Diana West

Not one of the 23 executive orders that President Obama signed -- flanked by schoolchildren whom none of us want to see murdered and before an audience that included relatives of murdered schoolchildren -- would have prevented the massacre at Sandy Hook.

Did the main idea of the sentence above come through -- that the president's latest orders would not have stopped the heavily armed monster who entered a Connecticut school last month and killed 20 children and six adults? Or was your brain overwhelmed by anxiety signals arising from the imagery of vulnerable youngsters?

The overwhelming imagery is no accident. It's emotional manipulation, and I've never seen a more lowdown exercise of it than the White House's "gun violence" event this week. What President Obama put the nation through was the propaganda equivalent of a slasher movie, a disgustingly crude attempt to jam our emotional buttons and frighten us into surrendering more of our rights to live free of centralized government surveillance and control.

Such pandering, of course, fails to address the cultural factors -- godlessness, fatherlessness, a pornographically violent "entertainment"-media complex -- that drive this most transgressive form of violence. Postmodern developments all, they help us see why, for example, well-armed settlers opening up the West didn't ever shoot up the village school.

Here's what I call "Obama's Choice": Do Americans want happy, live children or some old constitutional provision? Do members of Congress -- the president's main target along with the Constitution -- want an "'A' grade from the gun lobby," as he put it, or to give parents "peace of mind when they drop their child off for first grade"? Gazing into the shiny button-eyes of the four children on stage, America heard the president say: "If there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence, if there's even one life that can be saved, then we've got an obligation to try."


Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).