Liberty is an inherently offensive lifestyle. Living in a free society guarantees that each one of us will see our most cherished principles and beliefs questioned and in some cases mocked. That psychic discomfort is the price we pay for basic civic peace. It's worth it. It's a pragmatic principle. Defend everyone else's rights, because if you don't there is no one to defend yours. -- MaxedOutMama

I don't just want gun rights... I want individual liberty, a culture of self-reliance....I want the whole bloody thing. -- Kim du Toit

The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them.-- Moshe Ben-David

The cult of the left believes that it is engaged in a great apocalyptic battle with corporations and industrialists for the ownership of the unthinking masses. Its acolytes see themselves as the individuals who have been "liberated" to think for themselves. They make choices. You however are just a member of the unthinking masses. You are not really a person, but only respond to the agendas of your corporate overlords. If you eat too much, it's because corporations make you eat. If you kill, it's because corporations encourage you to buy guns. You are not an individual. You are a social problem. -- Sultan Knish

All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war. -- Billy Beck

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wait a Minute... mean it's not the fault of "too many guns"? Another op-ed from the Sunday Times over where Great Britain used to be:
Gangs, alas, are offering what boys need

Harriet Sergeant

What are the reasons behind the spate of murders by feral gangs of youths? And can we as a society do anything about it?

For my report on the care system, I spent last year interviewing young men who, as Norman Brennan, director of the Victims of Crime Trust, said, "put a knife in their pockets as routinely as they pull on their trainers in the morning". Drugs and alcohol (and weapons - Ed.) are merely the symptoms of a deeper problem. Too many young men suffer from an absence of authority at home, in school and on the street. We have created a moral vacuum around our young people. We should not be surprised at how they fill it.

Young boys join gangs, they told me, because they are afraid. There is nobody else to protect them, certainly no responsible adult. "You don't start off as a killer," said a 19-year-old gang leader, "but you get bullied on the street. So you go to the gym and you end up a fighter, a violent person. All you want is for them to leave you alone but they push you and push you." Another boy aged 13 explained that in his area boys "would do anything" to join a gang. If they join a gang with "a big name" people will "look at them differently, be scared of them".
This echoes Grim's observation that I quoted in It's most important that all potential victims be as dangerous as they can:
Very nearly all the violence that plagues, rather than protects, society is the work of young males between the ages of fourteen and thirty. A substantial amount of the violence that protects rather than plagues society is performed by other members of the same group. The reasons for this predisposition are generally rooted in biology, which is to say that they are not going anywhere, in spite of the current fashion that suggests doping half the young with Ritalin.

The question is how to move these young men from the first group (violent and predatory) into the second (violent, but protective). This is to ask: what is the difference between a street gang and the Marine Corps, or a thug and a policeman? In every case, we see that the good youths are guided and disciplined by old men.
The author of this piece seems to grasp this, dimly.
The police and the Home Office have not taken crimes against young people seriously because they do not know they are happening.
Oh bullshit. They know, but recording those crimes would make the already horrible numbers from Britain even worse.
The British Crime Survey, described by the Home Office on its website as “the most reliable measure of crime” does not include crimes against anyone under 16.

The Home Office admits that young men aged 16-24 are most at risk of being a victim of violent crime. But only at the beginning of this year did a Freedom of Information request to each of the 43 police forces reveal that four out of 10 muggings are committed by children under 16 — and that is only the ones reported.

How can protecting young people on the streets take priority when the Home Office does not acknowledge the number of crimes against them? It is no wonder one young gang member said, "There's no one to look after me but me." He is quite right.
Note here, however, that Ms. Sergeant has completely omitted any reference to family - for her, if the State isn't there to protect you, then you are, by definition, all alone. Where is this kid's father? Where are the older men who used to guide boys away from the "violent and predatory" culture to the "violent but protective" one? They don't exist. And the government won't lead him there either. The society, seeing only "violence," wants him to at least act as though he's on Ritalin.
It is the same story in the majority of inner-city schools. As a mother of a 14-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl I know that young men are a different species to the rest of us. In times of war we value their aggression, their sense of immortality, their loyalty to one another. But in peacetime they are at best a nuisance, at worst a threat.
See? For her, the "violent but protective" behavior of soldiers at war is indistinguishable from the "violent and predatory" behavior of youth gangs. She literally cannot see a difference. Violence is violence to Ms. Sergeant, and all violence is bad - unless it's carried out by sanctioned members of the State.
Teenage boys need different treatment to girls to become responsible members of society. They need a role model.
As said Grim, above.
When my son was about nine he became resentful of his young female teachers. He had no respect for them. He then moved to his middle school where most of his teachers were male. The change was dramatic. Suddenly it was all, “Sir says this and sir says that.” In state primary schools 80% of teachers are female.

