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John Rocker peddles “the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened if the Jews had guns” nonsense

Jan 15, 2013, 3:31 PM EDT

John Rocker

Here’s your quarterly reminder that former baseball person John Rocker is a sick and/or crazy person.

Rocker has devoted his latest column on that right wing website he writes for to gun rights stuff. Which is fine in and of itself. Gun rights are a hot topic these days and there are a lot of reasonable positions one can take on the subject even when vehemently disagreeing with someone else who is also offering an alternative reasonable take.

Unfortunately, Rocker is not offering a reasonable take. He’s peddling second-hand talking points from crazy people:

“Absolute certainties are a rare thing in this life, but one I think can be collectively agreed upon is the undeniable fact that the Holocaust would have never taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler’s Germany had the right to bear arms and defended themselves with those arms.”

Despite this being a popular talking point by some on the right wing, this is demonstrably false. Gun ownership was never widespread in Germany, even when there were few if any controls on people’s rights to own firearms. To suggest, then, that the Holocaust was made possible by the lack of armed Jews is pure nonsense on the facts alone.

More significantly, Rocker’s nonsense here downplays if not ignores the fact that it was not some tangential gun policy that led to the Holocaust, but the actual policy of implementing the Holocaust which led to the Holocaust. Jews were not targets of opportunity by the Nazis, seized upon because, hey look, they’re unarmed. They were intentionally and systematically targeted for persecution and extermination by the government, which had millions of troops under its command, armed with state-of-the-art weaponry. To suggest that some “Red Dawn”-style uprising would have prevented the Nazis from committing their crimes against humanity is pure, facile revenge fantasy, the likes of which can only be espoused by a person who has no experience with persecution.

Or maybe it’s worse. Perhaps Rocker and his ilk really don’t think that armed Jews would have stopped the Nazis and, instead, are cynically using the Holocaust as a prop in the latest act of political theater. Perhaps they view the Holocaust as a useful and emotionally-laden example with which to guilt, shame or manipulate their opponents in a modern day political dustup.

If so, it’s more despicable than it is ignorant. Way more despicable than anything the younger Rocker told Jeff Pearlman in that interview that got him into trouble back in the 90s.

(link via Deadspin)

176 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. oilrod - Jan 15, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Man go look up the history of the Jews in Germany before the war started. Look at what happened when a few Jews held up in a hosing area and held off German soldiers. If they were all armed there would have been a ton of dead Germans all around there would have been a difference. Get you facts straight. Tired of Libertards speaking trash.

    • snowbirdgothic - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:55 PM

      Your grasp of history can only be described as oleaginous.

      • jimeejohnson - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        1.Rich in, covered with, or producing oil; oily or greasy.
        2.Exaggeratedly and distastefully complimentary; obsequious.

    • lostsok - Jan 15, 2013 at 9:32 PM

      The very use of “libertards” makes this persons entire post scream moronic, sophomoric and puerile. That a post so devoid of facts would challenge people to “get their facts straight” screams volumes about the person and the mindset. But the worst thing about it is the implication that the Jews (and others murdered in the holocaust) were at least partially to blame for their persecution because they were not armed.

      I would suggest the poster should be ashamed, but I’m fairly certain shame requires at least some degree of intellect. Undoubtedly this inarticulate dipstick is actually proud of his or her stupidity.

      • mrredlegz - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:05 PM

        Where is this ‘implication’ that you speak of. I must have missed that part. I just can’t fathom how the ‘worst’ thing about the guy’s comment is something you completely made up. But what a fine display of name-calling and self-righteousness you’ve contributed, if I do say so myself.

