The Reality-Challenged Case For Arming Everyone
The conservative congregation of gun worshipers is pulling out all the stops to prevent any dialogue on gun safety and common sense measures that might protect citizens from the sort of mass carnage that has shocked Americans recently in places like Newtown, Aurora, and Tuscon. With the help of right-wing media, notably Fox News, they are promulgating fear and hostility as a response to a political difference of opinion over how to make our communities safer.
The mantra from the right is that Obama is a tyrant who will abolish the Constitution and confiscate all guns. While there is not even an inkling of evidence that any of that is true, the terrifying specter of a dictatorial slave state is flushing through the veins of pseudo-patriots who pretend to revere America and the soldiers who defend it, but are adamant that they retain sufficient firepower to massacre them if necessary. That’s how they thank our heroes for their service.
In the rhetorical battle to preserve their alleged right to carry weapons of carnage into schools and bars and laundromats and baseball stadiums, the Gunnies are now declaring that every threatened or oppressed group of people would have been better off if they had been armed to the hilt and prepared to blow away their assailants. Reality is at variance with these apocryphal claims, but that doesn’t lessen their feverish insistence that a fire-with-fire response to every conflict will bring about a peaceful, secure society. Despite the obvious contradiction in that view, conservative mouthpieces are expressing remarkably similar themes that arrive at the same conclusion: If [fill in the blank] had guns the good guys would always win and violence would become a thing of the past (er, like the wild west?). It’s a Fox Nation style argument that dispenses with truth in favor of hyperbole and historical revisionism. For instance…
If Civil Rights Activists Had Guns…
Rush Limbaugh: “If a lot of African-Americans back in the ’60s had guns and the legal right to use them for self-defense, you think they would have needed [to march at] Selma?”
This astonishingly blockheaded statement ignores the fact that the civil rights activists protesting segregation and discrimination in Selma, Alabama were devoted to peaceful change. They were led by Martin Luther King who was inspired by the non-violent methods practiced by Gandhi. It was a successful strategy that resulted in profound changes in both government and people’s hearts. In effect Limbaugh is expressing solidarity with the Black Panthers and suggesting that armed protesters shooting at southern sheriffs would have brought about a better result. However, the presence of guns would only have put everyone in greater danger, sapped the moral advantage of the protesters and produced more corpses all around. And Limbaugh would have been the first to condemn them for their reliance on violence.
If Slaves Had Guns…
Gun advocate Larry Ward: “If African Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.”
Of course. If the slave traders had given each of their human “cargo” a musket along with their shackles they would have been able to kill off their prospective masters and enjoy life in the new world. I’m sure that Ward and the others propounding this theory would have been delighted to hear that armed slave rebellions had put folks like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson in their graves before they ever got around to declaring independence from the British. Furthermore, the unorganized, disoriented, involuntary African immigrants would have had no problem dispatching the southern slave states that a civil war with the rest of the nation struggled with for years at horrendous human cost.
If Jews Had Guns…
Judge Andrew P. Napolitano, Fox News: “If the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had had the firepower and ammunition that the Nazis did, some of Poland might have stayed free and more persons would have survived the Holocaust.”
Once again, the dimwits on the right think that civilians of an oppressed minority would have managed to overcome a military power that held at bay most of the free world. Apparently Napolitano believes that the Jews in the Warsaw ghetto had some superpowers that, were they armed, would have made them a more ominous opponent than the Americans, the Russians, the English, and the French combined.
If Schools Had Guns…
Ann Coulter: “Only one policy has reduced these mass shootings and the number of casualties, and that is concealed carry permits. If you want to reduce the number of dead, and the number of times this is going to happen in an area, you sort of sense this, because they so often happen at public schools.”
Something that the Gunnies seem all to willing to excise from the debate is the fact that prior incidents of shootings at schools occurred despite there being armed guards present. That was the case at Columbine. It was also the case at Virginia Tech where they had a whole armed police squad on campus. Despite their best intentions, guards cannot be everywhere at once. And they also are often at a disadvantage when confronted by an assailant with a military style arsenal and bullet-proof gear who gets the jump on them.
If Teachers Had Guns…
Pat Robertson: “The truth is, if teachers had guns in classes, these shooters wouldn’t come in because they would be afraid of getting shot themselves.”
The truth is, that teachers are frequently the first victims of school shootings. The time it would take them to retrieve a weapon from a place that is safe enough for it to be stored in a classroom full of students would be plenty of time for an assailant with an AR-15 to riddle them with bullets. Robertson also forgets that most of these assaults are perpetrated by people who end up taking their own lives, so it is ridiculous to regard them as being afraid of getting shot themselves. And the presence of others with weapons certainly didn’t deter the shooter at the Ft. Hood Army base in Texas, where he certainly had reason to believe that there were other armed persons in the vicinity.
