Time to Remove Race From Gun Debate

Straight Up: Calling out black-on-black crime diverts attention from taking on the powerful gun lobby.

  •           |          Posted: March 30, 2013 at 12:20 AM         
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Scott Olson/Getty Images

(The Root) -- Let's face it, in America today black life is still not valued the same as white life. This is especially true when it comes to how we respond to and even discuss guns and violent crime. This is one of my key frustrations with the current gun-control debate and the question of how central a role race plays in such discussions.

The tragic gun killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., remain a sore wound. Merciless killer Adam Lanza took the lives of 26 people, including 20 children. We now know that the gunman came from a home with a veritable arsenal of weaponry. He fired150 rounds of ammunition in less than five minutes in the killing spree with his .223 caliber XM-15 rifle and its high-capacity magazine.

Understandably, and quite irrespective of race, the event saddened a nation and sparked new outcries for major gun-control reform. The momentum behind calls for reform was palpable. Particularly so, as the Newtown gun killings came so closely on the heels a similar mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., theater where 12 people lost their lives and another 58 were injured by cold-blooded gunman James Holmes.

Yet, well before the Newtown massacre, black communities and activists were talking about the urgent need for action on the problem of gun violence. As a result, following the natural spasm of media attention on Newtown, you could quickly hear the refrain from the black communities, "But what about Chicago? What about the steady gun violence and death of young innocents in the ghetto?" The sad poignancy of that refrain was underscored by the senseless gun murder of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who performed at President Obama's second inaugural just days earlier. The circumstance prompted some black activists to circulate a petition, signed by tens of thousands, calling for Obama to speak out on gun violence in Chicago.

 

And here is the rub: We are all rightly mortified and outraged by the Newtown gun killings, but a Newtown-scale death toll occurs roughly every four months on the South side of Chicago while hardly seeming to command special attention, much less rank as a major consideration in the case for gun control. Gun deaths in the ghetto, even of young teenagers, have to a disturbing degree been largely normalized. This is the real problem of race and gun crime. 

Gun deaths in the ghetto can and do still make the news, particularly when very young children die in gunfire or when the gun crime has salacious qualities. But I do not discern the same kind of public or political response. The collective sense of outrage and shock that followed events in Aurora or Newtown seems notably absent following gun deaths in the ghetto. Embedded in that normalization is an implicit assignment of differential blame: It's their own fault in the ghetto, isn't it? After all, they don't have strong family structures in those communities, and it is largely black-on-black crime anyway, is it not?

Would anyone think they had said something meaningful by referring to the Columbine, Colo., gun shootings in 1999 as "white-on-white crime"? No, of course not. Yet we can, apparently, be challenged to have a serious discussion about race and gun violence as a matter of "black-on-black crime." Only in a culture where blackness marks certain bodies and communities as signaling a not-quite-complete claim on full citizenship and common humanity could that become the framing of how we need to approach the problem of gun violence. 

      

 
 

It is true that far too high a number of young African Americans, particularly young men, die in gun violence involving other African Americans. That circumstance bespeaks a tragic confluence of conditions, conditions illuminated not much at all by speaking of "black-on-black crime" or even of broken families and absentee fathers. Closer to the root core of the Chicago gun-violence problem one will find uniquely acute levels of joblessness and poverty, long-segregated neighborhoods, the easy availability of guns in America and the trade in illegal drugs. In short, borrowing the lexicon of sociologists, there are major structural causes of disproportionate black male involvement in gun crime.

Saying this does not absolve the perpetrators of gun violence of one ounce of responsibility for their criminal actions. Just like white and affluent communities, black and poor communities deserve to be free of the scourge of gun violence. Society should respond firmly and strongly to violence wherever it occurs. To say structure matters is not to deny moral and legal culpability for bad actions.

But, to stress how structure matters should change the discourse for us. In America, we typically carry on an unfortunately lopsided emphasis on individual choice as the principle factors behind urban gun violence; that bias is what is in need of realignment. Culture, human agency and the like are hardly the central factors here. To be sure, it does take a human actor to pull the trigger of a gun. Yes. But it also takes a deep and profound breakdown in the bonds of civility and mutual human obligation that characterize our communities in order to produce 443 gun deaths -- 65 of whom were 18 or younger -- in a city the size of Chicago in one year, which is what happened in 2012. 

Such a fissure in the social fabric is not merely the product of isolated bad actors. It results, instead, from the debilitating mix of persistent high unemployment and poverty and the indifferent gaze of a broader society, both of which reflect a legacy of segregation in housing and racism. Yes, with economic hardship comes the correlated difficulties of maintaining stable family units, of parental supervision of children and of putting a focus on education and self-reliance. When you add to such a fragile mix easy access to guns, as we have here in America, and the financial allure of the trade in illegal drugs, you have a more complete sense of the forces sustaining high levels of gun violence in poor unban communities.

