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Sometimes you don't know whether to laugh, snort, chuckle, or shake your head in total dismay ...
As Rod Serling used to say, we present for your approval an e-note sent to Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership by -- let's call him "David Schlemiel" ("Schlemiel" is a Yiddish word for "fool") -- who may well have broken the Guinness (or somebody's) record (in the Brief Message Category) for packing more socialist lies, victim disarmament mythology, and statist propaganda into one communication than anybody we know of, possibly excepting Abe Foxman, Diane Feinstein, Carolyn McCarthy, and Charles Schumer.
Schlemiel makes all of the grand pronouncements about self-defense and displays all of the "wisdom" usually demonstrated by individuals who know nothing whatever about guns, shooting, tactics, or strategy. He asks all of the usual questions we've heard at least ten thousand times. And we'll respond for the ten thousandth time, if only for the edification -- or simply the amusement -- of those who are listening. In passing, you'll note that he's also something of a pedant and a bigot.
He begins: "Imagine my surprise when I happened upon your site. Given the Jewish tradition of education and debate I couldn't have been more shocked to find the same goyim rhetoric and flawed syllogisms usually representative of less scholarly groups."
There is, indeed, a glorious tradition of education and debate in Judaism which, when it came to weapons and self-defense, was entirely neglected until JPFO was founded in 1989, despite the clear mandate of Jewish religious teachings that weapons and self-defense have a vital place in everyday life. As to "goyim rhetoric", is Schlemiel referring to that of the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Sarah Brady, or Chris Dodd, every one of them staunch and persistent advocates of victim disarmament?
We'll see who's guilty of "flawed syllogisms" later on. Meanwhile, who actually uses a phrase like that besides a self-impressed college freshman?
Schlemiel continues, "Without belaboring the statistics and clear evidence before us, I would like to ask you if you really think that an armed Jewish populace would have stopped the vastly larger fascist movement in Germany on the eve of Crystal nacht [sic]? Do you honestly think that the first shot fired by a Jew in defense of his [life, family, or store] would have not been used as an example of how dangerous Jews were? If Hitler was able to incite public opinion against the Jews and vilify them for their participation in the banking industry, just imagine how easily he could have swayed public opinion if, besides not trusting the Jews, people had genuine reason to fear them."
Naturally, our correspondent is reluctant to belabor "statistics and clear evidence", since all of them are on the side of armed self-defense. In his books More Guns, Less Crime, and The Bias Against Guns, Dr. John Lott has established beyond question the efficacy and beneficial social effect produced by carrying personal weapons. So have other scholars like Professors Don Kates and Gary Kleck.
But setting that aside -- at Schlemiel's completely understandable request -- if German Jews had long maintained a tradition of armed preparedness, and resisted any attempt -- from the Middle Ages onward -- to disarm them, it would never even have occurred to Hitler to try to make scapegoats of them. Does Schlemiel really think that if every Jewish family had been well-equipped and practiced, and there had been a culture that celebrated self-defense, that the craven hooligans and bullies of the Sturmabteilung who perpetrated Kristallnacht would actually have been courageous enough to attack Jewish homes and businesses?
Or even think about doing it?
Doesn't he realize that the first shot fired by a Jew in defense of his life, his family, or his business -- in a culture that recognized the preeminence of self-defense as a fundamental right -- would have been cheered as a victory of a potential victim over an aggressor?
As to public opinion and "genuine reason to fear" those who have armed themselves, Schlemiel's opinions are the result of at least half a century of brainwashing by the public schools and the round-heeled mass media. America's Founding Fathers understood that the fact that an individual -- or a populace -- is armed is no reason to fear them. On the contrary, strong people make the firmest friends. Weak people find mutual trust impossible, because they're afraid of everything and everybody.
"A society full of guns," our correspondent informs us, "produces a society full of gunshot victims. Talk politics, the [C]onstitution, sociology, what have you and you just end up back at the same truism. Gun advocates can't argue with this, they simply try to tell you that the thousands of our children who die are worth the price for our 'freedom'."
As you can see, nearly every sentence Schlemiel writes is the reverse of the truth. Gary Kleck informs us that while there are about 400,000 crimes of all kinds committed with guns in a typical year (the base year in his study was 1993), there are also around 2,500,000 instances in which the intended victims of crime successfully defended themselves. Anyone who would throw 2,500,000 lives away in an attempt to save 400,000 needs more help than anybody but a psychiatrist can offer.
Also, it turns out that an enormous proportion of the "children" invariably referred to by the victim disarmament industry are actually grown individuals in their early 20s, quite often casualties of violent turf wars among urban drug gangs in which they were voluntary participants.