      • kappy32 - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:41 AM

        There was no implication that the Jews were responsible at all for the Holocaust. That is just you trying to make a religion/race argument where one was not meant to be made. If you read Rocker’s comment, he said,”… Had the Jews in Hitler’s Germany been given the right to bear arms.” The blame is being placed on the fascist, oppressive government that Hitler was the leader of for not bestowing the right to bear arms on the people as has been done to and for Americans. You speak of others getting their facts straight, and that is fine because I do not know enough about the availability or accessibility of guns in pre-WWII Germany. I do know, however, how to read & reasonably interpret a comment in an unbiased manner, regardless of my position on said comment, without attempting to start a political firestorm by dragging sensitive subjects like religion & race into the equation where it isn’t called for. Therefore, in short, YOU, my friend, need to freshen up on your reading comprehension skills. If I’m not mistaken, those skills were taught long before researching skills & fact-checking capabilities were taught.

    • dcfan4life - Jan 15, 2013 at 10:58 PM

      This argument is so stupid. It takes more than guns to make people able to resist an oppressing rule. Lets say the Jews had guns as regular as the average american does today. The first thing the Nazi’s would do would be confiscate them. They would have done that way before they tipped their hand that they would have killed anyone. And it would have worked. Sure some incidents would have developed, but few. So this entire thought that the Nazi’s would start eliminating the Jews while they were armed, absolutely ridiculous. Basically this entire point, for or against, brought up by John Rocker just doesn’t make any sense.

    • detroitr1 - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:51 AM

      If you’re curious about facts regarding uprisings against the Germans, read what happened to the Poles during the Warsaw uprising. The Polish resistance had guns. Also, please keep in mind it took 10,000,000 or so Russian soldiers to beat the Germans. It’s unlikely that a minority of untrained civilians would have done much better to prevent a holocaust.

      • dcfan4life - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:17 PM

        Not to take away your point but the Germans were most certainly not defeated by just 10 million russians. The Americans, British, French, and even the Italian army was fighting the Germans by wars end. To actually add to your point, it took a massive effort of super powers to defeat the Nazi’s.

  2. snowbirdgothic - Jan 15, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    It seems clear that the one pitch Rocker mastered was the screwball.

  3. wintwins - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:27 PM

    There are several good reasons to own guns, but “defending your rights against the government” is not one of them. Nobody EVER does that and wins. Ruby Ridge? Waco? How about the police show up in the middle of the night? Good reason or not, you CANNOT pull a gun on the government without getting arrested or killed. Your best-case scenario involves being surrounded until they come back with more.

    The libertarian/frontiersman fantasy is appealing, but no one can handle the full might of the state at their door. And that was before they invented drones…

    • ghouchens - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:37 PM

      And so what do you do when the “Jack booted Thugs” come to your door … roll over and play dead?

      • ctony1216 - Jan 16, 2013 at 4:11 PM

        Call a policeman.

    • joerymi - Jan 15, 2013 at 9:33 PM

      Cory Maye?

    • The Grand Occident - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:12 AM

      Yes, nobody EVER has done that and won – except America, you idiot!

      • moogro - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:16 AM

        Wow, that’s stupid. As if the Revolutionary War was a siege by a British army on colonists. Go to school or read or something.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:45 AM

        Um, yeah, if you mean the Revolutionary War then you should recognize that the French and Spanish made that possible for us. We weren’t winning without their help….and that of various Indian nations who were our allies.

    • brianabbe - Jan 19, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      If you really do dig in to defend yourself from “tyranny,” you’ll be that guy on the wrong end of a smart bomb camera on CNN. Zero chance of beating the government.

  4. ghouchens - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:35 PM

    Its a well known fact that Hitler and the Nazis confiscated privately owned weapons from Germans, including the Jews, before rounding up the Jews and critics of the Reichstadt. They also initiated gun confiscation programs in every country they invaded and they did it early in each occupation.

    They way they accomplished such confiscations with fair precision is by using the gun registration lists amassed by each countrys government prior to the war.

    Having firearms may or may not have helped the Jews avoid the Holocaust, but it sure would have allowed them to go down fighting evil with their boots on; something that was denied them via gun control laws.

    • hockeyflow33 - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:14 PM

      It’s a deadspin article. They consider democrats right-wing so take it with a large grain of salt.

