There Were Three School Shootings This Year, Not 18. That’s Still Too Many.

by Jibran Khan

Any number of school shootings is too many. And, at this time when we are so rightly hurting at yesterday’s brutality in Parkland, Fla., a sensationalist report has gone viral, claiming that there have been 18 such acts this year alone. The factoid has been promoted by countless major media and political figures, as well as by celebrities. Indeed, such a number would mean an unprecedented crisis. But it’s not true.

The original source of the figure is Mike Bloomberg’s gun-control advocacy organization, Everytown for Gun Safety. The organization arrives at the figure by defining a “school shooting” as any time a gun is fired at or near a school, college, or university, regardless of whether students are present or anyone is injured. In fact, if one counts only events where a shooter enters a school and shoots someone, there have been three school shootings, including yesterday’s. (The other spree shooting was in Kentucky and a murder happened at a school in Texas.) This information is viewable on Everytown’s site itself, as a click on any location reveals the details and news sources of the incident in question.

Everytown’s list includes incidents such as an adult committing suicide in the parking lot of a school that had long been closed down and gun violence in the neighborhood where California State University–San Bernardino is located (it is one of the most crime-ridden cities in the country, with California’s second-highest murder rate.) While such acts are obviously cause for concern in their own right, all that conflating these incidents with “school shootings” does is to create a climate of terror.

Suicide and violent crime are very real social problems, but they are not the same thing as school shootings.

Yesterday’s events are horrific enough on their own. There’s no need to amplify them by manipulating the public with falsehoods.

Pro-LGBT Academics Should Thank Mark Regnerus

by Jason Richwine

One year ago in NR, Maggie Gallagher described how sociologist Mark Regnerus had been unable to replicate a study popular with LGBT activists. Published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, the study claimed that living in “high-prejudice communities” shortens life expectancy for sexual minorities by a remarkable 12 years. Now, as the website Retraction Watch reported earlier this month, it turns out there is a good reason that Regnerus could not reach the same result. The original authors have posted a correction that acknowledges a critical coding error. After fixing it, there is ”no longer a significant association between structural stigma and mortality risk among the sample of 914 sexual minorities.”

Great — so the system works, science is self-correcting, and the search for truth goes on, right? Not quite. This episode is a glimpse into academia’s activist culture. Even leaving aside the coding error, the original study’s methods – correlating survey responses with mortality data, using just a handful of basic controls — could not possibly isolate the effect of prejudice on life expectancy. What the methods do allow for is what Andrew Gelman calls “researcher degrees of freedom” – opportunities for the authors to make a series of subjective choices that help them reach their desired result. Indeed, Retraction Watch says that the authors have merely corrected (not retracted) their paper because they are preparing a new data analysis that will restore their original finding. Of course!

The proliferation of “structural stigma” research betrays an activist mindset. It teaches that people who disapprove of homosexuality are not just old-fashioned or misguided — they are indirect killers. Although the authors would probably loathe the comparison, their paper is functionally the same as a cable news show, in which viewers eagerly imbibe the message that their political opponents are evil. Two could play this game. Imagine a parallel line of research that finds conservative Christians have shorter lifespans in places where homosexuality is celebrated. I don’t think gay-rights supporters would accept that they have Christian blood on their hands — nor should they. Political conflict is unpleasant enough without each side accusing the other of manslaughter.

Given how liberal activism permeates research on social issues, open-minded academics should appreciate and encourage the entry of contrary voices into their fields. Which brings us back to Mark Regnerus, the critic who prompted the correction. Regnerus has been in the Left’s crosshairs before for questioning orthodoxy on gay rights. But regardless of what one thinks of his previous work, he is the unambiguous hero of this story. Unfortunately, the coverage makes that far from clear. The Retraction Watch article introduces him as “polarizing researcher Mark Regnerus.” It warns he “has been accused of harboring anti-gay bias.” The writer apparently even asked whether his failed replication ”was an attempt to influence the battle over attitudes towards gay people” – as if that would be unprecedented in the field! When interviewed by Retraction Watch, a Columbia professor called Regnerus “not a trustworthy critic of this research.” If this is the treatment a scholar receives for correctly identifying a problem with a published study, it’s no wonder academia often feels like an echo chamber.

Senate Immigration Bills Go Down in Flames

by Robert VerBruggen

From The Hill:

The Senate rejected legislation based on President Trump’s framework for an immigration deal in a 39-60 vote on Thursday, leaving an uncertain path forward for Congress with nearly a million immigrants sheltered by an Obama-era program facing the prospect of deportation.

The measure spearheaded by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) needed 60 votes to clear a filibuster, but failed to meet the mark.

It was the fourth proposal in a row rejected by the Senate on Thursday afternoon, and it received the fewest votes of support. All three other measures won more than 50 votes.

It’s unclear where we go from here. Senator John Cornyn has said he doubts the body will spend more time on the issue. The “deferred action” program for illegal immigrants who arrived as children expires March 5, barring an extension, though the end of the program is also held up in court. While beneficiaries won’t be summarily rounded up for deportation if the program ends, they won’t be protected from it, either.

