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.
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
mutive 19th-Dec-2012 04:36 pm (UTC)
You need a licence to own a gun? In the US? Hah hah hah hah hah. What do you think this is? A CAR?

(To carry a concealed weapon, though, yes, you do need a licence and to take gun safety classes.)
cinnamontoast 19th-Dec-2012 05:51 pm (UTC)
It varies from state to state and even from location to location. I live *right* on the border of NY/PA. You can see the border from my back yard. Driving between states means big changes in laws, especially gun laws.

For example, in rural Pennsylvania a basic safety course is required to open carry a gun, but it's just a basic license that anyone can obtain. Neither long guns nor handguns require a permit to purchase, although handguns must be sold through a licensed dealer and can not be acquired through a private seller. Assault weapons are permitted.

Just across the border NY civilians are not permitted to open carry a gun at all except under very special circumstances. The purchase of long guns do not require a permit, handguns do. Assault weapons are not permitted.

So, without federal oversight, I can walk between states and essentially circumvent the law. Law abiding citizens can break gun regulations when they travel without knowing it because they are complex and highly localized.

Colin Ferguson, who is known as the Long Island Railroad Killer, purchased his guns legally in California after the state's 15-day waiting period, passing through all of the checks. Even then the NYC region's laws were very strict. Of course none of that mattered to Ferguson, who had, by the time me moved to NYC, become quite unbalanced.

No, I don't own a gun, but I'm familiar with the laws. I grew up in a house full of them. When I was a kid I had to take a safety class before I could legally carry a gun. The legal age to carry in the '70s was thirteen and you had to be with a parent or guardian to do so. Have no idea what the legal age is now. Probably six or something.

Edit: I want to add that I think we need some sort of federal regulation and that the article makes me awesomely sad.

Edited at 2012-12-19 06:00 pm (UTC)
skellington1 19th-Dec-2012 08:20 pm (UTC)
So, without federal oversight, I can walk between states and essentially circumvent the law.

Thanks for bringing this up with specifics. I've been trying to point it out to people who compare violence statistics in = states with strict gun laws versus states with lax ones -- there's no guarantee the gun stays in the state where it was purchased. On the east coast states are small and therefore close together -- how many state lines can you drive over in a day?! In the west, the population tends to be pretty mobile (a road trip from WA to Cali is not that odd). It doesn't make sense to pretend that each state is an isolate for data reporting when the laws right next door may be wildly different.
cinnamontoast 19th-Dec-2012 08:47 pm (UTC)
It can vary from county to county and town to town. Pennsylvania's gun regulation is based upon population. The higher the population of a region, the more regulations it places upon gun carry laws. In NY it varies according to municipality.

I hike for recreation. I'm pretty sure that sometimes I hike through like a million different gun laws without knowing what they are when I go to places other than state owned lands. It's one of the reasons that each park generally posts all of their gun regs. A lot of hikers carry for protection. (I don't.)

There are times when I don't understand how the United States functions at all. By all rights it shouldn't.
skellington1 19th-Dec-2012 09:01 pm (UTC)
Wow, I didn't know it went that far. I should have -- I knew NYC had it's own rules, and it stands to reason other places would, too -- but I never made the connection.
cinnamontoast 19th-Dec-2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
Well, tbh, I don't think I hike through millions of gun laws. But, yeah, they do. Philly has very different regs than Scranton.
romp 19th-Dec-2012 03:35 am (UTC)
They were banned until fairly recently. Maybe not in every state but I'm pretty sure in most. Because, of course. The NRA has been chipping away at that so that I think they're now allowed in almost all states. But I swear it was just 20-30 years ago that civilians weren't allowed to have them! In California but I looked up the changes a few months ago and it seems to have been a widespread pattern.
hinoema 19th-Dec-2012 04:27 am (UTC)
This is true. They trust people to have short memories.
keestone 19th-Dec-2012 01:58 pm (UTC)
I absolutely agree that training and licensing similar to cars would be a good idea. Both are lethal weapons. It'd probably need a workaround for sustenance hunting though . . . although I suppose if the gun is already in the family . . . perhaps like with the driver's permit, a certain amount of training with an already licensed user and then a test at the end?

I do like the idea of taxing ammunition heavily. Perhaps with a cut rate for ammo used in the shooting range.
bettalaylow 19th-Dec-2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
Don't you know you need those guns to protect your family from Tyrannical United States Government!
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