Things Haven’t Always Been This Way

Opinion

Kids Girl Youth Shooting Range Ammunition Bullet 9mm
Prior to the 1960s, many public high schools had shooting clubs. Students carried their rifles to school on the subway and turned them over to their homeroom or gym teacher. Rifles were retrieved after school for target practice.

USA – -(Ammoland.com)- Here's a suggestion. How about setting up some high school rifle clubs? Students would bring their own rifles to school, store them with the team coach and, after classes, collect them for practice.

You say: “Williams, you must be crazy! To prevent gun violence, we must do all we can to keep guns out of the hands of kids.”

There's a problem with this reasoning. Prior to the 1960s, many public high schools had shooting clubs. In New York City, shooting clubs were started at Boys, Curtis, Commercial, Manual Training, and Stuyvesant high schools. Students carried their rifles to school on the subway and turned them over to their homeroom or gym teacher. Rifles were retrieved after school for target practice. In some rural areas across the nation, there was a long tradition of high school students hunting before classes and storing their rifles in the trunks of their cars, parked on school grounds, during the school day.

Today, any school principal permitting rifles clubs or allowing rifles on school grounds would be fired, possibly imprisoned. Here's my question: Have .30-30 caliber Winchesters and .22 caliber rifles changed to become more violent? If indeed rifles have become more violent, what can be done to pacify them? Will rifle psychiatric counseling help to stop these weapons from committing gun violence? You say: “Williams, that's lunacy! Guns are inanimate objects and as such, cannot act.” You're right. Only people can act. That means that we ought to abandon the phrase “gun violence” because guns cannot act and hence cannot be violent.

If guns haven't changed, it must be that people, and what's considered acceptable behavior, have changed. Violence with guns is just a tiny example. What explains a lot of what we see today is growing cultural deviancy. Twenty-nine percent of white children, 53% of Hispanic children and 73% of black children are born to unmarried women. The absence of a husband and father in the home is a strong contributing factor to poverty, school failure, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance and a host of other social problems. By the way, the low marriage rate among blacks is relatively new. Census data shows that a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults from 1890 to 1940. According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year only 11% of black children and 3% of white children were born to unwed mothers.

In 1954, I graduated from Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin High School, the city's poorest school. During those days, there were no school policemen. Today, close to 400 police patrol Philadelphia schools. According to federal education data, in the 2015-16 school year, 5.8% of the nation's 3.8 million teachers were physically attacked by a student. Almost 10% were threatened with injury.

Other forms of cultural deviancy are found in the music accepted today that advocates murder, rape and other vile acts. In previous generations, people were held responsible for their behavior. Today, society at large pays for irresponsible behavior. Years ago, there was little tolerance for the crude behavior and language that are accepted today. To see men sitting while a woman was standing on a public conveyance was once unthinkable. Children addressing adults by their first name, and their use of foul language in the presence of, and often to, teachers and other adults was unacceptable.

A society's first line of defense is not the law or the criminal justice system but customs, traditions and moral values.

These behavioral norms, mostly imparted by example, word-of-mouth and religious teachings, represent a body of wisdom distilled over the ages through experience and trial and error. Police and laws can never replace these restraints on personal conduct. At best, the police and criminal justice system are the last desperate line of defense for a civilized society. Today's true tragedy is that most people think what we see today has always been so. As such, today's Americans accept behavior that our parents and grandparents never would have accepted.


Walter E.Williams
Walter E. Williams

About Walter E.Williams

Walter E. Williams is a professor of economics at George Mason University. Williams is also the author of several books. Among these are The State Against Blacks, later made into a television documentary, America: A Minority Viewpoint, All It Takes Is Guts, South Africa's War Against Capitalism, More Liberty Means Less Government, Liberty Versus The Tyranny of Socialism, and recently his autobiography, Up From The Projects.

