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Iraq's Rebuke to the NRA
Slate.com ^ | 03/14/2003 | Timothy Noah

Posted on 03/14/2003 5:35:36 PM PST by Pitchfork

In the March 11 New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar notes in passing, "Most Iraqi households own at least one gun." This comes as a shock to those of us who've been hearing for years from the gun lobby that widespread firearms ownership is necessary to prevent the United States from becoming a police state. Here, via the National Rifle Association's Web site, is Bill Pryor, attorney general of Alabama, decrying the "war on guns": "In a republic that promotes a free society, as opposed to a police state, one of the basic organizing principles is that individuals have a right of self-defense and a right to acquire the means for that defense." The basic Jeffersonian idea is that you never know when you'll need to organize a militia against your government. In director John Milius' camp Cold War classic Red Dawn, Russians and Nicaraguan commies take over the United States in part by throwing gun owners in jail. In one memorable scene, the camera pans from a bumper sticker that says "You'll Take My Gun Away When You Pry It From My Cold, Dead Fingers" to a Russian soldier prying a gun from the car owner's … you get the idea.

The obvious question raised by MacFarquhar's piece is how Iraq got to be, and remains, one of the world's most repressive police states when just about everyone is packing heat. Chatterbox invites gun advocates (and Iraq experts) to e-mail (to chatterbox@slate.com) plausible reasons. The best of these will be examined in a follow-up item.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: 2ndammendment; banglist; constitution; disarmament; firearms; gunlaws; guns; insurrection; iraq; kickme; law; lefties; militia; militias; nra; rebellion; secondammendment; selfdefense; slate; sleeper; timothynoah; troll; zotbait
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I always thought the "we need guns to defend ourselves from the government" argument was a load of nonsense and a refuge for those who wanted to avoid a cost-benefit discussion centered on the real issues of crime and violence. In fact, the whole "no registration" position is based on this canard--keeping the government in the dark regarding personal gun ownership is perceived to be the only way to limit its over-reaching power. Obviously that isn't the case in Iraq.

Since I can think of no logical opposition to gun registration from a pure crime/self-defense perspective.

1 posted on 03/14/2003 5:35:36 PM PST by Pitchfork
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To: Pitchfork
And this balderdash convinces you that your mindless, unconstitutional, statist position is correct?

There is an additional requirement to possessing and knowing how to use your firearms and that is the balls to do so if the need ever arises. You will find that Americans gun owners are not sheep pal.

2 posted on 03/14/2003 5:40:04 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: Pitchfork
What confirmation is there that most people in Iraq have at least one functional weapon, and ammunition for it? Sure the media like to show Iraqis and Palestinians shooting AK's into the air, but that doesn't mean most people have such weapons or ammo to burn in them.
3 posted on 03/14/2003 5:40:07 PM PST by supercat (TAG--you're it!)
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To: Travis McGee; Dan from Michigan
Someone desperately wants attention.
4 posted on 03/14/2003 5:41:08 PM PST by dighton
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To: Pitchfork
Since I can think of no logical opposition to gun registration from a pure crime/self-defense perspective.

True/false quiz:

  1. Criminals would like to have a list of who's armed with what, so they know which houses to target when occupied and which houses to target when empty.
  2. It would be better for everyone else if criminals did not have such information.
  3. There are no corrupt people in government who would share such information with criminals.
Three simple questions. Care to answer them?
5 posted on 03/14/2003 5:42:00 PM PST by supercat (TAG--you're it!)
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To: Pitchfork
"Most Iraqi households own at least one gun."

Sorry, I ain't buy'n it. Saddam has oppressed the Iraqi people for more than 20 years.....if they are ALLOWED to have guns, it is MOST definately WITHOUT bullets.

Do you really think Saddam would furnish guns WITH ammo to the very people who he's viciously oppressed for so long. In essence giving them the "chance", however remotely, to overthrow, or kill him?

6 posted on 03/14/2003 5:42:27 PM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I will defend to your death my right to say it.)
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To: supercat
Ya beat me to it.
7 posted on 03/14/2003 5:43:11 PM PST by Puppage (You may disagree with what I have to say, but I will defend to your death my right to say it.)
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To: jwalsh07
You Go Baby!

Yeah!

8 posted on 03/14/2003 5:43:27 PM PST by Jhoffa_ (Yes, there is sexual tension between Sammy & Frodo.)
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To: Pitchfork
Since I can think of no logical opposition to gun registration from a pure crime/self-defense perspective.

That's because you have a basic misunderstanding of what the Second Amendment is all about, and what the original intent of the Framers was.

