Why I'm A Democrat With Guns

by an American-in-Exile-at-Home

(or Yoni Ben-Gurion, if you prefer)

A Response to The Diva's

"Open Letter to Charlton Heston"


I’m a liberal in most ways, but not all. Enough to at least put me solidly in the “left-leaning Moderate” category.  Now I’m solid Dem, I think I cast one Repug vote in the last two even-year elections.  Since impeachment and the stolen election I’m so firmly in the Democratic camp you couldn’t pry me out with a crowbar. And I don’t mind worrying about the few issues that I do have disagreements with my party because quite obviously the alternative is a horror show. An issue, like guns.  Now I don’t want to rave or argue about gun control.  It’s a difficult issue and clearly something must be done, but nobody knows what.  Further, I’m not a huge fan of them.  I don’t think I’ve shot one of mine in close to six years (better remember to oil them), but I’m happy they’re there because I’m also a Jew. That means that I have strong feelings about fascism, and I quail when I watch people go without a fight to their doom.  12,000,000 Non-Jews and Jews perished like that.


Because my grandparents escaped Russia in 1920, I was spared that horror and raised an American.  And I’m afraid I have a typically American male, macho view of that type of situation.  When I used to fantasize as a kid, it would often be about being one of those brave little Warsaw Ghetto rats, fighting and killing Nazis among the rubble, so that when I grew up, I learned gun safety, purchased a couple guns, and stowed them away largely.  In the back of my mind, as ridiculous as it often seemed then, I said to myself, “because I don’t want to go down quietly if the Nazis come.  I want to be able to run away and join the Resistance.”


Now, relax a moment, I’m not going on a shooting spree.  Even the fraudulent theft of the election is not a signal for all-out revolution. Far from it.  Mostly our lives are very good and free, even now.  Democracy isn’t dead, it’s only injured and defiled.  If enough people speak loud enough in 2002 and 2004, maybe it can go back to “serious, but stable” condition.  But my ironclad belief that “it could never happen here” has been severely shaken, perhaps stricken forever...though I hope not.  You see, it probably won’t be you that will that has to take your engine of destruction out of mothballs and use it to attempt to regain your basic liberties.  It will be your children, or more likely their children or even the Unlucky Generation to be born in 2040, who will have to take up this brutal business.


Because we’re all just kidding ourselves, Fellow Americans, if we think the Republicans are going to lick their chops and be satisfied with this small victory.  Remember that their party, back to Nixon, has aimed for nothing less than total domination of the political process and destruction of Democrats, by whatever means fair or foul. This, more than hush money or CIA spying, was what Nixon’s actions were about.  And Bush the Smarter was his CIA director, a man accustomed to seeing the “big picture.”


Right Wingers throughout history from Atilla the Hun to Adolf Hitler and Donald Trump have always been driven by single-minded success and the desire to keep going until all the work was done (i.e. the prey was consumed, the city sacked, all the enemy killed, whatever...).  This is their driving philosophy, their life’s credo.  They can no more divorce themselves from this “go for the jugular” ethic than they could march in a Gay Pride parade.  So they won’t stop attacking democracy, devising more elaborate strategies to subvert it in plain sight of everyone, the continued pursuit of “conservatizing the nation” by wresting utter control of all levels of the judiciary, rigging future elections and doing whatever they please, regardless of the Will of the American People.  I have no doubts on those scores, and you shouldn’t either, Fellow Americans.


So I say this, given that the state of gun regulation is currently lax, anyone who belongs to a despised group and fears for their future rights should go out and get one right now.  If you hate guns and all they stand for, lock it away in a chest with three locks and buy two trigger locks.  Buy a bunch of ammunition and put it in an airtight locked case.  Stow it in the deepest basement with the words, “Gardening Equipment”, and don’t think about it again.  In this case, do what the Repugs do, if you can, push away your conscience and the little voice whispering “hypocrite”.  Until the day when you explain the situation to your grown-up children, and pass on what you pray that they will never have to use.  On one thing, even if it’s only one, the NRA is right:  A gun is a person’s or family’s last line of defense against governmental tyranny.


Up until Dec. 12, 2000, I never thought it could happen here.  My friends, I still think it’s very possible that it won’t happen here.


But is it possible that some kind of totalitarian regime could rise up and become our government, either partially or totally abrogating the Bill of Rights (though I’m sure an army of right-wing pundits and spin doctors will relentlessly reassure the masses of their nonexistent “freedoms”) during the next 99 years of the 21st Century?


