Is David Barton Now Getting His ‘History’ from Louis L’Amour Novels?

That’s the headline from a great post by writer and David Barton-debunker extraordinaire Chris Rodda. Read the whole thing, but here’s a summary:

Speaking on right-wing commentator Glenn Beck’s web-based TV show last month, Barton suggested that arming students as well as teachers is the solution for protecting schoolchildren from mass shootings like the one at a Connecticut school in December. The far right’s favorite pseudo-historian and founder of the Texas-based organization WallBuilders even suggested that there’s precedent in history for armed students stopping gunmen:

“The great example, in the 1850s you have a school teacher who’s teaching. A guy — he’s out in the West — this guy from New England wants to kill him and find him. So he comes into the school with his gun to shoot the teacher, he decides not to shoot the teacher because all the kids pull their guns out and point it at him and say, ‘You kill the teacher, you die.’ He says, ‘Okay.’ The teacher lives. Real simple stuff. Saved the life of — there was no shooting because all the kids — we’re talking in elementary school — all the kids pull their guns out and says, ‘We like our teacher. You shoot our teacher, we’ll kill you.’”

Seriously? Well, a reader subsequently informed Rodda that Barton’s “example” sounds a lot like this passage from the Louis L’Amour novel Bendigo Shafter:

“… And then I looked at him over my cup. “Did you kill Drake Morrell?”

He chuckled again. “Decided agin it.” He sipped his coffee. “You know somethin’? After he started that there schoolteachin’ I figured I had him dead to rights. I laid out for him, waitin’ until he was out of school, and when he come out the door, I shaped up with my old Betsy girl here” — he slapped his rifle — “right on his belly. I had him where he couldn’t move. There was youngsters all around him, and he stood there lookin’ at me and never turned a hair. He had sand, that Morrell.”


“Has. He’s still around. You want to know what happened? I nigh got myself kilt. Five or six of them youngsters, weren’t but two of them upwards of twelve or thirteen, they outs with their six-shooters and had me covered.

“They told me he was their teacher and he was a mighty good one and if I shot him they’d fill my hide.”

He chuckled again. “An’ you know somethin’? They’d of done it, too.” “What happened?”

“Nothin’. I pulled down my flag. Pulled her down right quick. I never seen so many youngsters with six-shooters.”


Rodda has asked Barton to explain where he got his story. We assume she’s not holding her breath while she waits for a response. She has more debunking of Barton’s claims surrounding the Second Amendment here.

13 thoughts on “Is David Barton Now Getting His ‘History’ from Louis L’Amour Novels?

  1. Better watch it AC. Obama has a gun. Haven’t you seen the photograph? Ain’t nothin’ more dangerous than a negro President with his own gun.

    I wonder if Barton’s grandfather is “Very Old Barton”?

    Makes about as much sense as anything else I have seen this evening.

  2. Reagan often did the same thing. He told stories about pilots going to the bottom of the ocean because they didn’t want to leave their gunners behind and other such stories as being true, when they came from old movies and tv shows. Of course, making and watching Tv shows and movies was as close as Reagan ever got to war, so he didn’t know the difference. My bet is Barton’s only experience with bravery or heroism comes from the paperbacks he thinks are history.

  3. Why is the question whether Barton is *now* getting his “history” from pulp novels?
    Isn’t that where he has always gotten it?

  4. David,
    Yes yes thats it ! A Glock in every seven year old’s lunch box.
    Brilliant simply brilliant. The luch special today is hollow point ammo and mashed potatoes. After school seminar for the kiddies on sight alignment and sight picture in rapid fire cafeteria shoot outs.

  5. You’ve got it doodlebugger! That’s a great idea! A chicken in every pot and a Glock in every lunchbox!

  6. That Barton makes stuff up is well known. This school kids taking on the bad man story is pure piffle.

    For starters, in the 1850’s the Colt revolver was just being produced, but it fired lead balls and the chambers had to be filled with powder and fitted with a primer. Heavy, cumbersome, expensive and not something a kid would have in school, much less own. Also, as a .44 it would have been too awkward for a kid to use. Pure fantasy, Barton.

    Of course, Barton doesn’t know anything about history so his story is based on frontier life in the late 1880’s, probably inspired by Gunsmoke or the Rifleman.

    Fortunately for Barton, the bar is so low he never fails to simply trip over it.

  7. “…when the Lone Ranger discovered that would-be bushwacker chickened out, he had Tonto take him to a local saloon where the Ranger pointed his Glock…”

    What kills me is that so many people are gullible enough to believe the liar. But when one figures that they believe that they have been lulled into believing that just by believing in someone who died 2,000 years ago they are guaranteed a gold “get out of hell” card, they will believe any fairy tale they’re told because it is easier than looking up the truth…if there is one.

  8. Watch what you say about Barton. He likes to file lawsuits, and he seems to have some deep pockets behind him. Peddling fake history can be lucrative (NOT that I’m suggesting that Barton’s history is fake).