The following is an example of “tip of the iceberg” exploration.
From a recent article on Daily Kos comes a tidbit of gun wisdom courtesy of Mike Huckabee (bold highlight added):
Radio host and perennial “prominent Republican” Mike Huckabee is rapidly becoming what Rush Limbaugh used to be 20 years ago. (What Rush is now we’ll leave as the topic for another time.) Here Huckabee is embracing the far-right militia logic of violence and conspiracy theories with open arms, and then some:
CALLER: I’m very concerned, it seems like there’s so many people who have not read and do not understand how quickly Germany was turned into, it was a democracy, then turned into a dictatorship by everyone having to register their guns and then they went door to door and collected them.
HUCKABEE: People do forget that. And by the way, [caller] know, that when you bring that up you get people who get crazy on us, and they’ll start saying, “Oh there you go comparing to the Nazis.” And I understand the reaction, but it’s the truth. You cannot take people’s rights away if they’re resisting and if they have the means to resist, but once they’re disarmed and the people who are trying to take over have all the power, not just political, not just financial, but they have the physical power to domesticate us and to subjugate us to our will there’s not a whole lot we can do about it other than just plan to die in the course of resistance. […] In every society and culture where dictators take over, one of the things they have to do is get control of the military and the police and ultimately all of the citizens and make sure the citizens are disarmed and can’t fight in the streets. Gosh I hope it doesn’t come to that.
Both the Caller and Huckabee are, of course, wrong; there is no “truth” in their thesis, none whatsoever. The only ‘truth’ implicit is the reality that virtually every gun nut likes to blame today’s proposed universal background checks and magazine-size limits on President Obama and his “socialism”; the comparison to what they imagine Hitler must have done in Germany is, of course, their foundational argument against ANY sort of gun control, no matter how innocuous it might be. The facts are, however, roughly the opposite of what they love to proclaim; a quick google on the matter of gun control in Nazi Germany pretty much overturns their nonsensical but widely spoken and heralded views [bold highlights added]:
“Unfortunately for those who would like to link Hitler and the National Socialists with gun control, the entire premise for such an effort is false. German firearms legislation under Hitler, far from banning private ownership, actually facilitated the keeping and bearing of arms by German citizens by eliminating or ameliorating restrictive laws which had been enacted by the government preceding his [. . .] The spirit of National Socialism was one of manliness, and individual self-defense and self- reliance were central to the National Socialist view of the way a citizen should behave. The notion of banning firearms ownership was utterly alien to National Socialism.”
Not a lot different, conceptually speaking, from what could easily be presumed to be the current position of the American G.O.P. Interesting.
Another article on that same Huckabee radio show conversation — posted on Raw Story — similarly rebuts (rebukes?) Huckabee’s support of the Hitler thesis:
Rather than correct the caller that in 1938, the Nazi Party loosened gun regulations that had been imposed by the Versailles Treaty in the wake of World War One, lowered the age limit for gun ownership and de-regulated the possession of shotguns and rifles for everyone but Jews, Huckabee chose instead to stoke the caller’s fears.
So. While that bunch of silliness pretty much sums up the wingnut side of the argument, one wonders what about the ‘other’ side? What arguments do (self-proclaimed) “liberals” make on gun control matters? In last Sunday’s New York Times, Op-Ed columnist Joe Nocera spoke with Coloradan Dan Baum, a gun owner and a self-described liberal, about the role “gun guys” can play in solving the problem of violence in America. The entire article is well worth a read, but in the interest of brevity I’ll post only a handful of snippets here to convey the context. All quotes are by Dan Baum, himself author of “Gun Guys: A Road Trip,” a newly published book which the Times describes as “part gun country travelogue and part meditation on what it means to be a gun lover at this particular moment.”
“You need gun owners — the ‘gun guys’ as I call them. They are the custodians of the guns. I also think, though, that gun guys need to take their responsibility as gun owners seriously. A lot of gun owners are perfectly fine, for instance, with universal background checks. I know I am. They are fine with it so long as it doesn’t lead to a database and de facto registration. . . .
“ . . . Gun guys, I think, need to take much more seriously that they’re custodians of firearms. Their guns affect everybody and they need to be much more responsible with them. And in order to get them there, we need to make allies of them. And frankly, forgive me, you and your rhetoric make enemies of them, and that’s making us less safe. Look at what Connecticut is doing. You’re not going to get any public safety benefit out of that. I think you’re gonna make us less safe. Because you drive the gun guys into that defensive crouch that’s so destructive. . . .
“I’m not trying to make an ideological point. I’m talking about being safer. And we get there, I think, by being respectful to the people who own the guns. . . .
“Because we need the gun guys. You won’t get there by vilifying them or treating them like children. I think most of what happens with guns that is bad in this country could be solved by the gun guys themselves. . . .
“I can’t imagine anything worse than one guy with a gun bent on mass murder in a room full of unarmed people. Anything is better than that. . . .
“The N.R.A. is a hideous organization. Every day I get e-mails from people who say, ‘I’m a gun guy, and I can’t stand the N.R.A.’ We need to speak with a different voice. It’s really important.”
