Dr. Carson Takes a Shot at Gun Control
Commentary by Sanford D. Horn
Playing the Holocaust card is always risky – even more so when coupled with an issue as overly divisive as guns and gun control – precisely what Republican presidential hopeful Dr. Benjamin Carson did with recent comments.
Proving the liberal media’s double standard, Carson’s comments following the slaughter on the campus of Umpqua Community College near Roseburg, OR on October 1 was lambasted, while those of Barack Obama were applauded. Obama, on the day of the Oregon tragedy, before the deceased were even identified, called, as per his usual, for increased gun control legislation and vowed to visit the campus. When one criticism was actually offered, that Obama was politicizing the catastrophe, he definitively said that he was and would continue to do so.
Main stream liberal media supported Obama, yet castigated Carson who said if he had been on the Oregon campus he would have rushed the shooter, noting that the shooter would not be able to kill everybody and that many lives could have been saved. The fact that the Umpqua campus along with so many others are considered “Gun Free Zones,” makes all people attending, working, and visiting these colleges sitting ducks, opined Carson, an opinion supported by many. Apparently the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution is superseded by university rules – and public schools at that, for the most part.
But perhaps what others have considered more incendiary remarks from Carson concern the Holocaust of European Jewry that saw six million Jews systematically murdered by the dictatorial Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler during World War II.
Carson’s comments were not the result of the shooting on the Umpqua campus, but long before, in print in his latest book, A More Perfect Union. In his tome Carson writes that “through a combination of removing guns and disseminating propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance.”
In a recent interview with CNN, Carson was asked to clarify his thoughts on equating gun control laws with the slaughter of six million Jews.
“I think the likelihood of Hitler being able to accomplish his goals would have been greatly diminished if the people had been armed. I’m telling you, there is a reason these dictatorial people take guns first,” said Carson.
Carson’s invocation of the Holocaust was not meant to be salacious, but to make a point about gun control – a correct point, that gun control is about government control of the people.
Carson’s view on the history is somewhat simplistic – it was not as black and white a picture as he attempts to paint. The Weimar Republic that preceded Hitler had instituted gun registration laws, upon which Hitler, when taking office, capitalized on that legislation to strip Jews and other so-called enemies of the state of their firearms. Additionally, the age in which people lived in the pre-World War II era – the reparations following World War I which influenced Hitler’s thought process, as well as the abject poverty due to the economic depression that followed, gave birth to a climate making Hitler’s rise to power possible, and to some, necessary.
But just as important was the ability to capture the hearts and minds of the German population – 60 million strong. “All propaganda has to be popular and has to accommodate itself to the comprehension of the least intelligent of those whom it seeks to reach,” wrote Hitler. (Of course had 21st Century technology and 24-hour news cycles existed in the 1930s, Hitler would have unlikely approached the genocide for which he was responsible.)
Hitler appealed to the low hanging fruit, understanding that to rile up the mostly anti-Semitic, or at the very least ambivalent masses, would garner him support to sign the Gun Control Act in 1938 prohibiting Jews from working in the firearms industry as well as surrendering what firearms they initially owned. Thanks to the gun registration laws of the Weimar days, the police/Gestapo had records of Jewish gun owners. Jews had heretofore already been banned from receiving gun permits.
There is support that Carson’s suggestion regarding gun control making it easier for Hitler to follow through on his heinous machinations has merit.
Yet, Carson was criticized by Jonathan Greenblatt, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. Greenblatt called Carson’s suggestion “that Hitler’s gun control policy contributed to the Holocaust is historically inaccurate…. The small number of personal firearms available to Germany’s Jews in 1938 could in no way have stopped the totalitarian power of the Nazi German state.”
I think that last statement by Greenblatt actually supports Carson’s assertion about gun control affecting the ability of the small Jewish population of Germany to defend itself and at least diminish the effects of the Nazi regime.
Consider the evidence of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. Here, a couple of small bands of Jews staved off the Nazis from liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto, not for the three days the Nazis expected the task to take, but for a month. From April 19, the eve of Passover, until May 16, 1943, these rag-tag undermanned and certainly under armed Jews fought the Nazis until they simply could not fight any longer as building after building was razed. And while the Warsaw Ghetto was reduced to ash and rubble and its inhabitants ultimately deported to death camps or murdered on the spot, firearms kept the Jews alive for as long as they did. Gun control would have seen the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto sooner rather than later.
In the United States the Second Amendment to the Constitution is to protect the people from the government, not the converse. “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” So wrote Thomas Jefferson.
Sanford D. Horn is a writer and educator living in Westfield, IN.
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