If the Second Amendment is about anything, it is about protecting America. The first part of the amendment (“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state”) clearly indicates that the “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” is designed to safeguard our nation’s freedom. I cannot imagine any of my friends who wouldn’t agree that they are all, in some measure, the modern-day equivalent of that phalanx of riflemen who have guarded our freedom since Concord and Lexington. But freedom from what? Freedom from whom? Freedom for who?

I am profoundly uncomfortable making a big a deal of racism in America. But I believe that racism betrays the principles upon which this country was founded. Principles clearly stated in the opening line of our Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Black, Jew, Hindu, Arab, Chinese, Latino, whatever. The inalienable rights bestowed by the Creator flow to all men. Yes, the “all” part was muddy in the minds of some if not most of our Founding Fathers, whose views reflected the racism of their day. But equality is the core value that creates and informs the “free state” that the Second Amendment was designed to defend from enemies both internal and external.

The history of the Second Amendment has a profoundly racial component. The landmark Supreme Court case Chicago v McDonald hinged on self-defense issues faced by newly emancipated blacks in antebellum America. Discussions about the Second Amendment will inevitably touch on crime, punishment, liberty, culture and the like, all of which also touch on race.  These issues deserve a robust and fearless discussion.

But I do not consider racialist declarations a discussion. Those who come to this forum who are not fully dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal blame the bad behavior they observe on collective failings of race rather than individual flaws in character. In my opinion, this view is both shameful and un-American. It goes against the spirit of our cherished right to keep and bear arms.

I believe that anyone claiming their Second Amendment right who treats another man as part of a collective rather than as an individual is betraying the very ideals the right was designed to protect.

But I put it to you: while it’s possible to support and defend the Second Amendment and hold racist views, doesn’t that view undermine its credibility, validity and, ultimately viability?

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125 Responses to Question of the Day: Can A Racist Support the 2nd Amendment?

  1. Maybe not so surprisingly, it seems that many who would be the first to deny the reason for the existence of the Second Amendment are the very ones that tend to judge by group or class or race, and generalize from there. They certainly generalize about supporters of the amendment and firearm owners as a group, assigning base motives and grotesque characteristics to anyone they perceive as belonging to the groups they see as containing those individuals. Remember the phrase, “The soft bigotry of low expectations”.

    • Its ironic that you complain about people generalizing the views of members of a group, but go on to generalize the views of racists.

      • Touche! To be fair, I wasn’t really complaining, just observing. And, as you put it, it does seem hard not to generalize, racist or otherwise. BTW, I never mentioned the word racist in my original post.

      • It’s perfectly reasonable to judge people’s views by their expression of their views; it’s perfectly preposterous to judge people’s actions not by their actions, but by their race. You, matt, are practicing Sophistry if you claim otherwise, and you know it.

        • Learned a new word today! Ralph, isnt this the pot calling the kettle back? I mean really, a lawyer accusing another of engaging in Sophistry. Wether your using the modern or classical meaning. You never engaged in deception in the court room, or paid for education?

          And what exactly did you take offense with, or how was I deceiving anyone with that comment? I called him out for having a dissenting view of generalizations while in the same breath he generalized the viewpoint of biggots. He seemed to agree with it in part when he said “Touche”. Were you referring to another post of mine?

          And I dont think I ever said it was ok to judge ones actions based on race. If anything I said that it would be ok to judge the propensity of one to engage in a certain action based on race. Dont think this is it true? Come to Chicago, go to Englewood, and try shouting “nigger” at the top of your lungs. What actions do you think the blacks will commit?

        • You never engaged in deception in the court room

          No, I did not. But it’s good to know that your hatred isn’t restricted by race, religion or creed, but includes occupations, too. You’re an equal opportunity hater. How delightful! One rarely finds one as primitive as you in a modern society.

          Perhaps Sophistry was inaccurate. I should have said that your position is specious. Look it up.

        • No, most people are like me, the only difference is that I’m willing to openly admit it and speak about it.

          What about attorney client privilege? Isnt that in itself an acceptable method of deceiving the court of the truth of the matter? I never said you broke the rules or did anything illegal, but really, wether your using the word Sophistry or Specious, I find it hard to believe that a lawyer hasnt engaged in either.

