Ok, I’m pretty sure she’s not a member of the NRA and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t even own a gun, but you’ll get my point if you continue reading.
On his most recent podcast, Todd Glass made a random thought/observation that the NRA, and the people who are members of it (and who support gun rights generally) are people who “are tired of all change…from interracial marriage to…gay marriage….” and most people in the NRA are basically intolerant. There was also discussion of how people who want guns to protect themselves from the government are paranoid (this was Paul Tompkins talking) and allusions to how ridiculous it is to worry about the second coming of the third reich.
Let me start by pointing out that gun rights are a civil rights issue. Todd may not care about it, but the right to own a weapon is as fundamental as the right to speak your mind, practice (or not practice) a religion and gather with those you want to be around. So I find it odd that someone would state that a person who wants to protect one civil right from government attack would somehow be antagonistic towards those who are protecting a different civil right from government attack.
More to the point, I guess Todd has never heard of any of the various gun rights groups that are also gay rights groups. For example, Pink Pistols is a gun rights advocacy group made up of LGBT individuals. They have 60 chapters in 30+ states and 3 countries and they are quite active in my local area (San Francisco). I know many Pink Pistol members, we shoot together at the local gun ranges and hunt together and many of the straight members of the local shooting community (including me) march with the Pink Pistols members in the San Francisco Gay Pride Parade.
It’s not an isolated thing, either. Gays don’t want to be helpless victims anymore than anyone else and a large number of people in the LGBT community own firearms for protection.
Without a doubt, there are people in the NRA, and gun owners generally, who are the dumbfuck backwards redneck types that Todd and Paul presumes all of us are, but they are certainly not the majority.
To claim, as Todd (and Paul, to an extent) did, that the NRA is populated by people who are homophobic is as ignorant as the claims by religious lunatics that the gay rights movement is an attempt to indoctrinate kids so they become homosexuals.
More troubling to me, though, was Paul’s dismissal of people who keep arms to protect against the next third reich.
I’m the son of a Holocaust survivor. My mom was born in Czechoslovakia in 1933. Her family was “Sudeten”, meaning that though they were Czechs, they came from a region that was historically German and they considered themselves more German than Czech. They spoke German in the house and always identified to be Germans first, Czechs second, Jews third.
In 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain gave Adolf Hitler the go ahead to invade Czechoslovakia and take the Sudeten lands. He thought that appeasing Hitler would stop further aggression.
My mom’s family actually liked the idea of Germany taking back the part of Czechoslovakia where they lived, since they were Germans at heart and culture. They moved to Prague shortly after Chamberlain appeased Hitler and watched Hitler’s tanks roll into Prague. Not long after that, they started to see the signs that Hitler was not benevolent.
My mom’s family always thought that despite the rumors that Hitler planned to exterminate the Jews of Europe there was no way it would happen because they were Germans and Germans would not hurt other Germans.
Then one day in 1940 SS men kicked in the door to my great grandparent’s apartment in Prague (where my mother and grandparents were living) and dragged everyone into the street with the rest of the Jews of Prague.
Oh, this was after Hitler had confiscated all privately owned weapons held by Jews.
The Nazis didn’t care that my mom’s family was German. They murdered some of her family and their neighbors in the street and took the rest of them off to concentration camps. My mom’s last vivid memory of life in Europe was of Nazi soldiers forcing her to play with corpses as they laughed. She was 8 years old.
Luckily, my mother, and her parents survived, but they were the only ones in their family. Every else was slaughtered. And to the end, they couldn’t believe that Germans would do such a thing to other Germans.
And it’s not the only time in history that a government has turned against its Jewish population. From the Pogroms (that slaughtered parts of my father’s family in the Ukraine, before the Nazis did the same a few years later) to the Inquisition all the way back to the Pharaohs and Nebuchadnezzar II, Jewish history is dominated by instances of government slaughtering Jews.
So do I worry about the next third reich?
I don’t think it’s imminent, I don’t think it’s likely. But I do think it’s possible. I’d be an idiot to ignore what happened to my own mother and her family. Just as they thought that Germans would never kill other Germans simply because of religion, I don’t think that my American citizenship would protect me from an American government bent on my destruction.
And I’m astounded and frightened that there are adults today who don’t know the basic outlines of world history.
That’s you, Paul Tompkins, in case you were too busy chortling about paranoid gun nuts to figure it out.
I am armed, I am a member of the NRA, I am vigilant because I know world history and my family’s history.
It’s not that I have any plans to try to overthrow the government or start a revolution. But I definitely have plans to make sure that if history repeats itself during my lifetime, I will defend myself and my people.
Anyone who trusts a government to do that is an idiot.
Jen Kirkman made an excellent point during the podcast about the propensity of all government, whether the Bush administration or otherwise, to attack its own people.
Bullseye, Jen (yes, intentional pun).
I am a huge fan of Jen Kirkman. A lot of my gun loving friends are as well. I’d go so far as to say that I agree with Jen more than I agree with any politician. And I’m pretty typical of gun owners. So, Todd, how do you square that with your observation that the NRA and its members are a bunch of intolerant angry people?
Look, if you don’t like guns, don’t own them. Just like if you don’t like abortions, don’t have one…or if you don’t like gay sex, don’t engage in it.
But encouraging the government to dictate what guns people can have (if they can have them at all) or vilifying gun owners and implying that they are not worthy of the same civil rights protections as those with who you agree will do nothing more than provide the precedent for the further erosion of all civil rights.