“The couple said Cruz acted very immature and suspected his adopted mother coddled him. ‘He was very naïve. He wasn’t dumb, just naïve,” James said. ‘He didn’t know how to cook, use a microwave or do his own laundry, they said.’”
And I asked: What if it isn’t mental illness at all? What if it is just arrested development brought on by our contemporary culture?
What if the rise in mass shootings of the Columbine/New Town/Parkland nature isn’t an illness but simple examples of gross immaturity across our society?
I grew up on a farm in rural Mississippi and as such, I have worked my entire life. When from the time I was about 6, I had chores to do around the family farm whether it was shelling peas or butterbeans or feeding the chickens and as I grew older and stronger, I spent more time with larger livestock and then eventually graduated to our farm and construction equipment…
Once a young engineer who worked for me asked asked me how I got to where I am. My answer surprised me a bit and over the years, I have thought about it a lot. It sort of ties in with the question I have been asked about what makes me a conservative and why I believe what I do. My answer to my young protégé was this – I had no real plan, that none of this was mapped out when I left school, that I didn’t see any of this coming. What I did have was confidence in myself and a belief that I would be successful at whatever I did – the basic ingredients of which I can trace back to those hot summer days spent tramping around the creek banks and red clay hills of north Mississippi.
My grandfather taught me that I would fail and that I would fall, because all men do, some just more spectacularly than others. He told me that the measure of a man was taken, not during times of success, but during periods of failure because it takes more character and perseverance to overcome failure than it did to enjoy success. He also taught me that fate favors the bold, that opportunity waits for no man and if I wasn’t prepared to accept the opportunities that life would show me – I would miss them, and they might never come again. He believed that success breeds success and opportunity breeds opportunity. The more that you take on, the more you will get.
Now that I look back, what I was taught was maturity. What made me and all my cousins men and women was the level of responsibility our maturity allowed us to have. We had to show, over time, we were capable to make good, reasoned decisions before we were allowed to do things many of my city friends couldn’t. For example, I got my first BB gun at 6, and my first real gun, a .410 single shot Stevens shotgun at 10. At 13, my dad allowed me to use some of my earnings from my summer job to buy a .30-30 Winchester for deer hunting. At 9, I was driving our tractors, at 13, I was politing one of my dad’s Caterpillar bulldozers. I was driving our farm trucks at 11.
When I was “coming up” in my community, there was no standard definition of being mature, no specific age at which some arbitrary authority decided I was a man – but every centralized or standardized system (i.e. government) wants to create a legal benchmark – actually these entities NEED to have such a benchmark because assessing such on an individual basis is impossible.
Yet that is exactly what we are asking the federal agencies to do in the case of these mass/school shootings. Out of 320 million people – and about that many guns, we expect a gaggle of bureaucrats in a nondescript office under the flag of some federal agency to pick out that one person who shouldn’t have a gun.
That is why laws and regulations will always fail in cases like Parkland. Think of it this way – in every kitchen, there is a colander or a sieve. You can never reduce the perforations in a sieve small enough to catch all the particles you want – because they come as a standard size – and if you make them small enough, you essentially get a pot and nothing gets by.
Can’t take that approach with rights – rights are either for all or they are for none. The Second Amendment is no exception – but if the real problem is immaturity, that is a much easier fix.