Wes recently hosted a dog-and-pony show (what else is new?), a Gun Violence Prevention Conference. You may rest assured that Yale statistics professor John Lott, who authored “More Guns, Less Crime,” had not been invited. Democrat politicians Blumenthal and Malloy, who had been invited, and who reside in zip codes where crime is rare, would make it harder for those who reside outside those zip codes to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves and significant others. “Not OUR problem,” disclaim our Democrat politicians Blumenthal, Malloy, and Roth.
What need of a Gun Violence Prevention Conference? On hand is the ultimate weapon, the man of a mind to swallow swords and defecate plowshares (Isaiah 2:4 hooks up with Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights”), you bumper-sticker humanist you. You aren’t side-armed saddled (that’s a given), but violence, having run rampant since Cain slew bro’ Abel, cannot be permitted to hide from a hiding; beat it to death with your humanist shtick.
You need to do SOMEthing, Michael. Of late your war on America’s violent DNA has been missing in action: last Commencement Day you addressed the V-word in passing. In passing! It’s Armageddon, the High Noon finale aimed at dispatching old violent Scratch forever, and where is Archangel Michael? Phoning it in.
Of course your biggest potential target, the violence of Sept. 11, is off the table, either because it’s a date you’ve grown too dotty in your dotage to remember, or because you’re a 9/11 denier or (yawn) a 9/11 non-eventer. And why might that be? Could it be because the violence of Sept. 11 was an import? There’s no denying it fails to bear the label attached by American Studies’ Founding Father Richard Slotkin: “Gunfighter Nation.” (Admittedly, there IS something to that tag, for lately it’s been de rigueur to glorify ganglord Barry’s gun-toting hometown gangs, as a couple of wonderfully up-to-date Wesleyan anthropologists has been wont to do.)
You’d like to say goodbye to the V-word? So would I: “Au revoir!”
Now shall we back up to the petrifying, unspeakable P-word? I hate to be the burnished quill, the prick appointed to burst your bubble, but brace yourself, Michael: your petrifying profiling (there, I spoke it!) dactyl isn’t the terror-wreaking pterodactyl you e’er are huffing and puffing it up to be. Three days after 9/11 the Wall Street Journal published a timely letter: a Saracen blade, Yale graduate student Tarek Masoud, was less than enthralled by your reeeeeeeally low-budget sci-fi horror, INVASION OF THE PROFILE-TAKERS. His writ:
“Already we can hear rumblings in the Arab Muslim community about the need to keep fighting against profiling. But Tuesday’s events should have demonstrated the folly of (that) position. How many thousands of lives would have been saved if people like me had been inconvenienced with having our bags searched and being made to answer questions? People say profiling makes them feel like criminals. It does—I know this firsthand. But would that I had been made to feel like a criminal a thousand times than to live to see the grisly handiwork of real criminals in New York and Washington.”
That seriously impious guardsman’s words are dead on arrival here in the Land of POOP (the Preachers Of Operative Pieties), where Your Worship who sits atop the heap hath spoken: “thou shalt have no other guards before me; for I am a jealous guard.”
To paraphrase a celebrated assassin, it isn’t that you love your students less, but rather that your love your Agenda more. That cranky old rattletrap hogs the lo-way, but when it kicks into gear it really rolls. A gun-racked honker at his peril would try to pass driver Roth behind the wheel of his Agenda chasing a Sandy Hook ambulance.
And when the belief that “keeping me safe is Wesleyan’s task” (the groupthink nurtured by your off-verbalized concern for student safety) drives up the violated bodies count, ’twill likely be written off as “collateral damage,” the regrettable detritus of every war, including the culture war the parent culture’s biggest consumers—you merely insatiable phagocytes—are merrily waging, munching away.
Your blog of April 6, a veritable cri de coeur, averred you were cut to the quick by the on-campus perils threatening Wesleyan women, and then you decreed that a sexual predator’s racial I.D. would be withheld from those self-same women. (One can’t be too careful: open the disclosure door a crack, and…CARAMBA! that petrifying ideogram comes barging in!) “America-Lite: How Imperial Academia Dismantled Our Culture (and Ushered In the Obamacrats),” authored by Yale professor of computer science David Gelernter, has taken your bull by the horns:
“Like many communities in recent years, Yale faithfully reports any crimes against its members. Every street crime is reported by mass email. Each account includes all the particulars, so students will know what to look out for—except that the race of the perpetrator is deliberately suppressed. And so everyone assumes, every time, that the criminals are black. The large majority of local criminals are indeed black. This game of we-all-know-but-can’t-say sounds like harmless fun, but it leads to the kind of automatic self-censorship among younger people that’s characteristic of police states. A black student published a piece in the school newspaper accusing HIMSELF of antiblack prejudice insofar as he was on his guard when a group of unknown black males approached on a dark street, but not when it was a group of unknown white males. Of course, that only means that he is a rational human being. He’d be a fool to act differently.”
Students unable to share their personal thoughts and deep-down feelings with their fellows for fear of being betrayed by them and sacrificed on the altar of Diversity—is such a Kultur the harvest of a police state in theory, Michael? Or is that outgrowth the State of Wes—YOUR State of Wes—in fact?
Whatever, in Al Capone-land your impassioned verbal embrace of student safety followed by your refusal to disclose a perpetrator’s racial I.D. (one can’t be too careful: the P-word is peeking through the keyhole) would be dubbed a setup. Here in the fever swamps of PCU, a fitter call would be: your fossilizing pterodactyl’s Gotterdammerung puff of steam. (And we can use the fossil’s fuel.)
Question: If the petrifying P-word does bite the dust (“Alas, poor Gorgon…”), what will become of your highly-publicized love affair with Affirmative Action? If THAT isn’t profiling, nothing is. But we don’t ever have to mention the P-word (that fossil’s fuel will be fuming!); your list of political posturings is long enough without it.
You’ve postured over gun control, the Unaffordable Care Act, the ebb and flow (correction: rising tide) of climate change, and (it helps to have emerald eyes, in view of this one) that criminal enterprise, “the rich.” (I guess you can safely cross THEIR names off the Fundraising Office’s donors’ list.)
But all your pious posturing has me worried, Michael: you’re going to pull a muscle. You say it’s part and parcel of your daily workout regime, an exercise in psycho-massaging? All well and good. And will it fill an empty suit?
Benjamin is a member of the class of 1957.