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“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 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.

Another Google search would also have revealed that A) gun sales are up (sustainably) and B) there’ve been plenty of armed robberies at both Home Depot and Target.

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.

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  1. Was this Salon article an entry in some kind of “how many leftists clichés can you pack into one article” contest?

      • I hate that my flip board is so full of salon articles. Drives me crazy because they are just garbage. No reasearch, broad strokes and assumptions based on feeling do not make good articles.

        • They are writing for a particular audience, the same few people who watch msnbc. As NYC2AZ said, Proggies. It’s what they do.

  2. The idea that “the merit of a position can be gauged by the temperament of its supporters” sets the stage, it is the first of the series of false arguments presented. Facts don’t matter, it is all about what sounds good for the argument at hand.

    • yeah, the merit of a position can also be gauged by the phase of the moon, or whatever form of sorcery you choose.

  3. On the other hand, Labor Day weekend a Quaker minister bought my book (“A Time To Kill: The Myth of Christian Pacifism”), at a gun show! He told me he’d “never been big on the pacifist thing.” “But,” I asked, “Is that not what thou all art into?.” We had a great conversation.

    • Reminds me of the joke about the Quaker finding a thief in his home. When he was reminded about his pacifism he said, ‘Thou art standing where I am about to shoot’.

  4. I think the “money quote” is : “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.” Probably true, and it all occurred during the height of the so-called gun culture. When I was growing up (in Canada no less) there were firearms in many homes, rifle shooting in boy scouts and summer camps – hell, I even got a .22 cal bolt action for Christmas when I was seven, the ammo was kept in my Dad’s beside table. So maybe the decline of American “exceptionalism” is tied more to gun restrictions than to gun culture. Just something that Gulley might consider.

    • Indeed. His nostalgia for the “gun-free” days of the 1950s is undercut by the fact that there were very few restrictions on gun sales back then. Mail-order 20mm anti-tank rifles shipped direct to your home? No problem! Kids buying .22 rifles and ammo at the hardware store with their paper route money? Sure!

      I can’t help but wonder how well the civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s would have fared in an only-the-government-has-guns society…

      • Second that. 1962 went with my dad to Western Auto Parts. He handed the guy $25 and walked out of the store carrying a 12 ga shotgun – Western Auto Parts Evolution. I mean just walked out carrying the shotgun in plain view and put it into the back of the Rambler station wagon. I inherited it. Looked it up and found out it was a Mossberg 500a.

    • @ Adam L ….I graduated High School in 1967, During my time in High School (and before) when small game season opened, many young boys 13-18 yrs old would bring their .22s and shotguns to school with a note from parents asking if they could ride bus # (?) so they could hunt. These and any ammo were left in the office until school was dismissed then given back to the student. Most of the boys also always carried a pocket knife year round. NOW the liberals heads would explode .. and may still if they read this. There was never even one incident of violence with a knife or gun. I lived/live in western North Carolina. Students can’t do it now, but those were the “good old days” that we can only read about.

  5. Quaker huh? The same bunch that shirked duty during the Civil War? And one reason for increased gun sales is the rise of big box stores and internet sales. Whatever-it MUST be racism driving gun sales in Missouri. Duh…

    • Hey now, he believes in calling people racist, but not in actually doing anything to stop racism. Wouldn’t want to get crazy here.

  6. So the decline of the white majority fuels gun sales? So how does he explain the existence of Black, Asian, and Latino gun owners?

    Too funny.

  7. Another anti-southern douche with no understanding of the Confederacy or why its people fought and bled. Moron.

  8. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with the First Amendment that a little illegal government surveillance couldn’t fix, right pastor?

  9. “…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.”

    Seems this ‘pastor’ has the same disdain for people of faith that he has for the Second Amendment. I guess there’s nothing wrong with the First Amendment that a little ‘common sense’ couldn’t fix either.

    • He also seems blissfully unaware that the Scopes Monkey Trial was an event that was staged to promote tourism in Dayton, TN.

      The more I read articles by jackalopes like Gulley, the more I believe that Jonathan Gruber was right — Americans are stupid. Very stupid.

      • The sad thing is that Gruber was exactly right, the bulk of the American people are stupid enough to believe that a tax on the ‘evil insurance companies’ isn’t a tax on their customers. Now his arrogant attitude, boasting about exploiting that stupidity is downright offensive. Hopefully the American people won’t be quite so gullible in the future.

    • Gulley has no roots among the Society of Friends. He was raised Roman Catholic, chose to pass through college in soft studies, and selected a religion that would allow him to be just as self-righteous as his mood required. His knowledge of the values that built America extends only to minor expertise in rocking chair selection.