How Many ‘Red Flags’ Can One School Shooter Accumulate?

by Jim Geraghty

Let’s begin with the appropriate caveats; police work is hard and police officers, detectives, and agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation have difficult jobs. Cops have limited resources, manpower, and there are only 24 hours in the day. They are humans, and human beings make mistakes. No system of law enforcement that is compatible with a free society will ever have a 100 percent success rate in catching people who seek to harm others before they strike.

But having said all that…  it’s rather unnerving to learn that someone can write, “Im going to be a professional school shooter [sic]” in a YouTube comments section, under their own legal name, and worry the Youtube account owner enough to get him to call the FBI, and yet law enforcement never ran across yesterday’s shooter: 

“We were unable to identify the person who made the comment,” said Rob Lasky said at a press conference, also saying that no other information was included with that comment which would “indicate a time, location, or the true identity of the person who made the comment.”

The comment, posted in September on a YouTube page of a Mississippi bail bondsman, was made by someone with the user name “nikolas cruz.”

The shooter had a glaring record at the school:

…Cruz had a tortured history at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High, where he had been suspended for fights and having ammunition in his backpack. He was later expelled for “disciplinary reasons,” and was re-enrolled at a Broward school for at-risk youths.

However, Cruz did not go to school Wednesday morning, delivering a cryptic remark to a friend.

“He said, ‘It’s Valentine’s Day and I don’t go to school on Valentine’s Day,’ ” said attorney Jim Lewis, who is representing the friend.

Also in the past, Cruz had received mental-health treatment but stopped going to a clinic, Broward Mayor Beam Furr told CNN and NPR.

“We missed the signs,” said Furr, a former teacher. “We should have seen some of the signs.”

The gunman’s Instagram account allegedly featured dead toads and animal cruelty.

And now the leader of the white supremacist “Republic of Florida” claims he was a member of his group.

How many more big red flags can one man accumulate?

‘Have Democrats Overplayed Their Trump Hand?’

by Rich Lowry

In Politico today, I wrote about the shift in polling toward Republicans in recent weeks: 

It turns out that, with apologies to Nancy Pelosi, Republicans really did have to pass the tax bill so people could find out what’s in it.

The GOP has made gains on the generic congressional ballot in recent weeks, with warmer feelings about the tax plan contributing to the upward trend. The improving numbers at least raise the prospect that, just as in 2016, Democrats will be lured by their abiding conviction in President Donald Trump’s inevitable failure and their deep loathing of him to misplay what should be a winning hand.

There’s no doubt that Republicans are in trouble. Special elections, fundraising, retirements and history all suggest it will be a strong Democratic year. A party with control of both elected branches in Washington and possessing just a 24-seat House majority would be in danger of losing control of Congress even with a pleasingly anodyne president, tweeting lines from Hallmark cards, at the helm.

But the new polling is alarming enough for the left that the progressive group Priorities USA released a memo suggesting a readjustment. It posits that Democrats were winning the tax and health care debates, then “in the last few weeks, Democrats turned their attention to other issues.” What other issues? Well, every other issue. Immigration, of course. But, otherwise, the crisis du jour — Trump almost firing special counsel Robert Mueller last June, “s—-hole countries,” “unAmerican,” the Rob Porter scandal — and the hardy perennials of Russia and obstruction, sometimes switched around to obstruction and Russia for novelty’s sake.

A Close Race in Pennsylvania’s 18th

by Theodore Kupfer

How close is the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th district, to be held March 13? A poll conducted in early January by Gravis Marketing showed Republican Rick Saccone with a 12 point lead over Democratic candidate Conor Lamb. But a late-January poll from Democratic firm DFM Research had Lamb down just three percentage points, and Politico later reported that internal Democratic polls pegged Saccone’s lead in the “mid-single digits.”

Monmouth’s poll of the district, released today, suggests that talk of a close race is more than just wishful thinking from partisan Democrats. Using a special-election turnout model, the Monmouth poll gives Saccone a razor-thin 49–46 lead. Depending on the turnout assumption, Saccone’s lead grows to four or five percentage points: within the margin of error of 5.5 percent. Lamb benefits from an enthusiasm gap: “48 percent of Democrats compared with 26 percent of Republicans say they are following the special election closely,” Monmouth finds.

Unsurprisingly, Lamb’s support base in the district is in the wealthy Allegheny County suburbs. Saccone, meanwhile, enjoys a major advantage in Westmoreland County. More-rural Washington and Greene counties are almost evenly split. Monmouth’s polling director suggests the candidate “may have already maxed out [his] support” in the conservative parts of the district, which could leave him relying on a turnout surge in Allegheny County come election day.

Yet with outside money flooding the airwaves, national political figures visiting the district, and a young Democratic candidate that has the national media salivating, the race that gave every indication of being close now has the polling to match.

New DACA Proposal Doesn’t Promote Key GOP Interests

by Fred Bauer

Response To...

DHS Condemns Schumer-Rounds-Collins Immigration Bill

To follow up on Robert VerBruggen’s points about how the Schumer-Rounds-King amendment might end up incentivizing future illegal immigration: The provisions of this bill suggest that, in addition to its myriad policy shortcomings, it fails to meet the fundamental political challenge facing Republicans on DACA.