The speculative query as to whether there would have been a different outcome in any of these situations if [fill in the blank] had guns is just plain lunacy. It would be dubious under any circumstances to pretend to predict what might have occurred in these after-the-fact scenarios, but the specific examples chosen by these Gunnies demonstrate how blinded they are by their prejudices and violent, video game fantasies. The speculation could go on indefinitely. What if the women suffragettes had guns? What if the students at Kent State had guns?
What if Jesus and his disciples had guns? Pontius Pilate might have been riddled with armor-piercing bullets. There would have been no crucifixion. In fact, the soldiers and pharisees who arrested Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane would have been slaughtered. It was there that Jesus admonished his disciple Peter, who took up his sword to defend him, saying “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.” That’s a lesson the sanctimonious gun evangelists still haven’t learned 2,000 years later.
19 thoughts on “If [fill in the blank] Had Guns Hitler Would Have Married Gandhi On Matching Unicorns”
You cannot even have a conversation with the irrational mindset that is manifested by the gun crazy’s culture of death and destruction. They are so outraged that the President wants to do something after the Sandy Hook shooting that some of them have gone so far as to say the whole thing was either staged and didn’t happen or that Obama’s freedom hating allies were responsible for the massacre in order to take everyone’s guns away. In the meantime we have republican legislators literally trying to destroy free and fair elections in this country with the shenanigans in Virginia, Pennsylvania and plans for Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Florida vote rigging so that the same scenario of voting we saw in the last election would give it to Romney even though he lost by millions of votes. Not one peep out of these maniacs about the threat to democracy and freedom with these anti-Democratic, anti-American schemes going on. Give them the illusion of freedom they get by having absolutely no regulation of deadly firearms for the safety of all of us and nothing else really matters.
You make a good point in that what frustrates one group in the area of legislating restrictions to freedoms seems to go unnoticed with other groups. It does go both ways though as you conveniently left out – such as legislation on abortion or some other liberal sacred cow. Just pointing out the typical hypocrisy in the arguments on this blog – and there are many examples. So we’ll just ignore your concerns as they relate to liberal causes but let’s call others names when you disagree. You could have at least tried to show consistency, but nope. I guess we’re all hypocrites at one time or another.
And by the way, every gun I’ve purchased in the past year I’ve had to show a license or some form of ID and have my record checked with the local sheriff – so we are being screened for purchases now, so exactly why is that not good enough? In addition, the requirments I just noted are the same type of “restriction” you condemn when discussing the voting laws – so showing an ID is fine for guns but not ok for voting – seems like a contradiction to me.
Most of this I can agree with. Ignorance of these voices is advertised through such bullshit. If civil rights advocates and activists has weapons they would have had civil rights??? It’s really hard to put into words how fuckin dumb that is…..I just tried several times but none of the attempts do it true justice. It sounds like that’s advocating a race war, doesn’t it?? I mean……doesn’t it? Violent civil unrest versus civil disobedience? Which would you choose? Aw god….how so incredibly stupid….the ignorance is fucking palpable. And I don’t know if I’ve said it here before, (I know I have on Facebook in more than one conversation on this issue), but while I don’t advocate gun control, it’s just ill conceived to just say ‘Put armed people in the schools!’. And this is where I usually split from both sides of the arguments: The nature of the attack is more relevant than what was used to carry it out. You’re correct, Mark, even armed teachers and janitors won’t be very effective in the midst of a surprise attack. Surprise attacks are one of THE most effective tactics one can utilize. If your a victim of a surprise attack, even if you’re armed, you’re probably gonna die. Such is the nature of the attack: The attacker is ready in every way possible, arms, armor, ammo, plan of attack, etc. The victim/s are not ready. This is more relevant to the body count, to the response a victim can make. It’s just more relevant than anything else. Also, being armed in a situation like this is only so effective. Being able to fight back is just that, fighting back. There’s no guarantee that you’ll live through the fight, especially if you’re taken by surprise. Neutralizing the surprise attack threat to places like schools would be wildly more relevant to protecting the inhabitants of the schools than to just arm teachers and janitors and call everyone ‘protected’. A checkpoint or two, like one goes through to pay for parking, would go farther than just ‘more guns’. It would also go farther than to just say, ‘They used assault weapons, therefore nobody should have them.’ Yeah, I’m one of those. One or two or 50 acts of madmen are not a good enough reason to tell the entire population of 300+ million, that you can’t have what they used. I see a break down of logic on this issue on both sides of the argument, and it happens super early on in them.
I really don’t feel like the arguments that are showcased in the mainstream are in the right place, they’re focused on false premises and straw men. Am I wrong?
“I really don’t feel like the arguments that are showcased in the mainstream are in the right place, they’re focused on false premises and straw men. Am I wrong?”
