The gray in peace and violence

One of the holdovers from the flowerchild sixties is the inability to make even basic discriminations in certain areas. The military, for instance, is seen only as baby killers and not as defenders of freedom. Guns are seen as instruments of offensive power and not as the great equalizer of wild west fame.

Seems to me that the court got it right, and that the school officials got it wrong. And they got it wrong because they made a basic error that’s unfortunately far too common: They confused violence with wrongful violence.

Using guns to kill innocent classmates is obviously a heinous crime. Using a gun to defend yourself is perfectly proper. An American marine’s using guns to kill the enemy is a necessary (though sometimes regrettable) duty. And while we should generally want to create a culture of law-abidingness, a culture of pacifism — or a culture in which the Marine Creed is treated as the equivalent of gangsta rap — is a recipe for national disaster. [Eugene Volokh 16mr05]

The symbols seem to be an obsession in these situations. A military uniform, a national flag, or an ‘assault’ rifle are all put on the pedestal to spit at. The person in the uniform, the country waving the flag, or the citizen using the weapon for self defense are ignored and set outside of view.

What gets really interesting is that those who wave around such symbols and eschew the individuals behind them are those who proclaim their respect and honor for people and self worth. Yet pride, and honor, and a willingness to defend self and others from depredation are impugned.

What gives?

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