          Yep, pretty much equal opportunity hater. I personally prefer the word agitator, but to each their own.

          Whats wrong with hatred of a race? You still havent said why.

          Hatred of religion/creed, whats wrong with that? Religion has traditionally been a bastion of bigotry and racism, I would think you would be on board with hating on them. What about Israel, do you support them with your wallet or your voice?

          Whats wrong with hating certain occupations, I know i’ve seen you espouse plenty of hated towards police officers on here with me. What about career criminals, do you have a problem with hating on them because of their occupation?

        • No, Matt, most people are assuredly not like you. This is why I noted your bigotry, racism and willful ignorance in the South Africa post, so that no reasonable people mistake the motivations behind your commenting.

        • Are you ever going say what i’m willfully ignorant of, or do you just like seeing your own posts? You still havent said why racism or bigotry is wrong either. The SA thread is nothing, go back and read my comments from the 9/11 anniversary article.

        • No, Matt, I’m not going to explain. As I’ve said, I have no desire to argue with you or convert you. I only wish to expose your attitudes for what they are.

          And I do like seeing my own posts…it makes me giggle maniacally.

        • atty client privilege does not allow us to defraud a court or allow such an event to occur. sorry, but no client is worth the meal ticket.

  2. “I believe that anyone who claiming their Second Amendment right who treats another man as part of a collective rather than as an individual is betraying the very ideals the right to keep and bear arms is meant to protect.”

    Are you an American? Are you a member of a political party? If you answered yes, then your putting yourself in a collective rather than being an individual.

    “No matter what form it takes, racism destroys the principles upon which this country was founded. Principles clearly stated in the opening lines of our Declaration of Independence”
    The country was founded on principals of racism and slavery. Numerous state constitutions and other significant documents specificly state rights are limited to “free white men”. By supporting America, your supporting this legacy.

    “Yes, the “all” part was muddy in the minds of some if not most of our Founding Fathers, whose views reflected the racism of their day”
    Then you answered your own question, racists can support the 2nd amendment.

  3. Everyone should go out and buy Adam Winkler’s book Gunfight. It’s a good education about the history of gun control in America and the likely direction of gun rights.

    Anyway, if you look at the history of gun control, one of the things that jumps out immediately is the racism. Gun control efforts in the Colonial Era specifically targeted free blacks as a class of people to be disarmed. The Ku Klux Klan was founded as a gun control organization, specifically to take away the guns that blacks took home from the Civil War. Jumping forward a hundred years, gun control in California got jumpstarted when those scary urban blacks started arming themselves in response to police harassment, with Reagan signing the Mulford Act.

    In fact, gun control is not only racist, it’s classist, sexist, and ageist as well. It’s classist because even when it permits citizens to exercise their rights, it adds additional costs barriers to access those rights. It’s sexist and ageist because the women and the elderly are statistically speaking more vulnerable to violent crime, and gun control denies them access to the self defense tools that are the best equalizers. (Deep breath) That’s why, as a liberal, I oppose gun control. I believe individual rights are important and among those is the right to protect oneself from harm, and a crucial part of that is access to the most effective tools. That means handguns and that means gun control is wrong.

  4. The country was founded on principals of racism and slavery. Numerous state constitutions and other significant documents specificly state rights are limited to “free white men”. By supporting America, your supporting this legacy.

    You lost me at that last sentence. That simply doesn’t make any sense. We have a system of government that is designed so that laws and lawmakers we find repugnant to our values can be changed out for better ones. That our laws were once undeniably racist is beyond question, but we’ve since changed those laws. Supporting America no more means we continue to support its racist past than it means we continue to support the monarchy the American Revolution threw out.

    • LOL!

      You are supporting this legacy, when did racism in this country end? Have you been ignoring what we’ve been doing in the middle east for the past decade, or the stigma arab Americans have?

      You dont replace politicians with better ones, you replace them with other ones. Where is this jesus incarnate politician?

      We did change the laws, now instead of discriminating against blacks, it is now discrimination against whites, arabs, etc.