It most certainly is...it most certainly is.


Why the "Last Line of Defense"

is No Defense at All

by "The Diva"

(or Tammy Talpas, if you prefer)


"Why I'm a Democrat With Guns"


Um...  You mean like Gore and Clinton?  What in the name of everything reasonable makes you think that is something remarkable?


I’m a liberal in most ways, but not all.


See?  This is where he lost me.  I have yet to see a Democratic Party platform call for the outlawing of guns.  In fact, as I remember it, our last two Presidential candidates were both gun owners and sports shooters.


Now I don’t want to rave or argue about gun control.  It’s a difficult issue and clearly something must be done, but nobody knows what.


How about reasonable weapons control legislation?  How about removing the liability shield for weapons companies that market badly manufactured and unsafe Saturday Night Specials?  How about restricting access to semi-automatic and easily concealable handguns?  Teflon-coated armor-piercing bullets?  Weapons designed to pass through x-ray checks?  The Barrett .50 caliber M82A1? You know, the weapon that fires armor-piercing and incendiary ammunition through inches of steal at thousands of feet?:

the .50 caliber M82A1 - a military sniper-type rifle - is easier to buy than a handgun, according to congressional investigators. And its ammunition, including armor-piercing incendiary rounds able to penetrate several inches of steel at a distance of 2,000 yards, can be rather easily purchased as military surplus.

At a hearing yesterday, investigators from the General Accounting Office, Congress' investigating arm, played a taped conversation in which an Oregon gun dealer was ready to sell ammunition to an undercover GAO agent even after the agent said he was interested in "taking down a helicopter."

How about full background checks, and limiting the number of guns which can be purchased during a limited amount of time?


So I say this, given that the state of gun regulation is currently lax, anyone who belongs to a despised group and fears for their future rights should go out and get one right now. 


A despised group?  I am not interested in playing "dueling victim-hood," but I actually belong to a group more despised in America than Jews (CHECK IT OUT), and one of the few groups against whom discrimination is not only tolerated, but is mainstream, and encouraged.  Try to imagine the following exchange EVER taking place:

When George Bush was campaigning for the presidency, as incumbent vice president, one of his stops was in Chicago, Illinois, on August 27, 1987. At O'Hare Airport he held a formal outdoor news conference. There Robert I. Sherman, a reporter for the Jewish News Journal, fully accredited by the state of Illinois and by invitation a participating member of the press corps covering the national candidates had the following exchange with then Vice President Bush.

Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are Jewish?

Bush: I guess I'm pretty weak in the Jewish community. Faith in Jesus is important to me.

Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are Jewish?

Bush: No, I don't know that Jews should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Sherman (somewhat taken aback): Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?

Bush: Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on Jews.

On October 29, 1988, Mr. Sherman had a confrontation with Ed Murnane, cochairman of the Bush-Quayle '88 Illinois campaign. This concerned a law-suit Mr. Sherman had filed to stop the Community Consolidated School District 21 (Chicago, Illinois, suburb) from forcing his first-grade Jewish son to pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States "one nation under God" (Bush's phrase). The following conversation took place.

Sherman: American Jews filed the Pledge of Allegiance lawsuit yesterday. Does the Bush campaign have an official response to this filing?

Murnane: It's bullshit.

Sherman: What is bullshit?

Murnane: Everything that American Jews do, Rob, is bullshit.

Sherman: Thank you for telling me what the official position of the Bush campaign is on this issue.

Murnane: You're welcome

Can you imagine EVER reading the following in ANY newspaper?:


The Christian Coalition letter was largely prompted by his [Lieberman's] Sunday speech to the Fellowship Synagogue Church in Detroit. There, he called on Americans to "renew the dedication of our nation and ourselves to the God of Israel," and he also cited George Washington's admonition to never suppose that "morality can be maintained without religion."


Lieberman said Tuesday that he will continue to talk about his faith.


"I respect Christians, but I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing, because I believe it's the American way," Lieberman told Los Angeles television station KNBC, which corralled him as he greeted members of the Communications Workers of America at the Anaheim Convention Center.


Unlike Senator Lieberman, I am not interested in forcing my religious beliefs on ANYONE.


I could go on and on, but I won't waste your time.  If you want an excellent overview on where Bush the Younger stands on non-Judeo-Christian religions, and atheists/agnostics/rationalists, etc., see:  WHAT ARE "DUBYA'S" RELIGIOUS BELIEFS?


On one thing, even if it’s only one, the NRA is right:  A gun is a person’s or family’s last line of defense against governmental tyranny.


