Enlarge Photo Credit: Jonas Persson

Iced Earth’s Jon Schaffer Thinks Teachers Should Be Armed


We already know plenty about Jon Schaffer’s social and political views: the Iced Earth mastermind has spent plenty of time in interviews in recent years talking about his mistrust of government (with a special emphasis on the federal reserve), he often sports a confederate flag bandana and he believes that Trump’s loss in the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election was tipped by illegal immigrants. I’m not sure whether Schaffer identifies as Libertarian, but his views certainly lean that way.

So it’s no surprise to learn that Schaffer is also pro-gun, and he cites a deep mistrust of government as the reason that more Americans should be armed.

Look: I do not disagree with Schaffer’s premise. The U.S. government has given us many, many reasons not to trust it! But the difference is that whereas I think our elected officials are a bunch of bumbling goons whose allegiance is bought by corporations and billionaires, Schaffer believes there’s a systematic, organized conspiracy to keep the people down. Still, let’s entertain Schaffer for a minute here and assume that he’s right, or even just accept the possibility that one day the U.S. could become a fascist, tyrannical state (hey, we’re closer now than ever). If that were to happen, would any hand guns or even assault rifles be any match for the tanks, jets, submarines, nuclear bombs, drones, grenades, chemical and automatic weapons that the government might use to attack its people? No! No fucking way! We’d all be fucked no matter what.

Which is why I find Schaffer’s recent rant on The Cassius Morris Show (embedded below, transcription by Blabbermouth) — in which he defends his pro-gun position and argues that MORE Americans should be armed and trained in the use of firearms — to be complete horseshit. Here was his response when he was asked about gun violence in America, particularly in schools:

“Here’s the thing: I just don’t trust that the population is being told the truth about almost anything. And, obviously, as tragic as that is, there’s always a motivation.

“It’s probably hard for people to understand outside the United States, but the American people… The whole point of having the Second Amendment is not to protect yourselves against a robber or to be able to go out and hunt. Those are just automatic, fucking common sense. When they founded the country, everybody was hunting for food. You didn’t go into Walmart and buy packets of baloney; you went out and killed your food and you ate it. That’s how it worked. So that was automatic, just basic survival. But the whole point of it is to protect themselves against an out-of-control government.

“That’s the whole thing where it gets a little bit interesting,” he added. “Do the powers that be really wanna disarm the American people and do they stage events and do horrific things in that mission? I think there’s a certain element that would and probably have. So my whole feeling is, the knee-jerk reaction [from a lot of people] is, ‘Everybody, turn in your guns.’ And I’m, like, ‘Nah. No. Fuck you! ‘That’s not gonna happen. Not with me, and not with millions of us. Because we understand the situation a little bit better than that. And this, to me, has nothing to do with left or right. This is just a constitutional… It’s my right to defend myself as a human being. You take that right away, then I become a slave very quickly — possibly. And a lot of people just become so domesticated that they don’t think that’s a possibility, but, dude, it is. It wasn’t that long ago that we had some major tyrants running the world. I’ve been studying history my whole life and I’m not one of those people who say, ‘Oh, that could never happen here.’ ‘Cause everybody has said that before where it’s happened.”

Again: it’s not a terrible assumption that the government might not have our best interests at heart. It could happen here. But if it does, your puny little AR-15 is going to be no match for the tank steam-rolling over your home or the bombs dropped out of the sky from billion-dollar jets. Sorry, Jon.

Here’s the part where Schaffer says that arming teachers would be a good idea:

“Here’s one solution for that, and it’s gonna sound extreme to a lot of people — it’s to teach everybody the responsibility of firearms and make sure that they have them. And that sounds crazy, but that’s actually the way that the United States was built, and largely big parts of the world. But it’s just not discussed, man, and it’s a big deal. Who’s gonna go into a school where people are trained and armed and do that kind of stuff? Or anywhere, for that matter? If you’ve got people that they understand their constitutional rights and they understand the responsibilities of firearms and are trained in that, hey… The Swiss population is armed, and they don’t have this kind of shit going on. It’s all about perspective, man, and trying to unlock from the boob tube and getting brainwashed about certain things, because that’s obviously what they do. It’s obvious to me, anyway. I would prefer to learn from history instead of talking heads and politicians with an agenda.”

Jon, plenty of people will still find a way to go into schools regardless; they’ll plan around it and they’ll find a way. Or they’ll simply go to rock concerts, or shopping malls, or sports events or crowded transportation terminals instead. One angry shooter can mow down dozens of people in a crowded public space in a matter of seconds before an armed pedestrian even has a chance to whip out their own weapon and shoot down the attacker. Or, as happened in Las Vegas, someone could simply find a safe perch and rain down fire from above. Not to mention the detrimental effects arming teachers would have on the classroom environment, and whether attempting to train teachers in the usage of firearms — already underpaid and overworked — would have any measure of success.

Your argument is bunk. You like having guns because they’re a dick extension that makes you feel cool. Guns are fun, something I’ll even admit. We get it.

Here’s the final part of the relevant section of the interview:

“People want to believe and trust that the people that represent them in the halls of power have their best interest at heart. But most of the times, they don’t. That’s all I’m saying: I don’t trust ’em.

“I might consider turning over my guns if all the cops do it and the military and everybody,” he said. “I might, but I even doubt that. [Laughs] I’m just a freedom dude, man. If you infringe on my right to speak and you take my ability to defend myself, then we’re not talking about a free man anymore. And I realize we’re on a very slippery slope and have been for a very, very long time, but that last step ain’t gonna happen with me, and not with a lot of people I know.”

Again: it’s fine if you don’t trust the man. I’m with you there (mostly). But this whole “guns as defense against a tyrannical government” thing is just a false sense of security.


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