      Americans do support the monarchy the American Revolution threw out, here are some pics of Bush and Obama with the Queen, they look like they are supporting her. I would challenge you to find a president in the past 100 years who didnt do a photo op with the royal family.
      http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_bbj8J3yipeQ/SdQmbynuEyI/AAAAAAAAXOI/af6eFoBNu-4/s400/Queen2AP0705_468x383.jpg
      http://www.shallownation.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/queen_elizabeth_barack_obama_michelle_obama_2.jpg

      • Just because people aren’t perfect yet doesn’t mean our responsibility to do right goes away and “everybody does it” isn’t and never will be an excuse for immoral behavior.

      • You’re not making any sense. The fact that racism still exists in America hardly means that anyone who supports America supports racism. Gun control certainly exists in America – do you support gun control?

        Then your ridiculous notion that maintaining diplomatic ties with monarchies means the U.S. “supports monarchy”. We have diplomatic ties with nations of just about every form of government that exists – does that mean, for instance, that supporting America means supporting Chinese communism? Nonsense.

        Even if it did, supporting America doesn’t imply approval of any particular law or action on the part of its government. The First Amendment guarantees us a wide gulf between political dissent and sedition.

        • I do not support America, nor gun control. You support America, and by extension, gun control.

          Do you deny that as a matter of policy, the government currently engages in race based discrimination?

          The US does support monarchies. Wether it is the royal family of Britian, to the royal family of Bahrain, to the house of Saud. And how exactly is a photo op with the British royal family, “maintaining diplomatic relations”, they arent the rulers of Britian anymore.

          America does support Chinese communism, how do you think were able to sell so many Treasuries. If we were aganst it, we would be going to war, or enacting trade embargos, etc. And I’m willing to bet politicians from the Comunist Party support them as well: http://www.cpusa.org

          It may not imply approval of the law, but you still willfully support it thru your tax dollars and by providing legitimacy to the politicians and their laws by engaging the electoral process. If your truly against those evils, why lend the politicians the legitimacy of your voice? Come join the ~50% of Americans who cast a vote of no confidence in their government, by abstaining from the electoral process.

        • You truly are delusional. First of all, examples of both draconian gun control and strong gun rights exist in America. Your idea of what it means to support America would mean supporting an innumerable number of things and their polar opposite, rendering it meaningless.

          You further contradict yourself re: monarchy and diplomatic ties. A nation is a monarchy only insofar as the monarchs rule. If meeting with royals doesn’t count as diplomatic relations because those royals do not rule, then there is hardly a monarchy at all to be supported by visiting them, now is there?

          Now, you may for some strange reason congratulate yourself for not voting, but do you mean to tell me you pay no taxes?

        • It may render it meaningless but you still support it. How else could gun control take place without your tax dollars. You know those cops and ATF agents work for money, not the love of their country.

          How did I contradict myself when I brought up Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as well? You were the one who said it was maintaining diplomatic relations by having a photo op with the British royal family. We just gave Bahrain 53 million in military aid just as the arab spring started. The US government is financially and militarily supporting the monarchy of Bahrain, while refusing to offer the support to the protesters calling for a democracy.

          Of course I pay taxes, they are coerced and collected before I receive my check and before I receive the goods I ordered. I have no opportunity not to, unless i’m ordering off the internet. I am coerced to support America finically, but certainly shall not do so willfully with my voice.

          And I would like to ask you again, since you seem to be dodging this question. Do you deny that as a matter of policy, the government currently engages in race based discrimination?

        • we also armed and supported most every dictator and tyrant of the 20th and 21st centuries.

        • It may render it meaningless but you still support it. How else could gun control take place without your tax dollars. You know those cops and ATF agents work for money, not the love of their country.

          First, the phrase “you still support it” is what you have rendered meaningless. If participating in any way in public life is all it takes to lend support to everything America has ever done, any dissent notwithstanding, then such support is without meaning. America has by that standard ‘supported’ everything and its opposite, rendering the concept vacuous.

          Second, as we shall see below, you too apparently pay taxes and have no room to object.

          How did I contradict myself when I brought up Bahrain and Saudi Arabia as well?

          You contradicted yourself by dismissing the diplomatic nature of photo-ops with royals as they no longer ruled. If they no longer rule then it isn’t a monarchy, is it? If you admit they have some government function then you can’t deny the diplomatic nature of the visit.

