Christian leader David Barton: “Whatever the government’s got, we’ve got to have the same thing.”

DallasNews.com reports on a particularly embarrassing appearance by prominent Republican David Barton on Tuesday night’s Glenn Beck show. Who’s Barton?

Barton is a former vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party and an influencial religious conservative who was active promoting conservative GOP candidates, including Rick Santorum and failed Missouri Senate candidate Todd Akin, whose “legitimate rape” comment was partly responsible for his defeat. Barton runs the Alido-based Wallbuilders, which produces tapes, DVDs and books disputing the separation of church and state. Although some of his claims about the Founding Fathers’ advocacy of a Christian government have been disputed, including by his own publisher which recently withdrew a book he wrote about Thomas Jefferson, Barton has long been a favorite speaker among Christian conservatives and tea party activists in churches and political gatherings, especially in swing states the GOP has sought to win during recent elections.

Barton says:

“In the case of the Second Amendment, the founding fathers didn’t call it the right to keep and bear arms the way it’s written, they called it the biblical right of self-defense. So the ultimate goal of the Second Amendment is to make sure you can defend yourself against any kind of illegal force that comes against you, whether that’s from a neighbor, whether that’s from an outsider or whether that’s from your own government.

In the case of the American Revolution, if the Founding Fathers had not been able to take on that illegal British government coming … so for them, it is not a matter of you have too many bullets in your magazine, it’s not whatever the government’s got, that’s we have got to have the same thing,” he said. “If they have an AK-47 and we only have a bb gun, then that is not a deterrent. The whole purpose of the Second Amendment is to make sure that you have equal power with whatever comes against you illegally. At that point, that’s what’s gotta to control the gun debate.”

I can haz nukes now???

I’m not sure where Barton got his information about the “biblical right of self defense, but that’s sure as hell not what the Second Amendment, as passed by the Congress and ratified by the states, said.  According to Barton, I guess we all have the right to drones, nukes, and tanks. Another moron embarrassing America.

Let’s have a look at the Second Amendment of the Constitution:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

In a thorough and well-researched piece in the 1995 New York Review of Books (kindly pointed out by a reader), “To keep and bear arms,” historian Garry Wills pointed out that this amendment was clearly intended to apply to weapons for military use, not to private gun ownership. If you’re an “originalist” like Scalia, that should settle the issue. I don’t adhere to originalism, since so much has happened since the Constitution and Bill of Rights were passed, so private gun ownership could—and has been—subsequently approved by the courts. Despite that, I vehemently oppose the largely unrestricted sale of guns in this country, including all semiautomatic weapons.

But that’s not the point. What Wills is saying in his superb piece is that one cannot under any circumstances justify gun ownership as a legal right established by the Bill of Rights. His case is convincing. (See the subsequent exchange of letters at the NYRB here.)

_______________

UPDATE: There are two relevant op-ed pieces in today’s New York Times:

The scourge of concealed weapons,” by the editors:

Nowadays, however, there are four states that require no permit at all to carry a gun, and 35 states have permissive “shall issue” or “right-to-carry” laws that effectively take the decision of who should carry a weapon out of law enforcement’s hands. These laws say that if an applicant meets minimal criteria — one is not having been convicted of a felony, and another is not having a severe mental illness — officials have no choice about whether to issue a permit.

Some states go even further by expressly allowing guns where they should not be. Nine states now have “carry laws” that permit guns on campuses; eight permit them in bars; five permit them in places of worship. In Utah, holders of permits can now carry concealed guns in elementary schools.

Among the arguments advanced for these irresponsible statutes is the claim that “shall issue” laws have played a major role in reducing violent crime. But the National Research Council has thoroughly discredited this argument for analytical errors. In fact, the legal scholar John Donohue III and others have found that from 1977 to 2006, “shall issue” laws increased aggravated assaults by “roughly 3 to 5 percent each year.”

and “From apocalypse to dystopia,” by Maureen Dowd, who goes after yesterday’s “press conference” with Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association:

The press conference, where the press was not allowed to ask questions, played like an insane parody: a tightly wound lobbyist who earns a million or so a year by refusing to make the slightest concession on gun safety, despite repeated slaughters by deranged shooters with jaw-droppingly easy access to firearms.