But over and above that, Schlemiel's disdain for the Constitution is a tribute to the schools and media which seem to have turned him (along with millions of other victims) into a trained parrot. Squawk though he may from his precarious perch, he has to live (as do we all) in a world of objective reality, in which regurgitating the deadly falsehoods pounded into him by others is not a rational strategy for survival.
The Constitution -- especially the Bill of Rights -- is the basic operating system of this culture; we ignore it at our peril. For every single one of its provisions, there is somebody who wants to dismiss it as outdated, obsolete, irrelevant, or because it "gets in the way of government" -- which is precisely what it was meant to do. It is Schlemiel's attitude that permits one administration after another to engage in illegal wars and incarcerate individuals without due process, presumption of innocence (or even an attorney) and to torture them. As George W. Bush put it, "The Constitution is just a piece of paper."
Of course chronic victim disarmers like the United Nations, which consists mostly of craven hooligans and bullies itself, want every human being on Earth to believe the nonsense Schlemiel does, and behave accordingly, like a frightened rabbit. What terrifies them is a prospect of six billion individuals standing tall, independent, and armed.
"I, myself," Schlemiel declares, "am happy to rely on the state militia our founding fathers clearly had in mind when they wrote the second amendment. After all, they were the ruling class of white property owning men. They had very little reason to want an armed underclass."
Our correspondent needs desperately to educate himself and shuck the cheesy Marxoid revisionism that is the source (whether he knows it or not) of his ideas about the Founding Fathers. Most -- John Hancock, for example -- were indeed rich, as social and political leaders usually are in any society. By committing the treasonous act we now call the American Revolution, they were putting everything they owned on the line. Every one of them who wrote about the subject -- George Mason, Thomas Jefferson, even Alexander Hamilton -- clearly believed in the unconditional right of any individual to own and carry weapons capable of resisting and even overthrowing a government grown tyrannical.
Schlemiel attempts to sneak in the collective theory of the Second Amendment, concocted much later -- perhaps as late as the middle of the 20th century -- by politicians who regarded an armed populace as a potential hindrance to their political aspirations. As a penance, he needs to read Stopping Power: Why 70 Million Americans Own Guns and Self Control Not Gun Control. Their author, J. Neil Schulman, took a brilliant and unprecedented step by inquiring of two of the nation's top grammarians whether the initial "militia" phrase places any limit on the remainder of the Second Amendment, or simply explains why the Founding Fathers thought it important to preserve a basic human right that existed long before the United States were born. Not surprisingly -- to anybody who can read -- both grammarians affirmed the latter view.
Schlemiel rattles on. "While I have been an antigovernment control advocate all my life and have protested against many of the things you feel you need guns to resist, my agreement with you about the societal problems we face is not enough to make me want to arm the general populace."
What makes him think he has anything to say about it? The Bill of Rights was devised to protect individual rights from the opinions of other, and its provisions are not properly subject to the whims of the electorate, the activity of the legislature, or the rulings of any court.
"How a Jew," our correspondent continues, "who knows better than most people how dangerous and capricious people out there can be, could advocate arming every crazy out there without restraint, is beyond me."
Apparently so. The idea is not to arm everybody else -- that's their affair, not ours -- but to make sure that we remain armed, ourselves.
Schlemiel concludes, "Despite my strongly held feelings, I have never been moved to write to any other gun advocacy group. It is just that 'Jews for guns' strikes me like 'Catholics for condoms'. It just makes me marvel at how your mind must work."
And it makes us wonder whether Schlemiel's mind works at all. Six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the 1940s because most of them believed the same nonsense that he does. To paraphrase George Santayana, those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
A final point: this week is Passover. In writing to JPFO about his disdain for and opposition to the tools of freedom, our correspondent demonstrates precisely the slave mentality that kept our ancestors wandering the desert for forty years, until those with that outlook no longer existed to enter the Promised Land. America is the Promised Land today. If he can't understand that -- and what made it that way -- then maybe he should go back to wandering in the desert until he does.
On the other hand, if we thought he would listen, we would suggest to him, when he feels ready for a genuine education in these matters, he should try JPFO again sometime. At the very least, he should take a look at the violent crime statistics in Vermont, or in other states since the concealed carry of weapons by private citizens came into play.
We appreciate that the process of relearning is an excruciatingly painful one (having been through it ourselves more than once), and requires exceptional moral courage, which his obvious background in America's culture of harmlessness may not have equipped him with. But he owes it to himself -- as well as those he cares for -- at least to try.
We'll be here -- at www.JPFO.org
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A fifty-year veteran of the libertarian movement, L. Neil Smith is the Author of 33 books including The Probability Broach, Ceres, Sweeter Than Wine, And Down With Power: libertarian Policy In A Time Of Crisis. He is also the Publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, now in its 17th year online.
Visit the Neil Smith archive on JPFO.
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