It had nary a thing to do with either crime or hunting, fundamentally. It had to do with preserving freedom.

And if you really believe that the Iraqi people generally are armed, you're really gullible.

I guess you didn't read the stories just today about Iraqi troops ransacking an entire city in an attempt to find and confiscate every weapon they could. Followed by arrest for anyone who had one, by the way. They also were taking away any young man they thought might be useful to draft into their services.

9 posted on 03/14/2003 5:46:25 PM PST by EternalVigilance
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To: supercat
I can believe that Iraqi's of good standing in Saddam's party have weapons, and I imagine that the party knows who has what. Hopefully the U.S. military will use that to their advantage just like Hitler did in Norway. First thing you do is go down to the town courthouse (or equivilant), get the gun registrations, and go round up the guns (and people if still deemed a threat).
10 posted on 03/14/2003 5:46:56 PM PST by geopyg
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To: *bang_list
Bang
11 posted on 03/14/2003 5:46:57 PM PST by Atlas Sneezed
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To: dighton
Someone hasn't read the Constitution..

Someone, doesn't know it's not FEDGOV's business to be regestering guns.

Also, "someone" just did about the worst thing you can possibly do on FR. Put forth an Unconstitutional, Anti-gun argument based on a suggestion that keeping government "in the dark" regarding personal gun ownership is a bad thing..

Oh nomex, why hast thou forsaken me?

12 posted on 03/14/2003 5:49:02 PM PST by Jhoffa_ (Yes, there is sexual tension between Sammy & Frodo.)
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To: Pitchfork
The author of this piece is trying to prove “the right to bear arms” is invalid. The misuse of false data renders the whole effort “swirling-in-the-bowl”.
13 posted on 03/14/2003 5:50:52 PM PST by Spruce
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To: Pitchfork
Yeah, I saw a story the other night on a foxnews. Of course I also noted the only stock carried by the Iraqi gun dealer consisted of ancient shotguns and pistols. Oh...magazines too. They just about lined the walls with magazines.
14 posted on 03/14/2003 5:51:47 PM PST by Woahhs
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To: Pitchfork
Obviously that isn't the case in Iraq.

Obviously?

You must got Pitchfork tines stuck in your eyes and ears.

15 posted on 03/14/2003 5:52:21 PM PST by Jagdgewehr
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To: sneakypete; tpaine; dirtboy
Ping?
16 posted on 03/14/2003 5:52:51 PM PST by Jhoffa_ (Yes, there is sexual tension between Sammy & Frodo.)
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To: Jhoffa_; Admin Moderator; All
Oh, and let us not forget that "Someone", having been registered here for over a year and a half, has but this ONE post to his/her name. And has apparently departed.

Seems a LOT of "single posters" signed up around the middle of October, 2001.

This imbecile is ZOT bait, for sure.

17 posted on 03/14/2003 5:53:19 PM PST by Long Cut (ORION Naval Aircrewman!)
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To: Long Cut
Oh my... It's a mole.

For shame..

18 posted on 03/14/2003 5:54:13 PM PST by Jhoffa_ (Yes, there is sexual tension between Sammy & Frodo.)
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To: geopyg
I see this as good news. We will not have to airdrop thousands of cheap guns into the hands of civilians like we did during world war two in france and germany.
19 posted on 03/14/2003 5:58:08 PM PST by Khepera (Do not remove by penalty of law!)
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To: Woahhs
Oh...magazines too. They just about lined the walls with magazines.

What sort?

20 posted on 03/14/2003 5:58:19 PM PST by supercat (TAG--you're it!)
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To: Pitchfork
In the March 11 New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar notes in passing, "Most Iraqi households own at least one gun."

Poor Timothy based his whole article on believing something he read in the NY Times? What a dolt.

Here's the quote:

One gauge of that fear is the trade at gun shops. Most Iraqi households own at least one gun, so there has been no particular run on armaments. But some gun shop owners report as much as a 50 percent jump in ammunition sales.

Doesn't say what his home ownership info is base on. To me it sounds like Saddam propaganda.

21 posted on 03/14/2003 5:58:43 PM PST by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Pitchfork
Since I can think of no logical opposition to gun registration from a pure crime/self-defense perspective.

Yeah, you're right. Why don't you'all come on down to my house in Texas and bring your registration form. Just come on in, about 3:00 AM or so.