I stick by what I said in the open letter.  A gun is no deterrent to governmental tyranny, not when the government in question has everything from bombs to nukes to biological and chemical weapons:


As you well know, Amendment II says nothing about "guns" or "rifles", but rather, about "arms".  Guns are ridiculously obsolete in our modern world.  With religious fundamentalists seizing power in places like Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States -- Afghanistan is rumored to have access to nuclear bomb components, and the United States and Pakistan certainly do -- how am I to protect myself and my family with a pitiful little Barrett .50 caliber M82A1?  It may fire armor-piercing and incendiary ammunition, Sir, but it is no deterrent against an adversary with nukes, and certainly offers me no real protection.

I am also outraged that you are not working, right now, to see that the overly-restrictive treaties America has signed with other nations which prevent me from legally possessing chemical and biological weapons are overturned.  This is a personal sovereignty issue.  I never waived my right to keep any of these Arms.

And please, do not insult my intelligence with talk that my government has these weapons, and can deter or retaliate against aggressors on my behalf.  What claptrap!  That is no different than saying my First Amendment freedoms are protected when my government speaks for me.

As you have so wisely pointed out, Mr. Heston, my right to armed self-protection is supreme, and of more urgent importance than my right to freedom of speech or of religion.  If I won't trust the government to do my talking or worshipping for me, what makes you think I would trust them to stand guard for me?  I wouldn't!  It has often been said, "If you want something done right, do it yourself."  Well, I want this thing done right!


Up until Dec. 12, 2000, I never thought it could happen here.  My friends, I still think it’s very possible that it won’t happen here.


But is it possible that some kind of totalitarian regime could rise up and become our government, either partially or totally abrogating the Bill of Rights (though I’m sure an army of right-wing pundits and spin doctors will relentlessly reassure the masses of their nonexistent “freedoms”) during the next 99 years of the 21st Century?


It most certainly is...it most certainly is.


In my view, anything is possible... except for the prevention or reversal of United States governmental tyranny with conventional weapons that can be purchased legally today.  For this false sense of security against "government tyranny," many are willing to trade the lives and safety of their fellow-citizens.




The Problem

In 1994 there were 38,505 firearm-related deaths. These included:
     - over 17,800 firearm-related homicides
     - over 18,700 firearm-related suicides
     - over 1,300 unintentional deaths related to firearms.1

It is estimated that there are approximately 3 nonfatal firearm injuries for every death associated with a firearm.2


In 1990, firearm injuries cost over $20.4 billion in both direct costs for hospital and other medical care, and in indirect costs for long-term disability and premature death.3


At least 80% of the economic costs of treating firearm injuries are paid for by taxpayer dollars.3


Firearm-Related Homicides

·  More than 70% of homicides are committed with a firearm.1

·  In each year since 1988, more than 80% of homicide victims 15 to 19 years of age were killed with a firearm. In 1994, nearly 90% of homicide victims 15 to 19 years of age were killed with a firearm.1

·  Firearm assaults on family members and other intimate acquaintances are 12 times more likely to result in death than are assaults using other weapons.4

·  In 1994, 4,211 women over 19 years of age were victims of homicide in the United States. Over half of these women (54%) were killed with a firearm.1

Youth and Firearms

·  In 1994, firearm injuries were the second leading cause of death for young people, 10 to 24 years of age and the third leading cause of death for persons aged 25 to 34.1

·  Nearly 29% of those who died from firearm injuries in 1994 were 15 to 24 years old.1

·  In 1995, 7.6% or 1 in 12 students in a national survey reported carrying a firearm for fighting or self-defense at least once in the previous 30 days. In 1990, this was true of 4.1% or 1 in 24 students.5,6

·  Between 1985 and 1994, the risk of dying from a firearm injury has more than doubled for teenagers 15 to 19 years of age.1

Firearm-Related Suicides

·  People living in households in which guns are kept have a risk of suicide that is 5 times greater than people living in households without guns.7

·  Between 1980 and 1994, the overall suicide rate for persons aged 15-19 increased by 29%; the increase in firearm-related suicides accounted for 96% of the increase in the overall suicide rate.1


Unintentional Firearm Injuries

·  In 1994, there were 787 unintended firearm deaths among persons aged 10 to 29, accounting for 58% of all unintentional firearm deaths in the nation that year. Unintentional firearm deaths are those that occur when the person firing the gun does not intend to harm another.1




In 1993 there appeared in Times Square an electronic billboard tallying the number of gun-related homicides in the United States, where crude homicide rates are the third highest in the world--4 to 73 times the rate in other industrialized nations, according to researchers at the National Center for Health Statistics. Between 1976 and 1993, more of Americans were murdered in their native land than died on the battlefields of World War II. Homicide is currently the second leading cause of death among Americans 15 to 24 years of age, and the third leading cause among children 5 to 14. Whereas in the 1950s students got under their desks in nuclear war "duck-and-cover" drills nowadays, in the wake of the school shootings around the country, students now use their desks in rehearsing protective strategies against attacks of their classmates.



