Do I need to buy a gun?

I’ve never owned a gun. I’ve never wanted one, and am actively repelled by the idea of having one in the house. I think my wife is even more opposed to the idea.

But we have this presidential debate coming up this week, and I’m not optimistic about the outcome. I’m not concerned that Trump might triumph, but that it won’t matter. We know that Trump and his campaign are making pre-emptive excuses, against a backdrop of fanatical Trump cultists who will announce him either the winner (no matter what) or if he’s beaten, that the game was rigged or Biden cheated or that Satan fooled everyone. There will be no resolution. It’s going to be a trial run for the big event in November, a mere 5 months from now.

Various right-wingers have been gleefully predicting civil war for years now. The mob still claims that Trump actually won. We had a practice insurrection on January 6th a few years ago. Imagine if Trump loses a second time — the fury of aggrieved MAGA assholes will flare up all across the country. I live in the middle of red rural America, part of a liberal university that will focus their hate, I can picture the seething rage that will rise up.

Even worse is if Trump somehow wins. He is already announcing the suspension of the rule of law and purges…and we know that education and teaching will be targeted. He loves the uneducated! I don’t want to even think about his attitude towards atheists, and how we’d be such an easy sacrifice for him to make.

So I’ve been thinking about defending myself. I might nail a few doors shut in October to make the house a little less vulnerable. I’ve got a great big picture window in the living room, will I need to board it up like a hurricane is on the way? Should I get a handgun? Or would it be more likely to be turned against us? I could probably fortify the basement fairly easily, since it has only one entrance…but that could turn it into a trap.

You can tell I’m not optimistic about the coming Fall. Maybe what I should do is pack everything up and move to Norway…or maybe Canada.


  1. cartomancer says

    You’ve got a bumper brood of black widows on the way – surely that could be leveraged into some kind of arachnid-based home defence system?

  2. says

    Sadly, I’m in Texas, so I may have to make similar calculations. At least I’ve got a friend with some practical gun experience to recommend something if I decide to go for that option.

    Do they have target ranges that put the bullseye on kneecaps instead of center of mass and head? I don’t think I can get G-rated Western enough to be shooting guns out of other people’s hands, even with unlimited practice.

  3. seversky says

    Shooting to wound only works in Hollywood movies and TV shows. In real life it is more likely to get you killed.

    If you are going to arm yourself you had better make up your mind that you are going to try and kill another person if the worst comes to the worst. If you can’t do that, don’t carry a gun.

    For home defense, a 12-gauge shotgun is a good idea

  4. says

    I’m with caromancer. Two words: Spider Catapult.

    I’m ambivalent about gun ownership for myself. I certainly wouldn’t purchase one, but I do enjoy a very occasional visit to a local target range with a friend (and his guns).
    I have one only because it was my fathers and was willed to me. It’s a keepsake and actually a collectible. It and its ammunition are separated by 50 feet and I live alone, so the likelihood of it accidentally harming someone is next to 0.

  5. seversky says

    Various right-wingers have been gleefully predicting civil war for years now.

    Bluster. If the bullets ever start flying, you won’t see them for dust.

  6. raven says

    Various right-wingers have been gleefully predicting civil war for years now.

    Well, at least they did lose the last one.

    I won’t say it couldn’t happen or won’t happen.
    This is because I can’t see the future and predictions of the future are always uncertain to one extent or another.

    However, most people I’ve seen flying the confederate flag and calling for civil war are Boomer age, overweight, out of shape, and with chronic medical problems. The might call for civil war but are more likely to sit at home,open a beer, and watch TV.
    Some of them were antivaxxers and ended up dying in the hospital from the Covid-19 virus.

  7. says

    seversky @3

    Shooting to wound only works in Hollywood movies and TV shows. In real life it is more likely to get you killed.

    Yeah, I’m not surprised. Guess I’ll just have to keep reminding myself that killing fascists is self-defense in both the short- and long-term. And that if Texas falls, they won’t take a plea of self-defense from anyone left of fascist, so I might as well.

  8. raven says

    I’ve never owned a gun.

    If the civil war comes to the point where you need a gun, a gun won’t do you much good where you are.
    You will be in enemy territory.

    Your best bet for survival is to head for the coasts.
    At least you know Seattle and it is near the ocean.

