Once, after I had written about gun control, a guy called to differ and said that had the Jews of Germany been armed, the Holocaust never would have happened. That assertion, so ahistorical as to be almost laughable, stopped me in my tracks because it went to the black heart of the gun control debate: It’s not about guns. It’s about the government.
It’s about the government in two respects. The first is the conviction that guns are needed to protect Americans from their own government. This fear — maybe paranoia is the better word — is embedded in the National Rifle Association’s message and in the statements of its officials. As The Washington Post recently reminded us, shortly before the 1995 bombing of a government office building in Oklahoma City (168 dead), Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s executive vice president, proclaimed that a recently enacted assault weapons ban gave “jackbooted government thugs more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, seize our guns, destroy our property and even injure and kill us.” He said nothing about pets and daughters. Full Story »