22 posted on 03/14/2003 5:59:07 PM PST by weaponeer
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To: Pitchfork
You are about to embark on an education. Are you honest enough and intelligent enough to RECEIVE such an education?
23 posted on 03/14/2003 5:59:56 PM PST by mommadooo3
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To: Pitchfork
The obvious question raised by MacFarquhar's piece is how Iraq got to be, and remains, one of the world's most repressive police states when just about everyone is packing heat.

What proof is there that "everyone" is packing heat - other than a few Baath Party members in good standing? Does anybody in his right mind actually believe Saddam would allow an armed populace?

Besides, what has this got to do with our Constitution? Can you spell R-E-D H-E-R-R-I-N-G?

This is merely an attempt to discredit gun ownership in America by tarring and feathering it by association with Saddam!

24 posted on 03/14/2003 6:06:13 PM PST by Gritty
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To: mommadooo3
I think that we have another hand-wringing, Depands-wearing hit-and-run poster here. Fools like Pitchfork are immune to logic, reason and common sense anyway.
25 posted on 03/14/2003 6:06:24 PM PST by Noumenon
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To: Pitchfork
An armed society is only free as long as the government will not turn its power upon the citizens. A semi or AK cannot compete with gas or a tank division.

Would our military turn on its citizens. By law no. However if they did there's not much anyone could do to stop them.

Therein lies the difference. Saddam will use his military against its peoples.

I cannot concieve of the situation GW would turn the military on us.
26 posted on 03/14/2003 6:06:40 PM PST by Pafreedom
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To: Gritty

Saddam is the man who doesn't allow foreign TV crews to photograph him.. for fear of assination.

27 posted on 03/14/2003 6:09:18 PM PST by Jhoffa_ (Yes, there is sexual tension between Sammy & Frodo.)
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To: Pitchfork
You must have missed the article from Northern Iraq today. Saddam's troops were making house to house searches for guns and Kurds. They are disarming the population and separating them into loyal Iraqis and potential revolutionaries. The military people doing the search have overwhelming firepower compared to a limited number of gun owners. Sort of "Krystal Nacht" lite.

I suspect the number of working firearms in the U.S. exceeds the actual population. It's a completely different situation.

28 posted on 03/14/2003 6:10:21 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: Pafreedom
A semi or AK cannot compete with gas or a tank division.

A few people with small arms can force a more powerfully-armed government to either destroy a city or leave them alone. Warsaw and Budapest demonstrated that if a government is willing to destroy a city not much will stop it.

On the other hand, the U.S. has enough value in its cities that even a rogue government would be loathe to destroy them. Probably not so in Iraq.

29 posted on 03/14/2003 6:11:21 PM PST by supercat (TAG--you're it!)
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To: Pitchfork
Come back and play. It is pretty gutless of you to post and run. Especially when so many want to talk to you.
30 posted on 03/14/2003 6:11:38 PM PST by Double Tap
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To: Pitchfork
"In the March 11 New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar notes in passing, 'Most Iraqi households own at least one gun.'"

Sorry, but believing this would violate my don't-believe-statistics-from-oppressive-dictators rule.
31 posted on 03/14/2003 6:11:42 PM PST by Sofa King (-I am Sofa King- tired of liberal BS!)
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To: Pitchfork
Don't bring a pitchfork to a gun fight.
32 posted on 03/14/2003 6:11:45 PM PST by Myrddin
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To: Pitchfork
Since I can think of no logical opposition to gun registration from a pure crime/self-defense perspective.

Who gives a f*ck what you think commie ?

33 posted on 03/14/2003 6:12:14 PM PST by Centurion2000 (Take charge of your destiny, or someone else will)
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To: Pafreedom
As a military retiree who only recently hung up his uniform, let me tell you this isn't going to happen via the troops, either. Any one ordering troops to fire upon innocent Americans will probably be fragged rather quickly. Most GI's, and especially NCO's, are country-oriented, conservative, and freedom loving. You won't find a better group of dedicated, patriotic folks. They wouldn't follow such orders.
34 posted on 03/14/2003 6:13:24 PM PST by Alas Babylon!
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To: Pitchfork
I always thought the "we need guns to defend ourselves from the government" argument was a load of nonsense and a refuge for those who wanted to avoid a cost-benefit discussion centered on the real issues of crime and violence.

Well, I'm sure that Saddam isn't worried that the Iraqi commoners will go "Athens" on his a**.

However, in this country we do have the precedent...

;-)

35 posted on 03/14/2003 6:14:36 PM PST by an amused spectator
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To: Puppage; Squantos; Travis McGee
Like most things in Iraq, including education and job selection, it is a matter of whether or not you swear alleigance to the Baathist Party and dutifully attend required demonstrations and so on. Those who do not, don't have any rights and are in ever-present danger of imprisonment.