          Of course I pay taxes, they are coerced and collected before I receive my check and before I receive the goods I ordered. I have no opportunity not to, unless i’m ordering off the internet. I am coerced to support America finically,

          You’re not forced to do anything. You could work under the table (for barter goods, of course, wouldn’t want to legitimize their filthy fiat currency, would you?). You could cease using infrastructure built by the government. You could build yourself a shack out in the mountains and live there alone, as you seem to think that any cooperation in any group enterprise not entirely in line with your personal dictates is somehow immoral.

          but certainly shall not do so willfully with my voice.

          Nor do you oppose it, I might note. If the dissent of the voting citizen counts for nothing even when he is outvoted then I hardly see why your rants should count as opposition when unaccompanied by action.

          Thus we see again that your claim that supporting America means supporting everything America does or has done is nonsensical. To adhere to such an idea would require that each person cease participation in a society, even for the purpose of changing it, if ever it deviates or has deviated from his personal choices in any particular – all its other works notwithstanding. No government, no society can function like that – not even the minimalist government envisioned by libertarians.

          Do you deny that as a matter of policy, the government currently engages in race based discrimination?

          I am quite certain that the government does engage in discrimination, as a matter of explicit policy, as a matter of implicit policy, against stated policy, and often without even knowing it.

        • Its not participating in public life, its participating the political process, and since were a capitalist society, the economic processes as well, technically different. The support you provide very much is with meaning, it provides the system with the means, wether capital or legitamacy, to perform actions, without that support it would be incapable of doing so. Yes, America has supported everything and its opposite. I never said that our political choices were logical.

          A photo op like that certainly isnt diplomacy. If you donate $10k to Obama’s reelection fund, you can have your own photo op. Diplomacy would be meetings discussing major issues, not a photo op. And i’ll play devils advocate and say it was diplomacy. Diplomacy doesnt have to be positive, by having such a positive photo, the presidents are showing that they support those people. BTW, I also brought up the monarchies of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, not just the british royal family.

          Good look finding a job running Altiris under the table. The mexicans have cornered the under-the-table-jobs market. I’m pretty sure most infrastructure is built by the private sector, the only time ive seen government construction workers was on roads filling pot holes, and even then, they were origonally laid by private sector companies.

          I wish I could build a shack out there in the mountains, I have 20 acres in California on a mountain. Problem is that assholes always come out and drag you back in to society, like when my neigbor’s kids thought it would be a good idea to explore the old gold mine, and wound up killing themselves with a water pump. They wanted 1.5 million. And I never said anything about the group being inline with my ideas, pretty sure i’ve said here over and over again that i’m an anarchist. The concept of organized correction is what I considered to be immoral.

          And yes supporting America does mean your supporting it’s legacy. Think about it like this, if I was a millionare philanthopist, and killed a hooker while high on coke, would it be ok because I helped so many people? Will that guy still be known as the millionare philanthopist, or known as a drug addicted murderer? Why should it be any different for the nation as a whole? Just so you can feel good about yourself every time you sing the anthem?

          See above, I dont want a government.

        • The support you provide very much is with meaning

          To say you support everything and its opposite has no meaning, sorry.

          A photo op like that certainly isnt diplomacy.

          When it occurs between the heads of state of different nations, it most certainly does. Please don’t pretend to be dense.

          Good look finding a job running Altiris under the table. The mexicans have cornered the under-the-table-jobs market.

          It’s hardly my problem if your so-called moral stance doesn’t allow you to enjoy the lifestyle to which you’ve become accustomed. You’re not forced to support the system, you choose to do so for personal gain. You just don’t vote.

          I’m pretty sure most infrastructure is built by the private sector

          You’re splitting hairs. The infrastructure is built with public funds by public mandate – that private companies are contracted for the construction is no more to the point than the fact individual human beings perform the labor.

          I wish I could build a shack out there in the mountains, I have 20 acres in California on a mountain.

          What do you mean “you have 20 acres in California?” You’re not legitimizing our laws and courts, are you? You’re an anarchist, right? You have just as much as you can defend by force. Anything else is government. Have at’er, and good luck.

          And yes supporting America does mean your supporting it’s legacy. Think about it like this, if I was a millionare philanthopist, and killed a hooker while high on coke, would it be ok because I helped so many people?

          It wouldn’t make it OK to kill the hooker, but it sure as hell wouldn’t make it wrong of the charities to accept your money.

