ONTD Political

by Garry Wills

(for which see Leviticus 18.21, 20.1-5). The sacrifice referred to was of living children consumed in the fires of offering to Moloch. Ever since then, worship of Moloch has been the sign of a deeply degraded culture. Ancient Romans justified the destruction of Carthage by noting that children were sacrificed to Moloch there. Milton represented Moloch as the first pagan god who joined Satan’s war on humankind:

First Moloch, horrid king, besmear’d with blood
Of human sacrifice, and parents’ tears,
Though for the noise of Drums and Timbrels loud
Their children’s cries unheard, that pass’d through fire
To his grim idol. (Paradise Lost 1.392-96)

Read again those lines, with recent images seared into our brains—“besmeared with blood” and “parents’ tears.” They give the real meaning of what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School Friday morning. That horror cannot be blamed just on one unhinged person. It was the sacrifice we as a culture made, and continually make, to our demonic god. We guarantee that crazed man after crazed man will have a flood of killing power readily supplied him. We have to make that offering, out of devotion to our Moloch, our god. The gun is our Moloch. We sacrifice children to him daily—sometimes, as at Sandy Hook, by directly throwing them into the fire-hose of bullets from our protected private killing machines, sometimes by blighting our children’s lives by the death of a parent, a schoolmate, a teacher, a protector. Sometimes this is done by mass killings (eight this year), sometimes by private offerings to the god (thousands this year).

The gun is not a mere tool, a bit of technology, a political issue, a point of debate. It is an object of reverence. Devotion to it precludes interruption with the sacrifices it entails. Like most gods, it does what it will, and cannot be questioned. Its acolytes think it is capable only of good things. It guarantees life and safety and freedom. It even guarantees law. Law grows from it. Then how can law question it?

Its power to do good is matched by its incapacity to do anything wrong. It cannot kill. Thwarting the god is what kills. If it seems to kill, that is only because the god’s bottomless appetite for death has not been adequately fed. The answer to problems caused by guns is more guns, millions of guns, guns everywhere, carried openly, carried secretly, in bars, in churches, in offices, in government buildings. Only the lack of guns can be a curse, not their beneficent omnipresence.

Adoration of Moloch permeates the country, imposing a hushed silence as he works his will. One cannot question his rites, even as the blood is gushing through the idol’s teeth. The White House spokesman invokes the silence of traditional in religious ceremony. “It is not the time” to question Moloch. No time is right for showing disrespect for Moloch.

The fact that the gun is a reverenced god can be seen in its manifold and apparently resistless powers. How do we worship it? Let us count the ways:

1. It has the power to destroy the reasoning process. It forbids making logical connections. We are required to deny that there is any connection between the fact that we have the greatest number of guns in private hands and the greatest number of deaths from them. Denial on this scale always comes from or is protected by religious fundamentalism. Thus do we deny global warming, or evolution, or biblical errancy. Reason is helpless before such abject faith.

2. It has the power to turn all our politicians as a class into invertebrate and mute attendants at the shrine. None dare suggest that Moloch can in any way be reined in without being denounced by the pope of this religion, National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre, as trying to destroy Moloch, to take away all guns. They whimper and say they never entertained such heresy. Many flourish their guns while campaigning, or boast that they have themselves hunted “vermin.” Better that the children die or their lives be blasted than that a politician should risk an election against the dread sentence of NRA excommunication.

3. It has the power to distort our constitutional thinking. It says that the right to “bear arms,” a military term, gives anyone, anywhere in our country, the power to mow down civilians with military weapons. Even the Supreme Court has been cowed, reversing its own long history of recognizing that the Second Amendment applied to militias. Now the court feels bound to guarantee that any every madman can indulge his “religion” of slaughter. Moloch brooks no dissent, even from the highest court in the land.

Though LaPierre is the pope of this religion, its most successful Peter the Hermit, preaching the crusade for Moloch, was Charlton Heston, a symbol of the Americanism of loving guns. I have often thought that we should raise a statue of Heston at each of the many sites of multiple murders around our land. We would soon have armies of statues, whole droves of Heston acolytes standing sentry at the shrines of Moloch dotting the landscape. Molochism is the one religion that can never be separated from the state. The state itself bows down to Moloch, and protects the sacrifices made to him. So let us celebrate the falling bodies and rising statues as a demonstration of our fealty, our bondage, to the great god Gun.