    What will happen is that Reds will head for Red states and Blues will head for Blue states as a matter of survival.

    One guy with a gun won’t be able to do much. Millions of people with guns defending western Washington, Portland Oregon, the SF Bay area and Los Angeles will be able to do a lot.

    In a civil war, most likely the USA would simply fall apart and cease to exist. It would be like the partition of old India into India and Pakistan or what happened after the fall of Yugoslavia. Millions of people would flee for safety in opposite directions.

    I’m sure it will occur to the leaders of Greater Texas and the West Coast Republic that nuclear weapons make a great deterrent and they need to grab as many as they can.
    There is a Trident nuclear submarine base in Washington state. Just saying.

  9. cheerfulcharlie says

    Burglar bars. I am living in a building that was once a commercial building. It has burglar bars on the windows, and heavy steel bar door grates. Burglar proof, home invasion proof, Drooling rabid MAGA proof. I do own guns, but I don’t really worry much about having to use them because of the burglar bars. We actually had somebody try to get into the house through a back window a few weeks ago, but the burglar bars saved our asses.

  10. robro says

    Going to Canada may be a no-op. Some of these fascists have floated the idea of annexing our northern neighbor again. War of 1812 Redux anyone? I wouldn’t be surprised if annexing “Greater Mexico” (includes Central America) was on the list as it was prior to the Civil War. Once they repeal the Reconstruction amendments and reinstitute slavery, they’ll need more slaves.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    I am told many among black people, trans people and other minorities have started buying guns because they feel the hate from the escalated culture war.
    (Karl Kasarda -a libertarian somewhat left-leaning gun enthusiast with the “InRange” podcast on Youtube has been positive to groups who feel threatened learning how to use weapons )

  12. cheerfulcharlie says

    More on guns. Years ago, young scum used to drive to the gay clubs in Houston, to “roll queers”. A Texas ritual, a rite of passage, for some idiot young Texans. Then Texas allowed concealed carry. Gays in Texas started arming themselves. “The Pink Pistols”. And going to gun ranges to learn to handle guns. The rolling queers rituals of stupid Texas youth came to a sudden end. Sometimes unfortunately, guns do have a place in our society.

  13. says

    Buy a katana and start wearing it around. It’s crazier than a gun so they will all assume you are nobility. Or maybe get a good smallsword and a nice embroidered baldrick that says “that’s professor</> to you”

  14. says

    PS – thrust drills with a smallsword are great for carpal tunnel stretches. Take a golf ball, put an eyebolt in it and hang it somewhere then practice hitting it on the swing. I used to do that with a katana when I was in high school and people get remarkably quiet when they see chunks flying off the golf ball.

  15. Reginald Selkirk says

    The Spider Gun (also known as Spore Cannon or Leech Gun) is a weapon featured in Unreal II: The Awakening. It is assembled by Isaak from the Araknid biomass found on Hell by John Dalton. The weapon has scarce ammo across the game after being introduced.
    Its primary fire launches a spore pod that bursts on enemies, covering them in spiders…

  16. andywuk says


    If this is a real concern where you really feel you need to arm yourself for your own safety, it’s time to GTFO since you are living in a war zone. And even in a war-zone, unless you are trained military, it’s better to go unarmed lest you be viewed as an active combatant.

    (I’ve met many US ex-pats over here in the UK who got out for just that reason).

    As a short term alternative, it might be time to take a brief holiday to Canada for the duration to see how things actually fall out.

    (I’m assuming I’ve not totally misread an unserious/jokey post – it’s so damn difficult to tell these days).

  17. StevoR says

    If another Civil War breaks out what do folks think the US of A’s military will do?

    Will they support one or t’other & if so which? Will they fall apart and start fighting each other? Will the states take on the Feds and go to war with the federal as well as other states?

    Seems to me that’s the key question here.

    Of course, no one wins and everyone loses – with possible exceptions of Putin and China. I assume a lot of people will have a lot of plans and expectations for what will happen and almost (99.9%?) all of them will find those expectations are wrong and plans go badly astray. There’l be a lot of nasty / other than nasty surprises if this happens. Probly. That we’re even thinking of an American Civil War round II as a plausible let alone likely scenario is disturbing. Consequences will be globe ~wide. (Cap’n Obvs.).