Notably, less than one-fourth of violent crimes are committed with firearms. (FBI)





Total murder victims

Total firearms



Shot- guns

Other guns or type not stated

Knives or cutting instru- ments

Blunt objects (clubs, hammers, etc.)

Personal weapons (hands, fists, feet, etc.)


Pushed or thrown out window

Explo- sives



Drown- ing

Strangu- lation

Asphyxia- tion



































































































Notably, the National Rifle Association is full of s***.  Violent crimes include crimes in which no one suffers injury, bodily harm, or death.  According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, in the last year for which full statistics are available (1999) 65% of all murder victims are killed with firearms.  Of these, 79% are murdered with handguns, 5% with rifles, 6% with shotguns, 10% with "other guns or type not stated."  (FBI)


You might also find the following table instructive.  (Note the spike in murders by explosive in the first year.  I think we all know what event explains that spike.)


Murder Victims






Types of Weapons Used, 1995-1999





















Total fireams
























   Other guns






   Firearms, not stated






Knives or cutting












Blunt objects (clubs,






    hammers, etc.)






Personal weapons (hands,






    fists, feet, etc.)1
















































Other weapons or






    weapons not stated







So, notwithstanding your arguments, and your imagined scenario, I stick by my open letter.  If the justification for our current lax weapons laws is that this laxness protects us from future government tyranny, then I say, let's get busy arming people with effective weapons of deterrence (mutually assured destruction-type weapons), because GUNS ARE NOT ENOUGH, and definitely not enough to justify the carnage we allow to retain the false sense of security guns provide.


Why I'm A Democrat With Guns II

by an American-in-Exile-at-Home

(or Yoni Ben-Gurion, if you prefer)

A Pre-Emptive Response to The Diva's Remarks

(Sight Unseen)


Dear Tammy,


   My article depends on your perspective, and on viewing the article from a different perspective of the well-fed, secure, reasonably free modern-day American.


   In that context (and I very much enjoy your anti-gun satires, even if I don't 100% agree with them), everything you say about the ridiculousness of guns and the questions you posed are pretty correct, and I agree with them.


   But, use your foresight and imagination to picture a middle- or worst-case scenario for the next 99 years.  The perspective is not the one to which we are accustomed to for all of our lives, but quite a different world and one in which people collectively decide to revolt.


   In that world, a gun will be a veritable godsend for people who want to join the movement of that day & age.  Mind you, I am not wishing for this at all.  In fact, I hope that I am totally and completely wrong.  But in this possible future, the revolution, very probably, like all partisan movements could very well be beset with the problem of low supplies.  Those distant descendants will not say "I want to join the Revolution." and be issued a gun and fatigues like at basic training.


   American Totalitarianism will probably not look like Nazi Totalitarianism.  Huge numbers of people are probably not going to be sent to "death factories" or anything, but it will be a suppressive, oppressive, fearful place. New ideas will be shunned and may be an  arrestable offense.


Watch the movie, "Network", if you haven't already.  It is even more frightening now than it was then, given that virtually everything they

predicted, from a sociological standpoint, has come to pass.   Now, look at my article from that context.  It's 2073.  You live in an Orwellian aristocratic-plutocratic neo-fascist state.  All media outlets are controlled by right-wing punditocracy, except for their few rumpled, weak & cowed liberal token sellouts (not going to jail or re-education or whatever they'll call it this time...).  You've heard there was a free-living partisan movement hiding out in the Rockies and a government-in-exile in Canada.  You want to go and join.  Wouldn't you be extremely thankful that your great-great-grandparents had the foresight to pass down this old gun, and your parents had bought some more ammo when they saw that freedom was almost dead?  Hell, what guns did the Afghanis fight the Soviets with early on?  Old, old guns, Martinis and Mausers and M1 rifles (oh my!).


   Anyway, viewed from that context, I believe that my article makes much more sense.


   I would appreciate if you would include this email with your response.