“Before [Newtown massacre victim] Noah Pozner died, I thought there was nothing wrong with the Second Amendment a little common sense couldn’t fix,” Quaker pastor Philip Gulley writes at salon.com. See the problem? Gun control advocates use the phrase “common sense” to describe any and all laws mandating civilian disarmament. So Gulley’s assertion that “there’s nothing wrong with the Second Amendment” that “common sense couldn’t fix” is like saying there’s nothing wrong with a children’s playground that a bulldozer couldn’t fix. In other words . . .
Gulley was anti-gun from the git-go. His anti-ballistic polemic – I was wrong about the Second Amendment: Why my view of guns totally changed – is nothing more or less than anti-gun agitprop. But since we’re here, let’s sample a slice of his fetid anti-firearms frenzy.
The merit of a position can be gauged by the temperament of its supporters, and these days the NRA reminds me of the folks who packed the courtroom of the Scopes monkey trial, fighting to preserve a worldview no thoughtful person espoused. This worship of guns grows more ridiculous, more difficult to sustain, and they know it, hence their theatrics, their parading through Home Depot and Target, rifles slung over shoulders. Defending themselves, they say. From what, from whom? I have whiled away many an hour at Home Depots and Targets and never once come under attack.
First of all, the NRA doesn’t stage open carry demonstrations at Home Depot, Target or anywhere else. A simple Google search would have turned-up the fact that the NRA caused a internecine kerfuffle by dissing these demos.
Not that I recommend open carrying a long gun at either store for self-defense. But if someone did I would consider it the free exercise of their natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms, regardless of the perceived threat level.
They remind me of the Confederates who fought to defend the indefensible, sacrificing the lives of others in order to preserve some dubious right they alone valued. They would rather die, armed to the teeth, than live in a nation free of guns and their bitter harvest.You can have my gun when you pry it from around my cold, dead fingers, their bumper stickers read. How empty their lives must be if life without a gun is not worth living.
Wow! Does that sound like a man who used to respect the Second Amendment? While we’re at it, does that sound like a Quaker to you? I went to a Quaker school from second to 12th grade. Moses Brown School’s motto: For the Honor of Truth. Tolerance was our watchword. There’s not a shred of truth or tolerance in that passage. Just bluster and bile.
What drives this fanaticism? Can I venture a guess? Have you noticed the simultaneous increase in gun sales and the decline of the white majority? After the 2010 census, when social scientists predicted a white minority in America by the year 2043, we began to hear talk of “taking back our country.” Gun shops popped up like mushrooms, mostly in the white enclaves of America’s suburbs and small towns. One can’t help wondering if the zeal for weaponry has been fueled by the same dismal racism that has propelled so many social ills.
Again, Gulley cares not one whit for the truth. Check out this 2007 press release by the Violence Policy Center (no less):
WASHINGTON, DC The number of gun dealers in America has dropped by 194,998 since 1994 according to a new study released today by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). The study found that the number of Type 1 Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs) plummeted 79 percent: from 245,628 in 1994 to 50,630 in 2007.
In 2012, the number of FFL’s ascended to 129,817 – well below the 1994 stat. What does this up and down (and up) trend have to do with racism? Nothing. Not a damn thing.
Speaking of facts, a 2014 Gallup poll revealed that 44 percent of American gun owners are white. Twenty-seven percent are “non-white” and 27 percent are “black.” I wonder if the non-whites and blacks “dared” venture into the “white enclaves” where these newly sprouted gun dealer [allegedly] ply their trade.
As for Gulley’s contempt to people who call for “taking back our country” – a rallying cry for conservative patriots since the Brits owned our country – he singularly fails to realize that they aspire to reclaim their country from the government – not African-Americans.
Ironically, Gulley proceeds to utter the exact same cry that inspired him to accuse gun owners of racism:
When I was growing up, our schools and colleges were unmatched, our medical care unrivaled, our infrastructure state-of-the-art, our opportunities unlimited. America set the gold standard. We can be great again, but not without addressing the fear and ignorance that feed our gun culture, for no nation can ascend until it cures the virus of violence. We cannot let the most fearful among us set our nation’s tone, lest we descend to that sorry state we labored centuries to rise above. It is time for America to grow up, to become adults, so that children like Noah Pozner have a fighting chance to do the same.
I find this sort of nostalgia – mooted by both the right (Bill O’Reilly) and the left (Rachel Maddow) – deeply offensive. It paints a picture of a peaceful, prosperous America that’s entirely at odds with the rampant racism, homophobia, anti-Semitism, sexism and general level of intolerance that characterized American society. Schools and colleges were not “unmatched” for blacks. Opportunities were not “unlimited” for gays. Etc.
More to the point, fear and ignorance do not feed our gun culture. Fear and ignorance feed the anti-gun culture. As for Gulley’s entirely bogus move from tolerating the Second Amendment to despising it, to the point where he sees Americans exercising their gun rights as “extremists,” Barry Goldwater has the floor. “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.” By the same token, extremism in the pursuit of tyranny, is.