    It scares the shit outta me and I’m the world’s largest ocean away. But again, global consequences. I also know I’m often wrong about things and hope so much I’m wrong about this & it is only fear and anxiety and worst case fantasising. .It also seems to me that there’s a reasonable chance either Biden or Trump or both won’t make it to the election and we’re still five months or so away and an awful lot can happen awfully fast between now and election time. I recallthe very rapid collapse of the Soviet Union frex. Tianamin square too.

    Take it as it comes but plan as best you can for much as you can and have contingncency plans. Co-operate and doeverything possible to see th e worst gets avoided if at all possible. Dunno what else to say.

  18. Dennis K says

    If you decide to get one, make sure to get trained on it. And don’t forget that someone else in your family will likely get shouldered with it down the road (I have a large cache of the dumb things I inherited that I have no idea what to do with).

    Or, you can run off to some imagined, paradise country that will gladly accept non-rich, elderly Americans into their citizenry. Provided, of course, Trump’s new border controls let you get out in the first place.

  19. raven says

    It scares the shit outta me and I’m the world’s largest ocean away.

    Look at it on the bright side.
    The USA has 40% of the world’s supply of nuclear weapons.
    And, everyone here will make a grab for them, first thing that will happen.

    You do have it right though.
    In a US civil war everyone loses.

    When the Federal government collapses, what happens to Social Security, Medicare, and the dollar?
    Without Social Security and Medicare, most old people will be somewhere between completely broke or really poor. With no health care insurance.
    ” 40% of Older Americans Rely Solely on Social Security for Retirement Income.”

    If the dollar currency dies, trillions of dollars of personal and corporate wealth just evaporates.
    PZ might need that gun to shoot the local rabbits and deer for dinner.

  20. awomanofnoimportance says

    One of the lessons we’ve learned from the Trump experience is that things like the rule of law only work if people agree to abide by it. When you have large numbers of people saying we will not comply, the system breaks down. It’s not like democratic values are self-enforcing. A democracy really is only as good as the people who live there.

    And unfortunately, Trump is a symptom rather than a cause. He brought the country’s deplorables together and gave them a voice, but they’ve always been there. In a sane, rational world he’d be polling in the single digits rather than be a viable candidate. I’m starting to wonder if this is what if felt like to live in Berlin in the 1930s.

    And I do own a gun. If a civil war breaks out I’ll probably be one of the first ones killed but I’ll be sure to take some of them down with me.

  21. robro says

    StevOr @ #20 — US military support will depend on who’s really running the show. It should support the Constitution. That’s why Gen. Malley stormed off from Trump’s Bible-thumping show in front of a church at Lafayette Square during a BLM protest. He knew he had been duped into appearing at a political event. If that’s up for grabs, who knows.

    Remember that at the start of the other Civil War most of key generals were West Point graduates, violated their oath to the Constitution, and served the Confederacy…including almost all the names you know: Lee, Jackson, Johnston, Longstreet, etc.

    Oaths aren’t worth much.

  22. christoph says

    If you absolutely need a gun, I’d agree with seversky (#3). Pistols are notoriously inaccurate and require lots of practice (to be honest, I’m a terrible shot with a pistol.) If a potential home invader sees you with a shotgun, I’m pretty sure they’d think twice and just leave without you having to fire it.
    Also-if you’re not sure you’d be able to kill someone, you’re better off without a gun.

  23. Akira MacKenzie says

    Just watch, when Trump gets back into power (because Americans are greedy, racist, and superstitious), you’ll see all those second-amendment absolutists with “I’M THE NRA” stickers plastered on their cars will call for gun restrictions on non-whites, LGBTQ folks, and other “disloyal” groups in the name of fighting the threat of Antifa/BLM “terrorists.”

  24. says

    even if trump wins, it’s not going to be as bad as people think. at least, it will be survivably bad for most people. the history of spain could be informative. shit sucked, a lot of folks were murdered or fucked over, but life went on. try to have some perspective if you’re freaking out. this is less for pz than for the commentariat. i especially think it’s a bad idea for people with big scary feelings to have a suicide button in the house.

  25. Reginald Selkirk says

    @29: … shit sucked, a lot of folks were murdered or fucked over, but life went on.

    But not for those who were murdered.

  26. says

    I kinda like the big scary sword idea, especially since it would also be decorative.

    I’ll have to think of a way to spray spiders at people.

