I was pretty confused when I learned that the media was making a big deal about a comment Dr. Ben Carson made recently about how the plight of the Jews would be have been more favorable, and that the Holocaust could have possibly been diminished had Jews had firearms in the 1930’s and 40’s. A lot of people are treating this as Ben Carson’s big gaffe, like it’s some foot-in-mouth comment akin to Joe Biden telling women to “just get a shotgun”.
What’s more surprising, is that people find his comment surprising. Let me explain.
I’m Jew…ish. My mom’s a Jew. I occasionally went to temple growing up. I do own a couple yamakas that I save for the occasional Passover or Yom Kippur dinner. I was raised with Jews growing up.
But then I also spent a month in Israel as part of a religious trip shortly after graduating college. While I was there I also spoke with dozens of rabbis, and rabbinic scholars. I spoke with pizza maker Jews, taxi cab driver Jews, bartender Jews, mom Jews and dad Jews. I even went to the official Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem.
Guess what. They all have guns. And they agree with Ben Carson.
Almost unanimously, Jewish people acknowledge that part of the reason why the holocaust was allowed to get as out of control as it did, was that no one did anything about it. No one slayed the holocaust in its infancy. That no one, including the Jews, opposed the Nazi’s until it was too late. That Jews were powerless to stop the harassment, the badging, the confiscation, and the vandalism. They were powerless to stop the thuggery, the detainment, and ultimate genocide of their own people.
In fact, Jews have a saying – Never again. This isn’t like the “never forget” Americans say come September 11th. Forget isn’t a Hebrew word. Forget is not in the Jewish vernacular. Not forgetting something is easy. We Jews have one of the longest known histories of any people on this planet. It’s not because we have a short memory.
Instead the Jewish challenge is to never again, let such atrocities happen. Atrocities are not avoided with the pen. One cannot simply grab a pen, draw a circle around a problem, and expect to contain it. Rapes are not avoided with pleas of mercy. Holocaust are not avoided with diplomacy. Lest we forget, the Nazis were voted into power.
Like it or not. Agree with it or not. Whether it settles well in your political stomach or not, had Jews been armed, it’s possible the holocaust as we know it, would never have happened.
I was on the internet reading some stupid ass posts, and one Richard Hodge sarcastically wrote “Yes Genius. Jews with a few pistols could have easily defended themselves against an army that almost took over the world.”
To quote and paraphrase some of the more intelligent folks who replied, were these Jews who were rounded up and murdered better off without guns, or would they have been better off with them? The 9.5 million Jews living in Europe in 1933 would have constituted only a “few”? The Warsaw uprising is a good example of how armed citizens fought hard to defend themselves, but it was too few too late. Realistically speaking, a few million Jewish people with a few million pistols (and the ammunition to go with them) back in the mid-1930s might very well have changed history as we know it.
The world didn’t wake up one day to a fully militarized and entrenched Nazi Germany. The wave of a magic wand did not suddenly teleport millions of Jews to death camps. The holocaust happened one day at a time, one train at a time, one door knock at a time. Movements, even the Nazi movement, take time to build momentum. And enough armed people with the will to act, could have stopped it in its tracks, had they acted soon enough.
So although some might feel that the comparison is inappropriate, does not mean that the basis of the comparison is not solid.
Thank you, Dan Mcpherson, Andrew Haraldson, and Randy Leever for letting me bum your quotes.