You have likely seen the YouTube video of the father shooting up his rebellious daughter’s laptop. If at least a part of you didn’t take pleasure in that display, I don’t think I care to know you. On the other hand, you might also have read Phil Johnson’s reaction to that video. If you can’t see the wisdom in his response, I hope you’ll reread and rethink it.
In short, I agree with Phil on this. However . . .
I really wish he hadn’t used the term “gun violence.” Now, before I start on that, let me be clear: I don’t know where Phil stands on 2nd Amendment issues, and I’m not assuming anything by implication. The act in question was violent, and the instrument was a gun. Fair enough. I don’t think he was making any kind of statement about gun control. (Here endeth the disclaimer.) But if the laptop had been beaten to pieces with a hammer or a baseball bat, I suspect Phil would simply have said, “. . . I cannot endorse violence as an appropriate teaching tool . . .” I doubt very much that he would have written “hammer violence” or “bat violence.”
What’s the big deal? Well, as the title says, this is a Freedom Friday post. Liberty is my concern today. Words have power to affect the way people think. I can hear you all saying, “Well, duh, that’s why we use them,” so I know you’ll understand when I say that using language like “gun violence” creates a certain association in people’s minds. When that language is heard often enough, all one has to hear is “gun,” and violence (i.e., negative, criminal violence) is assumed. That kind of thinking is erroneous, and it is a threat to liberty.
Like I said, I’m as sure as I can be that Phil Johnson had none of that in mind. I’m sure he would agree that being beaten to death with bare fists is no better than a bullet to the head. But there is a segment of the population who thinks otherwise; they are way over-represented in Washington, and I’d rather defeat them at the words stage. The “cold, dead fingers” stage is much less attractive.