A Few Good Guys with Guns Are Helpless Against a Military Power

2018-03-01 – Let’s play Jeopardy. Here’s the Final Jeopardy answer:


Do do do do do do do. Do do do do DO do do do do do. Do do do do do do do. Do do do do. Do. Do. Do.

The correct Final Jeopardy question is:

“How many Jews were put in ovens because they were unarmed?”

Did you get it right? No Jews were killed in Europe for failing to fight back.

Alaskan Congressman Don Young asked the question last week at a conference in Juneau, implying that the Jewish experience is proof that tyranny rises where guns are controlled. (Listen to Young—and former presidential candidate Ben Carson—make this point with your own ears from Alaskan Public Media.)

It’s a glib point that sounds impressive—unless you delve into it. The fact is that Jews resisted the Nazis all over Europe. But a few good guys with guns were helpless against a military juggernaut. And it wasn’t just Jews who were helpless against this juggernaut, but entire nations fell before Nazi might.

A few good guys with guns don’t cut it, sad to say.

Of course neither Don Young nor Ben Carson really believes what they say. If you asked them whether they would support arming minorities who wanted to defend themselves against police or ICE, they would certainly say no.

These guys just want to get a rise out of you. And it worked.

We have this fantasy—based on the American Revolution, based on the Minutemen at Concord, based on the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, based on the Boston Tea Party—that the private citizen and his gun is the midwife of liberty (ahem, mid-husband).

The truth is that we won the Revolutionary War because the British were 3,500 miles away. The ties were pretty tenuous anyway at that distance at that time. King George thought he could get away with imposing taxes on the American colonies because we weren’t there in London and in his face. Heck, Parliament imposed taxes without representation on Manchester, England because they weren’t in London. Being away from the seat of power meant being powerless. The London government imposed taxes without representation on the American colonies, and the colonies said no.

It’s hard enough to project military power across the Atlantic with sea and air power we have today. Think about what a massive effort it took for the United States to take the fight to Europe in World War II. Sure we won, but it was massive and American deaths were huge.

Think about Vietnam.

That is what Britain faced when the American colonies declared independence. Even so, it wasn’t individual good guys with guns that won the war. It was the organized militias and army of the Continental Congress that fought. It was the combined might of all the colonies. Together with the distance. Together with the military of France that faced the British on the sea off our coast and across the English Channel.

And the merchants.

British merchants were opposed to the war because it hurt their business.

Unfortunately, facts don’t matter. Even those of us who would like to see reasonable gun control believe some of these fantasies.


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