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    Heed the Call-upJetmech1einsteinsdaddywillydRayJN Recent comment authors
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    Jetmech1
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    Jetmech1

    Beautifully stated Sir! When I was in a rural Missouri school in the late 60’s, the farm kids drove their pick-up trucks to school and just about EVERY truck in town had a gun rack in the back window. No one locked their doors either. The MO. Dept of Conservation conducted firearms safety classes right in our high school. The thought of anyone using a weapon against someone else didn’t even remotely cross anyones mind. It wasn’t unusual to have someone bring a deer in the back of one of those trucks during the season either and they always got… Read more »

    Circle8
    Member
    Circle8

    This country needs more Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell’s. When I was in HS, class of 57, the rifle team practiced on their range which was on the other side of a concrete wall next to our Wrestling room. We could hardly hear their practice shots in the area. They carried their rifles around campus when coming and going all without any problems. Many of us went shooting near our homes as time permitted between work and school. I hated school until after the military and then I went to college. (I grew up) Still in those days people opened… Read more »

    willyd
    Member
    willyd

    Circle8; You are right about L B J and all of his hand outs, remember Vietnam, Kennedy wanted us out of Vietnam before he was assassinated, kind of makes you wonder who really did him in? So L B J got his way and pushed the rest of the B/S through, check on who benefited from all of the BELL Helicopters in Vietnam? He didn’t have to run for President in 68 as Ladybird could support both of them with no help!

    RoyD
    Member
    RoyD

    In 1972, in Mr. Nagy’s Speech class I gave speech, with prop, on the assembly, proper use of and disassembly of a Winchester Model 37 single shot shotgun which was one of my personal guns. Mr. Nagy’s eyes got a little wide as he sat in the back of the class observing but I received an “A” for my effort. Also, in taxidermy class, several of us brought our .22 rifles in so to work on them in class. Compared to then, we are living in an alien world; in many respects.

    Deacon
    Member
    Deacon

    My school had a rifle club. We had a four position range in teh basement. I got on the bus on Tuesday mornings with my cased rifle. Arriving at school, I went to the basement, meant with our club sponsor and stored my rifle in the school safe. We practiced Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday after school. End of practice on Thursday, I cased my rifle and rode the after school bus home. Did this from Grade 7 through Grade 12.

    RayJN
    Member
    RayJN

    My HS in WI (graduated 1968) had a 10-12 position range in the basement. The school owned the 22 target rifles we used.

    Deplorable Bill
    Member
    Deplorable Bill

    I did not see it in the comments so.. The reason we are in the pickle we see now in the U.S. is solely because some selfish socialist complained to a less than righteous lawyer who got the complaint to the court of a less than honorable judge who then got the LORD and prayer taken out of schools, government meetings etc. This while another less than honorable judge made it legal to murder babies. Before all of this, a kid in school might get into trouble by chewing gum in class or talking out of turn. Like some of… Read more »

    StLPro2A
    Member
    StLPro2A

    Excellent observations Mr. Williams. We are reaping today…..like in North St. Louis and Ferguson, MO….what was sown in the Johnson Administration…mid-60’s. Welfare was begun to women with children. To be eligible, there had to be an absence of a male figure in the home. Good-bye Role Model Daddy; Hello Baby Daddy. One of the 45 step Communist plan to take over America….destroy the family unit. Early step in placing Blacks, and many whites, on the Government Plantation. After several generations of zero positive male role model/father figure in kids lives, there are no parenting skills within the Black home to… Read more »

    Deplorable Bill
    Member
    Deplorable Bill

    Amen, I hear that, copy that. If you could post the communist plan or even what Kruchev said at the U.N. it might wake up somebody. Arm up, carry on.

    willyd
    Member
    willyd

    In the mid 60’s my high school had a rifle team as most schools did in that time period. We all carried the guns on buses, cars,and parents brought the guys to school with their rifles and dropped them off, and nobody at that time ever thought it out of the ordinary, boy for long gone days, the over the hill gang can only think how great we had it growing around that time!!!!!!!!!!

