That Can Never Happen Here

A long time ago I was in an intense conversation with a co-worker. I was speaking in defense of the right of the citizenry of this country to own guns. My friend disagreed. My friend is Jewish, and to further my argument I posited the dubious assertion, “If the Jews in 1920’s Germany were well-armed, things would have been different.” Honestly, it might not have made a difference, with the steady, insidious erosion of Jew’s rights across Europe at that time. But it makes a good argument.

My friend scoffed at my assertion. Not at the idea that well-armed Jews might have turned aside the oppression of their people in Nazi Germany, he scoffed at the very thought that a national socialist scapegoater would ever rise to prominence in this nation.

And here we are. I have never been a stronger proponent of the loose-ass interpretation of the 2nd amendment.

8 thoughts on “That Can Never Happen Here

  1. In every instance where an oppressive power seeks mandate to reinforce its oppression, it looks to paint the oppressed as a threat to the order of things. It is an everyday occurrence in America that the perceived threat of a weapon justifies immediate lethal force. Even if the victim is immediately found to have been unarmed, simply reaching for keys or a wallet to show ID or having a cell phone in a jacket pocket that is taken for a weapon, there is no apology. “We thought there was a threat” is justification for lethal response.

    Think, then, what an oppressive administration would do to a family, a group, a community, that is perceived to be an armed opposing force. Consider the disparity of force. Are you willing to live as a hunted “terrorist” in a cave complex? What about your family, children, friends?

    Once a situation slips over the brink into armed conflict, there is no drawing back. Although it may seem emotionally satisfying to think of one’s weapon and one’s home as a bastion of self-defense and resistance to oppression, history proves otherwise. Here in America, we’ve already slipped far, far into an arena of armed oppression: civilian police forces are now armed and trained in para-military fashion. They can be–and have been–mobilized to overwhelm and eliminate any armed civilian resistance.

    Finally, a philosophical note: rather than clinging to one’s arms, cling to these truths. Truth is the foundation of civilization and governance. Without truth, there cannot be trust. Without trust, there is no civil society. We all must insist upon truth in all things.

    The corollary to that demands that in our choice of leaders, we choose those who speak truth: we must appreciate character, integrity, and truthfulness. It seems that in America, we have lost our way. We choose the charlatan, the huckster, the con man. In that arena of abandoned values, we become a nation of diminished hope.

    • Thank you for that. But I wonder, even as a firearm might provide a false feeling of security, is truth any better? We are facing a regime for whom truth and lie are meaningless abstractions. There is only the story. Any statement that serves the story is justified.

      In the Bush the Lesser White House, the phrase “reality-based” was openly used as an insult. We are facing a force that is completely orthogonal to truth.

      • There are two five-letter words: truth, and trust, that are imperishably linked. One cannot exist without the other. One can either lament, or rejoice, that truth requires far more courage, dedication, and self-sacrifice for ideals reaching far beyond oneself than guns, bullets, or violence.

        Consider Martin Luther King and his frightened but determined followers who marched into the clubs, the attack dogs, and the rabid ranks of racist-empowered police, submitting themselves without weapons or shields … finding themselves forsaken even by a national government every member of whom had sworn a solemn oath under the Constitution to protect every American citizen.

        Who does a chastened America remember from that day: the upholders of truth, or the craven oppressors?

        Consider the followers of Mahatma Ghandi who defied the British order denying Indian citizens the right to make salt for themselves by the seaside, compelling them to submit to a British monopoly.

        They marched into the British clubs and guns. Many fell; many bled. Unshielded skulls and bodies against the arms of the oppressor.

        That day the truth became global knowledge. That truth led to the birth of a new Indian nation, today one of the world’s few true democracies. Guns could never, will never, achieve such a lasting victory. Guns beget guns; violence breeds violence.

        America is on the precipice to disaster, and edge is crumbling away under our feet. There is no doubt of that. Our only shield in the days and years to come is re-dedication to the truth of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi. Truth… trust in principles… and the courage of our convictions.

        I commend all to read this article. It speaks truth:

        Pay particular attention to Rule #6: “Remember the future. Nothing lasts forever.”

    • No LA connection. GB is an old nighthawk from the Cascade Mountains of the far north Pacific NW. If there’s any “wisdom” involved, it came from the Pine Tree religion of the prior century’s ranchers, loggers, and back-country denizens of that isolated region, not to be confused with the addle-pated narcissism of the wingnut fringe that wouldn’t recognize a New York four-flusher if he shoved a hot brandin’ iron up their butts, raped their dogs, shot their women, and rode off with their horses. Which it appears is about to happen–figuratively speakin’, of course.

    • Actually, I’ve never lived in LA, either. I did live in the largest city where the wingnuts prevented fluoridation of the water, which if nothing else provided a good control for that project.

  2. Really? You think if an oppressed class started fighting back in a loose gun environment that it wouldn’t have just meant the hunting and killing of those people by a baited and over-armed citizenry? Imagine if Muslims started openly carrying in Michigan, because Trump emboldened the racist xenophobes, and convinced everyone that we’re at war with Islam per se (which many rightists are claiming). & I think we’re past the point where you can believe that an armed (even with assault rifles, even organized as militias) citizenry can fight tyranny that’s as weaponized as our police force, never mind our military. That power imbalance was set in stone by the surveillance state we didn’t give a damn about … how can you organize if the feds know your every move? If you care about gun ownership, you should have cared about the Patriot act, but the irony is that so many of the “guns are freedom” types had no problem with the “if you have nothing to hide” Act. The presumption of 2nd Amendmenters is that the gvmt is not to be trusted; given that, accepting a surveillance state for “safety” (or any reason) is absurd.

    • Between you and Greybyrd I have to accept that the “well-armed sheep” is an attractive anachronism.

      Your point is well-made that while we argue back and forth about the second amendment, the powers that be are gleefully gutting the rest of the bill of rights. The second might be the least important of them.

      BUT! And this is the most important part of what I wrote: This CAN happen here.

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