 

The gun violence in Chicago should indeed be part of the discussion propelling gun-control reform. It should be because it, too -- like Newtown, Aurora, and Columbine (and too many other places) -- involves a needlessly high toll of gun deaths. This is not a "black-on-black crime" issue (indeed the phrase probably needs to disappear as it is so fraught and inapposite). The challenge here is not how to bring "race" into the discussion, but how to match the outsized and destructive power of the National Rifle Association and the gun and ammunition manufacturers in our national politics.

Lawrence D. Bobo is the W.E.B. Du Bois professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University.

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"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post

Good lord.    That was a whole lot of words that I can't quite decipher .... but made my head hurt in the process of trying.    First, he entitled this with talk about "taking race out of the discussion" .... but then ends with something about "challenges of not bringing race into the discussion."  So .... I admit that I am confused.

 

The challenge here is not how to bring "race" into the discussion, but how to match the outsized and destructive power of the National Rifle Association and the gun and ammunition manufacturers in our national politics.

 

However ... to me ... the bottom line of this whole discussion of "gun control" and (political) "gun reform" and anything else anybody is talking about when it comes to cracking down on the gun violence in America .... IS this very last sentence to his commentary ... and almost the only thing he said that really made any sense!!

 

All of this other, insignificant posturing and political-point-making ..... camera-face-time ... dragging out victims and families that the President and every other Washington politician is doing in the name of "gun control/reform" is a bunch of smoke-and-mirrors, going nowhere/doing nothing, wasting-people's-time BULLSHIT!!

 

Unless and until the gun manufacturing lobby is confronted, dealt with and cracked down to size .... either by the politicians they (financial) OWN .... or the "average American citizen" who doesn't know, nor give much of a damn about who they are, what their influence it and/or how to stop them ..... this so-called "discussion" about "gun control" is a moot and irrelevant endeavor.   

 

And we might as well move it on and start trying to talk about something that we MIGHT actually be able to DO something about!!  Because this particular supposedly-important "issue" is simply wasting everybody's time. 

 

The NRA and gun lobby control the gun laws.  Period.  And NOTHING meaningful in the way of controlling gun violence is, can or will happen .... as long as that is true.  Period.

 

ANY talk of "gun reform/control" has to begin with the serious contemplation of breaking the NRA's hold on our government and the elected officials whose re-election campaigns prominently depend on NRA campaign contribution support!! 

 

Beyond that .... it's simply a matter of blowing smoke up our collective asses! 

 
......and criminal, subversive, or terrorist individuals or organizations will find a means to acquire any weapon, from A to Z, no matter how many laws are passed.  The only individuals truly hampered by such gun control legislation would be law abiding U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.      Criminals, subversive individuals will always find a way or means to buy, acquire, or manufacture any weapon and it's ammunition, including military grade ammo and weaponry, no matter how many laws are passed by government bureaucrats or how strict the legislation.
 
A gun or other weapon must be armed, and someone must pull the trigger or leave such a weapon in a precarious position before any physical bodily harm or property damage can take place.
 
 
Furthermore, the 2nd Amendment will never be repealed, because the "right to bear arms" is a tool to be used against government when it violates the rights of law abiding U.S. citizens.  Black leaders, the black community in general is not doing its' job of protecting the Black community against anything, including rogue police officers, unethical public servants, etc., etc.
 
 

http://www.ceyseauinc.com/

 

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-182700

 

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-961198

 

"There is no doubt that racism exists. Just as it always has, and always will.

 

And a perfect example is Ome's claim that unless you are black you can't understand what the black race has been through. I agree with his statement. I also believe it is inherently racist. That statement indicates that any individual's life experience will largely be shaped by their race. And the ability of an individual to relate to certain experiences is determined by their race. Arguments predicated on race are inherently racist because they dismiss the ability of people of other races to share similar experiences."- CKThompson

 

-CKThompson

 

 

There are university educated individuals teaching Black men, women, and children that he or she are not U.S. citizens.  More astonishing is that far too many U.S. born Black men and women, including university educated Black men and women are or have given this idiot a forum, support, and/or are even buying his books.

