William Katz:  Urgent Agenda






SAME OLD, SAME OLD – AT 9:54 A.M. ET:  We are four days out from the Newtown tragedy, and the pattern is familiar.  The "discussion" is inane, often vulgar, sometimes filled with threats, and loaded with misinformation.  There aren't many good ideas.  And, of course, effective stopgap measures that could increase school safety immediately, like placing trained and armed guards at schoolhouse doors, aren't even brought up.  Why do something that works for banks?

I was in Grand Central Station in New York a few days ago.  There were armed National Guard troops patrolling the station.  Hint?  Hint?

And there is now growing attention on the vulgarism of the media, which got a frightening number of facts wrong in the initial reporting on the tragedy, even naming the wrong killer, which could have gotten the innocent man killed.   Old Washington hand Wes Pruden comments:

Someone should call 911 because the CNN newsroom needs medical help. “For the past three days,” cried one correspondent on air, “I have been on the verge of tears every second and most of the people here have been crying 24 hour straight.” Ed Schultz of MSNBC, where creepy crawlies have leapt from Chris Matthews’ thigh to run up and down random legs in the newsroom, thinks there’s no time for due process: “It’s the confiscation of these types of weapons that counts and will have an impact.” Bob Schieffer of CBS News is relieved that the Connecticut shooter is a good Judeo-Christian American: “If this person had had, I’m sorry to say this, but if he had had an Arab name people would be going nuts about what we ought to do right now.” What an odd thing to say. People with Arab names have done evil things sometimes – the Fort Hood massacre comes to mind – and there’s no record of anybody going nuts over it. But it sounds like the right thing to say.

Hysteria and frenzy are clearly the way the politicians and media elites think we should deal with tragedy. These media worthies might better spend their tears and lamentations over the reckless coverage of the tragedy, when speculation, supposition and make-believe were presented as fact. Errors included the wrong number of the dead, the false identification of the shooter, the wrong guns identified, and the way the shooter was dressed. Tragedy was compounded by media ghouls who descended on surviving children and parents, stuffing microphones the size of beer cans in their faces to ask, “how did it feel?” Alas, editors have been chased out of the media.

Only reluctantly, some questions are raised now about whether such shooters are usually crazy, and what to do about them. A recent survey by Mother Jones magazine found that 38 of the 61 shooters in massacres over the past three decade “displayed signs of mental health problems prior to the killings.”

Prof. William Jacobson of the Cornell University Law School suggests that laws inspired by the ACLU make it difficult to identify and intervene with known nuts. “Will we address mental-health and educational-privacy laws, which instill fear of legal liability for reporting potentially violent mentally ill people to law enforcement? I doubt it.”

COMMENT:  Very well said.  And if you'd like some other well-presented material, please read this, by Dr. Jory Goodman, one of Urgent Agenda's contributors.  A trained psychiatrist who thinks independently, his views on these tragedies are well worth reading.

Be aware of one thing:  People who come up with good, solid, creative ideas to prevent these tragedies will be abused.  There are too many people who don't want good ideas.  They only want ideas that support their positions or enhance their careers.  And, I'm sorry to say it, but there are people who, and it is sickening to think it, actually seem to get some charge out of these tragedies.  (I know that's a terrible thing to say, but it's obviously true.)  These horrors confirm their sick view of American society and American culture. 

When Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote in 1962 that something terrible was happening to the black family, he was called a racist.  When J. Edgar Hoover, with all his faults, broke the Ku Klux Klan, his contribution was ignored by the fashionable left.  When Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioners lowered the murder rate in New York City by more than 75% they were also called racists.  As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. 

I suspect that ordinary citizens will come up with better solutions than all the politicians and journalists together.

December 18, 2012