Uvalde, China, and the American Spirit

AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

The tragedy of the Uvalde school shooting raises more questions than can be answered in this lifetime. Obviously, there were breakdowns in command-and-control and up-to-the-minute intelligence. Making innocent victims the priority was somehow lost in a maze of bureaucratic-style entanglements. Perhaps if we look at the picture from 10,000 feet, or better yet, from a satellite image of the United States, we may be shocked to see the faint outline of an emerging Chinese flag. No, not the result of military conquest, just a slow Marxist cultural creep — along with its twin, corporate cultural accommodation — making us passive observers of our own destruction.


As an example, an acquaintance went to retrieve an uncle in China who had spent nearly 30 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement, for being an active Christian. The Chinese Communists are loath to have a political prisoner die while in their hands, so they authorized his release. But at the airport, they told my acquaintance and his uncle to come back tomorrow since there was no one to sign the paperwork today. This was repeated day after day. No one wanted his name on the paperwork allowing the former prisoner to board the plane. After days of this, realizing the situation, ticket in hand, my acquaintance and his uncle simply boarded the plane that brought him to the United States for medical treatment. No one would even check his passport.

In many ways, the Uvalde shootings bring home the classical difference between Russian communism and Chinese communism. In Russia, you can do anything you are not forbidden to do. In China, you can’t don’t do anything until you are told to do so. This is the passive-aggressive nature of Marxist culture, and a way of life so inflexible that it cannot quickly solve problems when they suddenly arise. The system is rigid, stagnant, and dysfunctional, a radical contrast to the can-do American spirit of enterprise. Which of these two approaches was on display in Uvalde?


There is an ancient philosophical and mathematical puzzle based on the theoretical ability to divide a line an infinite number of times. If a mile can be divided in half, and that half can be divided in half, and so on down to the subatomic level, there are virtually an infinite number of divisions between two points. So how is it possible to cross an infinitely divided distance? The answer is: by walking.

Thus is the difference between theory and practice: the difference between a battle plan and what happens after the first punch. Uvalde took the Ferguson Effect to an entirely new level of passivity: massive force, credible phone calls saying children are alive, and a lone teenage shooter holding everyone at bay by a theoretically locked door. How to cross the infinite space between those who came to save lives and the victims waiting to be executed? Sadly, it could only be crossed by walking through or breaking down that door separating them.

There are many horrific technical details in the report (found here). There are many experts who can detail the failures. In defense of the police, they would have been crucified had charging the shooter resulted in an even greater death count. Current law enforcement game theory will tell you there is more risk from shooting a suspect than not shooting a suspect. Firing your weapon may involve fighting not only the criminal, but the system, the media, and the so-called community organizers.


Related: Confidence in Law Enforcement to Prevent Mass Shootings Plummets

The days of law enforcement going after a Baby Face Nelson in a hail of bullets, or even the old B-Western dead-or-alive approach, charging in to apprehend desperados, are long gone. We now have a more organized, systematic, and civilized approach. And there are highly sophisticated, well-thought-out blueprints for how to take out an active school shooter. These should have been followed. But with all our civilization and science, there is also needed the virtue of fortitude: Andrei, as it was extolled in Greek thought. The cardinal virtue defined as overcoming fear to achieve the difficult good. It balances patience, perseverance, and endurance with audacity and the magnanimity of action. In Christian thought, it means laying down one’s life, whether it is the small martyrdoms of everyday life or possibly losing it trying to save another. Christ praised this as among the greatest of loves.

In Uvalde, there were those brave and true souls ready to charge in, and those who were unsure and frozen by fear. Either way, in the paralysis of analysis, leaders missed their opportunity to strike. Like the officials at the Chinese airport, no one seemed ready to make the decision for action. No one seemed ready to cross that infinite distance dividing the police from the victims, that infinite distance between life and death. As in the Chinese state, the bias toward bureaucratic inaction in the face of uncertainty prevailed over the old-fashioned American bias toward action and risk-taking. It is time to unleash our heroes, not demonize them.



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