For months now, Republicans have faced the following balancing act. A DACA amnesty might poll well, but core elements of the Republican base boil with rage at the thought of any amnesty. Immigration politics has pulled down a House majority leader and more than a few Republican presidential aspirants. In the November midterms, even a mildly depressed base could spell disaster for the party.

Thus, if Republicans are going to pass some DACA amnesty, an obvious solution to this challenge would be to combine this amnesty with other significant reforms to both the enforcement and legal-immigration systems. These reforms would have policy and political justifications. Reforms could keep a DACA amnesty from leading to even more illegal immigration; they could also help create an immigration system that better encourages integration and opportunity. In making up for amnesty, theses structural reforms could also help minimize the risk of political blowback from core GOP voters.

Those political and policy dynamics in part explain why the White House has been pushing a “four pillars” approach to DACA. They also explain why the Schumer-Rounds-King proposal falls short in terms of the political interests of Republicans. The bill makes few changes to the chain-migration system. Contrary to the talking points of the bill’s proponents, it doesn’t even stop DACA recipients from sponsoring their parents. It only bars sponsorship if these parents “knowingly” helped these recipients “enter” the U.S. illegally (see page 30 of the bill text). There are plenty of loopholes there. The onus would likely be on the U.S. government to prove that a parent “knowingly” helped this child immigrate illegally. Moreover, the text of the legislation specifies “enter,” so it would be possible that a parent who brought a child into the U.S. legally on a temporary visa but then overstayed that visa (and many illegal immigrants are visa-overstays) could still be sponsored under Schumer-Rounds-King: The child didn’t enter illegally.

The bill’s instructions to de-prioritize enforcing immigration laws against people who arrive in 2018 might be especially infuriating to Republican voters. In a press event earlier today, Susan Collins (one of the cosponsors) said that the legislation would be revised to push that de-prioritization date back to January 1, 2018 (from June 30, 2018). But this change in date doesn’t affect the fact that this supposed “bipartisan” compromise would try to impose new limits on the ability of the federal government to enforce immigration laws. Amnesty is a bitter pill to swallow for many Republican voters; amnesty plus restrictions on the enforcement of immigration law would be asking GOP voters to swallow a tack.

Midterms can be brutal enough for a president’s party, but a bad deal on DACA (one that not only fails to achieve center-right immigration priorities but actually undermines them) would only make a cruel November even more likely for the GOP.

The Latest Senate Immigration ‘Compromise’ Makes Graham-Durbin Look Hawkish

by Rich Lowry

Vox has a useful run-down of the latest so-called compromise in the Senate that deserves to fail. Among the provisions:

  • Tells ICE not to focus on unauthorized immigrants living in the US without criminal records. The bill would codify “enforcement priorities” for the Department of Homeland Security (including Immigration and Customs Enforcement). It would tell agents to focus on immigrants convicted of felonies, and those who enter the US after June 30, 2018. This would be the first time since the establishment of ICE as an independent agency in 2003 that a law would dictate whom agents should focus on, and would put much stricter restrictions on ICE than the ones agents chafed under during the Obama administration (and which Trump famously removed while in office). It wouldn’t prohibit ICE from deporting unauthorized immigrants without criminal records who’ve lived in the US for a while, but it would, at least in theory, push those immigrants way down on the enforcement agenda.

Overall, amazingly enough, it moves the goal-posts to the left of Graham-Durbin:

Of the four proposals Congress is set to vote on Thursday, the Rounds proposal is the middle path. It’s slightly more hawkish than a bill from Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Chris Coons (D-DE), which doesn’t put any restrictions on future legal immigration — but substantially more dovish than the bill from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) based on the White House’s immigration framework, which would drastically cut legal immigration and make substantial policy changes in the border and interior of the US. 

In the broader context of bills that have been proposed as “DACA fixes,” though, the Rounds bill is surprisingly dovish. It’s to the left of the deal worked out by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) in January — the one that President Trump famously rejected because it was too permissive of immigrants from “shithole countries.”

DHS Condemns Schumer-Rounds-Collins Immigration Bill

by Robert VerBruggen

Update: Fred Bauer tweets that, per Susan Collins, the date discussed below will be changed back to January 1.

The agency’s statement asserts:

The Schumer-Rounds-Collins proposal destroys the ability of the men and women from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remove millions of illegal aliens. It would be the end of immigration enforcement in America and only serve to draw millions more illegal aliens with no way to remove them. By halting immigration enforcement for all aliens who will arrive before June 2018, it ignores the lessons of 9/11 and significantly increases the risk of crime and terrorism.

This is a slight exaggeration, as conceded later in the statement. The bill directs the agency to prioritize those who are criminals, pose a terrorist threat, or arrived after June 30.

But seriously, though. June 30. The bill tells everyone in the world they have several months to rush the border and escape enforcement once they get here.