  27. says

    Yeah, there’s a lot of catastrophic thinking going on, but given the catastrophes we’ve been through over the last decade, it’s hard to judge just how bad things can actually get. Fleeing to safer ground and doing my damnest to avoid attention while going there will be my primary approach.

  28. crimsonsage says

    I own an AR. I hate feeling like I have to have it, and it stays locked in the safe at all times except for cleaning and the rare practice time. But I don’t feel safe not having it as an option. It tomorrow there was a way to abolish all these horrible things and eliminate police everywhere i would get rid if mine in a heartbeat, they are evil things. Like I know that if they try to cart away trans people I really have no hope of stopping them, but it makes me feel better to know I have the option to not go quietly. Also if it isn’t an organized movement by the government and instead a bunch of proud boys or some other paramilitary thugs, well they will learn quick that queers will fight for those they love.

  29. crimsonsage says

    I own an AR. I hate feeling like I have to have it, and it stays locked in the safe at all times except for cleaning and the rare practice time. But I don’t feel safe not having it as an option. It tomorrow there was a way to abolish all these horrible things and eliminate police everywhere i would get rid if mine in a heartbeat, they are evil things. Like I know that if they try to cart away trans people I really have no hope of stopping them, but it makes me feel better to know I have the option to not go quietly. Also if it isn’t an organized movement by the government and instead a bunch of proud boys or some other paramilitary thugs, well they will learn quick that queers will fight for those they love.

  30. garnetstar says

    I think that having an actual civil war is not on, since we haven’t got contiguous regions that are one side and the other.

    But, I am sorry to say that I think that there will be outbreaks of violence, no matter who is said to have won the election (that’ll probably be contested for a long time.) They learned from last time, they didn’t do violence then and how did that turn out? Biden won. Even if Trump wins, they’ll feel more unleashed.

    As was said, most of these groups are nothing but talk and won’t take action. But some will. Don’t know what targets they think they can hit, but I’m thinking something that represents “the government” more than random raging through the countryside.

    So I think it’s unlikely that PZ’s small town would be threatened. As I say, few groups will actually get around to doing violence, and they’ll probably go for some federal building or statehouse. And no, I don’t think that one gun would do much, and that it’d help only with people who are very practiced and experienced with firearms.

    Sad to say, I think that there are some people who, before and during the election, should take “a vacation” to some country which issues long visitor’s visas and where they might be able to apply for asylum. Dr. Fauci, for example.

  31. awomanofnoimportance says

    Akira MacKenzie, No. 26: Nope, if Trump gets back in it won’t be because the American people are greedy, racist and superstitious. It will be because the fucking electoral college will again force him on an unwilling country despite his having lost the popular vote again.

  32. Allison says

    Great American Satan @29:

    the history of spain could be informative. shit sucked, a lot of folks were murdered or fucked over, but life went on. …

    Since I am in one of the groups that would be the first to be murdered/put in death camps, this isn’t exactly comforting.

  33. says

    reg at 30 – more people will die of traffic accidents than political violence, unless it does come to civil war, and I don’t see that ever having enough support to get off the ground in modern USA, even in most red states. let’s say biden wins and some red states vote to secede. there are ways to quash that without firing a single bullet. let’s say trump wins and uses the already excessive powers of the executive to make fascism happen. that’s worse but unless u put ur ass on the line, you can still punch the clock at walmart and ride this out until the turn of history, no worse off than the philippines under duterte.
    yes we will be worse off than we would have been otherwise, but life goes on in the global south every day, and you don’t see them crying and shidding themselves.
    we’ve had it well at the rest of the world’s expense long enough. we can and will get by. yes, dying younger than we would in a reasonable world, but we’ve never been in a reasonable world, and our safety was never to going to last.
    u can polish the bumpstock and ask reddit when it’s time to mercy kill your children, or you can live on, still better off than somalia and haiti.

  34. says

    srsly it sucks ass to be queer in Jamaica but somehow queer people are still alive in Jamaica. nobody is gonna genocide the queers, whatever shit they talk, and if they try, most of us will still survive. really, we will. I’m saying be ready for pain but stop thinking like it’s the end of the world or insta-germany. it ain’t gonna be like that.

  35. Walter Solomon says

    awomanofnoimportance @36

    Both things can be true — the Electoral College is a problem but so is racism, greed, and superstition.

