Right-wing Christian pastor, turned pseudo-historian, David Barton is at it again:
After a decade of debunking pseudo-historian David Barton’s claims about American history, it’s pretty hard for anything that comes out of his pie hole to surprise me, but even I was taken aback by the utter preposterousness of one of his latest claims — that gun accidents just didn’t happen in the founding era! ...
BECK: “Kids did not shoot each other.”
BARTON: “Oh no. No, no, no. Again, two accidents I have seen in two hundred years of everybody having guns. It just didn’t happen.”
Barton claimed on his radio show to have “searched” and only found two gun accidents in the founding era, but his claim became even more incredible on [Glenn] Beck’s show. Now it’s two gun accidents in two hundred years!
I really have to wonder just where the eminent historian Barton actually “searched” to only find two gun accidents in two hundred years when I was easily able to find countless reports of gun accidents in just a few minutes with nothing more than a quick search of Newsbank’s historical newspapers archive. All it took was simply searching on a few combinations of words that you’d expect to find together in articles about gun accidents.
I found a plethora of articles about hunting accidents and other accidental shootings among adults, but what I primarily want to focus here on the accidents involving children, since Barton’s claim is that all children were taught to use guns and that is why there were no gun accidents.
This is a just small sampling of the articles I found, many of which, as you’ll see, sound just like the articles you see today — most of them ending with warnings to parents about leaving guns around children or letting children play with guns, and many of them noting that gun accidents were a very frequent occurrence...
Why do people believe anything David Barton says? Partly, I suppose, it's because he sounds so authoritative. And he's an evangelical Christian pastor. He wouldn't just lie, would he?
This isn't just about religion, unless you think Jesus was a big fan of assault rifles. Barton is that combination of religious nut and right-wing political fanatic that's so common in the Republican Party these days.
As she says, Chris Rodda has been debunking Barton's claims for decades. And in this post, she points out some other examples of his dishonesty. For one thing, she shows how he used excerpts of a letter from John Quincy Adams to deliberately give the wrong impression on Glenn Beck's show. And then there are the parts he leaves out:
Not to digress too much, but I can’t help but mention something else here about the way Barton portrays John Quincy Adams and his son George. In addition to the letter about learning to use guns, Barton loves to bring up the letters that Adams wrote to George instructing him on how to read and study the Bible. But what Barton never mentions is how George turned out. What was the result of the strict regimen of Bible study and manly-man activities that Adams imposed upon his son? Well, George took to drinking and gambling, knocked up a servant girl at the home of a family friend, and eventually committed suicide at the age of twenty-eight. Barton never gets to that part of the story.
But my favorite is how David Barton takes a story from a work of fiction and presents it as history:
After reading from the letters of Jefferson and John Quincy Adams, Barton told his tale about a classroom full of gun-toting elementary school children in the 1850s saving their teacher’s life by whipping out their guns to stop a gunman who came to their school — a story that appears to have come not from an actual historical event, but from the Louis L’Amour novel Bendigo Shafter, as I wrote last week in my post “Is David Barton Now Getting His ‘History’ From Louis L’Amour Novels?” (An update on that post: Barton never answered my email requesting a source for his story.)
This is the kind of "historian" David Barton is. But, of course, he's not a historian. He's a right-wing pastor trying to rewrite history to suit his political and religious beliefs.
And he's very popular on the right. After all, those real historians are all just liberal eggheads following Satan's orders to promote the socialist New World Order, right? So who are you going to believe?
If you're watching Glenn Beck in the first place, you're probably going to believe Barton. Well, when you're faith-based, you're going to believe what you want to believe. But this wouldn't be a problem if it were just Glenn Beck's audience. No, it's a lot wider than that. It's become the entire Republican Party these days.
No, not every Republican believes this stuff, I'm sure, but these are the people who control today's Republican Party. Thanks to the GOP's notorious 'Southern strategy,' these people have become the Republican base.
Even the leaders of the Republican Party praise David Barton. He's a real favorite on Fox 'News.' In the right-wing bubble they live in, they create their own reality, and David Barton's rewriting of history is just the kind of fantasy they want to believe.
We've seen how today's Republicans have become anti-science. We've seen how they reject anything they don't want to believe about the real world, despite overwhelming evidence. But this is how they treat history, too. And this is the history they want to teach to children, as well - in some states, like Texas, the history they do teach to children.
The fact that it's not true is immaterial. Their faith will make it true, right? As Winston Churchill said, history is written by the victors. And they're determined to win in America, no matter what it takes.