Although we do not have guns in our home and I gave away my .22 rifle 43 years ago, I can understand guns used for hunting, sport shooting and reasonable personal protection. I do take pause, however, with gun misuse being indicative of tyranny. Here are three examples.

First, in his book ON TYRANNY, Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale University, writes, “Be wary of paramilitaries. When the men with guns who have always claimed to be against the system start wearing uniforms and marching with torches and pictures of a leader, the end is nigh. When the pro-leader paramilitary and official police and military intermingle, the end has come.”

Second, to underscore Snyder’s assertion, THE INTELLIGENCE REPORT of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Spring 2017, regularly charts hate and extremism in America. They list 165 active military-style militia groups in 2016. Last Fall, a “Patriot” group called the Crusaders, part of the Kansas Security Force, were planning to blow up an apartment complex housing more than 100 mostly  Somali-born Muslim immigrants. Patrick Stein, one of the leaders of the militia group, allegedly said, “The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim. If you’re a Muslim, I’m going to enjoy shooting you in the head.” Underscoring the militia threat is the Oath Keepers that claims to have some 30,000 members, mostly former and present members of law enforcement.

Third, EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY reports that the NRA is pushing a law that would force all 50 states to allow anyone to carry loaded, concealed guns in public with no background checks or training. In Minnesota, the Public Safety Committee, (yes that is the name), tried to bring this type of bill to the floor in 2017. Fortunately, the resistance by GVP groups was strong and the session ran out of time. But this bill will be back next year along with new bills to put more guns into the hands of more people.

Professor Snyder published his book in 2017 as a reflection on our election. The full title is: ON TYRANNY – Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century. His book is prescient for our historical time. Guns and tyranny are like the bride and groom of gun violence.

Enough! No More of This!

Ron Letnes