December 15, 2012, 5:25 p.m.


This is probably one of the most frighteningly accurate analogies ever for gun culture in the US.
jettakd 18th-Dec-2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
This is actually a really good plan. And I can maybe see it getting through legislation easier.
londonsquare 18th-Dec-2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
I would like to see a ban on all military assault grade weapons going into the hands of civilians. I will never understand why Joe Schmo from Suburbia, Kansas needs an AR-15 that shoots 50 rounds a minute. And it's not for defense...it is an ASSAULT rifle. Says it right in the title...you use a revolver or a small semi-automatic to defend yourself. Ain't no reason to have something like that.

I would also like to see us treat gun ownership the same way we'd treat drivers in this country. You want to buy a gun? Apply for a permit. Get a permit, buy the gun you want to use. You have to take several weeks or months of safety and training classes (if you're buying a gun that's going into a home with various people, they need to take a class too).

While you have your permit, that gun STAYS AT THE SHOOTING RANGE. Then you take your test (extensive gun safety written test, have someone watch you load, unload, and put away your gun properly). You pass your test, you can take your gun home in your designated lock box that you get as a graduation present or some shit.

I just...ugh. It infuriates me how little solutions can be offered and yet people who are gun happy bitch and moan.

If giving my father's guns back to the manufacturers and never owning a gun again could bring those kids back, you can bet my family would be throwing that shit onto the pile.

Sorry for the novel...I have a lot of feels about this.
mutive 18th-Dec-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
I'd be happy if we at least required a basic safety class. It's not really that much of a hassle to sign up for one, pay for it, and go to it. (I've done this. It cost a whopping $35.)

I'd also like to prohibit private sales. (It does disturb me a bit that you can walk into a gun show and walk out with an assault rifle and as much ammo as you can afford without even getting your ID checked.)

At the very least, that we don't require either of these has me wondering WTF is wrong with us.
(no subject) - Anonymous - Expand
deborahw37 18th-Dec-2012 07:54 pm (UTC)
just read an article in the New York Times suggesting that gun purchase be limited to one per month. One per MONTH??? How about one per lifetime? Seriously, unless you're shooting for the pot or are a farmer or sportsman ( in which case special licences could be obtained) how many guns do you need?

How about you can buy one gun for personal use/ protection and if you want to upgrade it or whatever you have to hand that one in before you can take another one home? Combine that with a recall / amnesty/ compensation for/ destruction of existing weapons and with keeping proper records from here on in.
Oh and, just as you have to licence and register and insure a car and pass a test and maintain a license to drive one so should it be with guns. There should also be the equivalent of the UK system of unannounced checks on condition and storage of guns and ammo.

I keep reading elsewhere on the net that guns are banned in the UK. That isn't true . I was discussing this at a community project on Sunday, of the ten volunteers there, six are gun owners. There are guns in this village, there are guns on this farm. Licensed, regulated, regularly checked and there for the purposes of farming, shooting for the pot and vermin control and sport ( clay pigeon shooting mostly).

After much head scratching the oldest member of the team recalled one gun related accident ( non fatal) and, sadly, one suicide by gun in living memory.

Oh and one armed hold up of the post office in a nearby village some years ago... the weapon wasn't fired.

So, even in a tightly regulated society guns can be an issue but mostly we feel pretty safe simply because there are less of them and they tend to be rifles or shotguns rather than hand guns or military grade rapid fire weapons.

The idea of needing guards at our schools, a lock down drill for our children or guns for self protection is simply unthinkable!! For one thing " going armed" is an offence in itself. For another we have pretty clear " reasonable force" laws covering all aspects of self defence.

This isn't about a ban, this is about sensible regulation.

And the hysteria and influence of the gun lobby is preventing a sensible debate.