    • The Grand Occident - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:12 AM

      ghouchens spread lies through his ignorance. Hitler relaxed gun laws for real Germans. Jews should have left when told to leave.

      • badintent - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:27 AM

        I guess you’ll shit in your pants when I tell you that my Dad would write”Eat this ” on the bombs his B-24 dropped on Gemany on his 25 missions over your dead relatives homes and factories.. You can read about it in the “Fields of Little America ” book.
        Now me and my fellow Jews own your home, car, work, and dog. Choke on that when you move back to Iran or Idaho……..hoe

  5. joerymi - Jan 15, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    So this writer is making the statement that due to the fact there was not a widespread “gun culture” in Germany prior to the Holocaust means that saying guns in the hands of victims may have saved lives is “nonsense?”

    The Holocaust is indeed an extreme end of the spectrum, but as a historical example works as it was one of the sickest acts of a government in the history of man. It is simple a theoretical argument. Overused? Completely.

    Maybe gun ownership across Germany would have helped, maybe not. We will never know, as the guns were only in the hands of the BAD GUYS, something some would like to prevent.

    And to his point, which is mind-numbing: “the government, which had millions of troops under its command, armed with state-of-the-art weaponry.” If we are talking nonsense, it would be nonsense that the entire German army descended on each individual in order to apprehend them. Is a town of Jewish people in Nazi Germany going to defeat the entire Germany army? Well…no. Would they have a better chance armed against Einsatzgruppen officers in small groups packing Walther P38’s? Well…maybe.

  6. chill1184 - Jan 15, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    As much as I hate conservatives (both the neocon chickenhawk and the race obsessed Pat Buchanan paleocon types)and Rocker himself. (For the record I’m a libertarian) The bastard’s overall point is that armed societies are less likely to get victims. Which is true. However making the general statement that the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened if the Jews were armed is a bit misleading.

    By the time Hitler cemented his power much of Germany openly supported his BS and successfully branded Jews as public enemy number 1. At that point an armed Jew just had a better chance at getting out of Germany than a non-armed one. Even then that if said armed Jew still had plenty of ammo in reserve because attempting to buy extra in Germany ran the risk of said dealer just reporting the person to the gestapo.

    Armed societies are key for preventing tyranny but even those of us who are armed (myself included) would have trouble when most of the population is brainwashed by said tyrant.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:15 PM

      I submit that the key to preventing tyranny is democracy and separation of powers.

    • badintent - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:37 AM

      If the Jews had poured lead from sten guns into the Brown shirts on “the Night of the Breaking Glass” we never would have had Hitler being able to intimidate them or anyone else for that matter.Of course, little cock Hilter was not on the street leading the Brown Shirts, he was too chick shit and had his brown nosers do the dirty work, then killed them off.But Germany had enacted strict guns control laws in the 20s so most guns for civilians were illegal at the time. This fact has come up with the Big Brother Obamma gun control task force chaired by Joe and his Nanny State Nazi. “The more we fail to study history and learn from it, the more we suffer the repeat of wars and conflicts…………………………..”History always repeats . always “

      • chill1184 - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:58 AM

        The sad part while most realize the dangers of gun control very few will actually speak up against the national security state (TSA, domestic wiretapping, Patriot Act, DHS) because they buy into the states lies that only they can protect you.

      • badintent - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:00 PM

        roger that. preach it brother !

    • ctony1216 - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:32 PM

      Defeating tyranny is more successfully accomplished with organized nonviolent resistance.
      … [See Mandela, Nelson; Gandhi, Mahatma.]

      • stercuilus65 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:37 AM

        “Defeating tyranny is more successfully accomplished with organized nonviolent resistance”

        Not really…
        (See, a very small sampling, …Libya, Venezuela,China,Iran,Laos,France and of course The United States)

        History books are there for a reason, open one.