No one ever mentions what the registration requirements are in Iraq, or other relevent details.

It's not the first time this has been brought up in the press- last week it appeared frequently enough to look like it was an intentional talking point distributed for the seminar caller crowd. Since it appeared in different papers among correspondants who are allowed to be in Iraq because of their malleability, and who are escorted at all times by Iraqi intelligence officers, it is most likely a point directly from the Iraqis, who are trying to play on western fears of coalition troops having to engage in house-to-house fighting. As such it is unreliable information.

Note that they have paraded around their fattened home guard for the cameras as well, and claimed they have volunteer suicide bombers lined up. It's all an effort to imply that the civilian population will fight to the death to keep Hussein in power.

They won't of course- because if they were really as well armed as the government agents claim, they would not be living in fear of Hussein's security forces. They live in fear of hussein's security forces becasue they know every detail of the life of each Iraqi. They know the family links and friendships, employment history, etc, of each citizen- even of dissidents who have long since gone overseas. This is nothing new- it has gone on for decades. That's how Hussein's agents were able to assasinate dissidents abroad and how they were able to find the family members of those they blackmailed. They have literally registered the people- and having done so, knowing and controlling who is armed, how well they are supplied, and whether or not they ever get to practice is an easy matter. Everything is regulated by the one party in power. Unusual purchases or buys deemed excessive will be duly noted, investigated, and punished, and there is no legal defense for anyone the government selects for arrest on any charges, or no charges at all.

And in a land without free speech and right of assembly, gun ownership does little good for you cannot rally your fellow citizens. Gun ownership in Iraq, owing to the lack of basic liberties, limits militias to a membership of one or at most a small family unit. The inability to assemble without drawing the ire of party officials or government prevents citizen's militias from forming and threatening the power of those in charge.

36 posted on 03/14/2003 6:17:50 PM PST by piasa (Attitude adjustments offered here free of charge.)
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To: supercat
Agreed,

However if a dictator is willing to use nerve agents or bio's to wipe out an entire region there is not much that the populace can do.

This nut job will gas his own people. In his case the military does not consider the victims to be actual Iraq citizens. So they go along with his depraved wishes.


37 posted on 03/14/2003 6:17:51 PM PST by Pafreedom
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To: Long Cut
Yeah, but ya gotta admit. Posts and posters like this make a lot of us happy to realize, yet again, that it's soooo nice to be on the right side of the fence.
38 posted on 03/14/2003 6:18:36 PM PST by RandallFlagg ("There are worse things than crucifixion...There are teeth.")
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To: mommadooo3

Let me address the main arguments I've read so far:
1. While Iraqi's may have guns, unlike Americans they aren't brave enough to use them.

The "American exceptionalism" argument is essentially unfalsifiable and is therefore nonsense. Iraqi's rose up against the British in 1918, that's more recent that 1776, so there is no reason to believe they wouldn't use thier weapons (they've also been a war more or less continuously since 1980)

2. The notion that Iraqi's have guns is a) false, b)propaganda, c) overstated.

O.K.I can buy that the evidence might be weak. Would any of you be prepared to abandon your dogma if it weren't?

3. In response to supercat's criminals using lists point

There are currently a number of states that require firearm registration I have yet to hear about criminals using that list to pick victims. Moreover one would think that crime would be rampant in Canada where guns are resticted and registered yet the opposite is true. The idea is quite paranoid and has no factual support.

4. I am a moron who hasn't read the constitution.

I teach american government! The constitution of course only has power when it is interpreted and implemented by the Court. The court doesn't appear to share the NRA's veiw on the second ammendment at this time. So to claim I am in error is to only reveal an alarming lack of attention on your part.

5. Its not the federal government's job to regulate guns.

The federal governments job is to do what we as citizens ask it to do within the boundaries of the Consitution. Given the fact that no federal firearms law has ever been overturned by the Court, it would appear the FG has yet to exceed its constitutional mandate in this area.

And, the lesson I've learned:

1. Its easy to rile up you yahoos by posting an anti-gun article. Sadly while your barrage of responses may be intense, the aren't very intelligent. Try harder!
39 posted on 03/14/2003 6:19:53 PM PST by Pitchfork
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To: supercat; Pitchfork
Sure the media like to show Iraqis and Palestinians shooting AK's into the air, but that doesn't mean most people have such weapons or ammo to burn in them.

Palestine is a relatively lawless place, where weapons are common. Still, there's enough gang mentality that the guys you see shooting off those weapons are probably hooked up with one gang or another.

