Hardly had the blood been scrubbed off the floors in Newtown than everyone who was anyone had begun shifting the blame from Adam Lanza to some intangible social failure.
Back in 2002, Michael Moore trundled his bulk over to Colorado to exploit the Columbine massacre for a general rant about gun culture, American foreign policy and how hard it was to find a shop selling bacon grease by the ton at two in the morning.
In his film, which won an Oscar for Best Documentary, Moore gave his audience what they wanted, lots of scenes of “hicks and hillbillies” buying, selling and giving away guns all over the place to illustrate the murderous ravages of American gun culture. Some of those scenes were staged, but it didn’t matter since Moore was catering to an audience that had nothing but contempt for working class Americans and would believe any awful thing about them.
What did gun culture have to do with a plot by two disgruntled dorks upset over being called “Faggots” a few times too many? About as much as gun culture has to do with Adam Lanza, another award winning product of the, “Maybe some people deserve to get beaten up” club.
Your average school shooter is unhappy and angry, irreligious, incapable of fitting into a community and filled with rage that he exercises through violent fantasies. His culture isn’t gun culture. It’s loner culture. Video games do not cause him to kill, but they are how he entertains himself until he can get a taste of the real thing.
Adam Lanza, Dylan Kleibold, Eric Harris, Seung-Hui Cho, James Holmes, One L. Goh and Jared Loughner had as much in common with what the Michael Moore Fan Club thinks of as “gun culture” as Michael Moore does with the working class. Whatever gun culture they had was not the American Scots-Irish culture of the hunter, the rancher and the militia member, but the urban posse of emasculated men of no worth that brandishes weapons as a way to get respect.
The gun culture of the school shooter is the lobby scene in The Matrix, the frag or be fragged multiplayer gaming culture of Halo and Doom, and the Joker killing his way across Gotham. None of these products of mass entertainment make one a killer, but they are also far more illustrative of the type of gun culture that defines school shooters, than anything that Michael Moore and the MSNBC talking heads mean by gun culture.
For most Americans there is no gun culture, only the ownership of guns. To the extent that any gun culture has developed it was in response to a gun control culture that sought to demonize the ownership of firearms. The traditional and religious culture of the American gun owner has little in common with the power fantasies of the school shooter. To the gun owner, a firearm is a necessary tool. To the school shooter, it is a way to stop feeling powerless, a way to get beyond the ersatz joys of killing bots and avatars, of watching Keanu Reeves spin through the air while filling a mob of policemen full of lead, with the joy of the real kill.
But that has not stopped anyone and everyone from opining on the great malady of American gun culture. Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse basketball coach, took the time out to blather on about it for ten minutes. A Washington Post writer named Max Fisher claimed that American gun culture was “unique” because Americans own a lot of guns. That is roughly the level of fact-based discourse on gun culture that you can expect from gun-control culture which asserts that ownership is identity.
The Battle Creek Enquirer ran an editorial which asserted that “The gun culture in this country is insane” and then failed to define what that gun culture consisted of except to say that, “The insanity of America’s gun culture is that in the face of staggering evidence to the contrary, the gun lobby successfully peddles the lie that we are safer when we ease access to firearms.”
The definition of gun culture insanity then is believing that when a dork who has seen the Matrix or The Dark Knight or blood splatter on his monitor a few times too many comes bearing lead, it is better to be able to defend yourself than to be a target. It’s absurd, of course, we are told by gun control culturalists, to believe that ordinary civilians can do anything in such a crisis except wet their pants and hope that the SWAT team doesn’t get stuck in traffic.
But in 1966, during the Texas Tower Massacre, a Co-Op manager named Allen Crum grabbed a rifle and accompanied three Austin police officers up into the tower and helped give them cover while they took down the sniper. But that was in 1966. Today Crum would have been shot for picking up the rifle and Officer Martinez, who picked up a shotgun and fired into the shooter’s prone body after he had already been severely wounded, would have been dismissed from the force, put on trial and would have spent the next decade dodging civil suits and doing infomercials to raise money.
And that’s why we’re so much safer today, than we were then, on our Zero Tolerance campuses and in our Gun-Free Zones, where no one is allowed to have so much as a pocket knife and no one can do a thing when a shooter arrives except lie on the floor and hope that the killer picks another victim.
At Salon, which is like Slate, if Slate were a failure, Amanda Marcotte urges that we attack “not the guns themselves, but gun culture”. Amanda, mainly known for getting the Duke case wrong and being fired from the Edwards campaign, means that we should ban gun ads in newspapers.
