The decline of American culture was put on display by the horror in Sutherland Springs — and the rhetoric of our elites in its wake.
Let us understand who Devin Patrick Kelley was.
He was a high school loser whose classmates, reached after Kelley’s mortifying killing spree in a Baptist church southeast of San Antonio, roundly slammed him as an unhinged misfit. Kelley was a militant atheist who regaled his Facebook friends with anti-Christian bigotry so intense that many parted ways with him. He was a subscriber to various left-wing causes, such that two days after his horrid final day on this Earth there are loud whispers he was affiliated with Antifa.
And he was the recipient of the dreaded Bad Conduct Discharge, or Big Chicken Dinner in military slang, after having been court-martialed and drummed out of the Air Force for having abused his then-wife and small child, the latter so badly that Kelley cracked the toddler’s skull. He spent a year in a military prison and was then dumped out of the service in 2014, the same year the wife understandably divorced him. Kelley apparently replaced his spouse with a Ruger AR-556 rifle, which he lovingly displayed on Facebook with the caption, “She’s a bad bitch.”
And on Sunday, Kelley took the bad bitch to Sutherland Springs, and specifically to the church at which his erstwhile mother-in-law sometimes worshipped, and unloaded on the congregation from the back door. He hit 56 of them, most of those present, killing 26.
It wasn’t until Kelley was shot by Stephen Willeford, a local plumber living near to the church who had heard the gunshots and dispatched himself armed with his own rifle to the scene, that the killing stopped. Willeford, an excellent shot, plugged the killer with a bullet to his side, whereupon Kelley fled in his vehicle — chased by the hero and another neighbor at speeds up to 95 miles per hour down country roads, before he ran off the blacktop into a field and either shot himself or bled out from the wound Willeford delivered to him.
So a bad guy with a gun and a head and heart full of disaffected, desperate evil committed a crime of murderous rage against a religious congregation out of revenge over a failed marriage and a difference in values. The story should contain ample supplies of anguish for everyone in America, and most of all a great introspection surrounding who we are that this, so soon after the Mandalay Bay massacre last month and the Arlington baseball practice shootings in June, could happen here. Perhaps it should contain particular fuel for pause that in all three incidents horrific crimes were perpetrated against obvious possessors of traditional American values — Republican congressmen in Arlington, country music fans in Las Vegas, Baptist churchgoers in Texas.
But instead of that introspection and proper re-examination of how our society could diminish to the point where we are producing so many Devin Kelleys, James Hodgkinsons, Stephen Paddocks, Adam Lanzas and James Holmeses, our betters in Hollywood and the news media proceeded to offer an orgy of the usual pronouncements on… gun control.
Never mind that Kelley was a walking advertisement for the ineffectiveness of prohibition, seeing as though he was not legally allowed to purchase a firearm thanks to the Big Chicken Dinner but did so anyway using the brilliant tactic of lying on a form. Never mind that the only gun control policy which would have the faintest chance of stopping such a crime would be an Australia-style confiscation, the unintended consequences of which in today’s America would be so horrible as to make Sutherland Springs appear as a Swedish massage. (How many Wacos and Ruby Ridges would our leftist elites endure in disarming the populace? How much damage to the morale of military and law enforcement would they deem acceptable? How much blame would they shoulder when the porous Mexican border made for illegal guns and ammunition to enter into the black market at rates similar to the current flow of heroin?) No, we were offered political hackery as a poultice for our broken culture.
That, and loud sneering at those who offered prayers and sympathy to the dead and wounded. It’s as if, while most Americans of goodwill take from Sutherland Springs and its countless antecedents the lesson of man’s wicked nature and the primacy of our civilizing institutions — marriage, family, religion, civil society — in mitigating our inherent savagery, those we’ve hired to shape our culture busily micturate on those institutions and demand we substitute government dictates and the loss of individual liberty in their stead.
For Hollywood liberals, whose drug-addled lifestyles offer proof positive of the failure of law to prevent the failure of public virtue, to huff about gun control following Sutherland Springs is a good exposition of where we are in America. For Washington liberals, who have spent this century attempting to codify in law and exploit in politics the cultural aggressions which produce an army of dysfunctional and dangerous millennials like Devin Kelley and his reputed Antifa pals, not to mention the older models like Hodgkinson and Rene Boucher, the socialist neighbor of Sen. Rand Paul’s who attacked and hospitalized him over the weekend, the recent demise of the Democrat party’s electoral fortunes ought to be strong evidence the public doesn’t see them fit to lead.
And for the rest of us the lecturing has fallen on deaf ears. Those who lacked the courage to stand against the Harvey Weinsteins and Dan Schneiders, much less the Hillary Clintons and John Podestas, lack the standing to lead against the Devin Kelleys and James Holmeses. In November the voters supplied Clinton and the Democrats with their own Bad Conduct Discharge from elective politics; the year which has followed has been something of a political and social Sutherland Springs in response.
Perhaps they do have a point. Perhaps too many of the wrong Americans have guns. Perhaps it’s time to ask them to lead by example and submit to a national gun confiscation from all Democrats, Antifa members and other left-leaning malcontents. Based on recent evidence, that — more than anything else in the gun control realm — might truly make us safer.