Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"Our Moloch"

Garry Wills nails it.  We have turned guns into objects of reverence and gun ownership into a form of worship.  This is what removes reason.

Don't believe me?  I bring before the bar an acolyte of the church of Moloch, the execrable Louis Gohmert.

The AP story in full:

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) defended the right to purchase assault weapons, saying it is a right enshrined in the Second Amendment, during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." Gohmert said the country needs an "open-minded conversation" about gun violence because people's emotional reaction to tragedies like the shooting in Newtown, Conn., is to call for stricter gun laws.

Yes, you towering asshole, that's exactly what we are going to do.  Because it is the only rational response.

"Well, for the reason George Washington said a free people should be an armed people," Gohmert said, responding to a question on why people need assault weapons. "It ensures against the tyranny of the government. If they know that the biggest army is the American people, then you don’t have the tyranny that came from King George. 

No, you historical illiterate.  George Washington feared armed anarchy more than anything.  He didn't agree - reluctantly - to go to Philadelphia to help draft the Constitution - which did not originally include a Second Amendment - because he wanted to make sure the American people had access to semi-automatic weapons.  He went because he saw the anarchic, bloody possibilities present in Shays's Rebellion, where a group of farmers tried an armed insurrection to overthrow the government of Massachusetts.  

Don't believe me?  Then explain why Washington marched (briefly) at the head of 13,000 men to suppress the Whiskey Rebellion?  Washington believed in order.  He believed in the power of the state bound by law, not the whims of an armed populace.

That is why it was put in there, that’s why once you start drawing the line, where do you stop? And that’s why it is important to not just look emotionally, our reaction, Chris, is to immediately say, 'let’s get rid of all guns.'" 

No one that I've heard - including my friend the Buddhist-Unitarian-Chomskyite chaplain - has talked about getting rid of all guns.  This is how irrational defenses of the Church of Moloch win: by constructing straw men.

Gohmert argued that more guns would lessen gun violence, saying he wished the principle at Sandy Hook Elementary School that was attacked Friday had been armed. "I wish to god she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out and she didn’t have to lunge heroically with nothing in her hands, but she takes him out, takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids," he said.

There is absolutely no evidence - and epidemiologists have studied it - that more guns lead to less violence.  In fact, they have concluded just the opposite.  This is a bumpersticker ("An armed society is a polite society") elevated to catechism.

Gohmert said mass killers choose locations where they know there will not be any armed resistance: "Every mass killing of more than three people in recent history has been in a place where guns were prohibited. These -- except for one, they choose this place, they know no one ill be armed."

I'm assuming the one exception allowed by Gohmert was Ft. Hood.  But he's mistaking correlation for causation - which intellectually lazy people often do.  Most mass killers are maladjusted young white men with women issues.  Maybe we should just keep an eye on them, rather than arm teachers?  But that would not please Moloch.

In fact, I offer this rebuttal from John Cole:

After Operation Desert Shield and Storm, I was stationed at Camp Blackhorse in Doha Kuwait with the 11th ACR.

We had towers and gates and 12 foot walls, and armed troopers at every gate with mirrors to look underneath cars and plenty of folks to investigate people coming in as civilians to run base operations (cook, give haircuts, etc.).

In the middle of one of the most dangerous regions in the world, even with clear Rules of Engagement, every time I went on gate duty, there was a piece of tape over my ammo clip on my M-16 and M1911 .45. Why? Because the most heavily armed military in the world did not want accidental shootings. If a situation arose, I would have to eject my ammo clip, remove the tape, and reinsert and work the action before I could fire.
This was in a combat zone. Yet I have spent the last two fucking days dealing with armchair commandos telling me they need unlimited firepower to be safe in… Connecticut.
If there are bigger pussies in the world than gun nuts, I don’t know who the fuck they are.
UPDATE: If you didn't see the President's speech, he basically called out the Cult of Moloch.

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