Sunday, July 10, 2016

Last week I wrote...

...a post about blacks, whites and gun control in which I repeated my suspicion that the Second Amendment is being used to protect fearful whites from a modern-day slave rebellion. (Skip to 6:35 in the clip above.)

This morning I read in the Times, "Minnesota Officer Was ‘Reacting to the Presence of a Gun,’ Lawyer Says" (all emphasis mine):

A lawyer for the suburban police officer who fatally shot a black man during a traffic stop said on Saturday that the race of the driver, Philando Castile, played no role in how his client responded, and that the officer “was reacting to the presence of a gun” when he opened fire.

“The shooting had nothing to do with race and everything to do with the presence of that gun,” Mr. Kelly said in an interview, noting that Officer Yanez is Latino.

In that video, in which Mr. Castile is seen bleeding profusely in the driver’s seat, Ms. Reynolds tells the officer that her boyfriend had been reaching for his identification when he was shot. She also suggested that he had a permit to legally carry a gun.

And I thought, Has the NRA come to this man's defense? (I don't follow these sorts of things closely so I really don't know.)

I googled "NRA Philando Castile" and came up with this piece in the Atlantic, "The Second Amendment's Second-Class Citizens: Black citizens of the United States have seldom enjoyed the same right to bear arms that whites do."

On social-media, many are already asking why the Second Amendment did not protect Sterling and Castile, and why gun-rights advocates like the National Rifle Association are not speaking out on their behalf. In each case, there are complicated legal questions, and many of the details remain unclear, but it is true that gun-rights groups like the NRA and its allies have typically pushed for laws that would allow citizens broader freedom to bear arms than currently permitted. It is also the case that the interpretation of the Second Amendment has for decades been deeply intertwined with the ways the law protects—and more often fails to protect—African Americans in comparison with whites, a history that begins in earnest in the 1860s, flares up in the 1960s, and is again relevant today.

The two shootings give a strong sense that the Second Amendment does not apply to black Americans in the same way it does to white Americans. Although liberals are loath to think of the right to bear arms as a civil right, it’s spelled out in the Bill of Rights. Like other civil rights, the nation and courts have interpreted it differently over time—as an individual right, and as a collective right. But however it’s been applied, African Americans have historically not enjoyed nearly the same protection as their white fellow citizens.

In 1967, Black Panthers began taking advantage of California laws that permitted open carry, walking the streets of Oakland armed to the teeth, citing threats of violence from white people and particularly white cops. When people were pulled over, Panthers would arrive on the scene—to ensure that justice was done, they argued, or to intimidate the cops, the cops contended. In response, Republican state Assemblyman Don Mulford introduced a bill to ban open carry. The Panthers then decided to go to the state capitol, heavily armed, to exercise their right.

As theater, it was an incredible gesture. As politics, it was a catastrophe. The sight of heavily armed black men brandishing rifles galvanized support for Mulford’s bill, which promptly passed and was signed into law by Governor Ronald Reagan.

P. S. By the way, remember when the NRA's Wayne LaPierre said, "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun"? How well did that work in Dallas?

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