Wednesday, March 28, 2018


Many in the press are shocked:

Alex Jones and his conspiracy site InfoWars just can’t stop when it comes to David Hogg and other Parkland shooting survivors.

During his broadcast today, the far-right conspiracist ... played a short clip dubbing a Hitler speech over footage of Hogg at the March For Our Lives.

Yes, really.

That wasn’t the only Nazi comparison Jones made today. Earlier, Jones played a video depicting Parkland student Emma Gonzalez as a member of the Hitler Youth, complete with Nazi salutes, Hitler speaking and swastikas.

This isn’t the first time InfoWars has compared Parkland students to Nazis over their outspoken advocacy for gun control. A couple of days ago, the site claimed Hogg was channeling his “inner Hitler” during his March For Our Lives speech. (InfoWars and other fringe right-wing outlets pointed to Hogg holding his fist in the air as akin to a Nazi salute.)
Elsewhere, Mary Franson, a Republican state representative in Minnesota compared the Parkland kids to Hitler Youth.

Are you shocked? You shouldn't be. The false belief that gun control efforts in America mimic Nazi policy is so well established on the right that it has its own Wikipedia entry ("Nazi gun control argument"):
The Nazi gun control argument is counterfactual history argument claiming that gun regulations in the Third Reich rendered victims of the Holocaust weaker to such an extent that they could have more effectively resisted oppression if they had been armed or better armed....

This argument is prevalent and primarily used within U.S. gun politics. Questions about its validity, and about the motives behind its inception, have been raised by scholars....

According to gun rights activist Neal Knox, the Nazi gun control theory was first suggested by Jay Simkin and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) founder Aaron S. Zelman in a book they published in 1992. In it, they compared the German gun laws of 1928 and 1938, and the U.S. Congressional hearings for what became the Gun Control Act of 1968.
Wayne LaPierre and others at the NRA have been making the gun control/Hitler argument for years, as Bernard Harcourt noted in a 2004 Fordham Law Review article:

In a 2015 book, then-presidential candidate Ben Carson wrote:
German citizens were disarmed by their government in the late 1930s, and by the mid-1940s Hitler's regime had mercilessly slaughtered six million Jews and numerous others whom they considered inferior.

Through a combination of removing guns and disseminating deceitful propaganda, the Nazis were able to carry out their evil intentions with relatively little resistance.
He made the same point on a couple of other occasions during the campaign. In response, Alan Steinweis, a professor of history and Holocaustr studies and the author of Kristallnacht 1938 (Harvard University Press, 2009), wrote:
Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany in January 1933, but it was only in March 1938 that the Third Reich promulgated its Waffengesetz, or weapons law, which required police permission for ownership of a handgun. Other firearms were left unregulated. If, as Mr. Carson maintains, the Nazi regime made it a priority to disarm the German population, then why did it wait more than five years to issue such a law, and why did it limit licensure to handguns? Mr. Carson also fails to mention that the democratic Weimar Republic, which had preceded the Nazi regime, had passed its own gun law, which in some respects had been more restrictive than the later Nazi version....

The Jews of Germany constituted less than 1 percent of the country's population. It is preposterous to argue that the possession of firearms would have enabled them to mount resistance against a systematic program of persecution implemented by a modern bureaucracy, enforced by a well-armed police state, and either supported or tolerated by the majority of the German population. Mr. Carson’s suggestion that ordinary Germans, had they had guns, would have risked their lives in armed resistance against the regime simply does not comport with the regrettable historical reality of a regime that was quite popular at home. Inside Germany, only the army possessed the physical force necessary for defying or overthrowing the Nazis, but the generals had thrown in their lot with Hitler early on.
This and other attacks on the Parkland activists are surprising people who should know better. Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan summarizes the response of right-thinking people in a piece titled "The Sliming of Parkland Students Shows the Spreading Stain of Media Polarization." But the "spread" of "polarization" (which, to her credit, Sullivan sees as worse on the right) started years ago. Don't we remember the attacks on Graeme Frost's family in 2007 after the 12-year-old publicly endorsed the S-CHIP children's health program? Have we forgotten Ann Coulter's words about activist 9/11 widows a year earlier?
Coulter writes in a new book, "Godless: The Church of Liberalism," that a group of New Jersey widows whose husbands perished in the World Trade Center act "as if the terrorist attacks happened only to them."

She also wrote, "I've never seen people enjoying their husbands' deaths so much."

... Her criticism was aimed at four New Jersey women whom she dubbed "The Witches of East Brunswick," after the town where two of them live.

They have spent the years since the 2001 terror attacks supporting an independent commission to examine government failures before the attack....
There's nothing new here. If you think it's new, you haven't been paying attention.

No comments: