How do you strip a country of its freedoms? Do you kick in their doors, confiscating every last shred of a society’s independence? Not exactly. Not at first. While regimes in the past have resorted to open forms of oppression, it never starts that way. The death of liberty begins at a much more personal level.
If a government—or political movement—is against something, the best way to control it is through the people. Outright banning something like free speech or religion is too noisy. It will attract plenty of criticism and eventually resistance. But if they can coerce people into censoring themselves—out of fear, then their job is 90% done.
Why do you think liberals push the idea of “hate speech” so much? What is hate speech? Where is the exact, clear-cut definition? From what I’ve seen, hate speech can be anything—even facts! The concept of hate speech is about bullying people into silence. In the United States, you can’t go to jail for saying something (not true of other countries, I know). But if you can convince people that hate speech is a thing, the notion of free speech no longer exists.
We’ve seen the same thing happen with religious freedom. There is a certain kind of hostility exhibited towards anyone that outwardly expresses their faith in modern society. People who talk about the Bible (or any other religious text) are branded zealots or “nuts.” Make it alien, then fewer people will care if religious people lose their freedom to worship.
It all comes down to scaring people into self-censoring. A kind of personal moderation out of fear of what “might happen.” If you can intimidate the masses, they’ll start limiting their freedoms themselves. That can spread far and wide, until passing laws is simply a matter of signing the paper.
That’s just what happened in Broward County a few days ago. The scene of a terrible mass shooting, the region has been criticized for its poor handling of the event. Security officers and police refused to engage the killer, giving him free reign to murder seventeen people. But it looks like these officers have more than made up for their failure, by intimidating students!
Kyle Kashuv is one of the few Parkland survivors that refused to jump on the anti-gun bandwagon. He’s appeared on TV endorsing the Second Amendment. Recently, he posted photos to Twitter about his visit to a shooting range with his dad.
It was great learning about our inalienable right of #2A and how to properly use a gun. This was my first time ever touching a gun and it made me appreciate the #Constitution even more. My instructor was very informative; I learnt a lot. #2A is important and we need 2 preserve 2A pic.twitter.com/4rcOZbpl88— Kyle Kashuv (@KyleKashuv) April 21, 2018
Nothing wrong with that, right? I mean he’s exercising a Constitutional right—safely and legally. That seemed to terrify the cowards who—a few weeks earlier—refused to save students.
When Kyle went to school today, his principal informed him that other students had been upset by his posts, but that he hadn’t done anything wrong…
“Near the end of third period, my teacher got a call from the office saying I need to go down and see a Mr. Greenleaf. I didn’t know Mr. Greenleaf, but it turned out that he was an armed school resource officer. I went down and found him, and he escorted me to his office. Then a second security officer walked in and sat behind me. Both began questioning me intensely. First, they began berating my tweet, although neither of them had read it; then they began aggressively asking questions about who I went to the range with, whose gun we used, about my father, etc. They were incredibly condescending and rude.” (Daily Wire)
A third officer showed up, from the Sheriff’s Office. They grilled Kyle, derisively calling him the “pro-Second Amendment kid.” Kyle did nothing wrong. He didn’t have the same reputation as Nikolas Cruz, the man who actually killed students. Many feared Cruz would go on a killing spree. Tips were sent to the FBI, which were ignored.
And Kyle? He went to a gun range with his dad. There were no red flags that he wanted to hurt anyone. Yet he was brought in and confronted by three grown men as if he were a hardened criminal.
Why even discuss this episode? Because these men knew Kyle wasn’t going to hurt anyone. These are the same people who neglected the school’s safety in the first place. Now they are worried about a single student who vocally supports the Second Amendment. That might lead to more students—around the country—embracing their right.
We can’t have that, right guys? So, what did they do? They tried to intimidate the young man. A scary confrontation with these men might “learn him” not to post about gun rights ever again. It’s a form of harassment, aimed at discouraging the “wrong” kind of behavior. It was a way for these officers to get Kyle to self-censor.
They can’t openly tell Kyle to not go to a gun range. The school can’t discourage a student from posting their views online. But if they can scare him, then maybe he’ll do that on his own.
Don’t believe me? Then why did they do this to Kyle? He didn’t bring a gun to school. He wasn’t making threats. There was no history of bad behavior or red flags. In fact, what he did falls under both his First and Second Amendment rights. But these officers still singled him out in front of the entire class, just to bully him.
This happens all the time, especially in schools. Teachers, faculty, and other staff find manipulative tactics to harass students. Not the troublemakers, but the ones that pose a threat to their political agenda.
In Kyle’s case, he wasn’t going to let the con artists have their way.