Gun owners as Holocaust victims. Really.

Oh, brother.

I’ve been writing since 2009 about the inappropriate use of Holocaust imagery, largely focusing on the comparisons between Adolf Hitler and Barack Obama.

These images have come up time and time again.

In today’s Chicago Sun-Times, on the same day that The New York Times had a thoughtful review of Illinois’ Holocaust Museum in Skokie, I saw a new and, in some ways, at least as troubling twist:

Gun owners as Holocaust victims.

It’s true.

Downstate Illinois gun advocates have portrayed themselves as having to wear a Jewish star, similar to Jewish people first in Germany, and eventually throughout Europe, during the Nazis’ insidious and ultimately genocidal reign of terror from the early 1930s until their defeat in 1945.

According to the Sun-Times,

In its April issue of GunNews, the gun-rights group has a bold headline titled “Madigan’s list” in an apparent play off the movie, “Schindler’s List.” And below that is a graphic showing the Israeli flag with the phrase, “Armed, people fly their colors,” next to the gold Star of David with the phrase, “Disarmed, victims wear them.”

In another disturbing irony, John Boch, the head of the group sponsoring the ad, criticized State Senator Ira Silverstein for objecting to it:

“What is offensive is people wielding the victimhood card against others and trying to intimidate others out of their First Amendment rights. Sen. Silverstein ought to be thanking us for our advocacy of his First and Second Amendment rights, not whining and crying that he feels offended,” Boch said. “He doesn’t have a copyright on Holocaust imagery.”

Let’s look at this.

There is no legal definition of gun owners as a lower group of people.

There is no effort to have gun owners live in a separate designated section of the state.

There is no ultimate plan to take gun owners’ property, to have gun owners shipped off to camps and to attempt to kill one, let alone all of them.

And on and on and on.

It is true that the gun owners are, as Mr. Boch suggests in his derisive comment, within their rights to use Holocaust imagery. Neither survivors nor family members nor anyone else has a monopoly on drawing on the horrific experiences to learn, to reflect and to even use as creative inspiration.

For me, it’s the crass and so wildly inappropriate use of the Jewish star for overtly political purposes, followed by the aggressive critique of those who find it objectionable, that’s so troubling to me.

How about you? Is this a legitimate exercise of First and Second Amendment Rights? Is this yet another example of distorting one of history’s worst events for political purposes? What will happen when the survivors are gone?


2 responses to “Gun owners as Holocaust victims. Really.

  1. How can these people defend themselves with a straight face? Yes, I suppose it is within their First Amendment rights, but it is ridiculous and horrible to trivialize the Holocaust through such use. Gun owners? Give me a break. I group had an “Impeach Obama” table outside my local post office on Saturday, and it featured the Obama-with-Hitler-mustache poster. I wanted to speak my mind to them, but decided that not giving them the intensity of my reaction would be better. Here is a link to a piece from the Daily Show on the issue that I found on the money: And by the way: Celtics sweep!

    • jeffkellylowenstein3

      Thanks, Dave. I’ll take a look at the clip and consider posting it as an update.

      Hope all is well with you and yours.

      Let’s talk soon.


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