Baum makes, I suppose, a few good points, particularly in his comments about the NRA. Still, I have a lot of difficulty with his basic premise, the concept of “gun guys” being somehow useful . . . which implies that guns themselves are somewhat useful. Useful for what? The sole purpose of a gun is to simplify the task of killing something, is it not? How can that passion, that desire to KILL, ever be seen as compatible with an advanced civilization?
The oft-heard and usually ‘noisy’ argument that our Founding Fathers wanted to make really sure that each and ever one of us would be FOREVER GUARANTEED the RIGHT to possess the MEANS to KILL . . . everything, anything, anyone, to be able to overrun and overturn the government once it became tyrannical — “lahk now, fer essample” (trying to mimic Ted Nugent . . . it ain’t easy) — all patent nonsense.
In a recent post on Consortium News, author Robert Parry wrote an article which detailed today’s Tea Party and right wing nonsensical ‘interpretation’ of the Second Amendment. He points out that [bold highlight added]:
. . . the Framers had a rather distorted view of what constituted independence and liberty. They accepted slavery of African-Americans, excluded Native Americans and denied suffrage to women and some white men. (Indeed, putting down slave revolts became an important role for state militias in the South.)
But the Framers clearly did not embrace the modern “libertarian” notion that disgruntled Americans should have personal arsenals so they can shoot police, soldiers or other government representatives. In fact, the Framers had a word for such activity. They called it “treason,” which was the charge brought against some leaders of the Whiskey Rebellion who were sentenced to hang (although Washington used his pardoning power to stop the executions).
If you’re not sure that the Framers really did disdain insurrection against the new Republic, you can look it up in the Constitution. Treason is defined as “levying war against” the United States as well as giving “Aid and Comfort” to the enemy (Article III, Section 3). Article IV, Section 4 further committed the federal government to protect each state from not only invasion but “domestic Violence.” There’s also language about insuring “domestic Tranquility.”
If Parry is indeed correct, then James Madison wrote the final version of the Second Amendment NOT specifically to allow universal ‘arms’ ownership and possession, but instead–
“It was framed mostly out of concern that a standing federal army could become excessively powerful and that the states should maintain their own citizen militias. . . . [also] he recognized that he would have to make concessions to gain ratification of the Constitution.”
In any case, today we find ourselves immersed in and engulfed by a gun culture, one which apparently sees little or no reason for any limitations whatsoever, including even something so simple as universal background checks for ALL gun purchases. And nothing: not mass murders of school children in Connecticut, not mass murders of theater-goers in Colorado, not a wild-eyed gun assault on a Congresswoman addressing citizens in a super market parking lot in Arizona, not the typical death-by-gunfire of some 1000 innocent victims PER MONTH across the country. No. In the minds of a very loud and well-armed vocal minority, gun ownership by virtually ANYONE (including now, in Louisiana, even convicted felons) of virtually any style or caliber of killing device made is more a sacred privilege than is any other consideration in this life. Including life itself.
And recently, as if to demonstrate GUN NUT CRAZINESS for all to see, Senator James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, said, as he tried to explain just WHY the opinions of parents of the mass murdered-by-assault-rifle children in Connecticut were not pertinent to pending gun control legislation, “See, I think it’s so unfair of the administration to hurt these families, to make them think this has something to do with them when, in fact, it doesn’t.” When asked just why the victim’s families might think their opinion(s) mattered, Inhofe said, “Well, that’s because they’ve been told that by the president.” In other words, Inhofe seems to be suggesting that the only reason people feel their opinion on gun control has meaning is because they’ve been listening too much to that damn Democrat President, and he’s black so what the hell does he know anyway!
Meanwhile, the influence of the National Rifle Association on Congressional opinion is, of course, well worth paying attention to because unlike victim’s families, the NRA has lots of money, and power, and influence. And ain’t nothin’ in the world worth more than the influence of money and power!
Nevertheless, the basic and fundamental fact remains: guns have but one purpose, as noted above: to KILL. Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t help feeling that there is something terribly wrong with any country that not only allows but also fights on all levels to UPHOLD such travesty.
Recently, the United Nations voted on an agreement to limit and oversee all aspects of International Arms Trade, including guns. The final vote was 154 in favor, 23 abstentions, and only 3 against (Iran, Syria, and North Korea). The United States was one of the 154, but the Senate has to ratify it before it becomes binding US law. Meanwhile, the American National Rifle Association, the NRA, supports not its own United States government, but instead it sides with supposed arch-enemies Iran, Syria, and North Korea — and is apparently going to fight ratification by any and every means available. Ratification requires 67 Senate votes, and given the intense political divisions in the US Senate, the likelihood that such will ever happen is, indeed, highly questionable.
Killing things is apparently really important, a measure of ‘freedom’ in some perverted sense. Or maybe there’s money in the sale of guns and ammunition? Lots of money? Maybe money is more important than life itself?
Nah. Couldn’t be. Could it?? But if such is truly the case, perhaps the best solution to America’s gun problem is an indelibly simple one: RELIEVE ALL GUN MANUFACTURERS AND GUN SELLERS OF ANY AND ALL PROFIT POTENTIAL. PERIOD. How about, e.g., a 110% federal tax on every penny of income from gun/ammunition manufacturing or gun/ammunition sales? I vote YES!
This is today’s Open Thread. Lock, Load, and Fire Away.