I’m just trolling here, but I think you’re right in that statement.
You make some excellent points. However, my position on assault weapons is that they are just not appropriate for civilian use. High-capacity weapons are made for battlefields, not sport, not self-defense.
It’s true that maniacs could still wreak havoc with conventional weapons, but the amount of carnage would be less, and victims and first responders would have a better chance of subduing the assailant (or escaping) if he had to reload after ten shots.
The goal of banning assault weapons is not to make crime magically disappear. It’s to reduce the severity.
Funny thing Mark is that I can totally appreciate your position on it – I don’t agree with it, but I can appreciate your concerns. Doesn’t mean I would compromise on it, but at least there may be some understanding.
….a few typos, is there an edit function in these comments sections, Mark? Kind of wish there was…feel free to delete this comment mark. Just asking.
Don’t worry. Typos are a fact of life on the InterTubes. Everyone does it. Editing comments can be problematic because people could change what they wrote after others have already responded.
I like the part under Ann Coulter where boy genius Mark makes the argument for the pro-gun lobby. “Only one policy has reduced these mass shootings and the number of casualties, and that is concealed carry permits.” And then our would-be gun-grabbing hero says, “It was also the case at Virginia Tech where they had a whole armed police squad on campus. Despite their best intentions, guards cannot be everywhere at once.” Exactly! Concealed carry has the effect of there being armed guards everywhere. Poor Mark, if only he could be as right as he is self-righteous. But then again, what does anyone expect from petty tyrants posing as liberals?
If Trayvon Martin had a gun…
Please understand that Martin Luther king jr, gandi, and the Dali llama are all in favor of self defense with guns. These men are the best society has created and understood that non violence was the best option. They also understood that it is moral to defend ones life with deadly force. They all lived by the non aggression principle and understood the true nature of state monopolies of violence. Understand that no one wants universal gun control. They want a monopoly of violence as all power eventually does. Why does everyone trust government so much these days? Clearly one can see that the state is immoral by nature. They pillage, plunder natural resources, and create a culture of fear and constant militarism. Not to mention the clear immoral activity within the financial sector where money is stolen by the barrell of a gun and handed to corparate elite, and state cronies.WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!
Can you please provide a single source to document your contention that MLK was in favor of “self defense with guns.” Thanks.
“the question was not whether one should use his gun when his home was attacked but whether it was tactically wise to use a gun while participating in an organized event” MLK
“as we have seen, the first public expression of disenchantment with non-violence arose around the question of “self defense”. In a sense this is a false issue, for the right to defend one’s person when attacked has been guaranteed through the ages as common law” MLK
“Why does everyone trust government so much these days?” I’ve been asking that question here for some time – no good answers. It’s wonderful to see someone here understanding the nature of the state and the danger in trusting it as so many seem willing to do. You’ll find mostly statist types here – so don’t hold your breath on a response to your question as to why so many people trust government these days. I have yet to hear even one good answer, fear of something seems to be in there somewhere, but it’s never fear of the state and its coercive methods – violence, imprisonment, etc – of ruling the people.
The reason why you haven’t seen any answers to your question about “everyone trusting government so much” is because it’s a monumentally stupid question.
No one is taking such a position here. You persistently (and annoyingly) assert it, but it is simply not true. And people aren’t going to waste their time responding to a straw man argument about “statists” that is more revealing of your low comprehension skills (or intent to distract) than it is a worthwhile or probing question.
It is liberals who made the phrase “question authority” famous. They are the ones most active in advocating for limits to the abusive power of government and its wealthy benefactors. Nevertheless, I’m sure your next comment will again ignorantly accuse me of being a statist, because that seems to be upper boundary of your intellectual capability.
Can you deny the fact that a state is fundamentally immoral? It’s the only institution on earth that operates solely by coersion and violence. This is why our founders gave us the 2nd amendment. They understood that power ALWAYS corrupts and that individual liberty was the most important ideal to protect. So by that logic how can anyone support this administration? Government has grown exponentially and continues to take our liberties. More and more every year. Can anyone deny the move towards authoritarianism and faccism? Can one deny that we are ruled by an oligarchy? I think not. It is a simple fact.
I am persistent – if liberals made the phrase “question authority” famous – what happened to you? You appear to love and accept authority so long as it’s democrat driven.
Mark, you do realize that you and I and everyone else is forced to pay the state for our freedom everyday. If we don’t pay – what happens – we go to jail. that’s the kind of state you seem to support with your tax the rich mantra. If they don’t pay the state, they go to jail. In addition, we really don’t even have a choice – our paychecks are reduced by all taxes immediately – isn’t that convenient. The state gets first right to our earnings – that is what I see with you – progressive style tyranny where all of us sheep need to get in line and do what we’re told – if that is your idea of “questioning authority” that is pretty pitiful.
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