2 years ago
Nonprofit Quarterly recently carried a commentary on Lindsey Graham and his comments on AR-15s that took a detour into the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Rick Cohen’s thoughts make for interesting reading.
Our impression of American behavior during disasters has been that people generally pull together, that adversity brings out the best in us. Sure, we know that people do very bad things, but the press often notes how people also go out of their way to help and protect their neighbors. In fact, that feeling of mutuality was what we thought undergirded the nonprofit sector in a democratic society.
It must be that we fell for some Panglossian view of America, if we are to believe Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday, Graham grilled Attorney General Eric Holder about the proposed ban on assault weapons. We haven’t seen the news reports that verify what Graham says happened—or sort of happened—to spark his support for carrying around military-style assault weapons:
“Can you imagine a circumstance where an AR-15 would be a better defense tool than, say, a double-barrel shotgun? Let me give you an example, that you have (sic) an lawless environment, where you have an natural disaster or some catastrophic event — and those things unfortunately do happen, and law and order breaks down because the police can’t travel, there’s no communication. And there are armed gangs roaming around neighborhoods. Can you imagine a situation where your home happens to be in the crosshairs of this group that a better self-defense weapon may be a semiautomatic AR-15 vs. a double-barrel shotgun?
I’m afraid that world does exist. It existed in New Orleans, to some extent up in Long Island [after Hurricane Sandy], it could exist tomorrow if there’s a cyber attack against [the] country and the power grid goes down and the dams are released and chemical plants are — discharges.
What I’m saying is if my family was in the crosshairs of gangs that were roaming around neighborhoods in New Orleans or any other location, the deterrent effect of an AR-15 to protect my family, I think, is greater than a double-barrel shotgun.”
As far as we can tell, Graham must be referencing a gang of white vigilantes in New Orleans’ Algiers Point neighborhood who, armed with shotguns and assault weapons, allegedly opened fire on African Americans “with impunity” after Hurricane Katrina; the militia was reportedly on the lookout for anyone who “didn’t belong” in the neighborhood, as reported by ProPublica and The Nation. If so, maybe Graham’s fears would have more of a basis in reality if he looked a little more like Holder and was facing a white militia armed with AR-15s.
It is in vogue to tell this revisionist history of Katrina. We’ll deal with this shortly, but before we do that and in order to set the stage for our response, we will now be the ones to take a detour into another crisis to watch how a nation behaved. We’ll address AR-15s, catastrophies and totalitarian governments, but for now let’s briefly revisit the fall of the Berlin wall, the role of one church, and the actions of the East Gernam Army.
OathKeepers has an interview with Lt. Colonel Gunter Spens, in which he describes the fact that the East German Army simply refused to obey orders to stop the protests at the wall and stayed on base. True enough for part of the story, and as much as I admire Oath Keepers, it isn’t as simple as this and there is more to the story. This is the church that brought down the wall.
In the GDR, atheism was the norm. Churches like St. Nikolai were spied on but allowed to remain open.
“In the GDR, the church provided the only free space,” Fuhrer said in an interview with Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly. “Everything that could not be discussed in public could be discussed in church, and in this way the church represented a unique spiritual and physical space in which people were free.”
In the early 1980s, Fuhrer began holding weekly prayers for peace.
Every Monday, worshippers recited the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. Few came at first, but attendance grew as the Soviet Union began opening to the West.
The prayer service, Fuhrer said, “was something very special in East Germany. Here a critical mass grew under the roof of the church — young people, Christians and non-Christians, and later, those who wanted to leave (East Germany) joined us and sought refuge here.”
As a college student in those years, Sylke Schumann was one of the hundreds, then thousands, who joined the vigils in the sanctuary at St. Nikolai and then marched in the streets holding candles and calling for change.
“Seeing all these people gather in this place … from week to week and more and more people gathering, you had the feeling this time really the government had to listen to you,” Schumann said.
In October 1989, on the 40th anniversary of the GDR, the government cracked down.
Protesters in Leipzig were beaten and arrested. Two days later, St. Nikolai Church was full to overflowing for the weekly vigil. When it was over, 70,000 people marched through the city as armed soldiers looked on, but did nothing.
