October 15, 2015

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It’s a good idea not to smoke; it’s a damn good idea. But avoiding cigarettes will not guarantee you a long life. Nonsmokers drop over prematurely all the time.

“€œGun rights could”€™a stopped the Holocaust”€ is just one of many gun memes rooted in false utopian promises. The right to bear arms will no more guarantee that you won”€™t get “€œHolocausted”€ than it will guarantee that the government won”€™t force you to stand down and accept its dictates. During the fight over segregation in the South, which side had the most guns? The blacks, or the “€œsegregation now, segregation forever”€ good ol”€™ boys? But even though the pro-segregationists had the guns, they still stood down when Eisenhower sent in the National Guard. The National Guard had more guns.

Along with overreach and utopianism, gun advocates are more and more relying on paranoia. When gun rights activists push the “€œgun ownership will keep you out of FEMA camps”€ line, it doesn”€™t resonate with anyone but the hardcore true believers. The average American can understand the need for gun ownership if it’s explained in terms of personal protection. People fear muggers, rapists, burglars. They don”€™t fear FEMA camps, and wisely so, because gun rights evangelists have been predicting FEMA camps since the Reagan years (remember how President Clinton was going to use Y2K to usher in martial law? Yeah, that was a good one). When I was still a member of “€œrespectable”€ GOP circles, I was in the process of producing a documentary film with conservative talk-show host and author Larry Elder. The film, titled A Necessary Good, would have focused on gun rights solely by telling the story of Americans from all walks of life who used guns for self-defense (and those who were unable, due to restrictive laws). It was a sound concept, yet I still received flak from conservatives”€”including mainstream GOPs”€”about how I needed to include the FEMA camps and the Sandy Hook “€œfalse flag”€ and, of course, how gun ownership would have stopped the Holocaust.

Gun advocates have every right to become as disassociated from reality as they want, but they do so at the expense of their message. The fact that the pro”€“Second Amendment sheriff investigating the Umpqua Community College mass shooting is also, apparently, a Sandy Hook “€œtruther,”€ shows just how widespread this pathology is becoming. Viewed in that light, Ben Carson made a smart move, in the short run, by invoking the Holocaust meme, because no doubt it”€™ll play well with the base. But in the long run, those kinds of overreaching, utopian, and paranoid themes don”€™t play well in the big room. That’s of little concern to Carson, as we all know damn well he won”€™t be the eventual nominee. However, it should be of concern to people who have a sincere desire to educate the public on the importance of the right to bear arms.


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