I am lucky. I can afford to send my son to a private school. The discipline, pastoral care and academic rigour do a good job at counterbalancing parental failings. Compare his experience with that of boys in the inner cities.

Those with a chaotic family life need school to be a refuge and a contrast. Even more than middle-class boys with a stable background, they need school to provide authority, moral leadership and an outlet for their aggression. It should be giving boys what they need to thrive: discipline, sport and a group with which to identify. Instead what do they get?

My son does one to two hours of sport a day with a match on Saturday. He is so exhausted by the evening he can barely pick up a knife to eat, let alone stab anyone.

State schools, by contrast, offer only one hour of sport a week. Then teachers wonder why adolescent boys play up and have difficulty concentrating on lessons. When boys look around for a group to join, too often it is not a school sports team but the local gang.
I think what she's advocating here is pretty much the same idea as "midnight basketball." The results of which would be just as predictable.
With their hierarchy and strict discipline, street gangs are nothing more than a distorted mirror image of the house system common in private schools where loyalty and team effort are all important. As one young gang leader chillingly told me, "You have to know the people, you have to trust the people, because you do everything together. When you stab, you stab together."

Then instead of authority and leadership, boys in state schools too often find themselves taught by teachers ashamed of their values. One young man teaching in a school in a deprived area in the northeast said his "main focus" was not to offend his pupils. "I don’t want to push my middle-class values on them," he explained earnestly. When a pupil described his hopes for the future, stacking shelves in the local supermarket, "I pointed out the many positive aspects of the job — meeting people and so forth." There was little attempt by the school, he admitted, to provide pastoral care or raise pupils' expectations. He saw no link between this and his No 1 problem — pupil apathy.
Now here she's on to something. This is a classic example of what "liberal" education has done to the education system itself - it's produced teachers who hate the society that produced them, because that's what they've been taught their whole lives. Western Civilization - "middle-class values" - are responsible for all the evils in the world: slavery, Colonialism, war, pollution, and now, Global Warming. I'm sure I missed a few items on that list. How can you respect a teacher who cannot respect his own society, and thus himself?
It is not surprising that teenage boys are, as a recent report from the Bow Group think tank points out, "the main cause of the discipline crisis in our schools". A "cotton-wool culture" and lack of competitive sport means one in five aged 13 or 14 were suspended from school last year. They are four times more likely than girls to be expelled from school and 2 times more likely to be suspended.
Here's a hint: Boys have always been the primary discipline problem in schools. It's that biology thing that Grim pointed out. The difference now is that there's no discipline at home and no discipline at school - one result of that "cotton-wool culture" thing that views corporal punishment as child abuse, that tries to stivle the natural behavior of boys instead of direct it, and tries to make girls - "a different species" - out of them. It's the rebellion against that "cotton-wool culture" that has made The Dangerous Book for Boys an international best-seller. A book, I imagine, that would make Ms. Sergeant shudder.
The result is catastrophic for them and for society. At 14, one in five boys has a reading ability of a pupil half his age and at 16, a quarter of boys — almost 90,000 — do not gain a single GCSE at grade C or above. For members of the general public such as Garry Newlove the implications are more serious. Three out of 10 murders are done with a sharp instrument. The most likely person to be equipped with a knife is a boy aged 14-19. And the most likely of all is an excluded school boy.

We have failed to provide a safe, disciplined and principled environment in which young people can relax, find themselves and channel their best efforts. Instead we have relegated many of them to a ghetto of violence and despair. The results stare us in the face.
Well, she sees at least half of the problem. At least she didn't blame either knives or guns. But like most people mired in a socialist or socialist-lite society, she looks to government for the solution - the very same government that produced the problem in the first place.

The society needs to change, that's for sure, but it won't be through passage of new legislation. And it won't happen any time soon. It's difficult to imagine how the former Great Britain could pull back from the mess they've created for themselves now.

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