  36. Tethys says

    In the highly unlikely event of a home invasion, having a gun greatly increases your odds of being shot.

    I expect that a lot of that civil war internet chattering originates with Russian trolls in the nice comfy platform now known as X. The ninnys who believe such obvious propaganda are the same people who think the earth is flat and have irrational beliefs about Jewish space lasers. I expect that any attempts to actually organize a civil war will be as successful as their caravans of disgruntlement protests.

  37. garnetstar says

    What is higher on my list of things to worry about than violence is that, say Biden is (finally) determined to have won and the electoral college votes for him, I do not see a republican speaker of the house ever allowing the confirmation of the electoral college’s vote to pass. Or maybe even being brought to the floor.

    Then, a long fuss, Biden might (would?) have to take it to SCOTUS, which will be long drawn out, and no one may be confirmed as president and VP by Jan. 21st.

    Then what? Biden’s term, as laid out in the consitution, ends on Jan. 21st. Of course Harris’ does too, so…would the rotten-to-the-core republican speaker of the house be president? At least until it gets sorted out? What a fuss.

  38. Tethys says

    The Senate confirms the electoral votes, with the current VP presiding. The house participates in the proceedings, but its role is mostly perfunctory. The states themselves would not tolerate any shenanigans in recording the vote by congressional representatives.

    The current speaker of the house is both spineless and a craven hopeful VP pick. He will probably be very relieved when Trump loses, and he won’t need to worry about the MAGA cult caucus or being the speaker of the house again.

  39. says

    The house participates in the proceedings, but its role is mostly perfunctory.

    Says you, but what if they disagree? Who resolves the dispute? To my mind (not a lawyer), any disagreement would be resolved by the Supreme Court. Are you trusting them to defend democracy?

    If there’s any lesson to be learned by the first Trump term it’s that customary procedure doesn’t mean shit once the fascists scent power.

  40. beholder says

    Do I need to buy a gun?


    This thread reads like NRA marketing for Democrats. They’ve found just how scared you have to be to purchase their product and they want to keep it that way. Ideally for their marketing purposes you’ll be too scared to re-evaluate your stance, and therefore your “need” to own a gun will be untethered from reality.

    You can tell I’m not optimistic about the coming Fall. Maybe what I should do is pack everything up and move to Norway…or maybe Canada.

    Spoiler alert for Project 2025: People like you will be fine — the people who would be targeted are already being targeted by the Biden administration’s and Democratic governors’ sprawling police apparatus. If you are able to rationalize away the assaults on anti-Zionist campus protesters without feeling the need to flee to Canada, I don’t think you’ll actually flee from this either.

  41. vucodlak says

    If Biden wins, I suspect the administration will be able to keep a handle on the violence without too much trouble.

    If Trump wins, I expect rightwing death squads to be roaming the country within months. There will probably be small outbreaks of rightwing violence from the day of the election, but it’ll be isolated and relatively minor until the Trump team can make significant headway it their plan to replace the civil servants who frustrated the Trump agenda last time with hardline loyalists.

    Once the loyalists start displacing the competent people, the violence will start ramping up. Trump will attempt to turn the military against the people eventually, but even before that there will be significant paramilitary violence. The “militias” and white nationalist hate groups are going to be rounding up and murdering all their favorite targets, starting with Brown, Black, LGBTQ+ people, and unhoused persons. They likely won’t go after people who don’t obviously fall into one or more of those categories for a couple of years, unless those people put themselves directly in their path.

    Something everyone here needs to understand:
    If Trump wins, the days of the right relying on “lone wolf” style attacks will come to an end. When they come for you, they will come in force. Guns will not save you, and neither will bars on the windows or security systems.

    What you need to be doing RIGHT NOW is forming a mutual information network with other people you trust. You need to come up with a plan for sharing information as widely and quickly as possible, so that you can warn one another if you spot a mob coming or a bunch of armed MAGATs rolling into your area. You need to plan MULTIPLE escape routes and hiding places. You need to have a bag ready with essential supplies like medicine, documents, cash, necessary toiletries, a good knife, matches, and at least three days of food and water. I also strongly recommend good, pocket-sized books on first aid and survival.

    If you can pass for a MAGAT, I strongly urge you to consider making a place to hide those who can’t, if you have any possible space for that available.

