We, the People of the Un-United States of America, have a problem on our hands. We have a well-trained, unregulated, networked military that we can’t understand. With increasing regularity, it’s going to pop!
It’s hard for parents to know if their child has fallen into darkness and despair on 4chan. But you probably know what video games he plays. My son and his friends, for example, were all interested in Call of Duty, the most popular first-person shooter. They are just some of the 400 million who bought and are playing around the world.
For my generation it was Doom, which pioneered the first-person genre. I’m old school: Doom has a truth-in-advertising warning label on its very name that Call of Duty doesn’t.
Here’s the reality below the waterline of public perception: an average teenager has a knowledge of modern weaponry that would make an arms dealer blush, and has developed over thousands of hours of play a natural mastery of the tactics of war.
In contrast, my son and his friends also played, and excelled at, Guitar Hero, but the skill they developed was not transferable to the reality of the guitar.
I recently had the misfortune of seeing first-person shooter footage of the Buffalo Massacre. I wish I could stop watching it. I witnessed revenge violence porn through the eyes of an uncaring and evil soul.
What I actually saw was too similar to the surreal world of video games. Just imagine a high-capacity close-quarters firefight with an enemy, with a couple of caveats. The enemy in this case is unarmed. And most of the body count is women and children. What an evil coward: a grocery store is a “women and children first” shooting gallery.
And when the police finally show up, when this twisted thing confronts a man with a gun drawn, it folds. Hands up. Game over. It is a consequence of open field nihilism.
What are we going to do with those insensitive and cruel young people? Ban the manufacture and sale of assault weapons? That’s not going to happen. Ban these games of violence? That’s not going to happen either. The Second and First Amendments are stumbling blocks to knee-jerk reactions. We need to exercise our common sense judgment as citizens, parents, teachers, and friends.
There seems to be an emerging consensus on raising the age limit to buy a gun to 21 years of maturity. The idea of 18 made sense when we had a draft. Once upon a time, we had to vote, drink and die for our country at 18 years old. Ronald Reagan separated the drinking age from this trifecta of coming of age. How about a great deal that raises voting and buying a gun to 21, which is the age when the human brain is fully developed? In this age of posturing and complacency, that’s unlikely.
So what can we really do? What if parents give their children a mental health checkup? If your child is withdrawn and angry, plays these games incessantly, and is fascinated by guns and violence, it might be a good idea to look at your child’s search history or ask their opinion about the world and their place in it. I’m sure the parents of these “shoot ’em” demons saw a prolonged turn to the dark side long before the big event.
Parents must show some supervision of those who live under their roof. Although the law allows the purchase of a gun at age 18, it does not replace the right of ownership of the parents. It’s your castle, not his. Vigilant parenting is our best first line of defense.
And let’s not forget there’s a limit to the “snitches get points” man code. You owe it to your old friend, to your teachers and classmates, to your peers, to your own soul, never to be complicit in this kind of evil.
We all know that growing up is hard to do. And that high school is the front line of heartbreak from boys to men. The Parkland High School shooter was able to purchase a gun because his numerous public physical expressions of antisocial behavior never made it into the system. Our fixation on restorative justice is literally killing our children. Incentivize and enable sociopaths.
Just look at this villain from Los Angeles who got his fill of Grand Theft Auto with a mother and son. Months earlier, he got his hand slapped for putting a roofie in a girl’s drink. That could be his daughter or sister. The 16-year-old then steals a car and intentionally runs over a mother and baby. These could be his wife and his son. In Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon, this second-time loser gets a slap in the face from youth camp on the other side and the chance that he’ll get his case sealed.
What do you think will be the next violent iteration for such a young man? In a couple of years, he’ll be old enough to buy a gun. This is insane, and the unintended but bloody consequences should be clear to all of us by now. And it’s not born out of the Second Amendment or the First. He is a victim of the death of common sense.
Guy Shepherd is editor of planned man.