If you thought this was going to be easy, it's not, because doing what President so eloquently expressed at Newtown last night will take guts. Not the kind of guts the Newtown School Principal and Counselor displayed when they charged, empty-handed, at an active shooter in an attempt to end his carnage, but guts nevertheless.
The guts to do nothing less than change some core values of our present culture.
There is something of a common thread about all these young men shooting up places where there are lots of victims, and no, I'm NOT talking about "gun-free zones" here. This is not the 2A part of the "Conversation"
I'm talking about a cultural factor here. The factor of Acceptable Violence. If you're over the age of 30, and reasonably intelligent, you seen a change in the content of what passes for entertainment offered to the citizens of this country. Compared to just 25 years ago (this writer can extend this comparison back into the mid-1950s), movies and television contain far more depictions of violence, sex, and impolite language than they used to. In perfect syncopation to those changes, our society now tolerates more assault on strangers by strangers, more teen pregnancy and cursing like a sailor has become acceptable everyday conversation.
Let's set the fornication and cursing aside for the moment, and concentrate on the violence. Let's get to the nub of this. To do that, go here and read this short essay containing some amasing statistics on violence. Rivrsis, you go there too, even though this essayist is a well known conservative writer. We need the stats to hit us frontally.
It's obvious by Mr. Vigurie's presentation that we are in trouble, culturally. When this Nation was young, there was violence: violence against the natives who were here before the Europeans came to colonize, violence in the slave-owner culture, violence from even the rudimentary justice system, where you could be a lethal perpetrator of violence today, get caught, be tried tomorrow and hung the day after, all legally and properly. The violence of "the Old West" is crudely portrayed, although only the history of the violence seems to be left from the "Old West" days and depicted in current entertainment fare. The history of the solid citizens of the era, those who lived, farmed, built out this Nation seems to have been lost.
In my previous remarks on "The Conversation", I started by trying to put a box around what can be done, Constitutionally, and what can't. I focused on some changes which, to me, seem to have a chance of changing things without throwing the Bill of Rights into the dustbin of history.
The change we REALLY need doesn't concern the Second Amendment, anyway, it concerns the First. Over the past three generations, really the past five or so, we have gradually abandoned the strict, Calvinistic approach to interpersonal relations that our forefathers brought to these shores. Read about Calvinism, sometimes known as Puritanism (okay, for you Comparative Religion scholars, I am NOT going to split those hairs here). Of course, none of the excesses tolerated in our culture now would have been tolerated by those who landed at Plymouth Rock. There's a half-way point between the spiritual and physical self-deprivation of those days and our anything-goes attitude of today. We have to find that half-way point, and somehow, following the First Amendment*, we have to be able to both deny the excesses of today, and prohibit the forced deprivations of the Calvinists.
The Founders would have expected no less of us.
Let's get to it.
While we are getting to it, here's a note to Bill O'Reilly and his sycophants: put your war against "secular progressivism" where the sun don't shine. This isn't about secularism and it isn't political, either. This is a matter of defining the boundaries of our culture, and that is all it's about. Religion only enters into this discussion tangentially, in fact, all religions are conservative by definition. This isn't really about politics, either, although the odds are, if you are conservative politically, you are more likely to entertain ideas of installing more structure in your culture than you would be if you are liberal (progressive). What this is really about is defining responsible life.
* Following it will likely mean abandoning the un-defined boundaries of the curent Judiciary, though. The First Amendment, when judicially interpreted at the Federal level nowadays, will "allow" almost any activity under the rubrick of "free expression". That has to change, and a better basic definition of what the First means will have to issue from the SCOTUS, or any reform of our libertine ways is doomed before it starts.