Read it for yourself on Susan Collins’s website. Scroll down to the very last page, to the part that was marked up in pen:

How to Balance Skills-Based and Family-Based Immigration

by Reihan Salam

Right now, roughly two-thirds of the green cards issued every year are given to the family members of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs). For years, there’s been a growing consensus among immigration reformers on the left and right that we ought to at least consider rebalancing the influx to place greater emphasis on skills. At the same time, however, Americans are broadly sympathetic to family-based admissions, and when explicitly asked about whether we ought to cut it, much of the public objects. It’s a bit like public opinion about the size of government: There are many Americans who will endorse the idea of a smaller government in the abstract, but when pressed on which government programs they’d like to see cut in practice, they’ll recoil, or say the only want to cut foreign aid. So I’d like to make a few quick points.

Advocates of a more permissive immigration policy are pushing back hard against proposed limits of family-based admissions, and they’re taking a number of different tacks. One thing I’ve noticed is an emphasis on the educational attainment of family-based immigrants. In recent years, 47 percent of family-based immigrant adults have had college degrees, as compared to roughly one-third of U.S.-born adults. But this actually tells us less than you might think.

The level of educational attainment is rising throughout the world. However, there are big differences in literacy and numeracy skills conditional on educational credentials across countries, and with the extent to which credentials acquired in one country translate into marketable skills in another. According to the Center for Immigration Studies (which favors a cut in immigration levels), 26 percent of households headed by college-educated immigrants rely on means-tested safety-net benefits as opposed to 13 percent of households headed by college-educated natives. Critics have attacked CIS for using households for comparison, as immigrants tend to have larger families. This is true. Yet it’s also true that labor-market outcomes for college-educated immigrants depend on more than just paper credentials.

Consider the contrast between two different college-educated immigrants: The first is an Indonesian with a computer-science degree from an elite university in Singapore, who now works in Berlin. She speaks English fluently and has secured a lucrative job offer from a U.S. tech company. The second is an Indonesian with a humanities degree from a lower-quality local institution, who does not have a job offer and has only a rudimentary command of English. He does, however, have a sister who is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Both of these immigrants are positively selected, as they’re both highly educated relative to the Indonesian population at large. Moreover, it’s likely that both are drawn from Indonesia’s upper class, which gives them “class-specific resources” they can use to navigate American life. Still, it’s a safe bet that the earning trajectory of the English-speaking immigrant with a lucrative job offer will be different than that of her counterpart.

This is the point where an admissionist might denounce me for engaging in “central planning,” which is fair enough. But let’s not forget that, as currently constituted, family-based admissions are a confusing welter of preference categories and per-country limits that have all sorts of perverse outcomes. Earlier this month, the Congressional Research Service updated its detailed report on the subject, which I recommend.

Keep reading this post . . .

Bipartisan Group of Senators Proposes New DACA Compromise

by Alexandra DeSanctis

A bipartisan group of 16 senators — led by independent Angus King of Maine and Republican Mike Rounds of South Dakota — has proposed the latest potential fix to the congressional stalemate over the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

This new compromise offers legal status and a path to citizenship to individuals whose parents illegally brought them to the U.S. as children, often referred to as “Dreamers.” The approximately 700,000 Dreamers currently registered under DACA — set to expire on March 5, after President Trump rolled back the executive order by which Barack Obama unilaterally created the program absent congressional authority — would automatically qualify for citizenship if they came to the U.S. before June 15, 2007.

Individuals not currently enrolled in DACA must meet the following criteria to be eligible for citizenship:

Have been continuously present in the U.S. since June 15, 2012 (when Obama’s DACA executive order was issued)

Were under age 18 when they entered the U.S. and under age 38 on June 15, 2012

Meet educational requirements or are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces (or have been honorably discharged from military service)

Pass background checks, medical exams, and register for Selective Service, if applicable

The amendment would prevent Dreamers who obtain citizenship from subsequently sponsoring their parents to apply for citizenship themselves.

In addition, the legislation would allocate $25 billion over ten years for border security, requiring the Department of Homeland Security to report to Congress on the plan for physical barriers, fencing, infrastructure, technology, personnel, and the plan’s estimated timeline. It also instructs the DHS secretary to prioritize resources to enforce immigration law against illegal aliens convicted of crimes, who are deemed a national-security or public-safety threat, or who came to the U.S. illegally after June 30 of this year.

The plan is currently supported by eight Democratic and eight Republican senators, including lead sponsors Rounds and King, along with Susan Collins (R., Maine), Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), Tim Kaine (D., Va.), Jeff Flake (R., Ariz.), Chris Coons (D., Del.), Cory Gardner (R., Colo.), Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.), Lisa Murkowski (R., Ala.), Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.), Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), Johnny Isakson (R., Ga.), and Mark Warner (D., Va.). Sixteen co-sponsors falls well short, however, of the 60 needed to pass any immigration legislation. It also falls short of what President Trump and the White House requested in an immigration compromise, including placing stricter limits on family chain migration and putting an end to the diversity visa lottery.

Coming Soon? Non-Voluntary Euthanasia/Organ Harvesting?

by Wesley J. Smith

It is legal in the Netherlands for doctors and psychiatrists to lethally inject the sick, disabled, elderly, and mentally ill who ask to die.

It is not legal for them to kill patients who have not repeatedly asked to die.