        • It has enough meaning to cause those actions to happen, it doesnt need more.

          The photo op at best is a result of diplomacy. If diplomactic relations failed, there would not be a photo op. The photo op only happens when diplomatic relations have succedded, and both parties decide to support each other.

          Shit, find me a under the table construction job sitting in front of home depot, or as line chef at a shitty diner, as I said, the mexicans cornered all the under the table jobs.

          lol, I dont think any of my previous employers would say I supported their system, or the system in general, i’ve been fired from all my white collar jobs for exceedingly outrageous things. The only reason they kept me around is because i’m damned good at what I do and work for a lot less than most.

          No, your splitting hairs. The roads would have been built by private interests just as the rail roads would have, at the end of the day they were paid with funds which origonated in the private sector, just because the government seized the funds and then picked which companies to distribute them to, and the construction schedule, is of little consequence to our argument.

          20 acres in California thats been in my family for generations, and I’d fight to keep it, wether in court or in real life, trust me, that judge or the plaintif’s attorney didnt like anything I had to say either.

      • Matt actually has some salient points.
        US Government has racial policies and Barry just pushed a College Preference through Executive Orders.
        We support Monarchies, Dicatatorships, Theocracies, and Police States.

        • But there’s a difference between supporting the country, America, and supporting the actions of the government. I find much of what the government is doing right now unconscionable, but I still very much believe in what the country stands for. In fact, it’s because I believe in what the country stands for that I find those things unconscionable .

        • The argument was that the country never stood for those things. When did the country start standing for something, and what specifically was that, and i’m sure I can find a founding father’s quote which will contradict you. The country never really stood for much other than a bunch of contradictory ideas, its just more of the same with different politicians and a more elaborate and convoluted process.

          If you find it unconscionable, then why go out of your way to provide it with legitimacy by participating in the electoral process? Everyone says they are voting for the lesser of two evils, never for good.

  5. Thanks for addressing this. I think it’s important to call out those who espouse racist views in this forum. Not to censor them, by any means, but neither to remain silent. It’s a fact that small number of white supremacists (of many flavors, I know) exist among the hard right in this country, which certainly overlaps with the 2A movement. The 2A movement should not let the antis use these groups against it, the way anti-gay groups use NMBLA to paint all gays as child molesters. In addition to the overt racialist views of certain commentors, there’s the occasional nudge-and-wink reference that is harder to pin down, but most of us know it when we see it.

    I think it’s also important to address the fact that minorities are far more likely to be stripped of their gun (and voting) rights because of minor offenses, such as drug possession or theft, offenses which whites commit at a similar rate, but are less often prosecuted for. Even in the case of violent offenses, rates of prosecution can be uneven. If a white kid gets in a drunken brawl, he’s more likely to get a lawyer and plead to disorderly conduct, whereas a non-white kid might end up with an assault charge.

    My view that our criminal justice system continues to be systemically racist may not be popular here, but please do your own research. The U.S. imprisons more people per capita than any other nation on the planet, and blacks are vastly over-represented in our prisons (which are increasingly private, for-profit institutions). I wonder how many otherwise responsible people who have been stripped of their gun rights choose to own guns illegally because they are forced by economic circumstances to live in dangerous areas? If they get caught, they become another “bad gun” statistic.

    • recall that there used to be a 50-1 crack vs powder cocaine mandatory sentencing disparity. Can’t make crack without the blow.

      • True. And enforcement of drug laws tends to be quite selective. Sometimes selective enforcement is a good thing. In Oregon state park campgrounds, you’re not supposed to have alcohol. This is totally unenforced, of course, and everybody who wants to drinks, but if somebody is getting out of line, it gives the rangers a lever to quickly deal with the problem.

        Unfortunately, this same logic is used to crack down on minorities and other “trashy” people for all sorts of minor beefs – you do have a point here, Matt, although the degree to which race and class are intertwined is huge.

    • The Crack v Powder Cocaine disparity was a result – if I recall correctly – of the feared epidemic of violence, addiction and “crack babies.”

      Democrat leaders in urban centers – many black – asked for the very measures now decried as racist as a means of stopping or preventing lawlessness from overwhelming their communities.

      I do not think it is necessarily just, but I do not think the laws were written to “get” black folks.

