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13 October 2005 @ 04:34 pm
Then they came for me  
I hadn't read this until metkat's recent post... this so perfectly sums up why I've been trying so hard to stay politically active and write my letters and form my opinions since the last election.


Variation on Pastor Martin Niemoller's poem:

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant.

Then they came for me,
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

It's us. We - every human among us, and a few typing-ept cats - are the voice and the action that stops abuse, cruelty, oppression, tyranny and watchguards the innocent. If we aren't, we are the corroborater.

It's so much easier to focus on food on the table, laughter in the evening, work on a weekday, a good night's sleep in relative safety. I begin to think that our inclination to lead a happy, simple life is our single greatest advantage that we give to oppressors.

I'm not a pornographer, I'm not illiterate, I haven't yet been and am not in need of emergency contraceptive - but I have a voice and by the gods, I'm using it.

A's rabbi at Rosh Hashannah last week challenged everyone at synagogue to never stand by when they knew someone was being abused. Meddlesome, sure. Codependent, maybe. But at the end of the day, we can invest in each other or turn our backs on each other. I'll take the former.
Current Mood: fire! fire! fire!
RocketGirl: X-Wingeonen on October 14th, 2005 12:06 am (UTC)
I agree with the sentiment. Of course, I take issue with some peoples' methods, but not with the underlying thought...
yvetteserpentmoon on October 14th, 2005 03:04 am (UTC)

Holocaust427 did a song-ish about that.

Clicking the link will download the song.
Slavery(Victim Death March)

That reminds me I have some letters to write.
freshmanflynn on October 14th, 2005 05:01 am (UTC)
Here's a quote I thought interesting
Göring (Nazi SS Commander): Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

-- excerpt from the Nuremberg Trials
RocketGirl: Doll Piloteonen on October 14th, 2005 08:19 pm (UTC)
Re: Here's a quote I thought interesting
I remember reading that somewhere. It makes me think of 1984...and more than a little bit of today and our own administration...
Brettwakko on October 14th, 2005 05:28 am (UTC)
If you are not already, have you considered becoming a firearms owner?

It's certainly a good first step in vocally exercising your right to defend the rest of your rights.
Kburgunder on October 14th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
I had my first moment of thinking that the other day, no joke. Something Bush had done actually made me think I might need to protect myself against an unsupported marshall (martial?) law...

I tried firing a 22 last year and it scared the living shit out of me. I support the right to bare arms as it was originally intended - as long as the military has guns, I'm glad citizens get guns, too. However, on a strictly non-political monkey level, I am mortified that these scary human people are allowed to have anything so powerful.
Brettwakko on October 14th, 2005 10:55 pm (UTC)
I definitely can understand. Having things explode in your hand isn't really a natural thing. So, seeking this out can seem a bit counter-intuitive.

However, I believe that much of that fear can also be reduced with familiarity. The more you learn and know about firearms and their (legal) owners, the easier it is to be at ease around them both.

There are many reasons why firearms are necessary even beyond the political ones.

Such as the view Penn, of Penn & Teller fame, has. He's written about it here and talked about it quite a few times over the years. I support his initiative.


olegvolk is a Photographer that runs the site http://www.a-human-right.com. His photos are incredibly good at making the argument. His site is definitely worth checking out.
floiterfloiter on October 15th, 2005 07:56 pm (UTC)
I'm curious about your statement "There are many reasons why firearms are necessary even beyond the political ones."

I come from the UK, a country where we are (in general) not allowed to bear arms. Guns of most types (including many air-weapons) are illegal, as are knives and bladed weapons beyond a certain size, and things like pepper spray.

My life seems to be progressing fine without those things. So, why do you feel that they are necessary? And before I get flamed, I'm not "taking a pop at you", I'm genuinely curious why a large proportion of the US still feel the need to have access to lethal weapons a couple of hundred years after the end of the wild west ...
Brettwakko on October 16th, 2005 04:58 am (UTC)
I've had this discussion many times with various people in and from the UK.

The simplest answer is that while the UK has banned firearms, and thus experienced a drop in firearms-related violence, that has not stopped criminals, who by definition ignore the law, from committing crimes and obtaining firearms.

Overall, right now the total crime rate per 100,000 people for the UK is double that of the United States.

This is further compounded with the fact that in the U.S. the cities with the largest crime rates are also the cities with the strictest policies on outlawing firearms.

In addition, every state that has enacted "shall issue" laws for concealed carry permits has seen a steady, gradual decline in their overall crime rates starting from the day the law passes. In recent years, Florida was one of the first to do this in the late 1980s and many states have since followed suit. Every single state that's done this has seen the exact same gradual drop in crime rates.