But that happens anyway, and not rarely. Various studies come up with different numbers, but it seems safe to say that hundreds of patients–431 in 2015–are killed each year non-voluntarily, which in Dutch euthanasia-speak is called ”termination without request or consent.”

Technically, that’s murder under Dutch law, but so what? I know of no case in which any meaningful sanction was imposed on a doctor who killed a patient without consent.

And now, in 2020 the Dutch are going to institute a “presumed consent” law, meaning that everyone is legally an organ “donor” unless they explicitly opt out. From the story:

The Dutch senate on Tuesday narrowly voted in favour of a new law to change the Dutch organ donation system to a ‘yes unless’ register. The new system will apply to everyone over the age of 18 and registered as resident in the Netherlands with their local authority, including foreign nationals.

The government plans to send letters to people with options they want regarding donation. Silence will be considered consent.

So, that means a patient could very conceivably be both killed and harvested without having requested it.

Oh Wesley! You alarmist! You slippery slope hysteric! That will never happen.

Right. That’s what my critics also said when I predicted in 1993 that legalizing euthanasia/assisted suicide would eventually lead to conjoined killing and harvesting “as a plum to society.”

For those with eyes to see, let them see.

Arm Teachers

by Robert VerBruggen

I agree with everything my colleague David French wrote this morning about yesterday’s tragedy. We are facing a jarring rise of highly deadly mass shootings — even if such incidents remain a tiny share of our overall homicide problem — and we must remain vigilant in our communities. I further agree with Jim Geraghty that authorities must act on the information they receive. Too often when these things happen, there were warning signs that should have led to action before anyone was killed.

Also, we can make schools more secure.

As Robby Soave notes over at Reason, many schools have already taken numerous steps, such as installing metal detectors; Marjory Stoneman Douglas itself has a resource officer. There are also downsides to putting more cops in schools, such as their growing involvement in what should be mere discipline issues.

But here are two reforms that schools can make at minimal expense. First, if they have unarmed security guards, they can hire armed ones instead. And two, they can pay their teachers a little extra to become trained as armed security guards and carry guns while on the job. Per the Houston Chronicle’s,

The amount of training required [to become an armed guard] in each state varies. In Oklahoma, for instance, applicants must complete two phases of unarmed guard training, for a total of 40 hours, and 32 hours of firearms training; Tennessee requires only four hours of unarmed guard training and eight hours of firearms training.

That’s something a teacher could easily accomplish during summer vacation, even if schools insisted on rigorous training. If a few teachers in each school did this, schools would gain a line of defense against shooters without hiring more personnel or introducing more police officers into the school environment.

Re: DACA or DACA-Plus?

by Jason Lee Steorts

Earlier this week, Mark Krikorian continued our disagreement about the scope of the Trump administration’s proposed “Dreamer” amnesty. I thank him for his detailed reply but am unmoved by it.

To recapitulate, Krikorian supports an amnesty — if coupled with suitable enforcement measures — for those who already received DACA protections but would not extend the amnesty to Dreamers who did not apply for DACA. I agree with the Trump administration and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell in thinking that the amnesty should be available to the latter group as well.

Quoting me, Krikorian summarizes my argument as follows: “Even the non-DACA dreamers are ‘deeply rooted here, often with no plausible alternative,’ and they ‘are not blameworthy for having entered the country without authorization.’” The second consideration Krikorian dismisses as “little more than a talking point,” since “children often suffer for their parents’ mistakes”: “When the bank forecloses on a house because the adults can’t pay the mortgage, the children don’t get to stay because the loan default was ‘no fault of their own.’” Having provided this counterexample, he collapses my position entirely into the first consideration (“deeply rooted here, often with no plausible alternative”), which morphs in his later paragraphs into something I did not say: that the people in question “know no other country.” Krikorian then rejects this idea by noting that people who entered the country up to the age of 16 could apply for DACA, after only five years’ residence in the United States — for how can it be true that someone who came here between the ages of 15 and 16, five years ago, knows no other country?

Krirkorian subtly misstates my view in another way: by presenting the two considerations as if I had given them equal weight. What I wrote was that a Dreamer amnesty would be a “simple acknowledgment of the reality that the people in question — whose lives are (speaking in general) deeply rooted here, often with no plausible alternative — are not blameworthy for having entered the country without authorization.” As you can see, I presented only the second consideration as categorical and decisive. This is consistent with what I wrote on another occasion: that “someone who is not meaningfully accountable for having violated the law should be held blameless.”

Now it is clearly true that someone who “knows no other country” will suffer in a particularly acute way if we deport him. But my basic point was not restricted to such cases. It was rather that we should do everything we can to avoid inflicting hardship on people who are not responsible for having immigrated without authorization and who have established their lives here. And that point applies also to someone who has been here five years and does have memories of a former home. Even in such a case, deportation means completely uprooting someone and separating him or her, by force, from friends, family, school, and work in the United States.

So the only portion of Krikorian’s reply that engages my argument rather than attacking a straw man is the eviction counterexample — which is inapt. It is not possible to evict parents without evicting their children (presumably lenders would do so if they could). But Dreamers have immigration statuses as individuals and would be the direct targets of any enforcement actions, which could therefore be separated from actions taken against their parents. A case in which we cannot draw such a distinction is irrelevant to a case in which we can. (I do not support deporting the parents, either, as I have explained, but I think it would be reasonable to fine them while imposing no penalty on their children.)