  6. The founders had a hell of a time reconciling their ideal of equality with the reality of slavery, but my argument is that the founding documents are NOT consistent with the worst opinions people have about the founding. Freedom and equality are clearly articulated – all means all. The failure of some of the founders and the states in the union that followed to live up to the standard is the fault of the men who went along with the deed, not the standard.

    Many people have trouble with the idea that a man can repent of their error and do good. I think we have made far more progress in racial equality than any nation in history. Lots of room to grow, but I am encouraged by the progress.

    • Tim, do you realize how ridiculous that sounds:

      “The founders had a hell of a time reconciling their ideal of equality with the reality of slavery, but my argument is that the founding documents are NOT consistent with the worst opinions people have about the founding. Freedom and equality are clearly articulated – all means all.”

      “All means all,” except blacks and women.

      Matt’s right when he says the founding of the country was done with a bunch of contradictory ideas. For you guys to quote the founding doucments to make ANY point is ridiculous.

      • Mike, I think it is ridiculous that a man cannot recognize the difference between an ideal and its implementation and from there honor the ideal and work toward a more perfect implementation.

  7. After the fallout from QOTD: Mall Riot, my new policy is on matters of race and DGU alike, your best bet is to STFU.
    The most I’ll say is that 2A should and does apply to ALL people. Of all demographic/socioeconomic categories. If you don’t support that, you don’t support 2A. Period

    • I understand the STFU response, and I admit that I am nervous about people “googleing” my name might think ill of my work here.

      Still, having met Dick Heller and learning his story and how much he has given up for gun rights, I can’t feel good holding my tongue.

      • I definitely understand where you are coming from. I have lots to say on the subject also, I’m just not as eloquent as you are and often end up with my mouth tasting of tennis shoe. If you saw my post on the aforementioned QOTD before it was wiped from the internet (kudos to RF for doing what was right, not what may have been popular, btw), then you know exactly what I mean. Good intentions. Terrible execution.
        So I personally am making a point of avoiding such topics to save internet face, but encourage you to keep bringing up the controversial topics.

  8. Yes. You can believe people are equal under the law and still believe different groups of people have different characteristics. And with the ever expanding definition of racism, it’s almost worthless. Matt Drudge was called a racist for posting links about all of the flash mobs that happened over the summer because the mobs were black people attacking white people. Telling the truth is considered racist. And this characterizing people into groups apparently only applies to race. Read an article about a violent crime. If it neglects to mention the race of the perpetrator and instead replaces it with the term ‘youth’ you are dealing with a black person or a Mexican person. It’s ok to notice the group by age but not by skin color. “8 black people mobbed a convenience store in Milwaukee” is considered racist but “8 youths mobbed a convenience store in Milwaukee” isn’t considered ageist when it’s being reported on the exact same story. I’m not judging black people or mexican people by noticing this. I’m judging the reporter (most likely liberal) who is too afraid to report the race of the assailant for fear of being called a racist. You can believe in a group differences and still judge individual people on their merits.

    • We have a weirdly distorted means of dealing with race in America. Honestly, I am perplexed by how these matters unfold.

    • The question is, why is the race of the mob important? In your example, their race has zero to do with their act. Who cares if they were black, red, green or aliens? But, if it is 8 youths mobbed a store . . . and killed a clerk, ok then perhaps race may be an issue (ie, police are looking for them, the clerk was white or some other race and it appears the murder was racially motiviated, etc.).

      I think the sensistivity is that it appears only negative stories appear. Editors have a limited amount of news they can report so yes, decisions have to be made. And the adage, if it bleeds, it leads holds true. Perhaps the fascination is the people receiving the news (general society) wants to enforce some preconceived notions about their fellow man despite the truth being different (ie, welfare = black even if more whites are on it). Moreover, would general society not accept the news if it didn’t reinforce their stereotypes? (ie, stories about the two animals who killed an elderly couple in Utah and their shot a woman in the head to car jack her were both white, but . . . very little airtime to this horrific crime.). Maybe the reporter is afraid of being labelled a racist. Maybe the reporter knows the race of the perpetrator is not relevant. Maybe the reporter is just plain lazy.