And even this report doesn’t tell the whole story. I was a member of a church during this time that received regular (underground) reports from East German churches about the events of that era. When society has rejected God and embraced totalitarianism, the men can become lovers of power or drunkards and whore chasers. Not all men do, but many succumb to this fate.
But oftentimes the women – mothers and grandmothers who want their children to be raised with a sense of morality and the knowledge of God – toe the line. Secretly they teach their children. Their children learn to love their mothers and the instruction, and like ticking time bombs that explode later in life, that instruction proves determinative.
And toe the line the women did. The crowds were heavily populated with mothers and grandmothers, and the boys who populated the East German Army remembered their instruction. They wouldn’t discharge their weapons at their own blood, and whether it was the instruction in underground churches or the simple fact that the boys wouldn’t kill their mothers or mothers of colleagues, no rounds were fired. It had little to do with orders to stay in garrison. If the East German Army had deployed (as some of them did), they would simply have watched as the wall fell without a shot.
Now, let’s return to the issue of New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina. Except for the horrible racist, Aryan gangs who abused the black folk, it was a veritable Shangri La indeed. Except for the white folk everyone would have gotten along just swimmingly. White Aryan gangs in the middle of New Orleans. You simply can’t make this up.
Except that this isn’t reality. Revisionist doesn’t even begin to describe that view. That view is an outright fabrication and falsehood. A more accurate and honest accounting shows how rough the time was.
In the City of Vultures, a New Zealander is one of the few remaining police officers who has stayed behind to protect the helpless.
James Gourlie, 30, formerly of Christchurch, is one of six officers who have remained out of a district force of 200.
“This is my district. I will not abandon my district, my county, my workmates or these people,” he told the Herald On Sunday last night.
Mr Gourlie was speaking while preparing for another night patrol from the Hampton Inn, which he and fellow officers took over after their police station was overrun. For its single entrance, and the war zone outside, they have dubbed the hotel “The Fortress”.
It’s been six days and five nights of lawlessness since Hurricane Katrina hit. In the vacuum left by Katrina, anarchy has reigned. Human vultures have preyed on the helpless, pillaging homes and shops, committing murder and rape.
The decision to stay while hundreds of fellow officers fled has left them bitter. Mr Gourlie returned after getting his American wife Jennifer out of New Orleans.
When one fellow officer and friend pulled out for Texas on Friday, taking two automatic rifles and a shotgun, he earned his colleagues’ anger.
“They’re preserving their lives but they’re risking their friends,” said Mr Gourlie, of the “cowards” who have left. “You know what the New Zealand and Australian way is – and that ain’t the Anzac way. You sacrifice yourself for your mates.”
There are incidents every day involving weapons, although Mr Gourlie is thankful he has not yet had to shoot anyone. The times the officers have intervened, those desperate for help have wept and offered thanks.
A fellow officer was killed after warning looters away from a store. A looter pushed a gun against his head and pulled the trigger. “It was heartbreaking to see this police officer lying on his back, blood pouring out of his head.”
There are gangs of armed thugs in the convention centre. One young hood the officers pulled up was carrying a civilian version of a military M-16 rifle.
“There’s shooting. The thugs inside, they have come outside. They are running up and down, disturbing people with impunity. They know we can’t cross the road and engage them because we don’t know where their cohorts are. We are so vastly outnumbered, especially at night,” said Mr Gourlie.
There has also been murder and rape. In one awful case, a 15-year-old girl had suffered both, her body stuffed into an oven with her throat slit.
“I would expect something like this in a war zone in the Middle East. You’d be stupid not to be afraid. It’s how you face it that counts.”
The gangs in the centre have now destroyed the generators, and last night was the first Katrina’s survivors have spent without light. “That’s one of the reasons why people are so afraid today.”
I am certainly no admirer of Lindsey Graham. His criticism of Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul over their filibuster was petulant, and his friendship with John McCain shows that he wants to stay in power rather than hold government accountable. But from the mouth of the unexpected sometimes comes wisdom, even if by accident.
