Friday, March 30, 2018 – As I watched coverage of the various public demonstrations around the country recently in the aftermath of the school shooting in Florida earlier this year, I scratched my head. Theatre of the absurd is the best way to describe what I think I saw. “Virtually amazing.”
The tragic shooting represented one of the most obvious series of government breakdowns and failures imaginable. It demonstrated in horrific terms what can happen when people rely on government to protect them. Yet in lemming-like manner, the protesters invited society to disarm fellow citizens so that everyone can be equally vulnerable to attacks that no one else, then, would be able to stop.
But it is the demonstrations themselves that I want to discuss here, because they were fascinating in a number of ways. For openers, it has been estimated that the actual size of the demonstration in the nation’s Capitol actually was about a quarter the size claimed by organizers, and other observers have estimated that only about one tenth of those in the demonstration were students. Those items aside, what if most of the demonstrators were students, and what if the number was as claimed?
The demonstrations across the land were well coordinated with the media, who covered them significantly. A bunch of high school students did not do that level of coordination of that many people in all of those places at more or less the same time.
Many of the “students” who addressed the various crowds, however, were obviously reading from prepared scripts. True protesters don’t need scripts. They are singularly passionate about causes that are collectively relevant to society. That combination seemed absent in these recent demonstrations.
This left me with an uneasy feeling about those who were egging on the students. These are the old-line community organizers who obviously did all of the actual coordinating of the events and arranged all of the travel it took to get thousands and thousands of participants there. Yet those organizers suggested that a bunch of high school students somehow had some kind of overarching wisdom that has been missed by the rest of society. Wow! That’s scary.
For those who are old enough to remember, think back to the student protests of the 1960s. Speakers then had no prepared remarks. They spoke passionately and extemporaneously about subjects they believed in deeply (whether their beliefs were based on anything of merit is another discussion, but at least they actually believed deeply about their subject matter).
Circumstances surrounding these recent demonstrations beg the question about who was actually in charge. It doesn’t look to me like it was the students. Rather, they were merely being used as pawns in the ongoing debate over the elimination of individual rights. The same enemies of freedom who show up whenever there is a right to be relinquished no doubt were the ones behind the scenes in these latest demonstrations.
It is just that this time, it happened to be the hapless students who were rolled out in front of the cameras to be used by the media for anti-gun propaganda purposes. Very handy. This isn’t the first time that subversives have used students as props for their social dramas.
For all the hoopla, however, how does it look now that the mass demonstrations are over? In the ‘60s, the cauldron kept on boiling, both openly and behind the scenes. It doesn’t have the same feeling this time around.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., expressed doubt that the students were marching for anything useful, an NBC report noted. Others opined that many of those attending were not there as serious protesters, but rather that they were there to be part of a gathering that included entertainment – like they saw themselves as being part of a free rock concert.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who signed the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act, which seeks to strip weapons from the hands of those with demonstrated mental illness, opposes the more widespread bans on gun access supported by many of the speakers at the rallies, the NBC report added.
CBS News reported: “A new poll just out last week found that 58 percent of Americans believe gun ownership increases safety by allowing law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.” Obviously, most folks understand what reality looks like.
Certainly, old-line gun grabbers will continue their skullduggery and perhaps their ranks may temporarily swell a bit overall. But this is not the kind of grass roots groundswell that endures. True groundswells cannot be orchestrated as the recent demonstrations most certainly were.
There may be some relatively minor tweaking of some gun laws in the near future, but probably nothing of note (although any additional gun law is a bad gun law). In a world where terrorists strike anywhere and everywhere, and where violent crime imprisons many people in their homes because the streets outside aren’t safe, it is unlikely that a majority will want to surrender their arms for some watered down social experiment.
So, what do we end up with? A feel-good weekend of frolic for some. I guess that’s what impressed me most about the demonstrations: they lacked the verve of anything that is really real. They were hollow and without substance, really.
Perhaps the “virtual” world has arrived. Show up in big numbers, make a lot of noise and then crawl back under some rock. “Virtually amazing.”