President Trump Unveils Solid School Safety Proposal

President Trump is getting attacked for refusing to raise the age of a rifle purchase to 21. He is also getting attacked for a new proposal, out over the weekend, that would arm teachers. Except that is not quite true and the reporters saying it are misrepresenting his proposal. The proposal is quite solid.

First, it is refreshing that the President has walked back the idea of raise the rifle purchase age to 21. Florida has just done it and that just shows this is an issue for the states. Congress need not involve itself.

Second, the President is not proposing arming teachers. He is proposing a voluntary program that would train school personnel. Others are interpreting that as meaning teachers, but that’s not in the proposal itself, other than teachers can volunteer if they are so inclined.

The proposal would pay for firearms training for school personnel and would “support the transition of military veterans and retired law enforcement into new careers in education.” The proposal also encourages states to adopt Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPOs). From the outline of the President’s proposal, White House staff explain:

ERPOs allow law enforcement, with approval from a court, to remove firearms from individuals who are a demonstrated threat to themselves or others and temporarily to prevent individuals from purchasing new firearms.

The proposal is basically an all hands on deck idea. The Attorney General and Justice Department will audit the FBI’s procedures and processing of the tip line. The Secretary of Education will set up a commission to see how schools handle safety and how they handle reporting of problematic behavior. The instant background check procedures will be improved and bureaucrats retrained to make sure they promptly enter appropriate data.

Fortunately, the proposal embraces federalism and recognizes there is not a one size fits all national solution. The President intends to recommend frameworks that states can optionally enact. This is a huge step in the right direction and the White House has done a good and credible job.

The American Media Participates in the Degenerate Political Tone

I keep hearing presidents of various news organizations lamenting the tone of American politics these days. Some of them openly question the role their networks have played and are playing in the increasingly degenerate, in your face political discourse of American politics.

Look no further than the media’s treatment of Adam Rippon. He’s a gay figure skater, which is not as new a thing as the media would have you believe. But what sets Rippon apart is that he has been openly critical of Mike Pence. Rippon did not medal in the Olympics, but you’d be hard pressed to figure that out given the media’s treatment of him. Several outlets have even started referring to him as a “media darling.”

And he is. But not for ice skating.

Or consider Chris Cuomo of CNN berating Ted Cruz for not showing up on his show to allow Cuomo the opportunity to grand stand on gun control. Cruz gave a 15 minute exclusive to CNN, but it was not Cuomo’s exclusive so he attacked Cruz. Others at that network claimed Cruz feared CNN and would not come on. But, again, Cruz gave them an interview that they did not run.

Or consider the Russian investigation. 13 Russians were indicted and the bulk of the media coverage has centered on their purported support for Donald Trump. But both a Facebook executive and the Deputy Attorney General pointed out much of the activity happened post election. The Russians wanted to drive up dissent and division in the United States. The media is willfully and gleefully participating in this.

Social media has allowed us to see many reporters unmasked as the progressive activists they really are. Increasingly, it looks like that progressive activism goes all the way to the top. There are serious, credible journalists across news organizations and they are increasingly being drown out of the conversation by the antics of their bosses and others within their networks.

Black Panther Is Worth Seeing

To begin with, I think we need to give some credit to Every Frame a Painting, which produced this brilliant video about how bad Marvel’s musical scores are. Since it came out in 2016 and went viral, Marvel has made a concerted effort to improve its music and develop some thematic musical connections within individual movies.

That leads us to Black Panther, which probably has the best musical score of any Marvel movie. The score does not necessarily become a character in and of itself as it does in a movie like Dunkirk, but the music is unique, beautiful, and consistent.

Black Panther itself is unique, beautiful, and mostly consistent. Look, let’s get this out of the way. Black Panther is not the masterpiece some are claiming. It is a top tier Marvel movie. Thematically, it is much deeper than most Marvel movies and certainly has themes that will resonate with a black audience (and did) in ways a white audience might not connect with. One scene refers to a white character as “colonizer.”

At a larger scale, Black Panther deals with mature issues better than most any Marvel movie. Those issues include abandonment, absent fathers, and being defined by the mistakes of our fathers. The movie handles those respectfully and sincerely.

Black Panther also has a good bit of humor in it. It does not take itself too seriously and uses some of its seriousness for punchlines. It kept the entertainment going and there were not really any scenes where I felt bored.

Chadwick Boseman, who plays King T’Challa, is the Black Panther. We saw him first in Captain America vs. Iron Man. He plays his character with a real dignity. Michael B. Jordan, known as Erik Kilmonger, is the bad guy who was raised on the streets of Oakland without a dad. I thought he overplayed the role, though it might have just been because of the perfectly understated treatment Boseman gives his character.

The movie had Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett in it, so you know it is good. I think the movie cannot live up to the hype of some. The racial dynamic of the movie has caused all the same sort of over praise that Wonder Woman got, but on steroids. The movie is definitely one of Marvel’s best, but it will not cure cancer or solve world problems as some of the reviews might lead you to believe.

There’s some profanity. There’s a middle finger. And there’s some blood. Of course there is violence and some of it is intense for Marvel. I know my 12 year old could handle a movie like this and I’m pretty sure my 9 year old could handle a movie like this.

Marvel has produced a very solid new entry with some of its best visuals and definitely its best musical score. Honestly, it is starting to make me sad. Marvel has mapped out its road through the Infinity War series where we know some of the characters are going to get killed just because they’re tired of playing them.