Unfortunately like the author says, Ameica is indeed like this concerning violence and danger, even if his intended target – white gangs – is a fabrication of his imagination. And during this period of peril for the citizens of New Orleans did the National Guard keep order? No, to their everlasting shame they spent their time confiscating weapons from law abiding citizens.
And yet, the National Guard had no evidence that New Orleans wouldn’t devolve into something like the L.A. riots, leaving people helpless and defenseless.
America as we have know it is dead. It is no more. The cities are violent and the government totalitarian. America is more bifurcated than it has ever been in history. Ninety million people are out of the labor force, and something approaching half of America pays no income tax. Keynesian economics has failed like a star burning out. The first medium size city has gone bankrupt, taking with it nearly one billion dollars in pensions for state workers. Note that this doesn’t include Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment payments, welfare, social security or any other federal program. One billion dollars – just on state pensions, just with one medium size city.
While the states are going down, the federal government is working hard at making itself more totalitarian than before.
The ATF doesn’t just want a huge database to reveal everything about you with a few keywords. It wants one that can find out who you know. And it won’t even try to friend you on Facebook first.
According to a recent solicitation from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the bureau is looking to buy a “massive online data repository system” for its Office of Strategic Intelligence and Information (OSII). The system is intended to operate for at least five years, and be able to process automated searches of individuals, and “find connection points between two or more individuals” by linking together “structured and unstructured data.”
Primarily, the ATF states it wants the database to speed-up criminal investigations. Instead of requiring an analyst to manually search around for your personal information, the database should “obtain exact matches from partial source data searches” such as social security numbers (or even just a fragment of one), vehicle serial codes, age range, “phonetic name spelling,” or a general area where your address is located. Input that data, and out comes your identity, while the computer automatically establishes connections you have with others.
Many other specific requirements are also to be expected for a federal law enforcement agency: searching names, phone numbers, “nationwide utility data” and reverse phone searches. The data will then be collected to help out during investigations and provide “relevant information and intelligence products.”
To do this and similar things they are spending the wealth of your children and children’s children. Ben Bernanke is trying ever so hard to keep hyperinflation under control and interest rates low in order to keep the deficit from exploding, but sooner or later America’s unfunded liabilities will come due and no amount fiat money will suffice. Fractional reserve banking will prove to people when hard times hit that their money doesn’t exist and cannot be withdrawn from their accounts. It’s just a waiting game, because the system cannot be saved.
The American experiment – subtended by wealth redistribution, race baiting, totalitarianism and the creation of taker class that leeches off of workers – is over. It has been replaced by Fabian socialism. But all is not lost. America will be reborn in a different form. Hard times are approaching, and there are some salient and hard questions that are a function of those hard times.
Will police, soldiers and Marines raise their weapons against American civilians? The Louisiana National Guard did. To each and every officer, soldier and Marine I tell you, you’d better not. God will condemn you for it. Your orders must be legal and moral to require your fealty, and notwithstanding the [il]legality of such an order, it would be immoral. Will you confiscate weapons if so ordered? You’d better not – God will condemn you for it. Each man lives his appointed days, and then he will face judgment. Do not face God having removed means of legitimate protection of the family. And do not face God having been the stooge for a tyrant. It matters little how long you live. It matters much how you live, and how you perish.
To parents, you must teach your children and instill in them a reverence for and love of liberty. Even for the old among us, you may very well end up training the very men who would otherwise be your tyrants, but who will remember their upbringing instead. Mothers and grandmothers, you essentially saved the day in East Germany. Don’t underestimate your role. Teaching the children is the most important job on earth.
Men, don’t be naive. God apparently granted a special dispensation to East Germany for a bloodless coup. It won’t happen that way anywhere else. The National Guard in many states has already shown that they will assist totalitarianism. The race riots in Los Angeles were nothing compared to what it will be like in the event of an economic collapse in America.
Teach the children. Defend the family. It isn’t just a right, it’s your God-given duty. And never, ever relinquish your weapons. That would be as immoral as the actions of totalitarians in confiscation. You shall not cooperate with the totalitarians and be approved by God. Never give up. God is on your side.