      Coming from a long long line of Quakers in the Delaware Valley (and we’re still here….), I find the sanctimoniousness nauseating. In my fathers’ line we were kicked out of the local Meeting (Pemberton, NJ, as it happens) in 1776 because one of the family joined the Continental Army to fight in the War of Independence. Bizarre. But yes, they rejoined a decade later, after mea culpas. Only my grandfather’s wisdom removed us from the self-serving theosophy. For a time. I still drive by the old meeting house and graveyard from time to time, and we buried my uncle there a few years ago. Quakers in New Jersey and Lancaster, PA (the U.S. homelands of Quakers) owned slaves in about the same proportion as other folks in the same region, incidentally. Surprise. So much for the Underground Railroad glory myth-making.

      What is it with the rural and suburban mid-west, that it keeps producing kitch culture, Garrison Keiler, Gulley, Watts, the sanctimoniousness? And the audience for it….

      • Good question, Rope, about the sanctimoniousness.

        Something in the local water? Pastor Gullible’s flock in a suburb of Indianapolis is not far from Chicago and the likes of Rev Jeremiah Wright, and that other grandstanding gun-grabber and faux holy man, Father Pfleger….

        No,on reflection, I prefer the answer by the immortal sage PT Barnum, which is less about locations on the map, and more about sheep like IQ quotient of the flock, like among Salon readers, for example:

        .”There’s a sucker born every minute!”

  10. To be a Quaker automatically means you’re probably going to be anti-gun. Quakers are typically pacifists so it only stands to reason they would land on the side of gun control. No more surprising than a Catholic with rosary beads or a Jehovah’s Witness knocking on your door.

  11. I know Quakers. I know Quaker leadership and pastors. They embrace passivity. They are excluded from military draft and even on trials on which there are weapons involved. So this Quaker leader/pastor would say he was in any way supportive of the Second Amendment at any time, and was elected by the Quakers to a position of leadership. I don’t think so. It just fits his pacifist narrative and makes his “conversion” look legitimate, which it is not. If I was able to reason with him, I would remind him that liars go to the lake of fire.

    • Bingo! It’s a totally bogus conversion.

      It’s a bit like the spokesperson from PETA saying:

      “Before I saw that footage of chicken abuse, I thought there was nothing wrong with the poultry industry a little common sense couldn’t fix. I was wrong. Chicken farming is the equivalent of the Holocaust. We must ban poultry farms.”

    • Gulley was raised Roman Catholic. He chose the Society of Friends for their refusal to serve in the military. In my experience Quakers like to make money, claim simplicity, but live very well. They weren’t against holding slaves and have never been against driving poor farmers off their land if the mortgage wasn’t paid.

      For all that, many of my favorite people locally are Quakers, including family.

  12. I grew up in the Quaker church and had to hear a lot of nut job pacifist BS. This guy takes the cake for assuming his thoughts and ideas are factual. Research is a wonderful thing and he should give it a try some time!

  13. FTA:

    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.

    Great! We agree. So let’s eliminate the defenseless-victim, free-fire areas known as “Gun Free Zones”, and actively arm school teachers, so that sociopaths are prevented from carrying out future Newtown-type crimes.

    As for your tired accusations that gun owners are just a bunch of racists, I’ll let Andrew Breitbart do the talking:

    (Skip to 1:27)

  14. Wow. This “pastor”managed to shame himself, his seminary, and his Friends group with his self-aggrandizing, pathetically shallow race baiting, nazi-shaming, and truth-denying lefty agitprop. In Salon, no less. I’m more used to seeing this in the lower sewers of Kos, or DU, or Raw Story.

    Clearly Gulley is not making any headway in the reality based community, if he has to stoop to this standard of stoopid. On the other hand, I suppose there are converts to be had in the increasingly smaller moonbat subsets of the Progressive Movement.

    All the moralizing for the religions of Gaiea, Social Justice, and MultiCulti is not working out so well, so when they go looking for God they will at least recognize Gulley as a fellow traveler in The Elites Who Know Whats Best For The Little People Club.

  15. This “common sense” thing is almost becoming a chant at this point. Even gun control advocates (and interesting that my iPhone keyboard automatically suggests ‘control’ after I type the word gun) should be realizing that the term is beginning to sound strange due to its overuse.

    Of course “common sense” is also semaphore for “don’t think about it, don’t analyze it, just feel it and react.”

    For a long time, it was “common sense” that fish were spontaneously generated out of water, malaria was just poisoned air, and the sun revolved around the earth, too.

    • Spot on regarding it being like a religious chant or incantation.

      I once tried to deliberately engage in a very calm, polite and reasoned conversation with the leader of a very tiny gun-control protest group (maybe about 10 people).

      I approached her with the mindset that I’d be able to find some small sliver of common ground from which to understand each other.

      She refused to look at me and just kept chanting her slogan.

