Op-Ed

Are we not teaching children that bad things can happen?

Parents thanked policemen after they had dropped their kids off at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.. on Wednesday. Classes resumed for the first time after the mass shooting.
Parents thanked policemen after they had dropped their kids off at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.. on Wednesday. Classes resumed for the first time after the mass shooting. Associated Press

Last summer, Fayette Circuit Judge Ernesto Scorsone correctly ruled a young criminal’s sentence should acknowledge that his brain is not yet fully developed. It then follows that those with underdeveloped brains should not be making public policy.

Scorsone should have a talk with University of Kentucky law professor Joshua A. Douglas, who recently wrote an essay for CNN arguing that 16-year-olds should have the right to vote. Many of Douglas’ new voters could not pass a basic civics test. Neither could many adults.

The Rev. Leah D. Schade opined on these pages that emotions should guide our public policy. Teenagers are emotional creatures. Should we fill our legislative bodies with children?

For a glimpse of that world, watch a rerun of CNN’s recent town hall on guns in Florida. Call it the French Revolution 2.0. The only thing missing was a guillotine on the stage for the National Rifle Association representative. The NRA’s post-Sandy Hook National School Shield program could have prevented the Florida shooting.

Oprah Winfrey recently equated the student marches against guns with the civil rights marches. To conflate a movement to extend our country’s founding rights to everyone with a movement to abrogate one of those rights is sad.

She may not know that the Dred Scott Decision in 1857 denied black citizenship partly because it would mean black gun ownership. In fact, the history of our nation’s gun-control laws is the history of black disarmament. The utter failure of the nation’s strictest gun laws to protect blacks in Chicago does not seem to faze its most famous citizen.

Modern parents want to inoculate their children against the pain of life. The unhealthiness of this urge is the basic premise of Wendy Mogel’s book “The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.” A free society that fails to teach its children that bad things happen is a society that cannot teach its children goodness and resilience. Understanding good and bad, learning the difference between right and wrong is part of the maturation process.

Perhaps the widespread administration of psychotropic drugs to children reflects modern parents’ efforts to keep their kids from skinning their brains. In rare cases, some of those drugs cause suicidal and homicidal ideation. In listening to the heart-wrenching testimony of the children of Florida, one hears a post-9/11 generation that has no experience of evil.

No child in this country has seen a parent or friend dragged into the street, put up against a wall and shot, although plenty of children around the world in the last century did. Totalitarians made entire countries gun-free zones and murdered their subjects by the millions.

The left says that President Donald Trump is a totalitarian, yet they want us to disarm. The left says that government can protect us, yet government at every level has repeatedly demonstrated it cannot. The left says policemen can protect us, yet the Supreme Court says that they have no such constitutional duty. The police are usually either too late or too scared to engage.

A government that is tens of trillions of dollars in debt is flirting with a currency crisis. Economic instability causes political instability which causes social instability which causes violence. Who will protect our families then? Marinated in moral relativity, the left is incapable of acknowledging the existence of evil, mistaking it for mental illness.

It cannot be eradicated by laws, drugs or delusion of the perfectibility of man. It can only be faced with wits, determination and courage. The Israelis figured out how to protect schools; the model exists. It does not require the surrender of our right to protect ourselves and the manner in which we do it. At times, evil will skin our knees, our minds and our souls. The sun also rises, calling us to pick ourselves up and run free again.

Cameron S. Schaeffer is a Lexington physician. Reach him at camnjen96@gmail.com.

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