LOS ANGELES, July 24, 2012 — A pair of tragedies in recent weeks are related in terms of how mind-bogglingly horrific they were.
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was recently convicted of raping young boys in the campus locker rooms. Several top people at Penn State covered up his crimes rather than immediately go to the authorities.
Several days ago in Aurora, Colorado, a young man named James Eagan Holmes entered a movie theatre showing the midnight premier of “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises.” Holmes began firing guns in his possession, murdering a dozen people and wounding 58 more.
Both Sandusky and Holmes committed atrocities on a large scale. Below Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Pol Pot lies a lower tier of crimes against humanity that still deserve to be called “evil.”
Yet what also links the Penn State and Aurora nightmares is the overreaction from those confusing vengeance with justice.
Both Sandusky (given an effective life prison sentence) and Holmes (if convicted) deserve the death penalty. Where things get complicated is the bloodlust among some desperate to “do something” to ensure these crimes “never happen again.” These people want to “send a message” and “set an example.” What they are actually doing is increasing the number of innocent people who end up as collateral damage in a “war” they never asked to be in.
Starting with Holmes, the bodies of his victims were not even cold before liberals began exploiting this tragedy to push more gun control laws. “Never let a good crisis go to waste” has now stretched from economics to every aspect of our lives.
To use the tragedy of the victims to try and force anti-gun legislation among millions of innocent gun owners who have done nothing wrong is unfair, unjust, and un-American.
When there is a drunk driving accident, we do not ban cars. We punish the actual driver.
The reasons against gun control have been explained repeatedly.
1) The Constitution allows private citizens to own guns. Those arguing the militia point of view are trying to claim that the Second Amendment is a collective right while the remaining nine Amendments in the Bill of Rights all deal with individuals. The Federalist Papers clearly back the individual right to own guns.
2) Areas with strict gun control laws have the most crime while areas with the loosest gun control laws have the least crime.
3) No gun control laws would have prevented the 9/11 hijackers (who used box-cutters) or James Holmes (booby traps in his apartment) from wreaking havoc. Nothing could have prevented these tragedies … absolutely nothing. The price of a free society is occasional heartbreak, and it is a tribute to the goodness and vigilance of ordinary Americans that these tragedies are as infrequent as they are.
The best the left can offer is that the Founding Fathers “did not want” Americans to have semi-automatic weapons. Not one liberal today has one document with a single Founding Father backing the liberal position. Therefore there is no liberal position, only liberal supposition.
The Penn State is another situation where the heinousness of the crime was matched by the inappropriateness of the remedy.
Respected investigator Louis Freeh has said that he has proof (emails and other paper trails) that top people at Penn State covered up Sandusky’s crimes. All of those people should burn.
Yet somehow the new narrative is that legendary coach Joe Paterno lied to investigators and covered up the behavior. Emotions need to cool down, but there is zero proof that Paterno did this.
He did not know how to use email. There is a strong circumstantial case against him, but no direct evidence. There is no smoking gun. The best his critics can say is that he “had to have known” because of his powerful position.
This is not evidence. Perhaps Paterno’s subordinates deliberately kept him out of the loop so that he could have plausible deniability. This would be akin to an American Attorney General being accused of bad behavior without it dragging down the President. Some people prepare in advance to fall on their sword for someone they revere. Others will say that Paterno “should have known.” This is a moral judgment, not a legal one. If Freeh has any evidence that Joe Pa broke the law, he needs to offer it.
This leads to the draconian sanctions handed down by the NCAA against Penn State. Once again, “sending a message” missed the intended target and eliminated truly innocent people.
This was a law enforcement matter. The NCAA wanted to look busy so Congress would not get involved. This had nothing to do with the players on the football field. The people who covered up the crimes should be punished. Not one single player has been accused of anything.
Yet the school is banned from post-season play for four years.
The current players forced to transfer to other schools could see their football careers ruined. Top talent will always survive, but marginal players will now have less than two weeks to try and make a new team and learn a new playbook. Losing a year in the life of a football player is serious. It could kill a career before it begins.
The bans from bowl games and the millions in fines can be debated. Yet the one sanction that cannot be allowed is the altering of history. Every single victory since 1998 was forfeited. Instead of 409 victories, Paterno now only has 298. As for the players who played during those years, they now have never won a single college football game.
This is morally wrong. The horrors inflicted by Jerry Sandusky on innocent children should not give the NCAA the right to simply eradicate legitimately earned achievements from history. The players did not cheat. There was no academic scandal or anything crooked involving sports agents. There were no drug scandals. The players won those games honestly and Coach Paterno coached those games honestly.
Richard Nixon resigned the presidency. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached. Their election victories all still count in the history books.
Rae Carruth was convicted of murdering his pregnant girlfriend. The Carolina Panthers wide receiver did not have his statistics nullified. Murder got him a lifetime jail sentence, but it did not cause the rest of the Panthers to have their achievements on the field negated.
Defending the Penn State victories is not “putting football above society.” It is simply ensuring that justice does not become vengeance. Justice should be severe when necessary, but at its best targeted appropriately. Erasing history is not appropriate.
Nothing is appropriate about the fallout from James Holmes and Jerry Sandusky. Some people simply hate guns. Some people simply hate football. Both are associated with violence in society.
The world is a violent place. Violence cannot be legislated out of existence. Banning violent Hollywood movies or even morning cartoons is wrong. Many people watch violent movies and do not commit crimes. Most people know that Elmer Fudd and Wile E. Coyote are not real.
Most people who own guns are not murderers. Most people who like football are not thugs.
In the America that should be, those who violate the social contract should be appropriately sanctioned, while the rest of the innocents should be left alone.
The guns and the footballs are less threatening than those willing to take them away from the many due to the actions of a few. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “those willing to give up liberty for temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.”
Pray for the victims, but do not let the mad desire to find a solution lead to more victims down the line.
All we have in America is our freedom and our history. If we lose that, we have lost everything.
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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