(You can listen to the column, read by the author, here.)
Another week, another public-school shooting. This time at Denver’s East High School.
Watching the TV coverage, I saw angry parents berating Denver’s mayor and chief of police for not protecting their children. Mothers screaming about the cops not being there!
I know people are hurting and are in pain. I wish I could say this gingerly. I can’t.
These parents specifically, and Denver voters generally, are acting like children having a tantrum. And they need to grow up or our cities, and really the whole state, might never grow out of this “it isn’t fair” tantrum.
Let me focus in on a hand-made sign I’ve seen in the Gazette’s coverage of East High School students rallies for gun control. For weeks these kids have played the useful idiots. A kid is holding a sign that reads, “I want to FEEL safe.”
This is the perfect symbol for not only the gun control movement but so much of the police/sentencing/social justice reform that has passed throughout the state and cities.
But sadly, adults don’t want to BE safe.
Being safe requires facing some ugly, hard, sometimes painful stuff.
Emotional placebos like taking away guns from people who are not criminals FEELS safe and might soothe tantrums, but it won’t help you BE safe.
By the way, I say this as a guy who used to support and give money to anti-gun groups. I used to throw those tantrums. I know of what I speak.
Now back to East High. When he and his police chief were being verbally bludgeoned by parents for not having cops at the school, Mayor Hancock dared to utter a simple, undeniable fact — it was the Denver Public School Board that voted to remove all police, school resource officers (SROs), from their schools, not he, not the police chief.
The angry mob didn’t care. They wanted to FEEL safe. They demanded more placebos, oh, and his head.
This term-limited mayor missed a teachable moment to end an emotional tantrum.
Without a re-election to lose, imagine if an I’ve-had-enough Hancock pointed a righteous finger at the crowd and responded this way:
“Listen, crazy people. You got what you vote for. Don’t yell at me. Don’t yell at the chief of police. YOU voted for a school board who kicked our police out of your schools. YOU elected Tay Anderson, Scott Balderman, Angela Cocian, Brad Laurvick, Barbara O’Brien, Carrie Olsen and Jennifer Bacon. Yell at them. Better yet, look in the mirror and scream obscenities at that idiot for voting in crazed socialists who hate the police. Because that person is insane. Look what you have done to this once beautiful and safe city. So, grow the F up and start blaming yourself for the way you vote. And take some responsibility.”
I found myself arguing with the TV screen — elections have consequences. You elect a police-hating school board that kicks the cops out of schools…then you’re angry a cop isn’t there when a shooter comes in. So, blame the police?
You elect officials who change the laws so criminals don’t get locked up anymore, and then get angry when your car gets stolen?
Is it mass cognitive dissonance? Developmental delay on a societal scale? Are we in a Twilight Zone episode?
Colorado law mandates every child be forced into a government-run facility for seven hours a day. It is conscription under the guise of education. If you’re rich enough to send your kid to private school or home school, you can keep your kid somewhere safer.
The point? If government is going to take the most precious thing in our lives, our offspring, for seven hours a day, their first priority MUST be to keep them safe. Not to just make them, or us, FEEL safe.
When the lockdowns were just starting, I then wrote locking kids up and taking them away from their peers, activities, teachers and professionals who can see them in trouble and get them help would end later in violence. I wasn’t alone in seeing this. Why are we surprised now? I fear we are not close to the end demanding government make us FEEL safe.
Many, many will die before we even start the conversation demanding we BE safe.
Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
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