The simple fact is, banning guns only bans them from law-abiding citizens. Making "gun free zones" only serves to tell the criminals where they can easily find the best targets: those that are unarmed and unable to defend themselves.

In a survey of prison inmates, the U.S. Department of Justice asked criminals convicted of violent crimes what worried them most about committing crimes. Overwhelmingly (over 75% of them), they said that armed citizens are what they feared more than the police, more than jail, more than anything else.

Put simply: Rational humans understand logic and reason. Predators understand power.

In my opinion, the biggest mistake the UK has made is by treating criminals like human beings that deserve dignity and respect. In my opinion, criminals stop deserving these things the instant they decide to break the law. The only thing a criminal deserves is a speedy funeral.

Call it brutal and barbaric if you will, but the statistics don't lie.

The state of Vermont has some of the most lax gun laws in our country and consistently maintains one of the lowest overall crime rates in the country. That's no coincidence.
Kburgunder on October 26th, 2005 10:41 pm (UTC)
Fear motivates. It sounds like the argument is that a part of criminal preventive maintenance is to have equal access to violent threat? I am currently pro-gun, largely because I've been open-minded and persuaded about your thoughts on the issue and I've even managed to develop a few of my own opinoins, especially as relates to the original intent in the Constitution, and I continue to be personally mortified that we even invented these damn things. I firmly believe killing people is bad, but I never manage to sit down with Ghandi because I don't like the odds of survival or ethical evolution in a place where all the "bad" guys have guns and none of the "good" guys do. I get so torn up about things like Tibetans retaining their peace and being the last leg of the genocide because they were passive vs. fighting back, retaining Tibet, but losing their inherent Tibetan-ness. I don't begin to understand which the greater tragedy is. It's amazing how quickly I wind up rambling when I want to respond to something you or vaxhacker have said... makes too many synapses fire at the same time, heh.

... I wonder how much pre-meditated criminals rely on the average person not breaking laws to plan and execute their crimes? In a state where a criminal can sue for being shot while breaking into a house, I suspect they're a bit more willing to take some risks than in a state (are there any?) without laws against shoot-to-kill trespassers/thieves. Anecdotally, the criminals I've known (most of them of the smoking pot and DUI/traffic violation variety) are absurdly well versed on the laws they're breaking, which makes me wonder if thieves are as well versed on laws around trespassing, property, etc. ... Maybe in Vermont, those laws make the risk not as worth taking?
Brettwakko on October 26th, 2005 11:44 pm (UTC)
Actually, our own state's laws on the use of lethal force are surprisingly liberal. In essence, lethal force may be applied to stop a criminal committing any felony in your presence.

I agree with you, as does nearly ever gun owner I've encountered. None of us want to be forced to shoot someone. The emotional and psychological repurcussions are abhorrent, not to mention the legal implications.

The reason we carry is the same reason we wear seat belts: just in case we should ever be placed in the situation that we'd need the safety device. Crime is simply a fact of human life. Being prepared for it is just a part of being a responsible adult.

I'm honestly thankful each day that goes by where my firearm stays concealed and I don't need it.

However, the DOJ did fund a study of 1,874 imprisoned felons conducted between August, 1982, and January, 1983. The study was titled The Armed Criminal in America.

[begin excerpt]
A 57% majority agreed that "Most criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police." Although 37% of those surveyed admitted that they personally had "run into a victim who was armed with a gun," that figure surpassed the 50% mark for armed criminals, an experience shared by 57% of the active gun predators. And 34% of the sample admitted to having been "scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim."

Significantly, almost 40% said there was at least one time when the criminal "decided not to do a crime because [he] knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun." Clearly, armed citizens represent a real threat to criminals, a threat with which large numbers are personally familiar, or familiar with through the shared experiences of their fellow outlaws.
[/end excerpt]

That last part is what I'm aiming for. Deterring criminals simply by their own belief that their intended victim is armed. I believe that if we increase the number of armed citizens to that point, we've won.
red_the_squeakyred_the_squeaky on October 14th, 2005 06:51 am (UTC)
Thanks for posting this. I'm basically in school talking about this every day now, but it's nice to see similar sentiments coming from people who aren't actively paying for tree-hugger school.
Vulture: starburstvulture23 on October 14th, 2005 05:51 pm (UTC)
It's a profoundly important description of the progress of tyranny, using the classic divide-and-conquer stratagem.

I *should* be more politically active than I am, but I do make a point of voting in favor of civil liberties and real freedoms whenever I can. (Of course, it's important to distinguish between real freedom and Bush-brand Freedom™, the latter having little to do with personal liberty and a lot to do with corporate liberty (and individual subservience to corporate interests), but I'm sure y'all are aware of the Newspeak-ism here...)