The horrible events that took place last week at Sandy Hook elementary School in Connecticut are sparking a much needed national debate about the culture of violence that is being spawned in this country. For many political and community leaders this is interpreted to mean that we need to pass some kind of gun violence laws. But before we do, we need to first get the fundamentals right. We need to protect our children, our schools and our neighborhoods from violent people; not just from mechanical equipment like knives, guns and cars. Last year over 30,000 people were killed by cars; should we pass car violence laws?
In WWII an American Sergeant’s squad was surrounded by the enemy and his soldiers were cowering in their foxholes and slit trenches. The sergeant, unsuccessfully, did all that he knew to do to get them out of their holes and back into the fight, but to no avail. Finally, in disgust, he climbed up on top of a naked ridgeline and with bullets whizzing all about him turned around, glared down at his cowering soldiers and shouted, “What’s wrong with you SOBs, you want to live forever? Get up here beside me and start shooting.” They did, and they won the battle. That’s leadership, and right now this nation needs a huge dose of it.
Today it is not the culture of violence that is the problem; it is the absence of leadership. How do we change this culture of violence we have? We start by changing leadership. We do it by voting men and women into the White House and the Congress who are experienced leaders, who are determined to lead the nation and its people toward stamping stamp out all cultures of violence.
That’s what successful leaders do; they set the right example and change and refashion behavior where ever, however and whenever it is needed. Changing people’s actions and beliefs is what leadership is all about. Real leaders don’t blame present failures on their predecessors, they take ownership of all their unit does or fails to do, including failure to protect the lives of their children while attending elementary school.
The Washington Guardian reports that this past weekend at the Newtown Memorial Service held in Connecticut, President Obama said, “We’re going to have to come together and take meaningful action to prevent more tragedies like this, regardless of the politics.” This sounds right and proper except that it fails to mention that in 2012 the Obama Administration took out of the Department of Education’s Budget, “Between $20,000 and $30,000 in annual grants to help schools create emergency and crisis preparation and prevention plans for tragedies just like the one that unfolded Friday.”
The Guardian also reported that during the last few years federal funding for key school children security programs was allowed to lapse for budget cutting reasons. “Two Justice Department programs that had provided more than $200,000 to schools for training, security equipment and police resources over the last decade weren’t renewed in 2011 and 2012, and that a separate program that provided $800 million to put police officers inside the schools was ended a few years earlier.” It was then that President Obama should have been screaming, “N0-N0-N0! We are going to increase the funding for protection provided our school children not cut it back.”
Some think that because of the horror of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, now is the time for people to show more love towards each other; showing love will help mitigate future violence. Love is always helpful, but now is the time for leadership. It is not a question of having tough enough gun laws; it is a question of having tough enough leadership. Now is also a good time for calm reflection on the problem of societal violence in general, along with having a national conversation on violence, one that leads to a national consensus.
Unfortunately the seeds of Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre were partially sewn and watered in Michigan and the White House. Several days before the horror In Connecticut took place, Michigan state representative Doug Geiss (D), a friend of organized labor, in a speech to the Michigan House of Representatives concerning right-to-work legislation, said that if such legislation was passed in Michigan, violence would ensue and there would be blood in the streets.
Geiss didn’t know it at the time, but he was being prophetic. Shortly afterward Fox News Contributor Steven Crowder and other news reporters who were trying to cover the union protest story were attacked and shouted down by screaming, cursing union thugs; the attack was captured on video and rebroadcast repeatedly over the internet, but not over the news networks. Police had to use pepper spray to keep the thugs under control.
Out of President Obama and the White House came an abundance of silence. The clear message Obama’s silence sent to the union thugs was, “Do whatever you want to; beat up anyone you care to beat up. The law will not interfere with you and my Administration will not prosecute you.”
While all this violence was taking place, the President should have been setting an example by leading the fight for law, order, justice and decency instead of pretending to look in the other direction. As a result, the message our President’s actions actually sent to America’s citizens, including a troubled young man in Connecticut, was that violence was “cool,” so long as it was initiated and perpetrated by those on the political left against those on the political right.
Additionally, the union protesters in Michigan were filmed cursing and screaming just before they tore down a tent occupied by Americans for Prosperity, a non-violent right-to-work group. Crowder was punched in the head and stomach during the fight and one protester threatened to kill him with a gun. Don’t think that these thuggish union protesters missed the message emanating from the White House. “Be as violent as you want to be, the federal government is on your side and you won’t be prosecuted. Do whatever you want to do; the Attorney General and the FBI have your back.”
Columnist Michelle Malkin wrote, “Menacing union goons unleashed threats, profanity and punches in Michigan, which is now poised to become a ‘right-to-work’ state.” Obama’s silence must have been quite encouraging to the union thugs. Malkin reports that a year ago: “Teamster’s President Jimmy Hoffa screamed at a union meeting, ‘President Obama, this is your army. We are ready to march. Let’s take these sons of bitches out’…” Once again President Obama chose to remain silent. This is not to say that Obama supports violence and thuggery; he says he doesn’t.
Rev. Charles Williams, a union supporter, said at a union rally that Michigan Governor Rick Snyder would get no rest if the right-to-work bill passed, which it did. “We’ll meet you on Geddes Road. We’ll be at your daughter’s soccer game. We’ll visit you at your church. We’ll be at your office.” President Obama should have screamed back at him, “That is hate speech. If you try to do any of those things, I will have the Attorney general and the FBI arrest you and put you in jail and prosecute you to the fullest extent of the law.”
That would have sent a clear message to the lone gunman in Connecticut, but instead the message sent was that violence was no big thing. Now, when his words can have no effect on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, Obama sends a message of love and empathy. Love and empathy will not keep our children safe. If on every floor of every school building in the nation there was a voluntarily, fully armed teacher or security guard, evil and violence would not have the free rein they now have.
Some say we can do little but pick up the pieces and try to put them back together again. What we really need to do is to apply plain old fashioned training and leadership to our nation’s cultural and societal problems before they explode again. For example labor unions owe the nation. Instead of glorying in crude thuggery and fattening themselves at the Democrat’s union dues feeding trough, they should be helping to provide our youth leadership and training and to help counteract the sick culture of violence that is expanding both nationally and locally.
Image: Francesco Hayez (1791–1882); title: La distruzione del Tempio di Gerusalemme; current location Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Venice; source/photographer: The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH; public domain
General Jerry Ralph Curry (D.Min.) is a decorated combat veteran, Army Aviator, Paratrooper and Ranger. He enlisted in the Army as a Private and retired a Major General. For nearly forty years he and his wife Charlene have served this country both in the military and while he was a Presidential political appointee.