  16. Every time some anti-gun whackjob brings up people open carrying they quickly resort to asking “what are they afraid of?” or “Are they concerned about terrorists in the infant’s department?” or some such drivel. Of course the proper response is that such pratice are twofold – to demonstrate to the general public that the activity is legal and second to show the public that an armed civilian is not automatically a danger to anyone. But idiots like this guy probably know that but still refuse to acknowledge it.

    Dear Pastor Gulley
    Why do people open carry at Walmar or Target?
    Rosa Parks took a stand to make her point. We take a stand to make our point too.
    Why should her standing up for her rights be viewed as more correct than standing up or any other right?

    • IMHO, they ask “What are they afraid of?” because their basic motivation is fear: what besides fear would make people so emotional about law-abiding citizens exercising their rights?

      • @Roymond – Part of it seems to be their belief that one takes up arms only when there is something to immediately fear. Thus, you must be “afraid” of something if you have a weapon with you.

        Others know well and good that if the population at large (“The People”) come to realize that just because a citizen is armed does not equate to a condition of “Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!” they will no longer see the need for gun control. Thus, they attempt to discredit and ridicule anyone trying to exercise their legal rights as crazies or right-wing inbred rednecks.

        We should challenge these people strongly. Why do you feel it necessary to ridicule, belittle and demean people who are exercising their rights – like Rosa Parks did – and not breaking the law? What does that behavior say about your character and personality? Aren’t you the one pushing the agenda of fear? Why isn’t your screed as bad as right wing protesters trying to belittle or shame women at abortion clinics?

        You get the idea.

        • I’d have to respond with three fingers in the Boy Scout salute and say, “Be prepared”.

          If they think one only gets a gun when there’s danger, do they only put on a seat belt when they think an accident’s about to happen? Do they take an umbrella when rain is forecast, or only once it’s started?

          I did once mention that I carried when backpacking, and to the other person that made sense, but I was then asked why I carried in the city. My response was, “The most dangerous animal of all lives here”.

          But I think that at root most of them are just cowards frightened by their own imaginations.

  17. Well, since this pastor wants to claim the moral high ground, let’s take bets: I got $20 that says, like Shannon, he lives far far far away from the homies in the inner city. I also bet he never goes into the ‘hood outside of daylight hours and with his police escort, I mean, police board members for his nonprofit. In other words, like Shannon Watts, the good pastor is a RACIST!!!!!!!!

    • His pining for the good old days says a lot. In the old south of my youth I saw ‘Whites only” signs and segregated schools. Wife beating was considered family business the state had no part in. If you were a white male, non jewish, they were indeed good times. For most everyone else, not so much.

    • You’re no doubt correct about how much time this guy spends around minorities, but I think the bar for “RACIST” should probably be a little higher than just “not hanging out around poor black people”. I guess that would make the vast majority of Americans racists, then, because very few people (of any skin color) who don’t live in “those” neighborhoods ever go there.

    • I can assure anyone interested that Quakers are not the least reluctant to call in the LEOs with guns to protect their property, banks, brokerages, farms, and suburban houses from….the riff-raff. How they reconcile that is beyond me. And in the early days (1656 onward) they certainly owned guns. It was serving as soldiers that they “conscientiously” objected to, the profession of shooting people. They weren’t against being defended by men with guns, whether soldiers or cops.

      • They reconcile that the same way many religious people reconcile their church’s teachings and their actual behavior: hypocrisy.

  18. A girl who went to my high school was kidnapped, raped, and murdered. The scumbag forced her into a car in a Target parking lot. Having personally witnessed the hurt that has afflicted her family and community for years, I wish Kelsey Smith had brought her gun to Target.

    • I was attacked at a Skaggs Albertson’s. Do those even exist anymore? I’m really dating myself.

      I detest people who dismiss the danger.

    • I was chatting with a female customer at a gun store a few months ago who was being set up for something similar.

      She came out of Target and there was what she called a “rape van” parked right next to her car, even though the parking lot was pretty empty.

      She put herself on high alert as she approached her car.

      Sure enough, two guys get out of the van and “just want to talk” to her.

      Thankfully, she was armed. After displaying her gun, they still approached (probably thinking she wouldn’t use it).

      She pointed the gun at them and said firmly “I’m going to shoot on the count of three.”

      They quickly hopped in their van and fled.

  19. I haven’t voted for any Democrat in years and won’t for the rest of my life, for reasons that include: constantly being slimed as a racist, and having my self defense concerns as a woman dismissed. He says the housewife defending her home because she was armed is just a tired old canard. I’m tired of being patted on the head by male lefties. It’s almost shocking in this day and age to be condescended to by a man that way.

    • My daughter lives alone. We have had a couple of discussions about guns for self defense. Those discussions were calm, respectful and without pressure. They always ended with her telling me she would think about it. That was good enough for me. A few days ago she called and said it was time to make the leap. Turns out two of her female friends carry and have also have been discussing this matter with her. I could not be happier. Now I have to figure out what to do to thank her friends.

