If we’ve ever needed proof that federalism and the media are muscling their ways into mainline, American culture, we needn’t look further than the gun-crime reporting trends of 2012.
To most media-consuming Americans, it’s very apparent how many more violent gun crimes the media has been reporting over the last few months. Certainly more than normal. In fact, if you’re not familiar with actual FBI statistics on the subject, you might be given to think we’re in the midst of a national killing frenzy. We’ve had prolonged, national coverage of the shooting at a movie theater in Colorado on July 20, another at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin on August 5, another in Minneapolis on September 27, and then the unthinkable nightmare at a Connecticut elementary school on December 14. There’s even the Webster, NY shooting the day before Christmas – the town Jennifer and I met in.
Any single one of these instances is horrific, tragic, and demands corporate mourning. These stories are in and of themselves memorials to the fallen lives, benchmarks to the plight of the human fight against evil, testimonies to the resilience of community, faith, and personal fortitude, and calls to diligently strengthen and defend of ourselves and our neighbors.
But it never ends there.
For the media and for our legislators, it’s never enough to simply dwell on the tragedies, try and rebuild communities, and seek to strengthen our corporate commitments to the tenants of faith and civility that have held us together for over 200 years.
That’s because we live in an age of Federalized Media.
No one will “just report” a gun-related crime in 2013. In fact, we will only see gun-related crimes that are spinnable, and a complete ignoring of those that aren’t. Take for example the movie theatre shooting that you never heard about in San Antonio, TX back on December 17, 2012. The reason you never heard about it? An armed woman took out the shooter with a hand gun.
Watch and read carefully, and you’ll notice that almost all stories you’ve seen lately have had a signature line somewhere, one that starts with “…the Government plans on…” and ends with “…the measure goes up for a vote later this week.” Federalized Media will never again allow us to simply dwell on the grief of a loss or the efforts a community is taking to rebuild itself into something stronger; it must always move to reporting what the State and Federal Government plans to do about it.
I’m not a Ron Paul “guy.” I think he has some great things to say, and I think he has some absolutely irresponsible things to say, as do most politicians. But one of his recent quotes is certainly worth passing along here:
“I don’t agree that conservatives and libertarians should view government legislation, especially at the federal level, as the solution to violence. Real change can happen only when we commit ourselves to rebuilding civil society in America, meaning a society based on family, religion, civic and social institutions, and peaceful cooperation through markets.”
I’ve written on this before, but in light of current events it’s imperative for me to revisit it. Whenever reporters or legislatures, conservative or liberal, are willing to spin horrific tragedy into political gain, we must call it for what it is: the easiest way to legislate our way out of personal accountability and a God-centered moral compass.
May the people never lean on Government more than Government leans on the people, and may we return to substantiating the laws of our land not by the subjective corral of bureaucracy, but by the definitive mandates of virtue. Only a latent culture relinquishes its freedoms to those completely inept of preserving them. May we wake from our lethargy and rise to the occasion of self-governance once again.