To follow up on the recent story about a five-year-old boy suspended for showing a cap gun to his friend on a school bus, Investor’s Business Daily relates a charming collection of similar anecdotes regarding such child abuse at U.S. re-education camps — oops, I mean public schools. Each tale involves a very young child receiving severe punishment for the offense of imagining he had a gun.
In the most recent case in question, a kindergarten student in Maryland shows his cap gun to a friend, and is browbeaten for two hours by school officials, without his mother even being notified, until he wets his pants in fear. In another case, a boy caught with “a quarter-sized Lego toy gun” on his school bus is threatened with suspension from the bus, detention, and the demand of a written apology to the bus driver. Perhaps my favorite story, however, were I a fan of surreal horror, would be that of the seven-year-old boy who bites a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun and then says “bang, bang,” for which threatening behavior he receives a two-day suspension.
Needless to say, not one of these cases involves an actual threat or danger to anyone. Nor do any of them even indicate malicious intent on the part of the “offending” child; these were just boys playing, having fun, showing off their toys, or goofing around in the lunch room. In other words, their punishment — any punishment — seems disproportionate compared to their alleged wrongdoing.
But that conclusion, though correct from the point of view of common sense, is too easy, and actually misses the point. This is where the lines of communication between ordinary humans and progressive authoritarians break down every time. For in the Kafkaesque world of progressive regulatory theocracy, there is no disproportion at all between these children’s offenses and their punishments, once you understand that the children were not being punished for threatening or endangering anyone. Rather, they were being punished for “referencing” firearms in a nonjudgmental — or even (gasp) approving — manner. In other words, their offense, in each case, was, in adult terms, nothing less than a thought crime.