 

RE: YouTube: "Black People Were Never Citizens Of Amerikkka" - Dr. Umar Johnson

 

Selected comment:

 

"The Constitution was written by SLAVEHOLDERS.  Africans weren't on their minds when it was written.  All my days on this planet, I have never been referred to as an American.  I hear MINORITY (lesser than) all the time, and behind closed doors, I imagine it gets worse than that.  When the African goes wrong, it's not the AFRICAN who handles the situation, It's the CAUCASIAN.  Had we all been born in Japan or China, would we be calling ourselves African-Japanese or African-Chinese?  If we did, how dumb would we be and how dumb would we appear??  Just asking!! by Norland

 

http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/...rdocs/DredScott.html

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dred_Scott_v._Sandford

 

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-949295

 

http://www.ceyseauinc.com/

 

This is not 1865, and the Dread Scott decision has no bearing on what happens today.  

The only enslavement that U.S. born Blacks face today are the obstacles that he or she place on themselves and/or any treasonous misfit from within the Black community itself who contributes to disparaging Constitutional protections.

 

Slim chance exists that any of these individuals, as it concerns Dr. Umar Johnson, any loud mouth and misguided Black nationalists talking against the merits of the Constitution and the value of American citizenship racing to relocate to any other part of the planet to make a living, to raise their families, relocating once and for all to leave the U.S. for Cuba, the Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan, South Africa, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad, Mexico, Kenya, Nigeria, North Korea, China, Japan, Brazil, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Belize, etc., etc.

 

Clearly, Illegal aliens and his or her lawyers have a better understanding of how best to hold a public servant or anyone else accountable to the Constitution, the "Oath of Office", and/or the "Rule of Law" than far too Many U.S. Born Blacks!

 
 
......and criminal, subversive, or terrorist individuals or organizations will find a means to acquire any weapon, from A to Z, no matter how many laws are passed.  The only individuals truly hampered by such gun control legislation would be law abiding U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.     
 
Criminals, subversive individuals will always find a way or means to buy, acquire, or manufacture any weapon and it's ammunition, including military grade ammo and weaponry, no matter how many laws are passed by government bureaucrats or how strict the legislation.
 
A gun or other weapon must be armed, and someone must pull the trigger or leave such a weapon in a precarious position before any physical bodily harm or property damage can take place.
 
 
Furthermore, the 2nd Amendment will never be repealed, because the "right to bear arms" is a tool to be used against government when it violates the rights of law abiding U.S. citizens.  Black leaders, the black community in general is not doing its' job of protecting the Black community against anything, including rogue police officers, unethical public servants, etc., etc.
 
Correction:  With Obama in office, there is no guarantee that the 2nd Amendment will remain intact as intended by previous Administrations though, because Barack Obama's mission is to repeal the 2nd Amendment and/or other Constitutional Protections.

*********************************************************************** 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FyfkQkchlu4

 

YouTube: "Troops Ordered To Kill All Americans Who Do Not Turn In Guns" uploaded by TheAlexJonesChannel, Published on Jul 16, 2012

 

"Complete disarmament" of the American people Paul Joseph Watson Infowars.com Monday, July 16, 2012 The UN Arms Trade Treaty that has been identified by observers as a flagrant threat to the second amendment and which Barack Obama is determined to sign has its roots in a 1961 State Department memorandum which explains how the United Nations will oversee "complete disarmament" of the American people under the ruse of preventing war. The UN Arms Treaty has caused so much controversy because it outlines a plan to target "all types of conventional weapons, notably including small arms and light weapons," according to Forbes' Larry Bell. Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton also warns that the agreement "is trying to act as though this is really just a treaty about international arms trade between nation states, but there is no doubt that the real agenda here is domestic firearms control." A letter sent last month by 130 Republican House members to President Obama argued that the treaty should be rejected because it infringes on the "fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms". The letter adds that "...the U.N.'s actions to date indicate that the ATT is likely to pose significant threats to our national security, foreign policy, and economic interests as well as our constitutional rights." Using the rhetoric of the threat post by terrorists, insurgents and "international crime syndicates," the UN is busy trying to imply that all weapons are somehow involved in illegal activity on a global scale and should therefore be controlled and regulated by a global authority. This is precisely the same language used in a 1961 U.S. State Department briefing which outlined a long term agenda to carry out a "Program for General and Complete Disarmament in a Peaceful World." Invoking the threat of nuclear warfare, the document spells out a plan to create a "United Nations Peace Force" that would "enforce the peace as the disarmament process proceeds." While the document initially focuses on scrapping nuclear weapons, it later makes it clear that the only groups allowed to own weapons of any kind would be governing authorities, "for the purpose of maintaining internal order," and the UN "peacekeeping" force itself, which would require "agreed manpower." "The manufacture of armaments would be prohibited except for those of agreed types and quantities to be used by the U.N. Peace Force and those required to maintain internal order. All other armaments would be destroyed or converted to peaceful purposes," states the document. While the memorandum outlines a broader mandate to destroy national sovereignty, eviscerate national armies and institute the UN as the planet's supreme authority with a world army, the document serves as a stark reminder that the plan for the United Nations to oversee the abolition of the second amendment has been in the works for decades. As Bell points out in his Forbes article, the threat of the Obama administration relying on a UN treaty to do what successive administrations have tried but failed to accomplish -- taking a huge bite out of the second amendment -- is by no means far fetched. After all, a plethora of UN treaties and international agreements have already stripped the United States of its sovereignty and its power to decide its own laws. The power to authorize U.S. involvement in wars and conflicts has now been almost completely stripped from Congress and handed to the United Nations.