Iraq, in my opinion, is a different story. It is, much more heavily contolled, especially in the central region of the country. The government is very strong--witness the omnipresent tales of fear and torture. I bet those with weapons have some "loyalty" connection to the Baath party. I don't think its the city Kurds in the North, for example, or the marsh Arabs, who are armed enough to act as a balance on Saddam's government.

40 posted on 03/14/2003 6:21:40 PM PST by Pearls Before Swine
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To: RandallFlagg
I guess what tees me off the most is that these rocket scientists NEVER have the nizzuts to stick around and defend their positions.

Of all the vices of the Left, their absolutely most scorn-worthy is their limitless, craven cowardice.

41 posted on 03/14/2003 6:22:38 PM PST by Long Cut (ORION Naval Aircrewman!)
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To: jwalsh07
Pitchfork seems to have gone away!!! What does that tell us? Post trash and run.
42 posted on 03/14/2003 6:24:10 PM PST by fish hawk
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To: Long Cut
Well, he/she just did. Better than other hit-and-runners; ya gotta give him/her that much.
43 posted on 03/14/2003 6:24:16 PM PST by RandallFlagg ("There are worse things than crucifixion...There are teeth.")
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To: Pitchfork; All
Oh hey, it has crawled out from under its rock...to pat itself on the back!!

It must have gotten bored doing its homework tonight.

"I teach american government!"

Then at least try to teach it properly.

44 posted on 03/14/2003 6:26:21 PM PST by Long Cut (ORION Naval Aircrewman!)
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To: fish hawk
Yeah, good riddens.
45 posted on 03/14/2003 6:30:10 PM PST by jwalsh07
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To: Pitchfork
"1. Its easy to rile up you yahoos by posting an anti-gun article."

Your using the term, "You Yahoos" tells us a lot about you. You're either from The Dark Side, or your 'Puter died right after you signed up in 2001-10-18 (Two posts??).

"or Sadly while your barrage of responses may be intense, the aren't very intelligent. Try harder!"

And, that statement says it all.
46 posted on 03/14/2003 6:30:57 PM PST by RandallFlagg ("There are worse things than crucifixion...There are teeth.")
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Comment #47 Removed by Moderator

To: Pitchfork
The constitution of course only has power when it is interpreted and implemented by the Court.

How about..."The constitution of course only has power when it is interpreted and ENFORCED by the PEOPLE."

We haven't been doing a very good job.

48 posted on 03/14/2003 6:31:44 PM PST by weaponeer
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To: Pitchfork
2. The notion that Iraqi's have guns is a) false, b)propaganda, c) overstated.

O.K.I can buy that the evidence might be weak. Would any of you be prepared to abandon your dogma if it weren't?

No. It's called the constitution.

3. In response to supercat's criminals using lists point There are currently a number of states that require firearm registration I have yet to hear about criminals using that list to pick victims. Moreover one would think that crime would be rampant in Canada where guns are resticted and registered yet the opposite is true. The idea is quite paranoid and has no factual support.

Well, Michigan has gun registration. It also has one of the higher crime rates in the USA. Gun registration works well, doesn't it. Also, Strathclyde Scotland is "gun free". Around 2000(I think), they had 81 murders(all weapons). Population 380,000. It's been a couple of years since I looked this up, but I think they had more murders than San Antonio(population over a million) and Charlotte NC which also has a higher population. In Michigan, only Flint and Detroit had higher rates.

4. I am a moron who hasn't read the constitution.

I teach american government! The constitution of course only has power when it is interpreted and implemented by the Court. The court doesn't appear to share the NRA's veiw on the second ammendment at this time.

Teaching American Government doesn't mean anything. I've had some history teachers who were not in my league. I've had some that knew what they were talking about. Read US v Miller, and that's when Miller could not show up to give his side. US v Emerson is another case.

The federal governments job is to do what we as citizens ask it to do within the boundaries of the Consitution. Given the fact that no federal firearms law has ever been overturned by the Court, it would appear the FG has yet to exceed its constitutional mandate in this area.

Emerson again.

1. Its easy to rile up you yahoos by posting an anti-gun article. Sadly while your barrage of responses may be intense, the aren't very intelligent. Try harder!

Yeah, gun control works. Ask Strathclyde.....

49 posted on 03/14/2003 6:34:12 PM PST by Dan from Michigan ("Don't tread on me")
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To: Pitchfork
Obvious answer: When socialism leads the country it migrates into a police state.
50 posted on 03/14/2003 6:34:20 PM PST by Cvengr
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