I don’t know if Laci the Dog over at mikeb302000 is Jewish. I’m not sure it even matters. It does to me. The fact that I’m a Jew, I mean. It matters to me. I’m not what you’d call devout (unless Sponge Bob’s declared Opposites Day). But my father was a Jewish labor camp survivor whose parents starved to death in a Nazi concentration camp. It may be second-hand info, but I know what happens to defenseless Jews. They’re slaughtered. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, the pro-gun control blogger devotes an entire post to the proposition that armed self-defense wouldn’t have prevented the Holocaust. In fact, if German Jews had and exercised a right to keep and bear arms, it might have made things worse . . .
It hardly seems conceivable that armed resistance by Jews (or any other target group) would have led to any weakening of Nazi rule, let alone a full scale popular rebellion; on the contrary, it seems more likely it would have strengthened the support the Nazis already had. Their foul lies about Jewish perfidy would have been given a grain of substance. To project backward and speculate thus is to fail to learn the lesson history has so painfully provided.
So if German Jews had been armed in their own self-defense, if they’d used them against a government bent on genocide, the Nazi pogrom would have been what? More popular? More vicious? Arrived sooner?
In sociology, that kind of thinking is called blaming the victim—however theoretically or retroactively. At my house, it’s called unconscionable. A Jew with a firearm defending his life—or the lives of his loved ones and community—is a hero, not an impediment to a popular uprising against a fascist dictatorship.
More to the point, what uprising? Clearly, Laci understands that the Nazi’s persecution of Jews was less likely to foster a “popular” backlash against Hitler’s goons than a systematic campaign to murder the old, infirm and mentally ill amongst non-Jewish German natives. Which also did nothing to undermine the Nazi regime’s popular support.
So what, exactly, did the Jews have to lose by arming themselves? I know that oppression is a slow process; the bad guys don’t usually swoop down without first nibbling away at freedom and dignity. But the cold dead hands gun thing suggests itself.
Bottom line: German laws disarmed German Jews. Afterwards, they were defenseless, facing complete annihilation. Does Laci support the law that disarmed them? What would Laci have had the Jews do in their defense?
Judging from Laci’s subsequent analysis of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, nothing. The chronicle clearly implies that the Jews were doomed so what would have been point of gun ownership?
3,000 Jews were killed in the ghetto during the uprising (some 6,000 among them were burnt alive or died from smoke inhalation). Of the remaining 50,000 residents, most were captured and shipped to concentration and extermination camps, in particular to Treblinka.
Germans 17 killed and 93 wounded.
Sometimes a heavily armed and determined opposition is just swept up and crushed — guns or no guns. And those who aren’t prepared to fight are just crushed.
Despite your giving firearms a godlike quality,they cannot protect you in all circumstances. A firearm is useless against an enemy that is better trained and equipped: especially if that equipment includes armour, artillery, guided missiles, drones, etcetera.
I’m not disputing Laci’s sub-point. The Warsaw Jews were starving, surrounded and out-gunned. Even if they’d been armed with TOW missiles, nothing they could have done would have stopped the German’s from their single-minded mission to wipe them off the face of the Earth. The same inevitable fate held true for Jews throughout Europe. Yes?
I’m not so sure. As we’ve seen in America’s most recent wars, a determined, relatively lightly armed populace can inflict serious damage on a fighting force with vastly superior firepower. If they can hold out long enough, if they can survive, they can live to see the day when their enemies withdraw.
Besides, who cares? If the Nazis were knocking on your door in the middle of the night to shepherd you and yours to the gas chamber, would you walk into that long good night thinking, oh well, we don’t have a chance, so we’ll go along willingly? Or would you want some firepower to do what you could to make the murderers pay for taking what doesn’t belong to them?
MikeB’s colleague makes a mistake common to gun grabbers: placing calculations about the collective good (or in this case evil) above the individual right to keep and bear arms. They value social planning and fantasies of collective security above personal freedom and self-defense. History tells us—again and again—that collective thinking puts society on the road to hell.
And once you’ve actually been to hell . . . The Jews who saw things that no human should have to endure, including my father, had a phrase that guided their actions after the fact: never again.
While most people think of the formation of the Jewish state when they hear this saying, take it from the son of a Holocaust survivor, it applies on individual level. You (the government) will not do this to me. My family. My community. My father was armed. So am I.
As far as I can tell, America’s Founding Fathers had a similar core belief: not on our patch. Not to me. In both cases, the individual right to keep and bear arms is considered a bulwark against tyranny, oppression and genocide. It may be the last line of defense, but it’s also the most important.