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In 1976, when Democratic presidential challenger Jimmy Carter was facing Republican President Gerald Ford, a friend confided that he and his father were burying guns in the field on their farm.
“Why?” I asked.
He looked at me like I was an idiot. Because, he explained, if Carter was elected, he was going to be taking everyone’s guns away. They were simply making sure that he didn’t get all of their weapons. They knew of others who were doing the same thing.
Well, hiding them, anyway.
During the election of 1996, someone gave me printed information they had gotten from a local gun shop, “proving” that if Bill Clinton were to be elected for a second term, he would be grabbing up all the guns in America.
He demanded to know why the paper I was working for - the Ozark Gazette - wasn’t aggressively covering this story.
The National Rifle Association, which claims to speak for American gun owners and those who support the Second Amendment, but actually speaks primarily for the gun manufacturing industry, stokes the paranoia among folks who aren’t terribly well-informed (true, largely their own fault) about the true state of affairs in this country.
The NRA and gun lobby also holds Congress in thrall, with very few elected officials having the courage to speak up on the issue.
For those interested in the NRA’s links to the wonderful world of gun manufacturing, here is a fascinating article.
National Rifle Association Receives Millions of Dollars From Gun Industry "Corporate Partners" New VPC Report Reveal
After every gun massacre in this country, which should no longer be seen as “isolated incidents,” the NRA is quick to issue press releases defending the rights of gun owners. We view them as “isolated incidents” because talking heads keep hammering the point home on TV and radio.
Maybe we should stop listening to them, and just pay attention to what we read in the newspapers. This is an instance where a population who doesn’t read newspapers really benefits the gun lobby.
And, of course, we are cautioned that the immediate wake of the tragedy is no time to discuss legislation.
Just as we shouldn’t discuss racism, sexual assault, bullying or any of a thousand other crimes that cross the radar; it’s just too soon.
Now the paranoia is being stoked once again.
The truth is, that most gun owners in this country are not on the same page as the National Rifle Association when it comes to gun control, but the NRA owns more members of Congress than they do.
Even Mitt Romney, whose values shift with the wind, is describing his stance as governor of Massachusetts as that of a Second Amendment advocate, which may contradict some of the words he spoke when he supported an assault weapons ban.
And after they take your guns, they’ll take your Bibles . . . what? Thomas Jefferson already tried that?
Actually, no, he didn’t.
But in the election of 1800, when Thomas Jefferson, one of our greatest presidents, ran against John Adams, he had the temerity to say that though he was a “real Christian,” he also was” . . . of a sect by myself.”
Jefferson believed in human reason above all, and rejected a few key points of Christianity, such as the deity of Jesus Christ, original sin, the Bible’s divine origins and the Bible’s accounts of miracles.
Well, that was it.
Members of the clergy warned that voting for Jefferson would be rebellion against God, and America would never be forgiven for electing a man who was an enemy to their one, true faith.
Folks began hiding their Bibles in their wells or burying them (fat lot of good they did in the ground) because they were sure that Jefferson would confiscate and burn them, once in office.
Sort of a Virginian Kristallnacht, I suppose.
Here is a link to an interesting article about that particular controversy.
Quote of the Day
The way we are acting, the Lord is liable to turn on us any minute, and even if he don't, our good fortune can't possibly last any longer than our natural resources. - Will Rogers