LaPierre makes Charlton Heston look like Michael Moore. The N.R.A. vice president, who once called federal agents “jackbooted government thugs,” insists the solution to gun violence is putting police officers, or “armed good guys,” in every one of the nation’s 98,817 K-12 schools.

His logic is spurious. Hunters can have their guns without leaving Americans so vulnerable to being hunted by demented souls with assault rifles that can fire 45 rounds per minute.

h/t: Joshua

62 Comments

  1. johncozijn
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Wills says in his reply to critics:
    “Ours is a gun culture, formed on weak history and strong myths about “frontier” virtue. It is the gun culture, not mere gun ownership, that plagues us.”

    Looking from the outside, this observation seems to go to the core of the issue. How sane American progressives start to roll back that culture, no one yet seems to know. But if an opening cannot be found now, it is difficult to see it ever being found.

    • starskeptic
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Perfect quote to pull out – that’s it in a nut-shell…

  2. Occam
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Barton says:

    “… if the Founding Fathers had not been able to take on that illegal British government coming…”

    Illegal British government? The legality of the American armed insurrection and unilateral Declaration of Independence remains to be demonstrated. Coming from a double renegade, namely an insurgent and a once-and-possibly-future secessionist, such a rebellious remark about HM Government looks highly treasonable.

    In a slightly more literate and learned vein, but at a similar level of implausibility, David B. Kopel tries to sell the Insurrection (or, in his parliance, the “American Revolution”) as a reaction against abusive British-imposed gun control:

    http://www.davekopel.org/2A/LawRev/american-revolution-against-british-gun-control.html

    • Marella
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      As I understand it the insurrection was a response to the imposition of some very minor taxation. It seems Americans haven’t changed their basic certainty that paying taxes is someone else’s responsibility, hence the current fiscal problems. And regardless of the success of the insurrection, many of them still don’t accept the legitimacy of the government which seems to me to be the basis of the gun hysteria. Either that or many of them really think the zombie apocalypse is coming!

  3. Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Barton frequently gives tours of the White House while squawking his risible brand of neo-theo revisionist history (he usually sports a red, white, and blue armband as if he were North America’s version of Rudolph Hoss).

    I *knew* all of this Second Amendment dialogue would eventually lead to tanks.

  4. Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    “I’m not sure where Barton got his information about the “biblical right of self defense”

    As usual the answer comes from Shakespeare via The Merchant of Venice:

    “Mark you this . . .
    The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
    An evil soul producing holy witness
    Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
    A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
    O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!”

    • Mark Joseph
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      That’s better than what I was going to say, which is that he just made it up, like with everything else he says.

  5. Scott Reilly
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    It’s time we took the 2nd amendment literally.

    http://www.bustedtees.com/secondamendment

    Click the thumbnail on the far left to get the best view of this awesome t-shirt

    • gbjames
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      +1

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      It took a couple of seconds, then it was coffee spray time. Is the man in the cartoon anyone I should know?

      • suwise3
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Why was the host looking at Barton so rapturously during the interview? And WHY a little square of cat wheat grass in the middle of a table? Am I missing some signifigance?

  6. albo
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    What Wills is saying in his superb piece is that one cannot under any circumstances justify gun ownership as a legal right established by the Bill of Rights. His case is convincing.

    But we’ve had the Heller and MacDonald Supreme Court decisions determine that yes, you can justify it. There is an individual right to own guns under the constitution, and the Second Amendment is incorporated to apply to the states.

  7. Jeff Johnson
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    David Barton has demonstrated one of the worst cases of wishful thinking ever seen. He’s totally prepared to rewrite history and to reinvent historical characters using cherry picking and pure fiction so they fit his own preconceptions of how things should be.

    He even seems willing to reinvent the meanings of words. Recently he was called out for stretching the word “verbatim” beyond recognition to support his thesis that the Constitution is based on the Bible. Now it seems, based on the above statements, that he has no idea what the word “illegal” means. He’s outside the realm of reason, and now outside of the rule of law.

    • raven
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Barton has vaporized his credibility long ago.

      He is just a known serial liar.

      Being a known serial liar isn’t a problem in his field, pandering to fundie xians. Lying is one of their three main sacraments.

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        I’m presuming almost everyone here knows about Chris Rodda’s book “Liars for Jesus” subtitled “The Religious Right’s Alternate Version of American History”. Her website is http://www.liarsforjesus.com/ and there are sample chapters available as free pdfs, plus some videos. The whole book is available at Amazon.

