groups in America—white, Black, Hispanic and Asian—that they need guns to protect them from the others.
On January 1st, Lindsey Graham, Republican Senator from South Carolina, addressed a Congressional hearing on gun violence. As background, the NRA paid Lindsey Graham $20,000 in political donations between 2002 and 2012. The NRA also gave Senator Graham an ‘A’
grade. And to think, in high school, you had to slip that $100 bill in with the calculus test to get that A. Lindsey Graham got an A and they slipped HIM $20,000! One sterling example of his A-level work is that Graham voted ‘yes’
on decreasing the waiting period for gun show background checks from 3 days to 1. That way, if you catch your wife cheating on you, you don’t have to go through the whole hassle of waiting until you’ve thought it through and cooled
Addressing Mark Kelly—husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head and nearly died—Graham said,
“In 1992, you had the riots in Los Angeles. I think it was the ‘King Event.’ But you could find yourself in this country in a lawless environment due to a natural disaster or a riot. And the story was about a place called
Koreatown. There are marauding gangs going throughout the area, burning stores, looting and robbing and raping.”
He used this example of angry Black mobs to argue that people need assault rifles and large capacity magazines to defend themselves. In the story, he particularly suggests that Asians should be prepared to defend themselves against
Black people. There’s plenty of research that seeks to explain the socioeconomic details of why LA was such a powder keg prior to the riots. Graham blithely ignores it and
glosses over a hugely complex event as though it could be boiled down to Black gangs marauding. Interestingly, the research does not suggest that adding more high-powered weapons in civilian hands would have helped the situation. The
LA riots are not a good example for a gun policy debate, because it sticks out as such an unusual event. But, most importantly, should a prominent member of the government really be arguing for policy positions based on the assumption
of the breakdown of society? And if society is so fragile, shouldn’t lawmakers like Graham be seeking ways to address the root problems, not encouraging people to be able to blast holes in each other in tense situations?
On February 13th, NRA Vice President and professional Yosemite Sam impersonator, Wayne LaPierre published an op-ed in the Daily Caller entitled Stand And Fight.
While the title refers to a fight against gun control, the op-ed itself partly implies that we need to stand and fight against gangs of marauding minorities brought on by the Obama presidency. LaPierre writes,
“Latin American drug gangs have invaded every city of significant size in the United States. Phoenix is already one of the kidnapping capitals of the world, and though the states on the U.S./Mexico border may be the first
places in the nation to suffer from cartel violence, by no means are they the last.
The president flagrantly defies the 2006 federal law ordering the construction of a secure border fence along the entire Mexican border. So the border today remains porous not only to people seeking jobs in the U.S., but to criminals
whose jobs are murder, rape, robbery and kidnapping.”
Capisce? Nonpartisan Politifact.com rates LaPierre’s claim that Phoenix is one of the kidnapping capitals in the world as “false,” saying,
“we find no justification to support such a sweeping claim.”
LaPierre gives no clue as to how he would propose to build a 700-mile long fence and maintain it. He conveniently ignores the fact that the Great Wall of China did not keep out the Mongolian hordes.
But LaPierre doesn’t stop at Latinos. He also has a thing or two to say about Brooklyn.
“After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia. Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity. And if you wanted to walk several miles to get
supplies, you better get back before dark, or you might not get home at all.
Anti-gun New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg had already done everything he could to prevent law-abiding New Yorkers from owning guns, and he has made sure that no ordinary citizen will ever be allowed to carry a gun. He even refused
to allow the National Guard into the city to restore civil order because Guardsmen carry guns!”
Or maybe because the NYPD had it under control with “a cop on every block”? It almost sounds like LaPierre is getting
Sandy confused with Katrina. There was looting in Brooklyn after Sandy, and it shouldn’t be tolerated, but is it worth shooting someone who doesn’t know when they’ll have electricity, food, water or heat again to prevent them from
taking some cereal boxes? LaPierre certainly believes it is. Or at least it is in Brooklyn, where a lot of folks are, you know, urban.
On March 1st, the NRA News, a propaganda operation for the NRA, unveiled its newest contributor, Colion Noir, a self-described “urban
gun enthusiast.” Noir’s 84-second youtube rant urges Black folks to arm themselves against white people and the US government.
“No one wants to fight for their protection. They want the government to do it. The same government who at one point hosed us down with water, attacked us with dogs, and wouldn’t allow us to eat at their restaurants, and
told us we couldn’t own guns when bumbling fools with sheets on their heads were riding around burning crosses on our lawns, and murdering us.”
While many of these points are valid, the Civil Rights Act did end Jim Crow and Segregation. If the KKK were ever to come back in force and the government were to tacitly support it, I would be the first to encourage Black people to
defend themselves. Race relations are by no means perfect in this country and history is important, but the reality that predominated before the 1960s is not the
reality of today. Last year, in the heart of the South, a KKK rally was outnumbered 5 to 1 by people who showed up in clown costumes to
mock them. Public ridicule is ultimately a more potent weapon than a gun. The First Amendment is fed by a clip of unlimited ammo. The Second Amendment is fed by a clip that jams up with you in jail or in the grave.
“how hard do you think it will be for Hookie Billy, Wan and Jesus to get their hands on one if they wanted to?”
It seems that Noir is telling his viewers that if a white redneck, an Asian gangster and a Hispanic gangster can get illegal ammo clips, then shouldn’t Black folks be able to? I can’t possibly imagine that this resonates with very many
Black people. It’s demeaning to everyone involved to drive the discussion down to the denominator of what gangs are up to. He seems to kind of presume that Black people generally are intimately familiar with gang activities, which is
patronizing at best. I would never assume that white people are intimately familiar with the activities of white supremacist groups. Is arming yourself to the teeth really the best way to deal with gang activity in your area? Would
that not make you more of a target? It seems especially offensive to the Black community at large to suggest that what they need is more guns, when the homicide rate is 15
times higher in the Black community than in the white community. Clearly more guns is not the answer.
Noir particularly focuses on assault rifles, saying, “I want an AK.” This is a bizarre blend of hip hop style delivery and content with the NRA’s paranoid mantra of: arm yourself now before it’s too late! It sounds tinny and
Noir concludes by saying,
“Guy telling me to get rid of my guns when I need them the most isn’t my friend, isn’t looking out for my best interests, and doesn’t speak for me or the community that I’m part of.”
In the NRA’s world, there are thick, bright lines between racial communities that cannot be crossed. And no one speaks for, to or within these communities. They just arm themselves against each other and hunker down for the worst.
This trio of rhetorical broadsides by the NRA tells white and Asian people to arm themselves against Blacks, whites to arm themselves against Hispanics and Blacks, and Blacks to arm themselves against whites, Asians and Hispanics. The
overall effect reveals one of two things. Either the NRA is run by people who seriously need a mental health intervention pronto. Or the NRA is so thoroughly wedded to selling guns at all costs that it has gagged any semblance of
decency it may once have had, tied it to a column in a dank basement and uses it as target practice.
Together, these quotes are similar to a prediction revealed to the public in 1970 that, after a few murders, Blacks would rise up, starting a race war. Whites would start fighting amongst themselves, leaving the country to the Blacks.
Blacks wouldn’t be able to handle the responsibility and would hand responsibility over to the Asians. That was the prediction made by Charles Manson. And in Wayne LaPierre’s head, it still rings just as true today as it did then.