Letters, July 8, 2015


A book on Hitler and
gun control
A number of letters to the editor have been published on this subject in the past few weeks (most recently, “Disrespectful discourse,” Letters, WJW, June 25).  Readers who want to actually understand this subject should obtain the book “Gun Control in the Third Reich” by Steven Halbrook that was published in 2013 since it is the definitive book on the subject and based on detailed review of primary sources, e.g., archives, newspapers of the period in question, etc. To summarize, Germany had very strict gun control laws after World War I. The laws were made more lenient in 1928 under the Weimar Republic, but handgun owners had to register their weapons and almost no rifles were allowed to be owned.  Beginning in 1933 with Nazi rule, the registry of handgun owners was used to selectively enforce and illegally seize handguns and jail, beat and/or murder Jewish owners of handguns.  Jewish businesses that were involved in firearms manufacture or sale were similarly seized and/or destroyed.  In 1938, the gun ownership laws were made more lenient, allowing rifles to be owned in many cases but not for Jews.

A number of letters have also made statements to the effect of ‘you should not agree with Hitler.’ This statement, while understandable emotionally, is nevertheless illogical and has been given a name in logic, the Reductio ad Hitlerum.  If one were to believe the ‘you should not agree with Hitler’ argument, one should ponder the fact that Hitler was a vegetarian, enacted and enforced strict anti-smoking, anti-coffee and pro-animal protection laws, and strongly disliked capitalists and capitalism.


Infrastructure and national
Your article “Arlington Memorial Bridge is falling down” (WJW, June 11), does an excellent job of describing the dangerously deteriorating state of America’s infrastructure. Attention to funding possibilities was limited; none was given to national security.


I have proposed a 7 cents a gallon per month gas tax increase for two to three years.  Something like that is needed unless we are willing to risk falling bridges and increased congestion, pollution and health issues.

A gas tax signals to Americans that the way to save money is to carpool, buy cars with better gas mileage, etc.  Americans respond to price incentives. The United States consumes between 22 and 25 percent of global oil and also is the largest producer. Our reduced use will lower global oil prices. So, the pump price will not rise by the full amount of the tax.

Our Treasury Department for years found that the largest geographic source of terrorist funding came from Saudi Arabia (not necessary its government); today it is undoubtedly Qatar, although Iran is certainly in the top three.  All are oil producers.   A major cutback in U.S. demand would reduce revenues to terrorist groups (ISIS was once earning $3 million a day on fields it controlled) and constrain both Iran’s nuclear program, as well as Iranian and Russian adventurism.  American demand has served as an ATM for our enemies.

A gas tax not only will help save lives, but reduce terrorist and other actions.

Bipartisan efforts by Republicans and Democrats to join in such an effort are essential and they can stress deaths on our highways, estimates of pollution sicknesses (and their costs), economic and personal costs of congestion, and the memories of 9/11, the Boston Marathon, the Ottawa bombings, etc.    Such action will not eliminate terrorism, but it will put a serious dent in such actions, as well as those of troublemaking states.
Falls Church
The writer is a lecturer in international affairs at the Elliott School, George Washington University.

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