Nothing symbolizes the foreclosure of the future like the slaughter of a nation’s young. And it’s so routine now — there have been at least eight this year at a school or college where someone was injured or killed — that attention will quickly fade, as it does with subjects one doesn’t intend to do anything about. Another word for that bitter fatalism is “defeat.”
And we have been, in an important moral sense, defeated. We won’t do anything about it, or can’t; the fact is so well understood that we don’t even need new commentaries stating as much for each shooting — we just recycle the old ones, from the old shootings. If this is what American freedom means, if this is what the Constitution entails, if this is where prayer gets us, then it’s easy to understand why millennials — the first generation to be raised on a steady stream of schoolhouse slaughter — barely believe in anything, democracy, American-style liberty, America’s future and organized religion included.