Like it or not, firearms and civilian gun ownership have been part of American history from the inception of American culture and have become as American as mom and apple pie. And it should remain so for lawful citizens. Not that my assertion based on historical reality would be accepted by some undaunted public health researchers, as will be briefly recounted.
One researcher, an Emory University professor and Bancroft Prize winner, Michael A. Bellesiles, faked data to “prove” in his now discredited book Arming America: The Origins of a Natural Gun Culture (2000) that gun ownership in early America was fiction. Bellesiles contended that guns were uncommon in the civilian population during the colonial and early periods of the Republic and that guns were rare during those early periods. Consequently, most Americans were not proficient with guns. Bellesiles argued, citing non-existent probate court records, that widespread firearm use came for the civilian population only after the U.S. Civil War, and that became possible only because of the mass production of cheap guns with greater accuracy.
Only one of those contentions was correct; that mass production decreased the cost of firearms while increasing quality and accuracy. The rest was fabricated mendacity. His conclusions were wishful thinking, tailor-made for the liberal intelligentsia, who received his book with great élan, and enthusiastically supported and acclaimed his historic works. Yet, his conclusions, going against well-known facts of American history, were preposterous for anyone with even a modicum of historical knowledge. How could early Americans survive the wilderness without possessing firearms and not be proficient in their use? How could colonists in the frontier, subject to Indian raids all the time, protect their families? How could the colonial militia be ready at a moment’s notice not only to fight Indian raids but also to join the British army in fighting in the French and Indian War (1756-1763), as Colonel George Washington and his militia did to fulfill their duty?
And most astounding of all, how could the celebrated event in American history we now refer to as Patriot’s Day (April 19, 1775) have taken place without availability and familiarity with firearms? How could the minutemen (summoned by Paul Revere in his famous ride, warning the countryside, “The British are coming!”) assemble so quickly and with their muskets fire “the shot heard around the world” on that day? Why would the American patriots prevent the British army’s attempt to disarm them and seize the arm depots at Concord, while passing by Lexington in the Colony of Massachusetts? How could they harass the Redcoats all the way back to Boston?
This preposterous attempt at historical revisionism was truly audacious; only an anti-gun “scholar” with a supreme capacity for arrogance and hubris would have attempted such mendacity, but such dishonesty was only an illogical extension of the politicized, dishonest gun research that we have been exposing all along.
So, it didn’t take long for true scholars to prove that Bellesiles’ “scholarship” was fraudulent and his conclusions fabricated, his book a bag of lies conceived to reach the preordained conclusions that the American gun culture was a relatively new phenomenon, the result of a tragic civil war and an overabundance of cheap mass-produced weapons. His mendacity cost him his reputation, his coveted Bancroft Prize, and his professorial position at Emory University—sadly also the alma mater for my post-doctoral neurosurgical training.
Modern liberals (socialists) lie and what they don’t know they make up— whether in the media, the popular culture, or academia. That is how low the common denominator has been brought down — in learning as well as morality!
— Miguel A. Faria, Jr, MD is a retired professor of Neurosurgery and Medical History at Mercer University School of Medicine. He founded Hacienda Publishing and is Associate Editor in Chief in Neuropsychiatry and World Affairs of Surgical Neurology International. He served on the CDC’s Injury Research Grant Review Committee. His latest book is America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).