Tuesday, December 18, 2012

History lesson: Guns and freedom

Josh Marshall has an excellent post on the impact that guns have had on determining America's journey:

We've expanded our freedoms, sometimes let it recede. We've had major blots on our history like the post-Reconstruction era in the South or the internment of Japanese-Americans in World War II. It's a rich and complex, sometimes tragic, but generally incredibly powerful and inspiring story. And yet in reality not in a single one of these cases has any government — state or federal — been pushed back in some moment of overreach by armed citizens or even affected in its decision-making by the knowledge of an armed citizenry. You could imagine a very different history in which various strong men had taken power and been deposed by violent uprisings. That just hasn't been our history.


Has private gun ownership helped keep us free? We've had two centuries to look at this one. And the results make the very idea laughable.

And yet many people now believe this. And it imparts an aura of self-righteousness to their desire to stock up private arsenals, fire off semi-automatic weapons and blow shit up. That sort of ignorance is dangerous.

Just as there will always be people who believe that the world is going to end next Friday (good thing I have the day off; I would hate to be blown to oblivion sitting at my desk working on a budget transfer), that Jesus is coming back to rapture us all, that Elvis is alive, that we didn't really land on the moon, that the sun revolves around the earth, and that Paul McCartney has been dead since 1969, there will be those who believe the only barrier between America and total tyranny is a bunch of guys running around the backwoods of Michigan in their cammie-jammies and shooting at targets with pictures of President Obama on them. "Wolverines!"

There will always be those among us. (And there will always be someone who will make it their life's work to take their money.) Ain't that America?

(Cross-posted at Bark Bark Woof Woof.)

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