    • ctony1216 - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:36 PM

      Armed societies? Do the arms include grenades, tanks, and drones, or just weapons that you’re average nut can walk into a school with — like an Ak-47? Who decides whether we’re being ruled by a tyrant — John Rocker?

      • stercuilus65 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:41 AM

        It wasn’t an AK-47 which is fully automatic, nor has any of the infamous mass killings ever used a fully automatic weapon.Educate yourself before looking even more ignorant.

    • skids003 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      I’m conservative chill, but I agree with you here. Does that mean you hate yourself, or still hate me, or now don’t hate me because I agree with you?

  7. johnnyb1976 - Jan 15, 2013 at 11:57 PM

    Some people just don’t know when to shut up.

  8. misterchainbluelightning - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:00 AM

    No need to take away or limit gun ownership by the people. Just clean up this country of those who use them to take away from others and accept the fact that you’re never going to stop the out of the blue crazy person from doing crazy things. Take away the crazy persons gun and they will just be creative and find some other way of horrifying people.

    I’d like to see culture change in America. Get caught committing a crime with a firearm, Death Penalty is on the table. You wanna knock over that corner store by sticking a gun in someones face, mug someone with a gun? It’s your life.

    America coddles her criminals, and way too many of them have firearms. Get tougher on criminals. MUCH tougher.

    • chill1184 - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:04 AM

      I rather see more people armed than give a huge hand job to the prison industrial complex and it’s state jackboots. Saying the country coddles criminals is foolish given that we’re only second to China and Russia among industrialized nations when it comes to locking people up (with alot of those prisoners being victims of the retarded drug war).

      Widespread gun ownership has a better chance deterring thugs then just sticking them in pens and the state continuing to steal your money to house them.

      • misterchainbluelightning - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        No what’s foolish is thinking locking people up equals getting tougher on criminals. Quite honestly you completed missed my point so badly I stopped reading after that combined with you starting it with “prison industrial complex” when I’m talking about putting criminals to death.
        Learn to read before replying to comments

      • chill1184 - Jan 16, 2013 at 6:05 PM


        There’s those conservative debate skills I keep hearing so much about, sooooo much better than when debating liberals. Ever think of the concept of “punishment should fit the crime?”

        With your statement “Get caught committing a crime with a firearm, Death Penalty is on the table. You wanna knock over that corner store by sticking a gun in someones face, mug someone with a gun? It’s your life.”

        Unless said thug actually produces a dead body then no the death penalty shouldnt be on the table. Unless your one of those type of people who supports the ever changing definition of “terrorism”. Granted it wouldnt surprise me.

  9. louhudson23 - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:03 AM

    So just what is the reasoning,meaning,intention of the words”well regulated militia”.

  10. moogro - Jan 16, 2013 at 5:36 AM

    What Craig wrote is not even controversial, it’s consensus. It’s unfortunate that it’s countered by a lot of folks here (for no good reason) that talk a lot of valorous movie-fueled ideas that necessarily over-inflate a person’s volition. To counter Craig, you’d have to counter history: the terms that ended World War 1, the orchestrated fall of the Weimar Republic, the depression, the Nuremberg Laws that legislatively undermined personhood, etc, etc.

    Stick to baseball if you haven’t gone to school.

  11. jimeejohnson - Jan 16, 2013 at 12:39 PM

    Rocker represents his right wing NUTs perfectly. Guns are the answer to government tyranny. Only problem is the government will always have the populace outgunned, with better weaponry and a lot more of it. One of the right wing NUTs biggest problems is a pea-brained narrow mindedness that fails to process passage of time and the societal changes that accompany it. Fortunately, the right wing NUT is becoming an anachronism, obsolete and exposed as the phony hypocrites they are.

    • skids003 - Jan 16, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Yeah, I guess right wing people need people like you to tell them what is best for them, like not drinking sodas over 16 ounces, only 3 pain pills, etc. Who are the sheeple here?

  12. pistonhurricane - Jan 16, 2013 at 1:37 PM


    How bout Rafael Soriano signing with the Nats? Looks like the Nats are the team to beat in the NL East!

