Don't shoot the historian, she's only a messenger.
March 30, 2018
The heated debate over gun control rages on. Facebook, Twitter, such a war of the words! One ship blasting broadsides at another, and neither will be happy unless it sinks the opposing ship.
What a horrible state of affairs. Can we do something about it?
How about saying, "A pox on both your houses?" How about we bring a few observations in that have nothing to do with promoting a "side?"
My job, is to give you historical background, and address the mythology that we deal with in this fight. Let's look at this three ways.
1-The mythology of America
2-The past informs the future, with specific examples for the founding of America and WW2.
3-The example of the Jews, Gypsies and other hated groups in NAZI Germany
We Americans pride ourselves on being the “land of the free, and the home of the brave.” When we search our history, we can understand how that phrase came to be. It takes courage, with primitive technology, to leave home, cross an ocean, and then settle in a land without the structures a 16th/17th century person is used to. Everything has to be built from the ground up. Their freedom, however, to live life their way was of such extreme importance, that they faced the risks and difficulties head on. That history, then, became a party of our America mythology.
Never mind if the actual history of the first immigrants to America is different from the myth. Myths are stories based on true events. They are a part of the inner life of Americans. Of any people. They keep us connected as a people. To destroy those myths is to destroy a people.
This land of the free, home of the brave nation faces a crucial test right now. Because to be free and brave means having the wherewithal to defend one’s person, one's family, and, by extension, one’s nation.
Oh, you say, we have an army to defend our nation. Yes we do. However, if we think our army could defend this nation if it were being attacked, as in a war, coast-to-coast, think again. Our fighting armed forces are spread fairly thin right now, throughout the world. In all those combined forces, army, navy, air force, there are approximately 12 million individuals. Not all of these individuals are battle ready. Thousands are desk warriors. How long, do you think, it would take to mobilize them, to protect a nation that is 3000 miles, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and 1500 miles from Canada to Mexico? Let’s not forget Hawaii, Alaska, Guam, and Puerto Rico would also have to be defended.
Our navy would patrol our coasts. However, if the United States was attacked, big time, you can bet the entire world would get in on it. Probably, there would be a draft. And probably, young women would be included. Most likely, we would see thousands of volunteers. This is so because we are the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
It’s the volunteers who will make or break the war. My examples for this statement? Let's begin with the our own War for Independence, AKA, the American Revolution. We had quite the active "resistance" during that conflict. We refer to them as militias. Without them, we would be singing, "God save the queen." Why? Because our American Continental Army was a failure during the first two years of the war. Reread that paragraph above about what it would take to fight a war on our American soil. It's that mobilization thing, as in getting recruits and training them. That takes time. America did not start fighting in WW2 until Operation Torch in November, 1942, nearly a year after Pearl Harbor.
Militias, (resistance or guerrilla fighters) are guys who have two distinct advantages. Firstly, they are familiar with weapons, and secondly, they know their territory. Their purpose is simple. It's to keep the enemy nervous with constant harassment. The New Jersey militia did just that with the invading Hessians during our revolution. How else could Washington pull off his daring event of invading and taking back Trenton? No, it wasn't because the Hessians were not good soldiers or were drunk. Shucks, most people think this happened on Christmas day. It did not. It happened the day after Christmas. And the Hessians were Protestants that didn't make a big deal out of Christmas. No, their problem is they were jittery. And when the Americans finally did show up, the Hessians were not prepared.
Here's another point to be made. A home army fights hard. To be conquered is a nightmare, a psychological event that cannot be undone. Invading armies must take that into consideration when planning an invasion.
The resistance fighters of WW2 are the unsung heroes of that conflict. Not only did they keep Germans edgy, they protected downed pilots and helped with delaying tactics. Yes indeed, resistance fighters are extremely valuable. During that future war we might have, the resistance will have extra toys to work with. Imagine a resistance employing drones for recon work plus harassment tactics on the enemy. Like dropping grapeshot over their positions. Therefore, having a citizenry who has weapons and simple technology available to them is a value we mustn't downplay.
Those of you who scoff at such an idea as ordinary American militias fighting it out with an enemy in say, NYC, turn your attention to how successful those recent murderers have been in several cities around the world. Imagine in your mind that the Las Vegas murderer was not an evil human being, but someone trying to rid his city of invaders. The LV guy did much damage, all by him self. Because, you see, it's not the weapons in his hands. It's the context of how they are used. The 2nd Amendment is a reality check. Stuff happens. Armies do invade. Don't we find ourselves as the invaders often enough?
Yes, the NAZIs did just that.
Time for us to look at the example that is brought up over and over again on social media: WW2 and the restriction of weapons in Germany. It is true that the NAZI regime deprived the Jews, by law in 1938, of any means of defense. This law was set into motion fully after the invasion of Austria. However, Jews had been incrementally restricted and disenfranchised for several years prior to that. This began with the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. By 1938, not only were they deprived of the right to defend themselves, Jews were also forbidden to own a way to manufacture weapons. Or anything else. Jews were like babies in the womb, totally defenseless, and Germany was about to abort them.
Jews in the German empire, and other disliked peoples like Gypsies, became the proverbial sitting ducks. They were to be the hunted, like helpless animals.
I don’t know what the German and European Jews had as their mythology. For some, it included the stories of the Old Testament. Those stories portray an aggressive people, but only after they came out of Egypt. Before that, in Egypt, they were an abused people.
Before the NAZI regime, the Jews of Germany did well. In spite of the times of persecution when entire villages would be wiped out, mostly during the Middle Ages, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Jews were successful in Germany and Austria. They were highly cultured. The Austrian Jews even more so. They were no longer the scrappy Israelis of 2000 years before who had given the Roman army hell. No, these Jews were more at home in the opera houses, had huge art collections, and could be found drinking their Passover wine from crystal goblets. The entire process of NAZI encroachment must have seemed surreal to them. Why else would one stay in such an environment?
Here is a rub most folks fail to ponder when they think about gun control. For it is one thing to take away weapons, and it’s quite another to keep the weapons in the hands of officially sanctioned individuals, like the SS in Germany and the thousands of police in our own nation. Add onto that, who will make the guns? And if Americans cannot purchase them, who will? Government, our own, plus other governments as well.
Using that period in history as a warning to us is valid. Telling lies about it, or not giving the full picture is not valid. The idea of gun control is itself a lie, because we don’t mean to control the guns. We mean to control who has the guns. However, as in NAZI Germany, that is a process that takes years to bring to full realization. To think it can’t happen here, that Americans would never stomach a tyrant, is a fallacy. Remember the American War for Independence? There were Loyalists who fought tooth and nail to keep the king. Remember the Civil War? Now there was a people divided. Therefore, if enough want a tyrant, and are willing to die for him, or her, that is enough to get us into a shooting war with ourselves. Again.
To conclude, the real answer is based on our mythology. The questions to ask our ones about ourselves as Americans. Like the following: Do we have a drive for life? If so, what means are valid to protect it? And how do we love our nation? As an idea? Or as real estate with definite borders worth defending? And those fellow Americans of ours, if they disagree with us, what is our reaction to be? Do we want men and women with guns to protect us from them, and to force them to agree with us? Or can we sit down and have a conversation, American to American?