    Tionico
    Member
    Tionico

    My Dad told about how he and his siblings (he was one of ten)_ rode their horses to school (rural Nevada, depression era) and carried their .22 rifles along with them. The kids all leaned them up against the wall in the back of the school room. Recess, they’d take them out and do some shooting. COntests, of course, often happened.. and it made the boys mad because a couple of the girls were actually the best shots. Dad’s sister Loretta was one of them. She was at least as good as all her brothers were. WHen Dad was 14… Read more »

    SGT_Wombat
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    SGT_Wombat

    1980, I was in 8th grade at a suburban Chicago school. For “show & tell” I brought in a briefcase with four revolvers. My mother drove me to school, we locked the briefcase in the school’s safe, at show & tell time I went to retrieve the briefcase. All the kids were allowed to handle the UNLOADED revolvers. I had epoxied some ammo to cardboard so that the kids could see the difference in ammo size from .22 to .44 Magnum. After I took the briefcase back to the safe, my mother picked me up. It later took me about… Read more »

    Bill N
    Member
    Bill N

    I believe our problems started with the end of corporal punishment for misbehaving kids. Teachers, parents and school bus drivers can no longer punish unruly kids for fear of being arrested for child cruelty. Spare the rod and spoil the child has gone on to prove our society has failed in child raising. Since there is no loner any discipline at home or in school it’s no wonder we are in such a sad state now.

    Ryben Flynn
    Member
    Ryben Flynn

    I was in High School from ’66 to ’70 an lived in a rural area of Northeast Ohio. Those students that had a DL would bring their rifle to school in the trunk and go hunting after school during hunting season. No school shootings, nobody got shot. Maybe a few rabbits or whatever was in season. I don’t recall if my school had a shooting club or not. This was before the Leftists took over the education system. Schools were doing actual teaching instead of indoctrination.

    Dragonfly
    Member
    Dragonfly

    7Shooter is correct in his assessment of three great conservative voices. There are a few others that could be added to the list, but my mind is not up to speed with names right now. Thomas Sowell had a very good essay on this web site a few weeks ago I believe. I am an old geezer, born in 1941. Firearms had no stigma attached to them. Some of my HS teachers came out to our farm and hunted pheasants with me when I was in junior high. College was no different. It wasn’t until the ’80s and forward that… Read more »

    StLPro2A
    Member
    StLPro2A

    Gained full head of steam in 70’s Carter Administration with establishment of the Department of Indoctrination…er, Education. Lenin said ” Give me the children and I will transform the country.” Another point….Check – Done….of the 45 point Communist Plan to take over America…..Take over the Education system.

    Huapakechi
    Member
    Huapakechi

    Truth is abhorrent to those who would see our society destroyed, our nation subjected to the dictates of the united nations, and our economic system erased. This is why we as a people must spread the words of such icons as Dr. Williams

    Will
    Member
    Will

    An icon ? Funny !

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    If Dr. Williams is not an icon, he should be. All of the levels of government have decided that it is their duty to ratchet down more and more control. Part of it is our fault for not using good sense and caution. Somehow, every division of government has forgotten that our Civil Rights are complete, perfected,and not erodible. Our Rights make us superior to government because we can stop government in its tracks.
    What is happening now is because government, bureaucrats, politicians, and even judges are ignoring the essential character of a Right.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @WB,maybe it’s just me,I guess ! I never even heard of this “icon” until about three hours ago.

    Heed the Call-up
    Member
    Heed the Call-up

    Will, I gather you must be new to this site, then, since Walter Williams has numerous commentaries published on this site. If you believe in our unalienable rights, and those enumerated in our federal Constitution, welcome aboard, we need more vocal critical thinkers.

    J.D. Carp
    Member
    J.D. Carp

    Dr. Williams is one of my favorite writers and is IHO an icon.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @Heed,No,I’m not new to this site at all. I guess we just have a difference of opinion on what an icon is,that’s all !

