surrounds it.
As a country, there’s no going back.
Last night I forced myself to listen to the current occupant of the Oval Office, fresh off a 17-hour flight home from an overseas trip that didn’t go well, address the American People. It’s what presidents do at moments like this, the unwritten duty to be consoler-in-chief.
He began with the expected commiseration, sounding less like a leader and more like a drunk old man who’d just been awakened from an afternoon nap. It was disturbing as hell, but the stupor didn’t last long — almost as if someone flipped a switch he launched into an angry tirade.
“When in God’s name are we gonna stand up to the gun lobby?” he howled. We knew that was coming eventually, but I don’t think anyone expected such a harangue at that moment. He went on and on, too, before trailing off, mumbling and shuffling away.
I was listening via Fox News on SiriusXM, and the “speech” coincided with Tucker Carlson’s time slot. After Daffy finished I could hear Tucker drumming the desk briefly before saying this:
“The President of the United States — frail, confused, bitterly partisan, desecrating the memory of recently murdered children with tired talking points of the Democratic Party; dividing the country in a moment of deep pain rather than uniting; his voice rising, amplified only as he repeats the talking points he repeated for over 35 years in the United States Senate. Partisan politics being the only thing that animates him. Unfit for leadership of this country.”
He summed up perfectly my own reaction to what I’d heard. In my lifetime it marked the lowest point of the American presidency.
Anyone who lived through the aftermath of Sandy Hook in 2012 and 2013 knows what’s coming next. Soulless leftist bastards will dance on the graves of 19 dead children and prosecute their shameless campaign to disarm law-abiding citizens.
It’s worth noting that the ideological cripples pushing for “gun control” are the same ones clamoring for the Supreme Court to uphold Roe v. Wade. They’re the sub-humans who favor abortion up to the moment of birth.
They have no credibility on preventing the murder of innocent children.
Ignore the denials and the liberal lingo — reasonable, sensible, gun safety, common-sense — and realize that Democrats and other progressives are coming for your guns. There will be clever schemes and head-fakes, sneaky amendments and appeals to emotion and all the unfiltered bullshit we’re accustomed to seeing, but none of it can disguise the anti-American Left’s aims.
They want us to believe that law-abiding gun owners — and the firearms industry — bear responsibility for the actions of criminals and madmen. We do not. Don’t let them hang that on you.
The birthright to keep and bear arms isn’t negotiable. All “gun control” is unacceptable. If you can’t say that, you’re nothing but a poser.
Liberty or death.
While the Left pushes its agenda to infringe on essential Liberty, on the Right we’ll see mostly hollow (if well-intentioned) rhetoric. It’ll be about the sadness, the grieving, the show of respect.
That’s just conservative virtue-signaling. It’s pointless.
Many will propose a single solution — God, of course. They’ll observe that God has been scrubbed from schools and society, that bringing God back is the only fix.
With all due respect to The Faithful, proposing that God is the answer is no more constructive than banning guns. God isn’t something that can be “done.” By itself it changes nothing, prevents nothing, accomplishes nothing.
I submit to you that there is no solution. To be precise, there is no national solution, no universal answer, no antidote to the poison coursing through American culture.
So what do we do? Is there anything we can do?
What I’m about to say is directed only at those who have a sincere interest in being constructive — and I mean quite literally building a strong American culture. I’m not here to change minds. If you don’t already stand firm on American traditions and Founding Principles, you have no role in this. Best you move along.
I’ll start by setting the table. There a few things we need to establish and agree on.
First, stop saying things like, “We need to make sure that this never happens again.” That’s delusional. No matter what we do or don’t do, it will happen again. Evil walks this world. Evil always finds a way.
Second, this is about culture. It’s not about crime, politics or anything else.
Third, and as I said earlier, there is no national solution. That’s important in a couple of ways, notably that trying to change established culture top-down is cumbersome and unproductive.
What’s more, some parts of our country are just plain lost. Many urban areas in America never will be America again, so toxic and so decayed that they’re not worth the effort. Write them off.
And fourth, there must be no single source of good, no exclusive driver of change. Many can contribute, but none may rule.
With that as a foundation, then, here’s a graphic I came across many years ago. Part of a 1950 propaganda booklet, “The National Civil Defense Pattern” illustrates the building blocks of a strong national defense. There’s a reason I’m including it — stay with me.
“Civil defense rests upon the principle of self-protection by the individual,” the booklet explains, “extended to include mutual self-protection on the part of groups and communities.”
“The individual, given all training possible, does what he can for himself in an emergency,” it continues. “The family unit, similarly trained, attacks its own problems while also contributing to the organized community effort. The community’s civil-defense organization works to meet its own crisis, receiving outside help if its facilities are inadequate, or contributing support to neighboring communities.”
I’ll give you a moment to notice how little that resembles today’s America.
Now, my point — the foundation of a strong culture is the individual and the family. From there it radiates to the community. But not just any community.
A community of like minds.
Deb and I discovered some of those communities — few and far between, but they do exist. Where they don’t, they must be built.
Like minds must gather. For lots of Americans, that’ll mean moving.
Individual. Family. Community. In that order. It’s the only way.
This is America. A restored American culture will rise from communities that preserve Founding Principles and the inalienable individual rights to Life, Liberty, Property. There will be traditions. There will be patriotism. There will be honor.
There will be accountability.
The community will take care of its own — in prosperity and in adversity, in celebration and in defense.
Any individual and any group standing for those principles and supporting the exercise of Liberty — churches, fraternal and civic groups, benevolence organizations — will be welcome. Anyone advancing a misbegotten agenda of identity, equity, entitlement or supremacy will be driven from the community.
Whatever the community values — most especially its children — will be protected from enemies within and without by all means necessary.
In sum, it’ll be a manifestation of the adage, “What we tolerate will continue.” That which threatens a restored American culture simply won’t be tolerated.
I’m quite serious about this. What you do with it is up to you.
As if I haven’t gone on long enough already, I do have one more thing to say today. It’s prompted by something that Deb says from time to time, usually when she notices a series of events with a common thread.
“I don’t believe in coincidences,” she’ll say. And fundamentally I agree with her, within the bounds of intellectual honesty and stopping short of seeing a conspiracy under every rock.
We’re five months out from the mid-terms and Democrats are in deep trouble. Pro-Liberty conservatives have been making strong legislative gains, accomplishing “constitutional carry” and repealing restrictive “gun control” laws in several states. This week the regime’s pick to head the ATF — a guy who makes no secret of favoring another ban on “assault weapons” — is in front of a Senate committee for confirmation hearings.
Ten shoppers dead in Buffalo. Less than two weeks later, 19 fourth-graders and two teachers murdered in Texas. Both, reportedly, involved firearms ripe for bans by un-American Democrats.
Look, I have no concrete basis for connecting the two massacres. I’m not inclined to jump to any conclusions. But last night, when Deb said, “I don’t believe in coincidences,” I didn’t call bullshit.
I had to consider that she might be onto something — that two massacres in ten days, events that play right into the Left’s hand, was no accident. And that, my friends, is a terrifying prospect.
One year ago today we drove our rented pickup truck south from Harrison on Arkansas Route 7 toward the Boston Mountains, ending at the historic Cliff House Restaurant overlooking the “Arkansas Grand Canyon.” After a spectacular lunch we retraced our route and stopped for a tour of Mystic Caverns.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.