    To those in this thread who say “it’s not going to be as bad as people think,” I say you’re right. It’s going to be so much worse. People who’ve lived in the US or similarly-peaceful places their whole lives have never seen the likes of the nightmare we’ll be going into if Trump wins.

    Get your shit together today, because tomorrow it will be too late.

  42. anat says

    Great American Satan, if Trump wins and installs Fascism VT.0 a lot of people are going to die as a result, though not necessarily from political violence directly. AFAB people of reproductive age are going to die a lot more under a federal Red reproductive care set of laws. I don’t know how guns can help that – to help making it safely to Canada?

    But yes, under Fascism the powers of the state that are ‘normally’ applied to outsiders get applied to citizens of categories that are othered. We already saw children immigrants being placed in cages, denied medical care etc. Such cages will be used for whoever the Trump regime feels like targeting next time around.

  43. nomdeplume says

    Yes, come on down under PZ, we have much better spiders. And while we are on the road to Trumpification we are not there yet. You’d get a year or two collecting…

    Can put you and Mary up for a week or two until you adjust to the Southern Hemisphere.

  44. asclepias says

    After the 2016 election, I kept my sais by the door. It made me feel better. Mom eventually told me to put them away because she was sick of looking at them. My dad owns guns, but those are for hunting.

  45. keithnielsen says

    If you do decide to get a gun, you’ll want either a rifle or a PCC (pistol caliber carbine) that you can shoulder. Since you would be a novice with guns, you’ll want the smallest learning curve possible. Handguns take a lot of practice to get good with. Something you can shoulder, you can be hitting bullseyes with an hour’s practice. For someone like you who isn’t gonna want to concealed carry, and home or university defense is your main concern, that’s what I would recommend you get.

  46. John Morales says

    keithnielsen, I don’t need marksmanship if I can just get close to someone.
    That’s what handguns are for!

  47. vereverum says

    No gun needed, but reading about the situation at the Rapidan dam, a boat might be nice.

  48. TGAP Dad says

    I’m of the more pessimistic view, who see the right as itching to start the shooting. This for me was solidified by the commenter at a 2021 TPUSA event who asked Charley Kirk “when do we get to use the guns?” It was that specific wording, using “get to”, as opposed to “resort to”. He described our (then) current situation as living under medical and corporate tyranny, seemingly whetting his appetite for meting out his twisted version of justice at the muzzle of his gun.

  49. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    Vucodlak @52 has the right of it.

    Communities survive, individuals perish. And the more organised the community the greater their chances.

    It strikes me as an outsider, a Canadian living in Australia, that Americans see guns as magic wands, as far more powerful than they actually are.

    Say the MAGA mob comes for you and you shoot a couple and drive them off. The gun solved your immediate problem but it also escalated your overall danger. Now you’ve given them a reason to want vengeance on you personally.

    In their minds you’ll have given them a moral justification to kill you over and above the abstract of being in a category of human they dislike. You’re going to have to flee to survive. Much better to have fled in the first place.

    Community is a solution to the larger issue. Out number and out organise. Make the cost of attack too great. Or barring that have, as Vucodlak said, a plan for escape with as many likeminded folks as you can find.

    I don’t know how bad it might get there, but the whole thing terrifies me and I’m half a world away. I can only imagine how it is for those of you living there.