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @Heed,one last thing. I do agree 100% on what this man had to say. I think 99.9% of the people on this site agree with that !

    Heed the Call-up
    Member
    Heed the Call-up

    Will, I didn’t claim that he is an icon. You stated you never heard of him before, while those that are regular readers on this site are very familiar with his commentaries, since he is featured on this site regularly. I am glad to read that you believe in our unalienable rights. We need more good people in this country, and those willing to speak out and be active.

    7shooter
    Member
    7shooter

    I have been a fan of Mr. Williams for a long time. IMO he is one of the three wisest men in America. The other two being Rush Limbaugh and Thomas Sowell.

    Alan1018
    Member
    Alan1018

    Actually, we stored our .22s in our lockers until our range time, but that was the early 1970’s, before guns became the evil, murdering things the left thinks they are now.

    mlhtd51
    Member
    mlhtd51

    Alan1018, 1970 I drove a 1965 red Chevy Pickup Truck, 4 on the floor, A Fifth under the Seat, 22 in the Gun Rack [Back Window] at least 4 Fifty Round boxes of 22LR in the Glove Box, and in My High School Parking Lot, Left the Keys in the Ignition, Doors Unlocked.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    My first car was a ‘67 Malibu. I wish I had it today.

    Alan1018
    Member
    Alan1018

    Better times, better days. ’66 Malibu convertible.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @Alan,you bet those were the days. I really miss it !

    Oldvet
    Member
    Oldvet

    Pikers.. 54 chevy 2 door belair sedan , after I drove mom’s car to and from school for a couple years . In those days you could open the hood’s from the outside of the car . Our biggest problem was someone liked to pull spark plug wires . I quickly learned to chain the hood down .

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @Oldvet,was the engine 235 straight six ?

    Oldvet
    Member
    Oldvet

    @Will …Yes sir it was. It came with the auto tranny . The standard 3 speed on the column had the 216 cu in . with what was reffered to as a “Babbit Slinger ” as it did not have the real bearings the 235 did.

    Oldvet
    Member
    Oldvet

    @Will …Chevrolet (French name BTW) did not come out with a V8 till 55 . It was a 265 cu, in .

    einsteinsdaddy
    Member
    einsteinsdaddy

    This might be a bit off topic. I did the math mr. Williams and you should be roughly 82 years old yet the picture is of a much younger man. Could this be your dating profile pic?

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @einseinsdaddy, I came up with his age at 83. Thats asssuming he was 18 when he graduated in 1954 !

    Oldvet
    Member
    Oldvet

    SO …You would prefer some 20 something welp out of a ultra liberal communist indoctrination center such as uc berkley ?

    einsteinsdaddy
    Member
    einsteinsdaddy

    As Long as they respect my safe space… …the range.

    Tionico
    Member
    Tionico

    I’ll bet his profile pic is less than ten years old. He and Thomas Sowell are both into their eighties, and both have the energy and vigour of many men half their age… and the wisdom gained during those extra four decades. Dr. Sowell recently “retired” at above 80 years, to persue a long time passion of his, photography. He gets out in the wilds and persues the images he can find, packing his equipment. He still writes, but sadly not as frequently as before his “retirement”. One of the things I greatly admire about both of these men (I… Read more »

    ras52
    Member
    ras52

    Great article Mr. Williams. The term “gun violence” is how the media and democrats make firearms look evil instead of putting the blame on people who do the evil.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    I never heard of a firearm being charged with murder,or an ax,hammer,etc.

    Will Flatt
    Member

    Excellent reasoning. The threat isn’t in the gun, it’s in leftist ideology that wrecks moral values, assaults religion, and degrades societal norms. What we need to ban are Leftists. Deal with them the way we dealt with the Nazis.

    JoeUSooner
    Member
    JoeUSooner

    Leftists… Nazis… you repeat yourself!