Obama, Hope and the NIU shootings

Dan Proft Feb. 24, 2008, 6:00am

In recent years, Americans have been forced to deal with a rash of senseless, inexplicable school shootings such as that which occurred at Northern Illinois University leaving five innocents dead.

Part of the unhappy search for explanations in the wake of these gruesome events has invariably included inane pronouncements from the media.

After Virginia Tech, Lisa Ling used her platform on the Oprah Winfrey Show to openly worry about a backlash against "anyone who looked Asian." Of course, this did not happen. Ling, you see, was unable to wrap her mind around the concept that the rest of America did, which is that it was a single, deranged person who happened to be South Korean who was responsible for the carnage, not the Asian community.

Group responsibility is no responsibility. Thank goodness regular Americans have the common sense that seems to regularly evade so many of our media drones.

But Ling's politically correct pabulum paled in comparison to the offered explanation for the NIU shooting by Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell.

I know what you are thinking and the answer is, yes, the Sun-Times does technically still produce something akin to a newspaper. If you look online, it is the outlet that bears a strikingly similarity to Barack Obama's MySpace page.

To that point, Mitchell's column entitled, "Shooting shows why Obama strikes a chord--So many of his supporters are tired of feeling hopeless."

It was hopelessness that led Steve Kazmierczak to kill five students at NIU, a hopelessness to which Obama is uniquely speaking, according to Mitchell.

So to extend Mitchell's logic, I guess Kazmierczak was an Obama voter.

But the real absurdity of Mitchell's column is not her contorted logic; it is her homage to mindless abstraction.

Maybe Kazmierczak was not a tortured existentialist, but rather chemically imbalanced and off of his meds as some in the adult media have reported was a possibility?

Maybe he was a just a narcissistic monster who decided that his gripes with the world justified doing harm to others?

We don't know. We don't know why it happened and we don't honestly know how to prevent it.

But, of course, Mitchell does.

She laments, "While young people are dying as martyrs, adults with the power to make a difference are still arguing over the merits of gun control."

Apparently that includes adults like Barack Obama who said, "I think there is an individual right to bear arms."

For the Mary Mitchells of the world, however, emotion trumps both reason and evidence.

So blame is ascribed to the amorphous, like hopelessness, and, salvation is to come from the patently ridiculous, like a politician's rhetoric.

If my erstwhile protection against the depravities that spring from the darkest places of the human mind is Obama's speechifying, I think I'll stick with my 9mm.

"Obama is surging ahead because a lot of people are tired of believing they are powerless to heal an ailing nation," Mitchell presumptuously declares.

This is bilge, high-minded bilge to be sure, but bilge nonetheless. Obama is surging ahead because a lot of Democrat primary voters have finally figured out what the rest of America did about two decades ago--namely, that the room gets warmer when Hillary Clinton leaves it.

On the matter of "hope," Mitchell also has it wrong. Hope is not about putting one's destiny in the hands of another, not even the Archangel Barack Obama. Just ask the 12,000 children in failing schools in Obama's former State Senate district.

To the contrary, it is what writer and former Czech President Vaclav Havel described it to be, "Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope (is) rather an ability to work for something because it is good."

Hope is not waiting to be delivered from on high, it is about fulfilling one's promise. The "healing" comes from the associated goods that flow from individual private action in that spirit.

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