Written in 2012, but could have been written today
“Few crimes are more harshly forbidden in the Old Testament than sacrifice to the god Moloch (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. 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.”
Our Moloch, The New York Review, December 2012, Garry Wills
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
Life is too important to be taken. Seriously.
The following images nail the issue well:
Well, i don’t like guns. And I don’t like killing people any more than you do. But we live in a country that had its origins in a population with nearly universal gun ownership for hunting, protection, and resistance to tyranny. Very real and recent understanding of the importance of militias, even not especially well-ordered ones. I think, but am not sure, that at that time there may have been a common law memory of a time when gun or ‘weapon’ ownership was required by law so a local magistrate could call upon citizens at a moment’s notice to repel invasion, stop insurrection, or arrest criminal. Against that, they had experience with “government ” taking away the weapons of the people…in order to prevent insurrection.
I know that “times change,” but it is foolish to deny that many, very many, Americans have grown up with this idea of gun ownership in front of their minds. It is difficult to take away from people “rights” that they thought they had, and which are important to them at a deeply subconscious level.
All that said, I would have thought the recent and current experience of Ukraine would have brought some of this to the minds of people, even those who, like me, are not especially happy with guns in the hands of people. Ironic that Ukrainians are trying to defend themselves from the very people that Americans were thinking of when they wanted to keep their guns. Of course they are learning (not really) that “Russians” are not necessarily “Communists,” and the R’s are trying desperately to convince people that now the Russians are our friends because, after all, they are against radical leftist socialist Democrats. so confusing.
I think Mammon is more likely “our god” than Moloch…but that would open another can of worms.
Where do you ge the idea tha gun ownership was nearly universal in colonial North America? Probate inventories from 1774 show only 54% of households owned guns. That’s households, not people. Probate records may overstate gun ownership, because those same inventories show that that wealth and gun ownership are positively correlated. We also know that wealth and age are correlated. The subject of probate inventories skew older and wealthier. So at best, far less than 50% of males owned guns in 1774.
We are blinded by our myths. Cowboys and colonists were gun-totng manly men in our myths, less so in reality.
They smoked Marlboros too . . .
And how many of the guns referenced in probate inventories were in working order?