What has Americans so frightened? Why are they stocking up on guns and ammo?
Fears of crime, a potential crackdown on firearms, social collapse and even zombies have millions loading up as never before.
BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
Catholicism. These kinds of stories inflamed a mob of patriots in 1834 to attack an Ursuline convent outside Boston and burn it down.
“Similar suspicions have targeted just about every other kind of immigrant. During World War I, rumors spread that German-Americans were poisoning food, and Theodore Roosevelt warned that ‘Germanized socialists’ were ‘more mischievous than bubonic plague.’
“Anti-Semitic screeds regularly warned that Jews were plotting to destroy the United States in one way or another,” notes Kristof. “A 1940 survey found that 17 percent of Americans considered Jews to be a ‘menace to America.’
“Chinese in America were denounced, persecuted and lynched, while the head of a United States government commission publicly urged in 1945 “the extermination of the Japanese en toto.” Most shamefully, anti-Asian racism led to the internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans during World War II.
“All that is part of America’s heritage, and typically as each group has assimilated, it has participated in the torment of newer arrivals. But we have a more glorious tradition intertwined in American history as well, one of tolerance, amity and religious freedom. Each time, this has ultimately prevailed.”
Meanwhile, what is a parent to do? Sending your child to a school that may be the next target of a lunatic gunman is terrifying.
“As a parent of two boys under the age of four,” Paltzik writes that the idea of millions of guns worries gun-control advocates. But their passivism doesn’t work. “What will gun control proponents say after the next school shooting? Will they admit that gun control is an abject failure? Don’t bet on it. They will call for further gun control. Incremental restrictions occur until gun ban precedent is so overwhelming that the right to bear arms is lost. Eventually, there comes a point where the new hysteria is ‘knife control.’
“And after all the knives are taken away, what then? Hammer control? Where does it end? The slippery slope is real: in 2008, samurai swords were banned in England and Wales! The current debate in the UK involves banning steak knives.”
Paltzik, noting he is “a Jew who views the Nazi rise to power and subsequent Holocaust as a lesson never to be forgotten,” writes that “despots like Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Idi Amin took whatever they wanted unless and until confronted with superior force. Violent criminals operate on a smaller scale but think the exact same way.
“Before the Nazis came to power, many German Jews believed themselves to be part of the fabric of German society. These tragically naïve and unarmed Jews were easy pickings for the Nazi thugs who destroyed Jewish property and synagogues, then came in the night to abduct their families in order to banish them to appalling death camps, most never to be heard from again. History has much to tell us if only we will listen.”
But it couldn’t happen in America, right? Well, where did New York City’s anti-gun laws come from? According to the editors of Clash Daily, “the father of New York gun control was Democratic city pol ‘Big Tim’ Sullivan – a state senator and Tammany Hall crook, a criminal overseer of the gangs of New York.
“In 1911 – in the wake of a notorious Gramercy Park blueblood murder-suicide – Sullivan sponsored the Sullivan Act, which mandated police-issued licenses for handguns and made it a felony to carry an unlicensed concealed weapon.
“This was the heyday of the pre-Prohibition gangs, roving bands of violent toughs who terrorized ethnic neighborhoods and often fought pitched battles with police,” write the editors. “In 1903, the Battle of Rivington Street pitted a Jewish gang, the Eastmans, against the Italian Five Pointers. When the cops showed up, the two underworld armies joined forces and blasted away, resulting in three deaths and scores of injuries. The public was clamoring for action against the gangs.
“Problem was the gangs worked for Tammany. The Democratic machine used them as shtarkers (sluggers), enforcing discipline at the polls and intimidating the opposition. Gang leaders like Monk Eastman were even employed as informal ‘sheriffs,’ keeping their turf under Tammany control.
“The Tammany Tiger needed to rein in the gangs without completely crippling them. Enter Big Tim with the perfect solution: Ostensibly disarm the gangs – and ordinary citizens, too – while still keeping them on the streets.
“Sullivan knew the gangs would flout the law, but appearances were more important than results.
“Ordinary citizens were disarmed, which solved another problem: Gangsters had been bitterly complaining to Tammany that their victims sometimes shot back at them.”
So, Sullivan pushed through one of the most restrictive gun laws in America. And oddly, gun violence did not end in New York City, notes U.S. Marines Corporal Joshua Boston.
He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2004 and 2005. “I own the guns I own because I acknowledge mankind’s shortcomings instead of pretending like they don’t exist,” he wrote recently for CNN a column that has been widely published on the Internet – particularly because of his personal vow to California Senator Diane Feinstein that he as a gun owner is her protector, not her enemy – and that he will never give up his guns. “There are evil men in this world and there just may be a time when I need to do the unthinkable to protect me or my family.”
His wariness and that of today’s gun-buying spree goes beyond burglars and madmen – or hunting, says Kevin D. Williamson, writing in National Review.
“The Second Amendment is not about Bambi and burglars. Whatever a well-regulated militia is, it is not a hunting party or a sport-clays club,” writes Williamson. “It is remarkable to me that any educated person believes that the second item on the Bill of Rights is a constitutional guarantee of enjoying a recreational activity.
“There is no legitimate exception to the Second Amendment for military-style weapons, because military-style weapons are precisely what the Second Amendment guarantees our right to keep and bear. The purpose of the Second Amendment is to secure our ability to oppose ‘enemies foreign and domestic,’ a guarantee against disorder and tyranny.
“Consider the words of Supreme Court justice Joseph Story – who was, it bears noting, appointed to the Court by the guy who wrote the Constitution:
“The militia is the natural defense of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections … it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
“Liberals are forever asking: ‘Why would anybody need a gun like that?’ And the answer is: because we are not serfs. We are a free people living under a republic of our own construction. We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled.”
And perhaps that’s what makes us Americans – ever disrespectful of our own government, wary of restrictions on our personal liberties, vigilant against a wide spectrum of real and perceived threats.
And, yes, armed.