      • Dave
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        OK, I’ll bite.

  8. Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Under the Maple Canopy and commented:
    Good take on Barton – Definitely worth reading for quotes at the bottom.

  9. bleikind
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    The Biblical right of self-defense is illusion. While the ancient Israelites engaged in aggressive wars ordered by Yahweh, Jesus directed his followers not to defend themselves at all, but to turn the other check to the aggressor.

    See, for example, Luke 6:29

    If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.

    Or Matthew 5:39

    But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.

    Both of these are reputed statements by Jesus.

    • raven
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      I’ll see your Luke 6:29 and raise.

      Luke 22:36

      Jesus: He said to them, “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and

      if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.

      You can prove anything using the bible.

      There seem to be several jesus’s running around in the NT, some are OK and some aren’t very peaceful. One of them says he will kill all the people that don’t believe he is god when he comes back.

      • starskeptic
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        As Julia Sweeney said, “it’s like he’s bi-polar.”

  10. Don
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Wills’s take in the NYRB is ably and pointedly contradicted in the comments that follow. His rebuttals are weak.

    I wholeheartedly agree that “largely unrestricted sale of guns in this country, including all semiautomatic weapons” must be curtailed, and, further, that those who would own firearms ought to be licensed just as we license drivers. Such stricture would be in keeping with 2A.

    That said, the Court’s opinion in Heller really does accurately interpret the Amendment’s language to refer to an individual American’s right to keep and bear arms. The syntax of the brief amendment is a little awkward but, in the end, hard to gainsay.

    The language of the amendment refers to an existing right; that is, a right existing at the time of its writing, a right that the amendment pledges to protect. The amendment does not establish the right, in other words; the right exists. It was understood by the framers that a rifle constituted a necessary tool–for hunting and for personal protection. The reference to “a well-regulated militia” merely points to what was then the salient reason to preserve the existing right. The right to keep and bear arms was not contingent on the need to maintain a militia. The reference to militias is a *justification,* not a condition.

    The people’s right to bear arms is expressly acknowledged in the latter portion of the amendment itself, and the amendment explicitly recognizes that existing right. That is what we have to contend with today–it’s as if a curse had been imposed on us by the framers. They could never have anticipated the weapons technology we’re dealing with today, of course–but we’re stuck with the framers’ language.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      We’re only stuck with the framer’s language to the extent that a third of the people want us to be. There is recourse in the difficult but possible amendment process. Maybe some day.

      Regarding the first clause as a justification as opposed to a condition, this still does not render the right to bear arms an absolute one. Yes, it means the right exists, without a doubt, but that a justification of any kind is offered implies limits to the existing right.

      A long history of Constitutional jurisprudence holds that rights are subject to limitations as to time, place, and manner, and the second amendment is no exception to this. The justification in terms of well regulated protection of state security should provide strong rationale for limitations on the kinds of weapons people may bear for various purposes, and particularly that military grade weapons can be well regulated for the express purpose of maintaining state security.

      • Don
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        Indeed, and in Heller, the Court explicitly acknowledges the people’s ability to circumscribe firearms rights just as First Amendment rights are now circumscribed. Moreover, that seems to be the people’s only recourse at this point, because amending the Constitution would be such a difficult endeavor.

  11. raven
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    “In the case of the Second Amendment, the founding fathers didn’t call it the right to keep and bear arms the way it’s written, they called it the biblical right of self-defense.

    I’m not sure just where Barton got the biblical right of self defense.

    But the bible is just one giant Rorschach inkblot and you can use it to prove anything.

    In several places in the NT, jesus tells his followers to sell their cloak if they have to and buy a sword.

    In other places jesus tells people to turn the other cheek and generally advocates nonviolence including when he himself is arrested.

  12. MJA
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Shooting Man
    All the people with guns should meet once a year out on the Black Rock Desert and have a party called Shooting Man. Bring your guns and ammo and your courage, at noon the party starts with the word ‘FIRE”. If it becomes an annual event and anyone survives, perhaps people who want to shoot children in schools will wait for the Shooting Man party instead. That’s what I call gun control!
    =

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      They should gather in a circle around a Man of Straw. At sunset it’s open season on straw men. Call it a pan-ballisticon.

