Month: June 2015
One of the most treasured rights listed in the Bill of Rights is the right to bear arms. It’s a right. You do not need a reason or an excuse to exercise this right. If you believe that a gun makes you safer, it doesn’t even matter if it’s true or false, you have the right to purchase a gun. You have that right if you want to hunt, or to target practice, or just to hang it up on your wall. For any reason or none your rights are nearly unlimited. The same is true for your right to free speech, assembly, or religion. So long as your actions do not harm others and you are willing to take responsibility for them, your rights should and are unencumbered. You may carry your weapons nearly anywhere, concealed or not. (Obviously be careful to follow local laws).
However, there are some Americans whose rights are consistently infringed, especially when it comes to the second amendment right to bear arms. Some people have suggested that Black people would be victimized less if they were more armed. This is extraordinary absurdity of blind blatant white privlidge. We’ve seen black men gunned downed for doing nothing more than holding a toy guy in a store. A black teen was followed, harassed, assaulted, and then killed for defending himself by a self-appointed neighborhood watch vigilante. Recently, cops were summoned to a pool because the neighborhood black kids had the audacity to show up there. Then, one of the cops drew a weapon and badly escalated the situation. Fortunately, this time no one was killed. However, there’s no a doubt in anyone’s mind that if a black person had been lawfully carrying a weapon during the incident, he would surely have been killed. There are countless stories of people of color provoking an immediate fear based response for the most banal of activities. White people will call the police on their black neighbors because the black children are playing in the street, just like every other kid on the block. No, black people do not have the same second amendment rights as white people, further, if white communities were targeted for violence and other forms of oppression the way black communities are and have been. Guns wouldn’t be seen as the safety blanket they currently are.
Guns do one thing especially well. They make white people feel safe. With a gun, you can kill having no special strength or skill. You can kill a group of unarmed people on your own. With a gun, you are an unstoppable god of death. It’s the ultimate equalizer.
An armed mob descended upon a Muslim prayer service recently. If the reverse had been true, had an armed band of Muslims descended in a Christian meeting they would have been instantly branded as terrorists and shot on site. Of this I have no doubt.
This atmosphere of plentiful unregulated powerful sophisticated weapons flooding our streets is only possible in light of the privlidge white people have in society and in law-enforcement. White people can walk down the street armed to the teeth, hold rallies, and even if that makes people uncomfortable they can do so without getting killed. A white kid can kill 9 precious people in a church and in conservative white America be considered “troubled” while anyone else would be considered a terrorist. It’s the white privlidge that brings to the fore America’s dysfunctional relationship with guns.
Guns are the tools for the privileged strong. They perpetuate that air of safety that is denied to others. No outrage, no fear, no respect for others is ever taken into account by the pro-gun advocacy groups. Any criticism is met by loud and hysterical counter-claims of oppression and paranoia. The strong have no need to listen to fears, desires, or vulnerability of minority populations. The weak can be killed for any reason or none. Even if white people are not marching on black neighborhoods or black institutions, which also happens, the deafness which white people have is every bit a part of racism as flying a Confederate flag or a noose hanging from a tree. Let me be clear, violence, or the threat of violence is not something victims will ever be able to wield against their oppressors.