The NRA and gun lobby control the gun laws.  Period.  And NOTHING meaningful in the way of controlling gun violence is, can or will happen .... as long as that is true.  Period.

 

ANY talk of "gun reform/control" has to begin with the serious contemplation of breaking the NRA's hold on our government and the elected officials whose re-election campaigns prominently depend on NRA campaign contribution support!! 

 

 

*********************************************************************************

 

This is what the debate should be about. 

 

When Americans take our gun laws out of the hands of the Gun Lobby, then America's gun laws will be what they should be, without infringing on the Constitutional Rights of any American Citizen that is qualified and sane to own a gun.

https://www.africanamerica.org/topic/time-to-remove-race-from-gun-debate?reply=321894581587619832&rl=true#321894581587619832

 

RE:  "Time to Remove Race From Gun Debate"

 

sunnubian and/or anyone else of anti NRA/Gun lobbyist expression

 

I support the NRA and unlike you I have no beef with the NRA and the Gun Lobbyists.  As a matter of fact, I'm on the side of the NRA, the gun lobbyists, and/or the gun owners.  I'm not against any American owning an assault weapon or any other weapon. 

 

http://www.creators.com/opinio...s-black-victims.html

 

Again, a firearm, a military weapon, any weapon is not the problem.  The problem lies with the irrational/unstable individual or any individuals who pull the trigger, arm the weapon, etc.   The NRA and the gun lobbyists are not my enemies. 

 

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-958106

 

My enemies, my beef is with agents and officials of government who have contempt for the Constitution, the "oath of office"  and the rule of law no matter who they are.   If the 2nd amendment has to be used to keep government in check, then so be it.  Since criminal and subversive individuals will always find a way to acquire any weapon no matter how many gun prohibition laws are passed,  no matter how politically strong the NRA or any gun lobbyist can be, then it is senseless to leave any American citizen at the mercy of government bureaucrats or leave any U.S. citizen in a vulnerable position.  

 

Police officers, agents and officials of government will not be there to protect your life or family members,  when your life, other family members, other law abiding community members and/or personal or real property are threatened by any criminal or subversive individual who possesses any type of firearm, and this is especially the case in the "inner-city".   No debate necessary. 

 

Last but not least, more so than any other ethnic group, the Black community has issues with having respect for life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of its' community residents. 

 

http://www.wnd.com/2013/01/chi...hanistan-death-toll/

 

Caucasians, Hispanics, Koreans, etc., etc., are not senselessly killing their own people on the scale that commonly (Black on Black Crime) takes place on the streets of Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, MI, former predominately Black Compton, CA, South Los Angeles, Newark, NJ, Oakland, CA, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc. ,etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.  

  

http://www.lincoln.ne.gov/city/police/cbp.htm

 

No amount of police intervention or community based policing will stop this senseless Black on Black killing in any predominately Black community, because more times than not, policing authorities show up a "Day Late and a Dollar Short...when you need the police you can't find them, and when you don't need them, in a typical Black vs Police/Court System experience, you may be unjustly harassed, fined, and/or jailed without cause" and more so than the police, the community at risk, namely U.S. born Black men, women, and his or her siblings, must step up to plate to improve the quality of life to protect and defend the Black community against all enemies, foreign and domestic. 

 

http://cnsnews.com/blog/walter...lack-people-tolerate   

 

The Black community must clean up its' own backyard, or the U.S. born descendant of slavery segment of the Black community will perish for failing to have respect for its' own U.S. born Black residents.

 
Originally Posted by sunnubian:

The NRA and gun lobby control the gun laws.  Period.  And NOTHING meaningful in the way of controlling gun violence is, can or will happen .... as long as that is true.  Period.

 

ANY talk of "gun reform/control" has to begin with the serious contemplation of breaking the NRA's hold on our government and the elected officials whose re-election campaigns prominently depend on NRA campaign contribution support!!   

*******************************************************************

This is what the debate should be about. 

 

When Americans take our gun laws out of the hands of the Gun Lobby, then America's gun laws will be what they should be, without infringing on the Constitutional Rights of any American Citizen that is qualified and sane to own a gun.

 

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