  13. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Not as detailed as Garry Wills but a good recent piece on the subject arguing that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is almost the opposite of what the Barton’s say is here at alternet. (Essentially, the fathers were concerned to put down insurrections, not enable them.)

    http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/real-rationale-2nd-amendment-right-wingers-are-totally-ignorant-about?paging=off

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      The typical conservative view of the Second Amendment reads:

      blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah, THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.

      I’ve never seen a bumper sticker about well regulated militias or the security of a free state.

      • Don
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        Well, sure, this is where the emphasis belongs. And it’s not just a conservative perspective. The introductory clause states what was then the most significant reason to preserve what the framers recognized as an existing right.

        • Jeff Johnson
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          You call that emphasis? I call it voluntary blindness and tunnel vision. Emphasis implies some kind of balance.

          I responded in more detail to your other post on this emphasis you are talking about. The existence of a right does not mean it is absolute and without limits.

          • Don
            Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            “The existence of a right does not mean it is absolute and without limits.” And I am in no way suggesting that it does. Putting into law effective restrictions on the rights of the people to purchase, carry, and collect certain firearms, and on the types of firearms, and on how those who may possess them should demonstrate their qualifications is for now the way to go. The Second Amendment says what it says, but we are free to decided what its limitations ought to be.

  14. raven
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Glenn Beck Net Worth | Celebrity Net Worth
    www. celebritynetworth.com/ richest-celebrities/glenn-beck-net-worth/

    Glenn Beck is an American conservative radio and television host, author, entrepreneur, and political commentator; he has a net worth of $105 million.

    It is easy to be repulsed and amused by people like Glenn Beck and Barton. They are like Zombies only real.

    Beck was one of the few people so crazy that even Fox news got sick of him.

    But they aren’t all that funny when you realize that they have huge audiences of fundie xian death cultists and make huge amounts of money. Glenn Beck has a net worth of $105 million and going up rapidly.

    I didn’t look up Barton’s but it is likely to be in the millions or tens of millions USD at least.

    Being a vaguely humanoid toad leader is quite profitable. Pat Robertson is rumored to be a billionaire.

  15. Bob Carlson
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    …his own publisher which recently withdrew a book he wrote about Thomas Jefferson…

    Hadn’t heard of the guy, so I checked the Wikipedia page on him, which says:

    Barton’s 2012 book The Jefferson Lies was voted “the least credible history book in print” by the users of the History News Network website.

    The book is coauthored by Glenn Beck.

  16. Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    “What Wills is saying in his superb piece is that one cannot under any circumstances justify gun ownership as a legal right established by the Bill of Rights. His case is convincing”

    Convincing? His case is irrelevant. Heller happened.

    What case are you going to make to ban gun ownership when it is a protected Constitutional right and has been the law of the land since before the Declaration of Independence?

    What case are you going to make when 99.99% of all gun owners and 99.999% of all guns have never been involved in anything untoward?

    Quite a quixotic enterprise and certain only to help elect more Republicans.

    • gbjames
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      “certain only to help elect more Republicans”

      You keep saying this as if the deity itself told you it was so.

      I find the “don’t do the right thing for fear that bad guys will do something” argument morally weak and politically foolish.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

        Politically foolish?!?

        You are not seriously arguing that the right has not used gun control as a successful political issue for many decades strong, are you?

        Talk about projection.

        • gbjames
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

          No I am not arguing that the right has not used gun control as a political issue for decades.

          What I AM arguing is that the “left” (actually, the “middle” mostly) has FAILED to use gun control (a.k.a. “gun safety”) as a political argument. It has for too long given up on this issue. THAT is the mistake.

          Right wingnuts will use gun control as an issue no matter what. They always do. It is a constant, just as it is a constant that the Republican-controlled House of Representatives will ALWAYS try to block legislation that is supported by President Obama.

          The answer to the wingnuts is to stand up against them. People who believe in reducing carnage from high-power military-style weaponry need to stand up for reducing access to the guns. Failing to do so because the right wing will use gun control as a rallying cry is, IMO, political cowardice.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I haven’t noticed any discussion of banning guns, only certain types. Heller does not preclude limitations, controls, requirements, and regulations. I don’t even think Heller stops certain types of guns from being banned. It only prevents ALL guns from being entirely banned, as I understand it.

      There is still plenty of room for intelligent controls in the interest of public safety.

