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Outsiders vs. Insiders: Life-changing events shine spotlight on 2018’s electoral consequences

The life-changing event.

One of life’s enduring mysteries is waking up every morning not knowing what will transpire the rest of the day. Life-changing events can be good or bad, but there’s no stopping them either way. Sometimes it’s what Donald Trumphappened to other people that forces a complete change in perspective.

PJ Media CEO Emeritus Roger L. Simon experienced such an occurrence the other day. The senseless and tragic Pittsburgh Tree of Life Synagogue massacre changed his mind on whether to purchase a firearm, something he’d resisted for 74 years. Simon wrote at PJ Media, “The local and global situation with anti-Semitism has reached such a level I'd be a fool not to.  Between the rising anti-Zionism and Jew hatred on our campuses and in the Democratic Party (what were Barack Obama and Bill Clinton doing being photographed with Louis Farrakhan?), the bloodthirsty jihadists, and the neo-Nazi monsters like this Bower character, we are at a point I never thought we'd reach in my lifetime.  And as the co-screenwriter of two feature films about the Holocaust, I have a pretty good idea where it can lead.

“So I will buy a gun. It's not about fear.  It's just history and logic -- the canary in the coal mine thing. I want my family and me to be ready if catastrophe strikes, although I sincerely hope it never will. Oh, how I hope that. But I still have to be prepared…

“I will buy a gun with a heavy heart. It's not something I really want to do. I don't enjoy hunting (I've tried it) and find target practice only mildly diverting, something I would only want to do a few times a year. (I'll have to do more.)  But the world gives me little choice, not just as a Jew but as a citizen. Self-defense is common sense.”

Yes, it is and these days many people from all parts of the ideological spectrum are reaching a similar conclusion. Reformed Hollywood liberal Simon’s reasoning echoes my own and several people I know, “ordinary” folks who’ve decided it’s time to arm ourselves or rue the feelings of powerlessness should the need ever arise. What once was a world where self-defense was rarely called for is now a place where nutcases and terrorists can alter your life – or end it – within the span of a few seconds.

Liberals repeatedly suggest President Trump’s and others’ rhetoric triggers an impulsive response by deranged people to carry out life-changing events like what just went down in the Steel City but they also don’t grasp how vital self-defense would be when a scumbag like Robert Bowers crashes over the sanity cliff. One good guy with a gun might not have saved everyone on Saturday but several of those now dearly departed might still be with us if Bowers were taken out mid-rampage.

Owning a gun and knowing how to use it isn’t just a convenience – or a right – any longer. Possessing the means of self-preservation is compulsory like never before…or at least since colonial times when lawmaking bodies made owning a firearm mandatory. The precursors to the Founding Fathers in Virginia had been through one too many unpleasant encounters with the native population and passed laws obliging all able bodied adult men to purchase a weapon, powder and shot for service in the local militia (and they met monthly to drill, too).

These responsible patriots employed their training in another manner when Virginia and 12 other colonies declared their independence. Think separation from the Mother Country – while tangling with the world’s most powerful military -- would’ve happened using men who all needed to be taught from scratch how to load and shoot a musket?

Owning guns was then – and is now – fundamental to the concept of life, liberty and pursuit of property. Debate over the Second Amendment continues to this day but it’s safe to say not many folks realize that knowing how to operate a gun was as natural as putting on a pair of breeches in our country’s formative years.

In his piece Simon pointed out how he nodded in agreement when President Trump (in post attack remarks) suggested all synagogues have armed guards -- this coming from a man who had a gun control-touting mother and many liberal friends who abhor guns. We’re far from the days of compulsory gun possession (again) but if things keep going the way they are – concerned civilians will take matters into their own hands.

It just doesn’t make sense for only bad guys to carry deadly force. When a crazed freak “pops” the police are minutes away – at best – and even when they arrive on-scene they’re entering a situation where the perpetrator has the upper hand in logistics and situational control. Four police officers who responded to the shooting on Saturday were wounded by Bowers. The prospect of saving helpless unarmed victims is daunting for the men with badges, too.

Likewise, armed security is becoming a fact of life for all of us – in places of worship and just about everywhere else. The solution isn’t to restrict private gun ownership further – it’s to empower citizens to protect their own persons and others in a crisis. In a modern society where everyone knows everyone else’s personal business – and it’s simple to obtain information with just a few taps of the “enter” button – it’s no longer safe to believe otherwise.

Roger L. Simon is getting his first gun and lots of others are likely following suit. It’ll be a safer world because of it too.

The ever-advancing politicization of everything isn’t helping people heal in the aftermath of these life-changing events. Both sides blame each other for the ramped-up rhetorical barbs – and then use them as justification for intensifying their own retorts. In the 80’s Democrats demonized Ronald Reagan as a racist and anti-Semitic (remember the Bitburg cemetery controversy?) while covering for known race baiters and anti-Semites such as Jesse Jackson and Lewis Farrakhan in their ranks. Liberals then act shocked when a brawler like Trump comes along who won’t sit back and keep silent while reputations and characters are assaulted and mauled around him.

The back-and-forth is counterproductive -- both sides can’t be right. Is there any means to stop the downhill slide? Jonah Goldberg wrote at National Review, “The point is not about ‘whataboutism’ or ‘both sides-ism.’ As a conservative who is critical of Trump, the Democrats, and the mainstream media, I have no team here. The point is that everybody is using the real or perceived hypocrisy of the ‘other side’ to justify their refusal to look squarely at their own side’s irresponsible words and deeds.

“It’s obvious to me that Trump’s demonizing rhetoric, his inveterate lying, and his insinuations that his supporters are the only real Americans are dangerously irresponsible. His responsibilities as president of the whole country do not change regardless of what his critics say about him. But the reactions to Trump are often irresponsible, too. And saying ‘Trump is worse’ doesn’t change that.