Two further observations:

First, I think Krikorian’s arguments about national identity prove too much. In general, we allow lawful permanent residents to apply for citizenship after five years. Immigration restrictionists have had many policy priorities — from enforcing the border to curtailing family-based immigration to mandating the use of E-Verify to ending the diversity lottery to prioritizing skilled immigration — but upping the residency requirement to apply for citizenship has not been one of them. (You will not, for example, find such a proposal listed as one of the “Sensible Solutions” at the website of NumbersUSA, which Krikorian cites as “the nation’s leading restrictionist advocacy group.”) But if we think a legal resident can acquire American identity after five years, why don’t we think the same thing about a Dreamer? (One might not care about identity — the argument could be, for example, that skilled permanent residents contribute to our economy in a way that Dreamers don’t — but this would be quite at odds with the Right’s usual ideas about patriotism and cultural cohesion. One might also suspect that a legal resident acquires American identity more quickly than a Dreamer because the former is better integrated into our economy and society. But this argument would cut both ways, since it would imply that the best way to fully Americanize a Dreamer is to let him or her reside here legally.)

Something similar is true of Krikorian’s remarks about age. He has observed that a 15-year-old taken to live in Mexico will “always remain, psychologically, an American, because his identity is already formed.” Krikorian also cites unnamed psychologists as having found that “ages six to seven mark an important milestone in children’s cognitive development (including their national identification).” But if this is so, why should we ever allow an adult to immigrate? On the other hand, if you have known a patriotic American who immigrated as an adult, you know that national identity is not set in stone at a young age. Or to put the point a bit differently: Whatever the sense in which national identity is formed at age six or seven, it is not the sense relevant to the naturalization of U.S. citizens.

Second, it is hard for me to make sense of Krikorian’s support for amnestying current DACAns. He says that doing so can be “purely pragmatic”: “While Obama’s actions were unlawful, they have created facts on the ground that, as conservatives, we arguably should acknowledge.” But in general we don’t acknowledge facts on the ground just because they are facts on the ground. This would make the significance of something’s being a fact on the ground entirely vacuous and serve as a justification for perpetually maintaining the status quo. Krikorian goes on to note that current DACAns “applied in good faith, paid fees, were issued work permits, and were lawfully hired.” This seems to suggest that we owe them some kind of obligation purely in virtue of having implemented DACA. But DACA was never presented as a permanent arrangement and was always subject to revocation by a future administration. We would not be going back on our word by ending the program now.

Ultimately, if you want to amnesty the DACAns, you must think that DACA had either some kind of permanent legal force or some kind of policy merit. Most conservatives do not think the first. I think the second, which is why I support amnestying the broader Dreamer population. But given that Krikorian thinks neither, it seems he should propose starting from scratch with an amnesty restricted to those who meet his exceedingly stringent requirements for being “psychologically and emotionally American[].”

‘If You See Something, Say Something’ Only Works if Authorities Do Something

by Jim Geraghty

From the Thursday edition of the Morning Jolt:

‘If You See Something, Say Something’ Only Works if Authorities Do Something

An all-too-familiar, horrifying story:

He preened with guns and knives on social media, bragged about shooting rats with his BB gun and got kicked out of school — in part because he had brought bullets in his backpack, according to one classmate. He was later expelled for still-undisclosed disciplinary reasons.

The portrait of Nikolas Cruz, suspected of fatally shooting 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland and wounding 15 others at his former school, is a troubled teen with few friends and an obsessive interest in weapons. Administrators considered him enough of a potential threat that one teacher said a warning was emailed last year against allowing him on the campus with a backpack.

“All he would talk about is guns, knives and hunting,” said Joshua Charo, 16, a former classmate at the high school. “I can’t say I was shocked. From past experiences, he seemed like the kind of kid who would do something like this.”

Late Wednesday, detectives were digging into the past of the 19-year-old who had no previous arrests but had displayed plenty of troubling behavior before officers took him into custody after what ranks as the third-deadliest school shooting in American history.

“Our investigators began dissecting social media,” Broward Sheriff Scott Israel told reporters. “Some of the things that come to mind are very, very disturbing.”

… Math teacher Jim Gard remembered that the school administration earlier sent out an email warning teachers about Cruz.

“We were told last year that he wasn’t allowed on campus with a backpack on him,” said Gard, who had him in class. “There were problems with him last year threatening students, and I guess he was asked to leave campus.”

How many times will I have to write this? The mass shooters at Virginia Tech, Aurora, Tucson, Isla Vista and Sandy Hook all had one thing in common: before the shootings, concerned and frightened people who had encountered the future shooter told various non-police authorities about what they had seen and heard – in some cases, campus police; in other cases, college and school administrators.

Teachers, school and university administrators, company HR departments – none of these establishments have the legal authority to seize a person’s firearms or commit them to a mental institution. Only the police and courts can do this.