  50. dbinmn says

    Defying Hitler by Sebastian Haffner
    Chapter 34 pages 250-252

    This time I had nothing to show her in exchange, ab­solutely nothing . Before, when she had come, there had still been a few things worth seeing in Berlin: an interesting film that was the talk of the town; a few major concerts; a cabaret or small theater with a special “atmosphere.” This time there was nothing of the kind. You could almost see Teddy gasping for air. Innocently she asked about cafes and cabarets that had long since been closed, asked about actors who had not appeared for many months. Of course she had read the news in the press, but now the reality seen face-to-face was rather different, less sen­sational perhaps, but much harder to comprehend and much harder to endure. The swastika flags everywhere, the brown uniforms that one could not get away from: not in buses, cafes, in the streets, or even in the Tiergarten park. They were every­where, like an army of occupation. The never-ending march music and drums-strange, Teddy still noticed it, and asked what the reason was. She did not know yet that there would have been more reason to ask if there had been no music. The red posters with the announcements of executions on the poster pillars almost every morning, next to the cinema programs and the posters for summer restaurants; I did not even notice them anymore, but Teddy shuddered as she studied them innocently.
    On one walk I suddenly pulled her into a house entrance. She did not understand and asked with a start, “What’s up?”
    “There’s an SA flag passing our way,” I said, as though it were completely obvious.
    “So what?”
    “You don’t want to salute it, do you?”
    “No. Why?”
    “You have to if they pass by and you’re on the street.”
    “What do you mean: have to? You just don’t do it.”
    Poor Teddy, she really did come from another world. I did not answer, but just pulled a long face.
    ‘I’m a foreigner,” said Teddy. “Nobody can force me.” Again I could only smile ruefully at her illusions. She was an Austrian.
    There was one day when I was seriously concerned for her safety, just because she was Austrian. The night before, the Austrian press attache had been dragged from his bed, arrested, and expelled. “We” were angry with Austria because it had re­fused to unite with us. Dollfuss* in Vienna reacted by expelling one or maybe more Nazis-I do not remember exactly; but I do remember how the press bayed with one voice at the enormity of this provocation by the Austrian regime. “This will not go unanswered,” they wrote. Given the style of our government, what could a response consist of but the expulsion of all Austri­ans? But fate was kind to us. Hitler found a problem with the idea, or put it aside for something else. This time it did unanswered, and Teddy was allowed to stay.
    “‘This really is my last visit,” said Teddy. I told her that I intended to come to Paris soon, and we immediately began re make plans: a little international theater appeared, like a castle in Spain, run perhaps by students or emigrant actors. “How are the German emigrants doing?” I asked hopefully, but Teddy only answered evasively. “Those poor people are not on the best form, it’s only to be expected,” she said mildly.

    *Engelbert Dollfuss, right-wing chancellor of Austria, suppressed the Austrian Nazis in June 1933 and was assassinated in a botched Nazi coup attempt on July 25, 1934.

  51. Dunc says

    garnetstar, @ #35:

    I think that having an actual civil war is not on, since we haven’t got contiguous regions that are one side and the other.

    That didn’t stop us here in Britain. The front lines of our civil wars ran right through every community in the country, and even through a lot of families. Brother against brother, father against son. It was pretty damn messy, and the repercussions linger to this day.

  52. chesapeake says

    Fossilfishy @ 61
    “Say the MAGA mob comes for you …”
    Why would they?

  53. Walter Solomon says

    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) @61

    Communities survive, individuals perish. And the more organised the community the greater their chances.

    If you can write this sentence, then you should be able to understand the appeal of firearms if not necessarily agreeing with their usage. Individuals don’t want to perish and a organized community means there’s a better chance to put a fight and win if it comes to that.

    As much as I hate war and firearms, running isn’t always an option. There have been times in this country’s history where people found it necessary to stand up and fight back. Read about Ossian Sweet and then ask yourself if it was option for him to escape.

  54. anat says

    chesapeake @64: – Why would they?

    Hmm, maybe because you once put a pride flag up, or flag supporting Ukraine, or Palestine, or perhaps one of those ‘In this house we believe…’ signs. Or because you don’t go to their church, or even any church they know of. Or you, or a member of your household doesn’t stick to whichever norms they consider crucial for being good ‘mericuns.

  55. says

    In most self defense situations, your best bet is a car. You are already skilled with it, it is designed to protect you, and you’re instantly armed and armored with a 2000lb hammer that can hit with significant speed. It’s impossible to parry or outrun and most americans have never spared a moment’s thought for how to survive an encounter with a car. It’s weird the number of times people have a violent encounter that consists of two people getting out of their cars and hitting eachother instead of putting the car in 4wd and parking on the other guy’s foot.

    I have been thinking about the “civil war” question and am now of the opinion that the government should ban AR15s but allow gun nuts to buy an equivalent number of civil war era muskets with bayonets. As an old friend once said “How did you have a mass shooting in 1813? Easy. Deploy the Grenadiers à Cheval”

    [I have a distinct hatred for AR15s, which are crap, after hauling around an M16 for a few years. It was also crap. They are such bad rifles they should be banned. FN-FALs and Uzis only, please!]

  56. indianajones says

    I think having a gun gives you a 50-50 chance to out gun a determined entity once. David Koresh had a lot of guns and he lost that bet.

Leave a Reply