Monday’s attack on a Christian elementary school by a woman suffering delusions that she might be a man had flags in Washington flying at half mast and partisan political discourse as high as it goes. But there was one bright spot in a dark week, as the Nashville police department released body camera footage on Tuesday showing Officers Rex Englebert, Michael Collazo, and their fellow first responders running boldly into danger to kill the shooter before she could take any more innocent lives. Their courageous actions are a marked contrast to the cowardly failure of the Uvalde police last May. Yesterday, assistant editor John Hirschauer wrote about another contrast found here, between the performance of male aggression and violence by the female gunman and the gallantry and masculine virtue of Englebert and Collazo especially.
Less dramatic than the violence, but perhaps partly explanatory of its origins, Monday also saw the release of a poll by the Wall Street Journal showing that patriotism, religion, marriage, having children, and “community involvement” have all hit an all-time low in the importance Americans attach to them. Money is up, and individual virtues like hard work still hold strong. As managing editor Jude Russo said in a column Thursday morning, “This poll is not so much reflecting a spontaneous change in the public’s internal thinking; it is reflecting the collapse of public affinity for institutions. The ‘values’ suffering decline are those that are mediated by the state and formal structures in civil society.”
And in case that’s too much grim reading, let me recommend something about a distinctive community and completely different, a piece on Civil War reenacting. Lucas Bernard began reenacting at age fourteen. “My father mentioned my love of history to one of his coworkers, and I was extended an invitation into a bizarre brotherhood of wool and smoke.” It is a world of military history enthusiasts unsatisfied with what they can read on the page—they want to experience the lives they study—sleep as they slept, eat what they ate, and drill as they drilled.
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