There’s been another school shooting, this time in Ohio, so you know what that means. Cue the hysterical overreaction, finger pointing and hand wringing. By now, I’m sure someone has already blame it on “removing God from our schools,” or on atheism in general, or on the teaching of evolution (“if we teach kids that they’re animals, they’ll act like animals”).
Soon we will be exposed to a seemingly endless series of experts and ideologues pushing their favorite policies. It’ll be blamed on rock music, or video games, or gun control, or the lack of gun control, or even immigration and the influence of Sharia law.
And we’ll be besieged by talk of how to handle the “crisis” of school shootings. The fact that there are nearly 100,000 public schools in the United States and another 33,000 private schools, and we average about one school shooting per year will be deemed irrelevant. Something must be done to address the crisis! We’ll put the TSA in charge of all school entrances and start frisking every student on the way in, because who cares about that pesky Bill of Rights anyway.
More schools will begin posting the Ten Commandments, because obviously the problem is that no one has bothered to tell kids that killing people is bad. As Jon Stewart once said, if you believe posting the Ten Commandments in schools is going to keep kids from doing bad things, then you also believe that putting up a sign saying “all employees must wash hands” in the bathroom is keeping the urine out of your happy meal.
I’m hardly the world’s biggest Michael Moore fan, but I thought the central point of Bowling for Columbine was spot on. Violent crime has been going down steadily in America for the last couple decades, yet we are more afraid of it than ever because of overwhelming media saturation. We are so bombarded with images and reports of spectacular crimes that we assume everyone we meet is going to try to kill us. And that fear is very convenient for politicians and corporations. It helps keep us perpetually afraid and docile.