“Yes, everybody is right. But that doesn’t mean everybody isn’t wrong, too.”

Noted #NeverTrump critic Goldberg seems caught in a no man’s land here, acknowledging both sides are equally responsible for the decline in civility yet neglecting to analyze where the fault truly lies. Detailing the Democrats’ list of line crossings would take hours and a book-length treatise but here’s admitting Trump could stand to tone it down a bit himself on occasion.

Trump is entirely justified in labelling the media’s reporting as “fake news” but he might do better than calling reporters the “enemy of the people” or commenting on legal cases still pending in the judicial system. Passing off falsehoods as fact and bending the truth goes with the territory in a free society (meaning the media does it) and it’s up to those who know better to wage and win the war of ideas armed with superior knowledge and presentation as opposed to shouting louder and hurling epithets (Horseface?).

If all liberalism is based on a lie eventually the truth bubbles to the surface. Democrats accused Trump of “collusion” with Russia but now they look like the foolish ones when no actual evidence turned up.

The real problem is most Americans remain disengaged from politics and (surveys revealed) civics knowledge is pretty darn poor in this country. Citizens are encouraged to participate (we were even strongly urged to vote in church the other day) but there’s no corresponding call to inform ourselves. Folks who only occasionally read news or get their civics lessons from “The View” or CNN’s Don Lemon Show aren’t ingesting all sides of the argument.

Meanwhile, media liberals lean towards sensationalism and twist the message to provide “entertainment” to America’s facts-challenged passing observer. Our culture’s been dumbed down and compressed to fit inside a smart phone and there simply isn’t time for most individuals to get the facts – nor do they possess the attention spans to sift reality from fiction.

The border child separation “issue” is a classic example of this concept. Facts indicate many of these children are preyed upon and used as pawns by human vermin who smuggle drugs or are involved with human trafficking – but these “details” aren’t included in the liberal establishment media’s presentations. Then there’s the actuality that processing of these asylum claims leads to very temporary “separation” from parents for these children -- about the length of a workday on average.

Why aren’t the border guards interviewed for news stories instead of Democrat politicians (like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio) trying to score political points? If America’s sheriffs and law enforcement personnel were featured in the media they’d tell a very different tale than what people get from the Washington Post or MSNBC. It’s often said pictures don’t lie, but when the media highlights four-year-old video of kids in “cages” and screaming for their mommies it provides the public a false impression.

Then vampires like “Chucky” Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and their merry band of sensationalist socialist Democrats expand on the lies by calling the president “inhumane” and “unfeeling.” Bad policy flows from bad information. We’ve witnessed it time and again.

What can be done? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the op-ed page the other day with suggestions. McConnell wrote at The Washington Times, “My Democratic colleagues have grown desperate. In the two years their party has sat on the sidelines, our nation has thrived under Republican leadership. That must be why, month after month, on issue after issue, Democrats and their far-left allies have tried to replace inconvenient facts with pure partisan scare tactics…

“We’ve taken major bites out of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank, providing relief for families and small businesses. We have passed landmark legislation to confront the opioid epidemic head-on and rebuild American infrastructure. And we have ended the Obama-era atrophy of our national defense and made the kind of investment in our all-volunteer armed forces that our servicemembers deserve.

“The contrast could not be clearer. Democrats are grasping for unhinged attacks. Republicans are continuing to take care of the people’s business, checking off one accomplishment after another. Let’s debate the American people’s business — and the accomplishments of this Congress — with the honesty, civility, and seriousness that they deserve. Let’s put facts ahead of fear.”

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Democrats could benefit politically by conceding the Trump administration has done some good things (hard data isn’t partisan, is it?) but contrition would inflame the majority of party faithful who demand “resistance” and would also expose the party’s lack of policy substance.

As Election Day nears it certainly appears Democrats’ closing pitch to voters is two-pronged: something along the lines of Trump’s rhetoric incites the unhinged to mail fake pipe bombs and shoot-up synagogues while Republicans in Congress seek to take away old folks’ social security benefits and sick people’s insurance coverage.

Granted polls show Americans believe Democrats handle healthcare issues better than Republicans (don’t know how it’s possible) but there has to be more to someone’s vote than what the minority party offers. McConnell is correct: let’s talk about the facts and let the people decide. But Democrats don’t care – they just want power. It ain’t hard to see.

Oh yeah, then there’s the Russia thing. Liberal commentator Juan Williams is another Democrat blaming everything on Trump and the GOP majorities on Capitol Hill. Williams wrote this week at The Hill, “Radio talk show host Alex Jones famously charged that the massacre of children at the Sandy Hook elementary school was ‘completely fake’ and that the terrorist attacks on September 11th were an ‘inside job.’  Most Americans shunned him. Yet then-candidate Donald Trump appeared on Jones’ show and praised his ‘amazing reputation.’

“This digital swamp of toxic rhetoric and conspiracy theories proved a fertile breeding ground for the Russian cyberattack on the 2016 elections.

“Is the US too polarized to defeat this hostile foreign threat? We will get our first clear answer when Americans vote next week.”

Williams implies the Trump administration isn’t sufficiently addressing the Russians’ ongoing social media propaganda campaign and Democrats, if given a chance, would clean up the mess. Here’s thinking Democrats would use the occasion to expose political enemies while letting “friends” by with little more than a slap on the hand. It’s just the way it is with the left.

In our troubled times life-changing events occur whether we’re ready for them or not. Some respond by purchasing a gun to protect themselves while others continue faulting political leaders for making things worse. Elections do have consequences – let’s hope they’re all good this year.

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