The Drudge Report seemed to reach a new level of gun-confiscation hysteria Tuesday afternoon when it used photos of Adolph Hitler and Joseph Stalin to illustrate the headline, "WHITE HOUSE THREATENS 'EXECUTIVE ORDERS' ON GUNS," linking to a story about Joe Biden's brief statement about his gun-proposal committee. But the controversial illustration wasn't new at all. With the dramatic photo choice above at left, the Drudge Report appeared to be referencing a popular forwarded email — which Republican congressional candidate Joe the Plumber plagiarized in a campaign ad in 2012 — that claims history proves a tyrant's first step is gun control. The email first began circulating after Australia passed sweeping gun legislation in the 1990s — the government actually bought back guns! — and has been floating around American websites for years. In fact, their illustrations (pictured above at right, and below) put Drudge's to shame.
Here's how one version of the forwarded email starts:
A little history about countries implementing gun control and what took place as a result of gun confiscation.
In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
Germany established gun control in 1938 and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million Jews and others who were unable to defend themselves were rounded up and exterminated...
You could read through all that boring text, or you could just look at this nifty photo illustration. I can't tell who created it, because it's been copied and reproduced on a ton of websites. This one was posted, with the forward, on a site dedicated to "RESISTING THE NEW WORLD ORDER."
Northstar Report posts this version, which has more of a compare-and-contrast theme:
Personally, I prefer the GIF:
Of course, this is all an illustration of Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1." ("Hitler ate sugar," a Daria character said.) But if Drudge's image choice was shocking, it's another example of the phenomenon of the very right wing talking to itself and no one else. Many of the lines uttered by Wayne LaPierre at his National Rifle Association press event in December were taken as new and shocking, they'd actually been around so long they were memes on Facebook.
Despite the Australian law that birthed this now classic forward, tyrants did not emerge in Oz. Forwarders can breathe a sigh of relief, though. Obama is not likely to propose a national gun buy-back program like Australia's.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.