The odds are pretty good that we will learn that the shooter in Florida had an interest in the Columbine school shooting. A stunning number of school shooters since Columbine indicated an obsessive interest in that shooting. Fascinating and disturbing research by Mother Jones found that the shooting inspired “at least 74 plots or attacks across 30 states” and “in at least 14 cases, the Columbine copycats aimed to attack on the anniversary of the original massacre. Individuals in 13 cases indicated that their goal was to outdo the Columbine body count. In at least 10 cases, the suspects and attackers referred to the pair.”

We will probably learn in the coming days how the shooter obtained his gun. A recent Washington Post study found that 168 guns used in mass shootings were obtained legally; 48 were obtained illegally.

If we must discuss gun control after an event like this, let us contemplate more consistent prosecution of straw buyers. Members of Congress have pressed the Department of Justice to make this a higher priority for years. U.S. Attorney B. Todd Jones told a Congressional panel in 2013 that out of 48,321 cases involving straw buyers, the Justice Department prosecuted only 44 of them — saying that “hard decisions” to prosecute were made based on “limited resources.”

Even when the straw purchasers are prosecuted, the punishments are often much more lenient than the public might expect. Last year, Simone Mousheh purchased four weapons for $600 each and sold two to a man with Chicago gang ties. She was sentenced to 12 months probation,  15 days in the Cook County sheriff’s work alternative program and ordered to pay $679 in fines.

A lot of gun control advocates and progressives think they support this idea, until they realize who would get hit hardest by tougher prosecution. As my colleague Kevin Williamson wrote:

I visited Chicago a few years back to write about the city’s gang-driven murder problem, and a retired police official told me that the nature of the people making straw purchases — young relatives, girlfriends who may or may not have been facing the threat of physical violence, grandmothers, etc. — made prosecuting those cases unattractive. In most of those cases, the authorities emphatically should put the straw purchasers in prison for as long as possible. Throw a few gangsters’ grandmothers behind bars for 20 years and see if that gets anybody’s attention. In the case of the young women suborned into breaking the law, that should be just another charge to put on the main offender.

It is not difficult to imagine certain voices contending we need to “get tough on guns” and to be lenient with straw purchasers simultaneously, and failing to grasp the contradiction.

The Moon over the Janiculum

by Jay Nordlinger

Today’s Impromptus is the expected smorgasbord, ranging from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump to Kylie Jenner to Oscar Gamble (the late baseball player, who was the first ballplayer I ever saw in the flesh).

I’d like to publish some mail, responding to previous columns. I had a note from a man on the subject of large families — and small families, and medium-size families, and no families. I was struck by his P.S.:

“My wife and I planned for three kids. There is a modern Jewish tradition of three: one to replace Mom, one to replace Dad, and one for the Holocaust. (How we did it was unplanned. Nobody plans for twins.)”

Here is a note about pronunciation, after I talked about “vanella” for “vanilla” and “melk” for “milk”: “Living in St. Louis, I have long been amazed at how so many people pronounce the name of the state across the river: ‘Ellenois.’” Yes, and instead of “Syracuse,” “Sare-acuse.” It’s one of those things.

Finally, a note about music, from a lady who has been reading us for a long time. This is a prizewinner:

I grew up in Massachusetts. When I was quite young, my parents started sending me to a summer camp near Pittsfield and Lenox. At some point, in Tanglewood’s early years, the camp began to take us to the festival once every summer. (Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony.) Because the place was quite new, we always had seats close up inside the Shed. …

One of my all-time favorite memories of Tanglewood is hearing Respighi’s Pines of Rome. It became my favorite piece for many years. I introduced it to one of my sons, who was both a musician and a bird-watcher as a young kid. (He eventually went to work for the Audubon Society!)

I took him to hear it at Philharmonic Hall in New York in about 1964, when he was six. I should say that he was already heavily into music: had books about the orchestra, etc.

Pines was scheduled for after intermission. My son asked to go forward to see where all the instruments were. He was pleased that they matched where they had been shown in his books.

But then he frowned. “Where’s the piano?” he asked. A woman in the front row leaned forward and said — rather patronizingly — “Little boy, there are no pianos in symphony orchestras.” I was annoyed at her tone, but he didn’t notice.

“I know,” he said innocently. “But they’re playing The Pines of Rome, and when the moon rises over the Janiculum, there’s an arpeggio on the piano.”

That is a kvell moment for any parent!

And just as he finished speaking, they rolled the piano onto the stage.

Suicide World

by Wesley J. Smith

Suicide is a growing problem,  and yet, the assisted suicide movement receives none of the blame.

It should. Pushing suicide impacts people’s attitudes. Normalizing it surely leads to more self killings, given what we know about the copy-cat phenomenon.

In this regard, Oregon assisted suicides were up again last year. Although, since honesty is not the movement’s thing, the law does not count assisted suicide as actual suicide, so Oregon’s horrible overall suicide statistics are even worse than they appear. Even the clueless-about-the-assisted-suicide-influence public health authorities have called it a public crisis.

Then, there’s this from Switzerland, where the country’s suicide clinics are more popular than ever.

Every year, thousands of people become members of Exit, the largest assisted suicide organisation in Switzerland. Last year was no exception, with 10,078 new members signing up. If they fulfill certain criteria, members can use the organisation’s services when they decide the time is right to end their life.