Edited at 2012-12-18 07:55 pm (UTC)
romp 19th-Dec-2012 03:38 am (UTC)
Right, regulation =/= inability to access a gun. According to the last Inspector Banks novel I read, possession of an unregistered gun results in a mandatory prison sentence. That sounds serious! But who other than a criminal would want one?
wikilobbying 18th-Dec-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
i'm massively interested in the response this will get from the specific brand of nra-loving "this is what happens when we take god out of schools" bible thumper christians. i'll wait. :)
electric_mole_x 19th-Dec-2012 06:11 am (UTC)
They either won't read it, or the message will pass right over their heads. As messages often do when trying to reach the party that they need to most.
bmh4d0k3n 18th-Dec-2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
But ~guns don't kill people~~~
urplesquirrel 19th-Dec-2012 03:17 am (UTC)
Apropos, I believe:

tabaqui 19th-Dec-2012 03:32 am (UTC)
This article is, i think, 100 percent accurate. And i'm liking a lot of the solutions proposed here in comments.

We just need to KEEP FIGHTING this stuff. Not give in, or say the NRA is too powerful, or be quiet when gun-fanatics try to out-scream us. We cannot afford to let this go on, to give up, or to let our voices sink to a whisper.
romp 19th-Dec-2012 04:51 am (UTC)
angry_chick 19th-Dec-2012 05:32 am (UTC)
*bad liberal*

I don't have a problem with guns in and of themselves. I support gun-ownership, provided that it is RESPONSIBLE gun-ownership. I feel that things that should be included are mandatory background checks, psych evals and proof of a place to store them and lock them. I'm sure that there are things that I'm forgetting, but those are the main ones. Neither liberals nor conservatives find 'responsible gun ownership and legislation' this to be possible, and it because many opinions on this exist on extremes. Liberals want them banned, and conservatives want them fully unrestrained. I would like them regulated, and I say this as a gun owner.

The problem is that there has been no reasonable standards set forth on the types of guns that people can own. The guns that Adam Lanza used were legally purchased. That's terrifying. In all honesty, Assault Rifles? AR-15s and shit? Why did this shit even get put out to the public. The very people that have Assault Rifles are the very people that SHOULDN'T. You don't defend your home with an assault rifle. You can do it with a handgun. You don't hunt with an M16A1 - you can do it with a shotgun. Military Grade weapons should not be accessible to the public.

I know, there always exists the ease of getting guns illegally, (I can actually pick up an assault rifle quite easily - how people do forget about the black market) but even so, I feel like some sort of gun regulation would be a start.

Edited at 2012-12-19 05:40 am (UTC)
kagehikario 19th-Dec-2012 06:30 am (UTC)
Yes. Moderation, it is a thing!

The whole "black market" argument is one I hear a lot suggesting registration and controls are futile. This misses the point that the reason black market guns are so cheap and available is the huge glut of legal low-cost stock. You take that out of the equation, how many would-be killers will be able to scrounge 10k per Assalt rifle? How many troubled twenty-something otherwise straight-laced men will have connections to the few dealers able to get them a black market gun?
the_physicist 19th-Dec-2012 12:37 pm (UTC)
i definitely agree that gun control is a very big element here. but mass shootings by men are carried out even in countries with far, far, far, far, far tighter gun control laws than the US. gun control is needed to limit the number of fatalities. we also need to get to the root of the problem, the men who commit these mass shootings, to actually prevent them from happening at all.
ruby_chalice 19th-Dec-2012 01:44 pm (UTC)
"we also need to get to the root of the problem"

Not remotely complicated ... U.S. citizens own 270 million of the world's 875 million known firearms

That's 90 guns per 100 ordinary US citizens. In a 'civilised' society.
poetic_pixie_13 19th-Dec-2012 04:35 pm (UTC)
one unhinged person... crazed man after crazed man... every madman can indulge his “religion” of slaughter

I really, really like this article but god fucking dammit. I need a macro for every post on Sandy Hook that has this kind of bullshit, ableist language because god fucking dammit.
crossfire 19th-Dec-2012 05:42 pm (UTC)
Had that conversation yesterday. The dude responded with "you're so gay sometimes, you know that?" I figured it was a lost cause at that point.
celtic_thistle 19th-Dec-2012 05:21 pm (UTC)
Absolutely scathing. And not a single word was incorrect. This society is fucked when it comes to guns, and he's right--it's a religion.

Edited at 2012-12-19 05:28 pm (UTC)
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