    • Matt Bowman
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      Well, guess what? You aren’t very convincing. 99.99% and 99.999%? In the future why not throw in a 4 or 7 or 8, like 98.947% or something like that? You might be more convincing.

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      About .01% of the US population is involved in a gun related death or injury each year. We also are approaching one gun per person (88 guns per hundred persons).

      So you may only be able to claim that around 99.92% of guns are not involved in harmful incidents.

      We can make a similar claim about nuclear warheads. Does this imply we should allow citizens to own nuclear warheads?

      The point isn’t what percentage of instances if an item causes harm. The relevant point is how much harm is caused overall, and how much is acceptable. We have unacceptably high levels of gun deaths and injuries per capita. So gun owners, myself included, should be willing to sacrifice for the good of the country. We should be willing to give up some convenience in order to protect public safety. That’s what gun regulations are; they are an inconvenience, not an abridgment of freedom. I don’t hear anyone screaming that their automotive freedom is at risk. That’s because even with substantial regulation of automobiles, we are free to own them and go where we want to go. There is plenty of room for substantial regulation of firearms while still preserving reasonable freedoms.

      Specifically, it should be harder for crazy people to get guns, and harder for careless people to get guns, and the guns they have should be less capable of mass carnage.

      Close the gun show loophole, stricter background checks, mandatory training, testing, and licensing, and smaller magazines, are examples of inconveniences gun owners can endure for the good cause of reducing the unnecessary tragedies suffered by victims and their loved ones.

      • John Scanlon, FCD
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        It would be interesting to do a bit of research to determine what percentage of guns have been involved in harmful incidents… on YouTube.

      • Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        I have read estimates of the number of guns in the U.S. to be as high as 600 million, as low as 280 million. Difficult to find one place with reliable data.

        Why are you bringing up nukes (yet again, sigh)? The founding fathers were definitely talking about bearable arms – rifles, pistols, shotguns. Cannons were kept locked in armories.

        I don’t have a problem with closing gun show loopholes, magazine restrictions, etc.

        I have a BIG problem with politically dangerous calls for “taking guns out of people’s hands”, calls that nobody should be allowed to X, Y, or Z when X, Y, and Z are Constitutionally-protected rights.

        I have a BIG problem with helping Republicans get elected at this critical juncture because of ill-considered, politically-suicidal, constitutionally unworkable, emotionally-driven repeated hyperbolic calls for gun control.

        I would like to snidely suggest that if we really want to reduce gun violence in this country, we should simply legalize drugs, as it is my feeling that most gun violence is directly or secondarily attributable to the drug trade or addiction. But I can not find a reliable source of information on the topic, which may, in fact, be due to the actions of the NRA. Who I despise, btw.

        • Jeff Johnson
          Posted December 24, 2012 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          The founders were talking about guns that could fire a single round, and then required reloading.

          Why bring up nuclear weapons? I thought it was an obvious argument.

          You claimed that 99.999% of guns have never been involved in anything untoward. You implied this is an argument in favor of allowing gun ownership. I pointed out that most nukes have never been involved in anything untoward, and applying a similar argument as you made should lead to the conclusion that we could allow individual ownership of nukes. This is reductio ad absurdum.

          To summarize my point, arguing how many guns have or have not been used wrongly is avsolutely irrelevant. The important question is to look at how much harm guns do, and debate whether that is acceptable, and if not, what can we do about it. I don’t care if we have 700 billion guns, and only 0.0000009% are used in senseless mass murders of innocents. The important point is that we shouldn’t tolerate allowing citizens to have the power to shoot down twenty or fifty or a hundred people inside of a few minutes.

          My point is that the power of the weapons is the problem we must address, not the frequency of abuse. Your point was weak and totally off target. That is why I brought up nukes.

          And your panic about right wing backlash seems misplaced to me. Nobody is talking about outright gun bans except the paranoid right. We can’t be intimidated because they are insane. We are talking about sensible controls and limits to the types of guns, not total gun bans.

          The political mood has shifted a lot in ten years. In 2004 Bush won by whipping up anti-gay hysteria. Where was that in 2012? Polls show majorities of Americans are willing to consider sensible controls and regulations.

  17. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Typo: What with her red hair and an Irish name like “Maureen” one can see how you easily slipped up and attributed the article by Maureen Dowd to Maureen “O’Dowd”.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Oy vey; don’t know how that happened. Fixed thanks.