Exit has 110,391 members in German-speaking Switzerland and in Ticino, according to December 2017 figures.

Of course, not all those people will commit suicide, but good grief!

Nihilism strikes a beat…


Campus Leftists Plan to Subdue ‘Toxic Masculinity’

by George Leef

The radical-feminist Left is pretty much in control of our colleges and universities. Those people like power and think they can improve society with their plans. At the top of their list is to remake men so they won’t be so “toxic.” Think that is going to turn out well?

Someone who doesn’t is L. C. Sheahan, who has penned today’s Martin Center article, “Men Wanted: The Feminized Campus Versus Decent Masculinity.”

He begins by asking, “In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, #MeToo, increased public attention to sexual harassment, and the growing debate about due process rights of the accused, how are young men to navigate the sexual minefield that exists on many campuses and emerge as neither a lout nor a loner?”

The ruling feminists on campus are apt to make things worse, he argues. Their phony division of men into “alpha” and “beta” males no sense, but their efforts at turning all into “beta” types will exacerbate the problem of misbehaving, Harvey Weinstein types. Sheahan writes, “The betas not only let the toxic alphas run the show; they think their passiveness is a sign of virtue until it obviously is not, and then confusion ensues.”

Sheahan’s un-egalitarian analysis is sure to get the feminists (both women and men) who now have their way on our campuses all hot and bothered:

There is indeed a problem with ‘toxic masculinity’ on campus and in society at large. But the problem goes much deeper than the discussions in The Chronicle and elsewhere in academia. For one thing, today’s toxic masculinity is occurring in tandem with a retreat from masculinity; they appear to be opposite reactions to the same environment. Weinstein is not a true alpha. Like Paris, he is a beta in wolf’s clothing. It is likely that the real problem with men is that they are not masculine enough. By releasing healthy, decent masculinity from its radical feminist chains — and populating the campus with tough-but-wise bull elephants — the problem of ‘toxic masculinity’ may find its historic and effective antidote.

But don’t expect our colleges to be of any help with that.

Shooting at Florida High School

by NR Staff

Update 7:47 p.m.:

Update 5:47 p.m.CBS Miami reports that as many as seven were killed in the shooting. The suspect, 19, has been identified as a former student of the school and was taken into custody.

Police responded to a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., this afternoon. According to the Miami Herald, an estimated 20 people are injured, with one dead. The local CBS affiliate reports that the shooter is still at large:

This post will be updated as events develop.

‘Newcomers,’ Immigration, and Assimilation in America

by Reihan Salam

There’s been a mini-firestorm over the fact that Bari Weiss, an opinion contributor and op-ed editor at the New York Times, playfully celebrated Mirai Nagasu’s recent Olympic triumph by tweeting a line from the musical Hamilton: “Immigrants: they get the job done.”

Why was this line so monstrously offensive, you ask? Good question. Nagasu was born in southern California, not overseas. It is her parents who are immigrants. As I understand it, Weiss’s offense is that she “otherized” Nagasu by describing her as an immigrant. It should go without saying that Weiss clearly meant no harm by her remark. In fact, it was very much in keeping with what I don’t think is unfair to call her zeal for immigration.

Granted, you could say that Weiss’s views on immigration are immaterial. The reason she’s being pilloried is that it’s supposedly insensitive to describe a U.S.-born person as an immigrant. But is it? A cursory glance at the immigration literature reveals that it’s not at all uncommon for the native-born children of immigrant parents to be described as “second-generation immigrants.” I encourage you to type that phrase into your favorite search engine. Here is one particularly choice line, from a scholarly article on the subject:

For several decades, scholars of immigrant adaptation have been interested in studying the U.S.-born children of immigrants, commonly referred to as second-generation immigrants.

I’ve never particularly cared for the term “second-generation immigrant,” and I avoid using it myself. On the rare occasions I’ve been described as an immigrant, I’ve demurred, on the grounds that, like Nagasu, I was born in the U.S. Nevertheless, there’s no question that second-generation Americans are routinely described as second-generation immigrants, often in the spirit of celebrating newcomers.

Speaking of “newcomers,” it’s the term Tomás Jiménez, a sociologist at Stanford University, uses to describe immigrants and the children of at least one immigrant parent in his important new book The Other Side of Assimilation. Jiménez is one of the most nuanced, thoughtful scholars of immigration-driven diversity and cultural change I’ve come across. His recent work emphasizes that assimilation is not just a straight-line process in which newcomers come to resemble established Americans, his term for the U.S.-born children of two U.S.-born parents. Rather, it is a relational process, which “involves back-and-forth adjustments in daily life by both newcomers and established individuals as they come into contact with each other.” Right now, newcomers represent roughly 25 percent of the U.S. population, a number that is set to rise considerably. Yet in some regions, such as Silicon Valley, the focus of Jiménez’s new book, the newcomer share is much higher, and there’s sometimes just as much adjustment on the part of the established as there is from newcomers. The growth of the newcomer population is sure to mean a lot of creative tension, and in some cases just plain old tension. The Other Side of Assimilation is a stimulating guide to what’s to come.