Just when I thought that America couldn’t possibly get any softer, people start suggesting that there’s a role for the police in preventing knife murders. The snowflake generation strikes once again.
Is there any tradition that the radicals won’t ruin? As the brilliant Bree Newsome pointed out on Twitter, “Teenagers have been having fights including fights involving knives for eons.” And now people are calling the cops on them? I ask: Is this a self-governing country or not? When Newsome says, “We do not need police to address these situations by showing up to the scene & using a weapon,” she may be expressing a view that is unfashionable these days. But she’s right.
Disappointingly, my colleague Phil Klein has felt compelled to join the critics. In a post published yesterday, Phil asked in a sarcastic tone whether the police should “somehow treat teenage knife fights as they would harmless roughhousing and simply ignore it.” My answer to this is: Yes, that’s exactly what they should do — yes, even if they are explicitly called to the scene. I don’t know where Phil grew up, but where I spent my childhood, Fridays were idyllic: We’d play some football, try a little Super Mario Bros, have a quick knife fight, and then fire up some frozen pizza before bed. And now law enforcement is getting involved? This is political correctness gone mad.
It’s hypocrisy, too. Who among us hasn’t come within a second or two of murdering someone else with a steak knife? My best friend in school, Bobby “The Blade” Simpson, used to throw shivs at the smaller kids in the music room. Did we need the authorities to step in when that happened? No, we did not. As MSNBC’s Joy Reid argued smartly on her show last night, pranks such as these were dealt with by our teachers — just as we all expected they would be. And if something went wrong? Well, that’s why we had substitutes.
In all honesty, I worry that this sort of helicopter policing is making us weak. Back in my day, the people who survived a good stabbing came out stronger for it. I learned a lot of lessons from my time in the ring: self-reliance, how to overcome fear, the importance of agility, the basics of military field dressing. And, given the turnover, I also learned how to make new friends.
Today, the free-range generation to which I belong is dying out — and, this time, it is not from the wounds inflicted by everyday teenage knife fights but because our politicians and activists simply cannot leave us be. From the time of the Colosseum, our civilization has had a tradition of lightly regulated, highly entertaining combat. Who are we, exactly, to think we know better?