  18. WML
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    JAC, thanks for pointing out illuminating analyses of the issues!

    I hope it isn’t too pedantic to point out that a newspaper’s editorial typically appears on its editorial page and an op-ed piece appears on the page opposite the editorial page (op means opposite). So a newspaper’s editorial is not an op-ed. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/op-ed

  19. MadScientist
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Hah; Barton is such an imbecile that he denies the WW2 Holocaust. He has shown not only that he knows no history whatsoever, but that he has a dangerous and delusional version to offer in its place.

  20. Explicit atheist
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    The US constitution is an old document, and the 2nd amendment wasn’t written with much thought about, or understanding of, the future. It was clearly written to try to reassure people that the new federal government would respect state and individual sovereignty by not taking away from the states and the people the use of force and not acquire a monopoly on the use of force. The initial qualifying clause was an effort to assert that government military will consist of state militias instead of a federal military. But a military consisting of state militias with part time citizen soldier volunteers providing the weaponry has not been practical for more than a century. So the issue becomes how to reinterpret the 2nd amendment so it can be applied to the current reality, and the fact is that there is no clear cut way to do that because the entire 2nd amendment became obsolete over a century ago.

  21. James Weedman
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    The greatest threat that the people of the United States face at this time is the terrorism from Islamic Jihadists. The threat is magnified by political correctness that is so dominant in the United States today. I dont know who posted this but the comments after the video on YouTube show a complete lack of understanding about the importance of a country whose citizens have the ability to bear arms. To quote a few of the founding fathers including the first President of the United States and the third President of the United States that indicate that firearms are important in maintaining liberty and peace, George Washington said, “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American peoples liberty, teeth and keystone under independence…from the hour the Pilgrims landed to the present day, events, occurences and tendencies prove to ensure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indespensible…the every atmosphere of firearms anywhere restrains evil interference–they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.” Thomas Jefferson said, “The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution.” “Those who hammer their guns into plowshares will plow those who do not.” “The Constitution of most of our states assert that all power is inherent in the people; that…it is their right and duty to be at all times armed;…” To comment on this issue that is so important and necessary for our country using personal attacks and profanity does not advance the discussion or promote any understanding of the tragedy that occurred in Conn. This senseless attack was influenced by multiple factors and these factors should be explored in great detail to provide a solution to this issue. However, school security should be the priority at this point and everything should be done in every community to insure the security is enhanced including providing armed security guards in the schools. I want to leave one other quote that should create terror in the minds of anybody that wants to ban guns in our country. “If you wish the sympathy of the broad masses, you must tell them the crudest and most stupid things.” “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!” Do you know who said this?

    • Jeff Johnson
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Probably some vegetarian with a mustache. Therefore, obviously, vegetarians and mustaches must be opposed, because whoever said “post hoc ergo propter hoc” couldn’t possibly have known about the grave dangers of creeping Sharia. Obviously escalating firepower and security measures are the thing we need the most, right? I’ll bet the guy with the mustache would be with you 100% on that one.

    • raven
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!”

      Do you know who said this?

      Some fundie xian death cultist or a right wing extremist idiot, there are about the same.

      propagandaprofessor:

      Trouble is, Hitler never made such a speech in 1935. Nor is there any record that he ever spoke these particular words at all. This little “speech” was obviously written for him, many years after his death, by someone who wanted you to believe that gun registration is Hitler-evil.

      It’s a fake quote. BTW, Hitler was a Catholic and his millions of helpers were all Catholics and Lutherans.

      James Weedman is now 0 for 5.

      • raven
        Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

        Fraudulent Nazi Quotations – Institute for Historical Review
        www. ihr.org/other/ weber2011fakequotations.html

        It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress … in 1935, Hitler is supposed to have exclaimed: “This year will go down in history! For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future!” …

        Not only is it a fake Hitler quotation, it’s been around for many years.

        I’m sure Weedman is a big fan of Barton and Beck. Making up fake quotations isn’t a hard job but it is pretty slimy. But someone will do it especially for money.

        • Jeff Johnson
          Posted December 23, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

          The ironic thing about the supposed Hitler quote is that whether it is real or fake, it has absolutely no relevance to gun policies in the United States.

