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We gave thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels. Americans died. Where is the outrage?

Where Is the Outrage?

By Arnold Ahlert  Tuesday, December 3, 2013

On Sunday, the New York Post ran an excerpt from “The Unarmed Truth” by John Dodson. Dodson is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) agent who blew the whistle on the gun-walking operation known as Fast and Furious.

According to the Mexican government, 211 of their citizens, including police officers and children, have been murdered with weapons from that scandalous operation. So was American Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, whose family, along with every other concerned American, has been stonewalled in their efforts to find out who is accountable for this atrocity. After recounting some truly unbelievable instances of bureaucratic arrogance and ineptitude, Dodson inadvertently poses a question with far larger implications. “We gave thousands of guns to Mexican drug cartels. Americans died. Where is the outrage?” he asks.

Perhaps fittingly, “The Boomer Bust,” a column by P.J O’Rourke published the same day in the Wall Street Journal, inadvertently provides a substantial portion of the answer. “We are the generation that changed everything,” O’Rourke writes. “Of all the eras and epochs of Americans, ours is the one that made the biggest impression—on ourselves. That’s an important accomplishment, because we’re the generation that created the self, made the firmament of the self, divided the light of the self from the darkness of the self, and said, ‘Let there be self.’ If you were born between 1946 and 1964, you may have noticed this yourself.”

Self-Absorbed Nation

With some notable exceptions, including a very large one for veterans of the Vietnam War, no previous generation of Americans was as self-absorbed as my own generation of Boomers. Note the word “previous.” Unfortunately, we have done a rather remarkable job of cultivating that noxious trait among subsequent generations. As a result, an American ethos has emerged, one in which the most truthful answer to Dodson’s question would embarrass those previous generations.

Where is the outrage? For millions of Americans, there is no outrage whatsoever—unless something personally affects them.

For far too many Americans, the numerous scandals engendered by this administration, including Fast and Furious, the targeting of conservatives by the IRS, the monitoring of news reporters by the DOJ, the murder of four Americans in Benghazi, the NSA abuses, and the general trampling of the Constitution by a president who unilaterally re-writes laws whenever he sees fit, have generated little more than a collective yawn. And that’s when those same Americans are even aware of what’s going on in the first place. Perhaps the greatest paradox of the modern age is how well-connected Americans are to information-gathering devices, even as they remain completely uncurious about vast swaths of critically important information.

The filtering mechanism that separates the relevant from the irrelevant is transparently obvious: if it’s not about me, who cares?

Facebook: A Testament to “Me”

Perhaps the most searing example of this phenomenon is Facebook. It is, above all else, a testament to “me” in all my glory. In all of American history, there is no comparable example of a time when so many people dedicated so much energy to chronicling the mundane and the trivial at best, and the truly twisted, at worst. It is almost inconceivable how many people have posted self-indicting accounts of criminal behavior. Apparently boasting about one’s thuggery is viewed as a reasonable tradeoff for the possible incarceration that could occur when a jury sees a video starring you and your homies “knocking out” some unsuspecting grandmother, simply for the thrill of it.

Yet there is a bigger thrill. Several other websites glorify such thuggery including one,, that compiles “excerpts of hundreds of fights, from women being sucker-punched to brutal gang attacks,” writes Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist James E. Causey, who further reveals that those videos “often earn thousands of views and ‘likes’ and ‘recommendations’ on Facebook, which turn the perpetrators into overnight sensations.”

That’s as “all about “me as it gets.

Rush Limbaugh:  “low information voter”

Radio host Rush Limbaugh coined the increasingly popular term “low information voters” (LIVs). I believe the term is somewhat inaccurate. These Americans are not bereft of information. They are not cut off from television, radio, the internet, i-Phones, texting, tweeting or any other source of information exchange. In fact, most Americans, including the LIVs, are inundated by information. What they actually pay attention to is the great separator. We live in an age where the public school system promotes the maintenance of self-esteem over genuine achievement, and trains younger generations of Americans to feel, rather than to think. And now that everyone gets a trophy just for showing up, the distinction between banality and greatness no longer applies. Everyone is “special,” and there is little reason to dwell on anything that occurs outside one’s personal universe.

By accident or design, the Obama administration and their media lapdogs have been masters at exploiting this phenomenon. No sooner does one scandal arise than another takes its place, followed by another and another, seemingly ad infinitum. Keeping track requires genuine effort in an age where effort has given way to the cruise control of self-absorption. Those who remain genuinely outraged are either dismissed as over-wrought, or denigrated with a label such as “misogynist,” “homophobe,” “nativist,” or “teabagger,” with the understanding that, once labeled, no further thought is required.

Yet despite their good fortune, this administration pierced the collective fog of self-absorption with the ultimate over-reach known as ObamaCare. Or as the coordinated attempt to put the genie back in the bottle is rolled out, the scrapping of the name ObamaCare and the return to the term Affordable Care Act, lest our feckless president be permanently associated with his “signature achievement,” yet another appellation undoubtedly headed for the ash heap of history. In one of the more colossal outbursts of hubris, Obama and his fellow Democrats decided that millions of Americans getting their insurance policies cancelled would be as indifferent about that reality as they have been about every other scandal, and/or lie of omission or commission, foisted upon them by our Prevaricator-in-Chief.

No such luck. Few things are more personal than one’s health, and the notion that this administration has put millions of Americans’ access to healthcare in jeopardy—even as they were assured that nothing of the sort would happen—has engendered the kind of outrage that even our hopelessly corrupt media cannot tamp down.

Not that they aren’t trying. The trumpeting of the so-called historical deal with Iran that was nothing of the sort, along with the implementation of the “nuclear option” in the Senate, were the latest attempts to overwhelm Americans. Today the administration will attempt to put more lipstick on the pig known as, in the hopes that Americans will conflate the website with ObamaCare itself.

No doubt many will, until other realities intrude, such as the loss of one’s doctor, as networks tighten up to contain mandated costs, or the realization that “cheaper” insurance comes with hefty coinsurance requirements and deductibles that must be satisfied by the insured themselves. Then there is the ultimate time bomb that will explode next year when millions of additional Americans have their employer-based policies cancelled.

The ultimate nightmare for this administration? A sense of outrage that breaks through the containment barrier of healthcare. The possibility that Americans eventually discover that this scandal is not anomalous, but part of a larger pattern. A pattern where even most self-absorbed Americans may be prodded to ask themselves disquieting questions, leading to evermore disquieting questions. “There is no escape from happiness, attention, affection, freedom, irresponsibility, money, peace, opportunity and finding out that everything you were ever told is wrong,” writes O’Rourke, in reference to the Baby Boom generation.

With any luck, O’Rourke is vastly underestimating the size of his audience.

Copyright 2013 The Patriot PostAuthor

Arnold Ahlert  Bio

Arnold Ahlert Most recent columnsArnold was an op-ed columist with the NY Post for eight years, currently writing for and Arnold can be reached at:

December 3, 2013 - Posted by | Home | , , , , , , ,

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