The Gray Lady’s headline – Do Black People Have Equal Gun Rights? – is pure clickbait. National Review staff writer Charles C. W. Cooke’s editorial is as solid a pro-guns-for-everyone read as anything you’ll find on TTAG. After torturing his lead to reveal his skin color (white), Cooke embarks on a potted history of American gun control, revealed as an unconstitutional policy rooted in racism. The only real surprise: it’s in The New York Times! Which means, of course, there has to be some anti-gun rights element to the pro-gun screed. Which there is, in the form of a shot across the bow of the NRA . . .
It is one thing for the N.R.A. to celebrate black Second Amendment advocates such as its spokesman Colion Noir, and Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. of Milwaukee County, but it is quite another for Wayne LaPierre to inveigh against “home invaders, drug cartels, carjackers, knockout gamers, and rapers, and haters,” and for the camera to then pan around a sea of white faces clapping in unison.
I know: Clarke is talking about optics. It’s not enough to be inclusive. You have to look inclusive. But this paragraph suggests that Wayne’s motivating his base with baseless base appeals to NRA’s members’ [hidden] racism. And that’s plain old-fashioned wrong. He’s appealing to their desire to keep themselves and their families safe from bad guys. Period. In fact, assuming that the list of threats refers to blacks for the audience is, in itself, racist.
If supporters of the right to keep and bear arms want their pleas to be heard in their proper context, they might consider talking a little less about Valley Forge and a little more about Jim Crow — and attempting to fill their ranks with people who have known much more recently what tyranny really looks like.
I don’t think so. If OFWGs start talking about gun rights mainly in terms of the “black experience” the antis and their media lackeys will condemn them as condescending and exploitive. And rightly so.
All Americans – black, white, brown, whatever – have a common experience of government tyranny. The Nazis murdered my father’s family. Armenian-Americans also know of genocide. Mexican-Americans are well familiar with the corruption and abuse perpetuated by the Mexican police and military. Japanese-Americans have World War II internment by the feds in their collective past.
Even the whitest of the white – Americans who can trace their ancestry back to the Mayflower – have a common history of government abuse – at the hands of the British colonial government. [The sacrifices made by the first Americans at Valley Forge should not be downplayed.] Hence the creation of the United States of America. Which has, at its core, a document guaranteeing the individual right to keep and bear arms.
While we should never shy from reminding the antis’ of gun control’s shameful past – and thank you for that succinct recap Mr. Cooke – no one group of Americans has “ownership” of the suffering it caused. What hurts one of us – gun control – hurts us all. [h/t Pascal]