I have a hard time believing Marvel is not going to go full social justice warrior crap after that as it reboots or otherwise repackages its franchises that for now, at least, have been mapped out sufficiently to mostly avoid the postmodern nonsense to which its comic books have fallen.

The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography, by David Brody and Scott Lamb

The Weekly Standard asked if I would review the new book The Faith of Donald J. Trump: A Spiritual Biography, by Christian Broadcasting Network reporter David Brody and Liberty University Vice President Scott Lamb. I know a lot of reviewers will skim books, but I was actually fascinated by how the authors would approach this subject and made it the whole way through.

You can read the review here.

There’s No Reason to Compromise on the Gun Issue

There’s a pretty healthy consensus in the country that we could expand background check requirements for gun ownership. There is a bipartisan congressional consensus to ban the bump stock, but the congressmen involved in drafting the legislation got too clever by half and tried to ban handguns in the language.

There are actually lots of bipartisan deals that could be had, but there is no reason and conservatives know it. There is, for example, a bipartisan consensus to ban abortions after twenty weeks in this country. But that won’t happen either for the same reason.

The media and left always demand the compromises come from the right without ever giving up anything of their own.

“Now is not the time to talk about abortion,” a news anchor might say. But then there is never a time the media wants to talk about that issue. The media demands conservatives come on TV and defend their supposedly indefensible position on gun control, then treats abortionists as heroes when they kill more kids each year than mass shooters.

So there’s no point in compromise on the issue. The left/media only what the right to move in their direction on these issues. They do not treat conservative positions with good faith, honesty, or candor. The media will focus on guns for a week following a mass shooting, but can barely give the March for Life the time of day. The media wants to spend inordinate amounts of time focusing on the boy who wants to pee in the girl’s bathroom as if he is a civil rights pioneer, but never wants to focus on the Christian who might lose her business for not wanting to provide goods and services to a gay wedding. Well, in fairness, they will focus on that lady, but only to portray her as a bigot.

There is just no point in conservatives compromising on guns or any other issue because the left/media idea of a compromise is where the right concedes the left’s points. There is no real effort to find middle ground or common ground.

So media outlets can claim Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and others are hiding from CNN and don’t want to answer “tough” questions. The reality is there is no point. CNN anchors will use liberal definitions of mass shootings and demand Republicans cave on second amendment issues. But you’ll never then hear them ask the same of the left on abortion or respect for Christian small businesses or anything else.

The media is not reporting the news. The media is trying to steer the national conversation left. So there is no trust on the right to even have a conversation. And I don’t blame the right for refusing to engage.

The Reality is Bad Enough

Every time there is a school shooting, the media turns toward liberal talking points to exaggerate the numbers. The reality is bad enough, but the media wants to drive up the fear of parents thinking their children will be gunned down. They understand that fear can motivate change. The media, like their leftwing activist comrades, want change. They want gun control.

According to reporters, there have been 11 school shootings so far in 2018. In fact, some media outlets have reported there has been a mass shooting every two days since the beginning of 2018. But all that data is misleading. The data come from leftwing activist groups that have decided to alter the definition of “mass shooting” to boost the numbers.

Everytown for Gun Safety is one of those groups and has done the most to get reporters and supposedly objective journalists to use the altered data for propaganda purposes. As Stephen Gutowski of the Washington Free Beacon notes, “This broad definition [of school shootings] places two separate suicides, a January 9 incident where a man shot a BB gun at a bus window resulting in no injuries; a January 10 incident where a student in a criminal justice club accidentally shot a peace officer’s real gun at a target on a classroom wall instead of a training gun resulting in no injuries; a January 9 incident where gun shots were fired from somewhere outside of Cal State San Bernardino, which struck a building on campus without injuries; and other incidents next to the murder of a Winston-Salem State University student at a nightclub on the Wake Forest University campus, the January 22 shooting of a 15-year-old at a Dallas-area high school, and Tuesday’s Marshall County High School shooting which left 2 dead and 18 others injured.”

The definition the media uses for “mass shooting” has been altered to include a homeowner defending his home; police officers firing at suspects; accidental discharges; etc. The Congressional Research Service used by Congress to help shape public policy notes that mass shootings have trended up each decade since the seventies, though in small increments. It also notes that the death tolls of individual incidents, like the Las Vegas shooting, tend to make the total numbers skew high, even in years where the total number of mass shootings is low, but the homicide rate is high.

What goes left unsaid is that we cannot round up all the guns as the left demands. There are constitutional issues at stake. “But Australia” does not apply when the second amendment is in place. Australia could round up all its guns because it had no such equivalent. Here, mental health and broken families are issues that must be addressed. Sadly, those issues always get shoved aside in favor of rounding up guns.

Columbine, one of the most infamous school shootings, came during the assault weapons ban some now champion restoring. The latest shooting came at the hands of a young man whose biological father played no role in his life and his biological mother and adoptive father were deceased. The situation is terrible, tragic, and a reminder that evil is real. It is also a reminder how politicized these issues have become. We cannot even address the systemic issues because we cannot have an honest conversation about the data.

After Newtown, Charleston, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, and now Parkland among others, the odds of enacting any legislation to stamp out evil remain low. The odds remain high that no legislation ever could stamp out evil.