During the “March for Our Lives” demonstrations that took place Saturday, there were many signs and messages calling for gun control measures varying in strictness and tone. The overarching theme was to attack the NRA and Republicans, both in Congress and the White House. It was political and rightfully so. Gun control is a political issue and when crimes perpetrated with guns occur, exasperated pleas to not politicize those crimes have weak ground to stand on. 

However, missing from the marcher’s appeal was criticism of law enforcement failures before and during the Parkland shooting. We have learned that the shooter was well known to police as a threat to others. Law enforcement was notified dozens of times about his potential danger – specifically as a school shooter – and had reason to arrest him for cause. Yet, they failed to act.   

While the shooting was happening, we also learned that law enforcement did not enter the premises. This failure was either due to poor training/protocols or fear overtaking the officer. Regardless, law enforcement did not do their job. 

Perhaps these facts were not known to those participating in Saturday’s marches. With the onslaught of media coverage the more likely scenario is they chose to target their rage at safer, more politically convenient outlet.           

This is where the cognitive dissonance of the left, shines brightest. It is honestly difficult to comprehend how one can make a case that law abiding citizens should be stripped of their rights – cede them to the state – and at the same time be blissfully ignorant of the inherent limitations the state possess to protect its citizens. Police cannot be everywhere at once and even if they are, sometimes they make mistakes. Due to these obvious realities, self defense is a self-evident necessity.  

Across media – social and traditional – the new directive heard is the power of the NRA to brainwash the masses with propaganda. From the Koch brothers, to Fox News, to the NRA, the Left doesn’t need arguments as long as it has enemies. The NRA is the perfect boogeyman to advance the cause of gun control.  

Those who accuse the other side of being victims of brainwashing, but focus their ire on the NRA instead of the Broward County Sheriff’s office, possess a unique lack of self-awareness that is not lost on Republican voters. Those same voters shake their head at the allegations of manufactured consent thrown at them and ponder how the accuser cannot see what is plainly before their eyes. 

The gulf between those who want to square this circle and those that see a triangle only grows wider. 

There are practical measures to increase gun safety being pushed by Republican through congress right now. There are laws we can pass where there is widespread agreement. But gun rights supporters have a well founded concern that measures will go far beyond “common sense” reform to bans and confiscation. 

2016 was a cultural election. From Hillary Clinton’s most recent excuses for her loss, to the calls to repeal the Second amendment, the politics that divide us come from deep seated beliefs of how we see ourselves and what role government should play in our lives. In 2018 the culture war rages on with skirmishes setting up the eventual battle on Election Day in November. 

While Republicans face an uphill climb due to President Trump’s unpopularity, the refreshing honesty being expressed by Democrats who wish to repeal the second amendment, institute single payer healthcare, and open our boarders is a strategy welcomed by Republicans. At the very least we’ll have an authentic debate about the direction we wish our country to take. 

Whether that approach is a good way for Democrats to win an election remains to be seen.   

Jeff Semon is a former candidate for U.S. Congress and host of the Lincoln Review Podcast.