Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Appocalypse Soon - DC Watch Debate: Guns and Race

"When government officials distrust their people, they disarm the people to protect themselves from the dangers they fear from them...." - Gary Imhoff, DC Watch
You know I've been thinking along these lines. That with the .01% stealing resources with the ultimate possibility of unrest, the bringing home of the military and the flood of heavy weapons into police departments --- well, draw your own conclusions. There won't be jobs and the social net will be gone. Plus add the upcoming massive impact of climate change - will the powers use the excuse of unrest to decide to thin the herd?

The main problem the super wealthy face is that all these missions to Mars will not make that planet feasible as an escape valve from an uninhabitable earth for quite some time - but maybe their

descendents. They can always build temporary space stations in the sky. Why do you think all these billionaires are starting companies in a race for space while things fall apart down here?


Is this a further rightward drift of my thinking?  Or maybe I am moving further towards anarchism/libertarianism. Maybe I've had too much of a dose of certain leftists, with their tiny little bands of sectarians. Actually, there's almost a coming together of the left - always mistrustful of government and the right - more recently mistrustful of the government. A major difference is that the right sees the government as a liberal conspiracy and the left sees government as a wholly owned subsidiary of the corporations and wealthy.
 
I've subscribed to Gary Imhoff's DC Watch for years but haven't been paying much attention recently due to the influx of email. This caught my eye this morning. Here are both sides of the issue on arming the populace not against criminals, but against the criminals who control our society.

When Government Distrusts the People

Dear Washingtonians:
When government officials distrust their people, they disarm the people to protect themselves from the dangers they fear from them. My introduction to the last issue of themail caused some controversy for referring to the racial roots of the antigun movement in America, and how this distrust and fear of black Americans continues to motivate the antigun movement today, even in DC.
For a personal story of how the disarming of black Americans was used as a tool of racial repression, I’d recommend Robert F. Williams’ 1962 memoir, Negroes with Guns, that tells the story of his presidency of the Monroe North Carolina, chapter of the NAACP, and how he got a charter from the NRA for a rifle club to train people in self-defense against the KKK. (For those who don’t remember Williams, he later left the US to live in Cuba and China.) For more scholarly studies, try two 2014 books, one by Charles E. Cobb, Jr., a veteran of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible; the other by Nicholas Johnson, a professor at the Fordham University School of Law, Negroes and the Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms.
I’d say that the racial motivation of the antigun movement isn’t buried very deeply. Its rhetoric makes it open and evident. The Second Amendment, we are told, may be all right in rural Wild West places like Montana, but it can’t be abided in urban environments like the District of Columbia, Chicago, or New York, where there is more danger. What makes an urban environment dangerous? The same thing that makes urban music or urban fashion different from middle-American music and fashion. And we all know what that is.
Marc Battle, below, in an eloquent refutation of my thesis, argues that “the proliferation of guns will further exacerbate the already unacceptable level of police aggression in many communities,” and that forbidding guns to the people will therefore make the people safer from the police. But I don’t see how that refutes my point, rather than reinforcing it.
Gary Imhoff

themail@dcwatch.com
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Manage the Proliferation of Guns
Marc Battle

Your comparison [“Council Antics,” themail, September 24] of DC government officials' efforts to legislatively manage the proliferation of guns in DC to "the southern states’ strategy of massive resistance to Constitutionally mandated desegregation" is dead wrong on too many levels to thoroughly discuss here. Your analogy attempts to equate the "plight" of would-be gun owners in DC, including those who want an open carry policy, to African Americans who suffered under centuries of oppressive state-sponsored racism that was enforced by physical and psychological violence. All of this was done to perpetuate a morally repugnant and intellectually dishonest mythology of white supremacy. With this as your contextual premise, your argument is fatally flawed and cannot be taken seriously.
Just as the First Amendment is understood to be subject to reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions, so too is the Second Amendment. The Bill of Rights has never been interpreted as a recitation of limitless activities. Elected officials have a tough job balancing the rights of gun owners with the understandable concern of citizens who do not want to live in a Wild West society where people walk around armed to the teeth. And in a society where unarmed African Americans are far too often shot by police, one must consider the effect of how the proliferation of guns will further exacerbate the already unacceptable level of police aggression in many communities. Simply put -- there are legitimate reasons for elected officials to limit the presence and use of guns in a community. However, there was never any legitimate reason to subjugate African Americans to racism, discrimination, and violence.
There are many additional issues to debate regarding guns in society. But comparing the tactics of DC officials to those of racist segregationists adds nothing of value to this important discussion.
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