“A lot of liberals aren’t tuned into this, because they live in their own enclaves and absorb media that doesn’t really cater to the gun crowd, but gun advertising is common in many markets,” Amanda breathlessly reports to those organic pastry shoppers of San Francisco and the Off-Broadway crowd taking in the latest transsexual cabaret spectacular. While she never does get around to defining what the dreaded gun culture is, she does mention that, “Americans simply don’t like giving up perceived rights.”
If only they spent more time in organic pastry shops and transsexual cabarets they might realize that they are only giving up their perceived Bill of Rights for the real right to free birth control in the best bargain since Esau traded his birthright for a mess of organic free trade pottage.
Finally Jessica Pieklo, writing at a site whose menu is limited to “Animals”, “Women”, “Politics”, “Food”, “LGBT” and “Global Development”, in that order, informs us that gun culture and rape culture are a product of “white masculinity”. An hour ago I just passed a non-white driver whose car had 9MM decals on his windows and was blasting a song where the word “hoes” came up a lot, but there are topics that just can’t be discussed even for a site that covers everything from LGBT to Animals.
For all the loose talk about American gun culture, no one really seems to be able to define what it is. Defining gun culture by the entertainment industry drifts too far into Hollywood and Detroit, and away from the rural culture that is the real target of gun control culture. And that just leaves gun controllers grasping at gun ads and gun ownership, and the omnipresent white devil who never stops buying Manhattan for a bottle of whiskey and objectifying things in ways that males of no other race do.
Instead there are a thousand articles written in children’s blood crying out, “We can’t just do nothing.” Something must be done. Now. Last week. If only we ban more weapons, we can be as safe as Norway, home of the worst shooting spree of all, or Connecticut, which already has an assault weapons ban. And after those screeds come calls from politicians to “set aside the rhetoric” and have a serious conversation about taking the Bill of Rights out back and putting a bullet in its head. For the children who had no one to protect them when a gunman came to their school and will still have no one to protect them when gun control culture gets its way.
After these come a torrent of armchair psychology analyses of America’s gun culture, which are only slightly more elegant versions of Jessica Pieklo’s thesis about Freud and Michael Moore’s thesis about rural America. And those are what gun culture is really about. After all how can you be confident of your own superiority unless you have a documentary and a hundred articles affirming it for you by the traditional method of putting down the people at the bottom of the ladder.
What liberals think of as gun culture is really shorthand for rural America. It’s what liberals won’t say, but it’s what they mean. Americans are still sentimental about the village, so, for now, the number of movies that portray the rural community as ideal, rather than a hive of small-minded bigots, is still rather high. But there are backdoor ways of getting at the same topic and talking about gun culture is one of them.
When liberals talk about “gun culture”, they mean the same thing that Barack Obama did when he told his San Francisco fundraiser friends about the people out there who still cling to their bibles and their guns. It isn’t about the guns really, though gun control culture is worried about having that much personal autonomy in the hands of people who don’t share their values and like their independence, it’s about rural America. And rural America, like guns, is another symbol that stands in for traditional America.
The left cannot talk about how much it hates this country. Gun culture is one of its dog whistles. A way to talk about how much it hates America without actually saying it out loud where everyone can hear. Talking about gun culture not only allows the left to publicly vent its hatred for America, gun control, like racism, is another way that the left teaches Americans to hate America.
But the truth about gun culture is that the left has a great deal more in common with Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, Adam Lanza and Jared Loughner. Far more than those shooters had with any phantom conservative gun culture.
The American left, like any high school shooter, is bitter, angry and filled with contempt for the rest of the country. Stuck in a country made of flyover country that thinks of leftists the way Columbine students thought of Klebold and Harris, the left treats Americans to their own Columbine Massacre every time it defends criminals and terrorists, every time it wrecks American manufacturing and laughs all the way to the bank as it bankrupts Americans.
For all the crocodile tears that the left spills, after all the children’s blood that it pumps into a syringe and then spill out on paper, the left culturally identifies with the shooters and the shooters culturally identify with the left. They are both odd men out in a place that they don’t belong, dressing up their inner ugliness in a false sense of superiority. The shooters believe that they are superior intellects victimized by the mediocre people around them who are unable to appreciate their genius. That is the cursory bio of every leftist who troops down to New York, San Francisco or Portland.
And both the left and the shooters agree that the people you are shooting at should not have guns.
Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century. He blogs at Sultan Knish.