  13. anxovies - Jan 16, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    I probably qualify as a Libertard. Socially, I am a little left of Obama but to the right of, say, Arlo Guthrie. However, I do recognize that having an armed society has its good points and bad points. There is always a certain amount of tension between police and armed citizens which is both good and bad. The good is that police are a little more hesitant in overstepping the bounds when confronting people in their homes and the bad is, of course, armed criminals and crazies. As dim as Rocker may be he has a point. The Jewish uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto in 1943 was the only organized armed resistance by Jews to the Nazis. They were able hold out for a month against elements of the German Army. Had the Jewish community in Germany known of the true intentions of the Nazis earlier on, say before Kristallnacht in 1938, and banded together in an armed group the German people and the world would have fair warning as to what was to come. Such an action might well have forestalled Hitlars plans.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 16, 2013 at 7:44 PM

      The other bizarre thing about all these comments is the way they seem to suggest that Hitler introduced the world to anti-Semitism (it existed before him) and that the US & other countries were free from that discriminatory bent.

  14. kyledurlam - Jan 16, 2013 at 11:36 PM

    I went to a boxing match and a baseball blog broke out.

  15. purp1234 - Jan 17, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Who’s John Rocker? He’s like a hill billy Kardashian. Who cares what his opinion on anything is. He’s more entertaining as Kenny Powers in Eastbound and Down.

  16. stercuilus65 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    “They were intentionally and systematically targeted for persecution and extermination by the government, which had millions of troops under its command, armed with state-of-the-art weaponry.”

    Wow learn some history Craig before shooting your mouth off.

    A) In the thirties when the systematic persecution of the Jews really began the Germans had about 100,000 troops until 1935 and only after were the numbers begin to ramp up.

    B)The main terrors were committed by small groups like the Brown Shirts etc… who were usually armed with no more than nightsticks and also the police.

    C)When they did have millions of troops they were off, fighting you know, the three front war. Army troops were complicit but most of the work was done by the SS.

    D)Look only at Warsaw to see how a few lightly armed civilians could hold off German division for so long.

    Rocker might have overstated the certainty of it but history would have indeed been different had Germany or Poland had a “gun culture”.

    Consider this a schooling to you and your lemmings.

    • stercuilus65 - Jan 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM

      Oh I forgot to add they had very little “state of the art” weaponry” , they were primarily a horse and bolt action rifle infantry. Their tanks were inferior in technology and numbers as well. It was how they used them that got them their success.
      Regardless they needed very little weaponry to murder the Jews because they were such a compliant, respectful of authority group.
      Did you read a history book about WW2? Ever?

  17. rnrfan - Jan 22, 2013 at 12:12 PM

    This whole debate is silly. Listen, I’m Jewish. If we gave Jews guns in this country, trained us, and then put us up against the government (and all Americans supporting the government)…we’d be dead. Period. There is strength in numbers (and technology and weaponry and money and organization…). Arm the Jews of Nazi Germany…they die. Take away their guns…they die. Give them an ice cream cone…they die. It doesn’t matter. When the world looks away from (or supports) a tyrant, then the people of that country suffer. The Jews, my great-great aunts and uncles, by the way, died because of hatred…and an apathetic world who ignored Nazi Germany. Do not blame them, and please, stay away from hypothetical situations. It’s a useless exercise. Look to the present day. What’s more likely: Obama convinces the military to back him in a quest to end democracy and enslave us all or…my 2 year old son sees my gun without a child safety lock and accidentally blows his head off? Or a maniac steals his mom’s guns and shoots dozens of innocent first-graders? Listen, you want to own guns? Fine! But why are you against being safe about it? It makes no sense. I don’t want my son driving my car…and I don’t want him finding my unlocked gun, either. We need to protect OURSELVES. This isn’t about rights. It isn’t about Nazis. It’s about stopping Newtown. Sigh.

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