Ben Carson said Thursday that Adolf Hitler’s mass murder of Jews “would have been greatly diminished” if German citizens had not been disarmed by the Nazi regime.This reminds me of something I wrote back in 2000 about the intifada raging in Palestine:
The conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians has had a sort of dreamland familiarity to me as it has raged over the past two months. After long reflection, I have realized where I have seen these images before: in the rhetoric of the American gun lobby. A truck parked down the street from my house proudly proclaims, Nations are Free when Free Men Have Guns. The idea seems to be that if an American government tried to turn despotic, it would be opposed by millions of righteous gun owners who, with their combined arsenal, would drive off the agents of tyranny like the Minute Men chasing the redcoats back from Lexington.There is no case in history in which an armed citizenry has successfully opposed a dictatorial government. None. Partisan or guerrilla warfare is something very different from a spontaneous uprising of gun-toting regular guys. It requires the creation of military forces that can match the government's army in organization, planning, and cruelty; and even then it only works against weak governments with no legitimacy. (Say, the Shiite government of Iraq, in the Sunni north.) Armed partisan groups did oppose the Nazis in several parts of Europe, but they had no success in averting the Holocaust.
I think you can see how much success they would have by observing the situation in Palestine. Has the arsenal of the Palestinians enabled them to win their freedom by force? No. Instead, it has compounded oppression with terror, hatred, and death. Against the tanks and helicopters of the Israeli "Defense Forces" the Palestinians' AK-47s are about as much use as, well, I was going to say "slingshots", but I think the stone-throwing kids have done much more for their cause than the terrorists have. The more the masked gunmen fight, the farther their stated goal of a free, united, multi-ethnic Palestine retreats into the future.
Not to mention that in Germany in the 1930s, most of the people who did own guns were pro-Nazi. Carson's fantasy seems to assume that German gun-owners would have defended their Jewish neighbors against the Gestapo, but everything we know about the rise of the Nazi party shows that this is false.