  20. Among the many “facts” that he got wrong, was the fact that The War of Northern Aggression was fought over states rights ..FACT. There is also the FACT that the Emancipation Proclamation never freed one single southern slave because the south had seceeded and became a separate nation in which Lincoln had no part. Lastly, slavery was on its way out anyway but was brought into the northern assault to do two things. 1) Hide the fact of the north’s aggression toward the south ( Consider they burned and destroyed all property from Atlanta to the coast). 2) Slavery issue was an attempt to also put the north ‘on the high ground’. Slavery was and is wrong be it whoever tries to stand for it …there were white slaves also and the north benefited from slavery as much as any because their factories couldn’t operate without goods produced in the south.

    • The border states that stayed in the Union were slave states (MO, DE, MD & KY) but were allowed to maintain slavery as their condition to remaining with the Union, which is why the Emancipation Proclamation only sought to free the slaves living in states then in rebellion. Tennessee was occupied and no longer in rebellion, so the EP did not extend to TN either.

  21. Allow me to summarize the pastors article for anyone who doesn’t want to waste time reading it.

    “I think guns are icky because I choose to live inside a sanitized, reality free bubble. Facts aren’t a thing in my little world, and that doesn’t bother me. Also, all gun owners are white southern racists.”

    Move along folks, no signs of intelligent life here.

  22. “When I was growing up, our schools and colleges were unmatched, our medical care unrivaled, our infrastructure state-of-the-art, our opportunities unlimited…”

    “Our” meaning his family I guess, because he sure isn’t speaking for mine…

    • There certainly were many world-class Universities in the U.S. when he grew up. He chose, nonetheless, to attend Marian College, Indianapolis. It was a Catholic college. The fellow is by far the most Catholic in upbringing and education of any men I’ve come across playing Quaker.

  23. Whoever controls the language of the debate will win. “Common sense”, guns being a public health issue ect are just 2 of the many examples. Unless we want to preserve our freedoms, we need to start controlling the language used or we will lose the public opinion.

  24. Well, parson, I’m sure you’ll agree that there’s nothing wrong with the Gospels that a little common sense wouldn’t fix, right?

  25. So he went from ‘the 2A needs Commie Sense alteration’ to ‘why pretend we’re keeping it, why not repeal it’?

  26. “We cannot let the most fearful among us set our nation’s tone”

    Too right pastor, unfotunately youve failed to realise that those pushing for gun control are the fearful ones…

  27. Memo to Philip Gulley: Yes, we are trying to take this country back…from people like you.

    Unfortunately our society seems to produce an unending supply of ethically bankrupt pseudo-intellectual effetes who reach the summit of their courage with the craven demand for an omnipotent nanny state to outlaw reality because it makes them feel icky. It’s going to be a long, long haul.

    • I would bet that anyone this foolish doesn’t hesitate to call an ARMED law officer when scared. After all, they’re only several minutes away. I’d also bet that he was/tried to be a bully in school. Most of that type were cowards when confronted for their bullying.

  28. Salon is another media outlet supported by Microsoft. Bleed Microsoft and it’s cronies dry of every dime.

  29. Two things:

    First, I have to chuckle at the references to Salon, because it’s thanks to Salon that an interesting segment of the population has decided to get armed — it was a Salon article that set of the formation of the Pink Pistols, the gay-rights firearms group:

    “Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. ”

    –Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

    Second, if I’m doing the arithmetic right, using Gallup’s figures, a higher proportion of blacks own firearms than of whites, so wanting to take away guns turns out to be racist. In fact, it’s a repeat of the very thing that got the Fourteenth Amendment passed, an attempt to disarm those with darker skins.

  30. I was talking with a customer at work tonight who had just gotten his concealed carry permit. He asked if guns were allowed in the store, to which I told him “You’re allowed, but employees aren’t”. He pulled a Hi-Point (of all things) out of a holster that had been covered by his hoody, removed the mag and the round in the chamber, and handed it to me. I looked it over and handed it back. We talked more about guns for a few minutes and he left. There were a couple of other customers in the store, as well as one of my coworkers, and none were disturbed by what had happened. Guess that’s what happens when you live in a small farm town in Ohio, nobody pees themselves when guns come out. I’m not even sure if I violated company policy by handling the gun, but you can guess how much of a sh*t I give about that.

  31. Sharp article. The only point of exception would be the characterization of O’Reilly as being on the Right.

    • Lol for a brief moment, I thought you were talking about where I work. I was thinking “I didn’t say where I worked, how did he know?”. Then it dawned on me which O’Reilly you referring to and felt dumb.

  32. I wonder how Pozner would feel about having to get a license and going through a NICS every time he speaks or writes? How about a ban on certain kinds of writing and speech?

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