          I live unfortunately in a very conservative area with lots of rednecks, and I often see the bumper sticker warning that in 1935 Hitler instituted gun registration. To the pea brained moron, that is intended to have a deep and serious meaning as proof of the grave consequences of gun control. It is supposed to suggest the “obvious logic”, which is no logic at all, that any society that registers or bans guns must be exactly like Nazi Germany.

          Only a person incapable of intelligent rational thought could actually reach this conclusion.

          One would have to be completely blind to every difference between our society and that of Nazi Germany in the 30s to imagine that there is some kind of causal relationship or proof of the evils of gun control in this analogy.

          Hitler also funded the development of the Volkswagen. Does this mean people can’t drive Volkswagens? Hitler liked to eat pan-fried trout. Does anyone who likes pan-fried trout have fascistic megalomaniac tendencies? Hitler liked Beethoven, so we should avoid Beethoven in order to prevent our society from sliding down the slippery Nazi slope? How absurd.

          A slightly more relevent fact is to examine the situation in every country today that has strict gun control regulation. Another rational thought experiment would be to look at the effects of registering and controlling the usage of Automobiles. Is our automotive freedom under threat? Not at all.

          Only a pathetically myopic and childish brain incapable of thinking straight would decide that Hitler’s opinion on gun control should be a dominant consideration when exploring possibilities for gun policy in our society.

          • Posted December 24, 2012 at 7:41 am | Permalink

            The problem is that there are a heck of a lot of those pathetically myopic and childish folks out there.

            And when they get riled, they turn out in large numbers and vote 100% Republican. Many of them are single-issue voters. They turn out to vote against gun control.

    • raven
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      The greatest threat that the people of the United States face at this time is the terrorism from Islamic Jihadists.

      Naw, no way.

      It is fundie xian death cultists. They sponsor xian terrorism here, openly hate the USA and the US government, and will destroy us if they can. They own the Tea Party/GOP and control the US House.

      The Moslems are Over There screwing up their societies. The xian equivalent, the fundie death cultists are Over Here, screwing up our country. I live Here, not There.

    • raven
      Posted December 23, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      James Weedman needs to look in a mirror every once in a while. To see who and what is the greatest threat to our society.

      Like many scientists I’ve gotten who knows how many death threats in the last 12 years. All from xians, not a single one from Moslems.

      Two of my friends died as a result of the idiotic actions of our first and hopefully last fundie president, Bush, dead in Iraq.

      So far James Weedman has:

      1. Blamed communism on atheism, a really stupid lie.

      2. Posted a fake quote attributed to Hitler.

      3. Misidentified the greatest threat to our society, which is actually him and his buddies.

      4. Babbled like a loon.

  22. raven
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Bogus Founder Quotes
    saf.org/ pub/rkba/general/ BogusFounderQuotes.htm

    Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. … From the moment the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that … This has several variations including “hour” for “moment” and sometimes …

    Weedman’s George Washington quote is fake too. No surprise.

    Those who hammer their guns into plows…(Quotation) « Thomas …
    http://www.monticello.org › Jefferson › Quotations › Spurious Quotations

    Status: We have not found any evidence that Thomas Jefferson said or wrote, “Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.” …

    Weedman’s Jefferson quote is also fake. No surprise.

    I’m not going to bother with the rest of his quotes. Weedman is a waste of time. Most likely they are all fake.

    • Posted December 23, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

      How do we even know that Weedman is real in any case. His screed reads like a Wingnut Conspiracy/Justified Fear Generator(tm)

  23. morkindie
    Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Here is a long shot, but why the hell not…

    Instead of trying to arm the populace so that it is capable of overthrowing the most powerful military in the world in some distopian fantasy future where all the soldiers obey some mythical tyrant who subjugates the U.S. through shear willpower…Instead of that, how about we limit the military and the ability of the president and congress from doing whatever they want through voting and political activism.
    Stop worshiping the military like it was the hand of God and you won’t have to arm yourself like a bunch of terrorist drug dealing gangsters and thugs.

  24. gravelinspector
    Posted December 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    I may misunderstand American Colonial history … but in what exact manner was the pre-1779 British government of the American colonies “illegal”?
    Or is this just a butt-plug clearing it’s throat?

  25. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 25, 2012 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    Hey, *I* said that (about the citizenry’s right to nukes), several threads ago.

    Only difference is, I was taking the piss. (aka reductio ad absurdum), or so I thought. Barton seems to be already reducted…


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