      The only thing we can do is not try to errect barriers to hearing and accepting of each other’s differences. For example, as an African-American (I hate that term, but anyway), I correct friends who say that they are ok with “qualified minorities”. The term implies that a minority may not be qualified but someone who is white is automatically qualified. Now, I don’t condemn my friends as racist for making such statements, it is just part of our lexicon or their “experience”. It is neither right nor wrong, but it is factually incorrect. The same holds true for African-Americans who would want to scream racism if they get a bad review or if someone is critical of them when in fact there are other non-racial reasons. Part of the beauty of living in a diverse society is a chance to enjoy diverse opinions and views. Here we all have some lover or appreciation for the 2nd Amendment, but we all have an obligation to keep that in mind when our differences flair up. More often than not, we will either find common ground or agree to disagree politely.

      • mob attacks have been race based, here is one where a white guy in Philadelphia had his home invaded by black youths shouting
        ” ‘We got you, you white mother——-!’ ”
        The mother of that child then said
        ” ‘You white mother——, you got my kid locked up! You got my son locked up because he’s black, you’re white!… If you make it to court! I know where you live!’ “
        http://articles.philly.com/2011-09-27/news/30208589_1_white-teens-attackers-angry-mob

        “(ie, welfare = black even if more whites are on it)”
        Thats not the argument, its that there they are disproportionately more blacks on welfare then whites. Percentages for both around 47-48% of recipients. Problem is that that blacks only make up 14% of the population. Not entirely sure on this, but I think another component of the issue is the type of welfare assistance, where whites are likely to receive unemployment insurance benefits compared to blacks with food stamps.

        • Matt – you miss the point. People on average are sheep (yes, I am generalizing for a point). They will not or cannot differentiate between saying “More blacks are on welfare” or “a greater proportiona of blacks are on welfare”. To us, we see and understand the difference. To the sheep, it says the same thing: more blacks are on welfare. This then contributes to our inability to have an intelligent conversation. The first statement is incorrect. The second one is correct. Which is reality? Well, to the sheep, there is a belief that statement #1 is correct and cannot be shaken.

          As for the mob attacks, yes, many have been racial in nature. And yes, I fully believe they should be prosecuted as such. The same applies to when whites attack blacks for racial purposes such as the teenagers who deliberately ran over and killed a black man for his skin color alone. Witnesses confirmed as much. But, the media reports on this or other similar attacks seems to get lost. I am all for fairness.

        • Man, just reading through this massive thread again. I have to say, I’m uneasy with “Hate Crime” laws or “Terrorism Laws.” I would support a judge or jury basing a sentence upon the facts, but a mandatory sentence based on motive just seems wrong. It seems like a way for the government to apply mandatory sentences to people they label as ecoterrorist or whatever.

          You are a lawyer (0r almost?), so feel free to straighten me out.

        • Actually, I think a lot of the Welfare Problems are driven by poor Government economic policies and some of the attitudes toward work and education of the people who are on them.

        • or that a lot of people don’t have the ability to conceptualize their ability to solve their own problems. If you don’t have role models around you then it is hard to believe in yourself. Not an excuse, but there is some truth to it. Just like it was considered hyprocrisy to tell Black kids they could be president one day, now it is a reality and hard for someone to deny the possibility, even if they grow up poor, without a father, etc.

        • People run to the Government all the time and expect them to do everything for them. If people cannot find role models to inspire them, then they are not looking very hard. I also reject that role models have to be of your nation or race. Some historical people I admire are Japanese, Chinese, Kurd, Egyptian, Jewish, Russian, and Turk.
          I am none of the above.

        • granted, but a kid in the hood doesn’t see himself with a broad lens. Hence, it is hard to presume you can achieve. It is a defeatist attitude, but it exists.

      • If the inculsion of the racial makeup of the purpetrators was exclusively for the purpose of description, I can’t believe that there’s anything wrong with it.

        If you were to describe me, you’d use phrases such as “white,” “salt and pepper hair,” “keenly intelligent” and “extremely handsome,” and I wouldn’t be upset.

        BTW, if the phrase “African-American” doesn’t work for you, what would you prefer? FYI, I don’t like it either. Americans don’t need hyphens.

        • How about American? I am perfectly content with the hypens only as it is necessary to make us see the differences between us to appreciate them (ie, Black History month) and what a wonderful country this is, despite her history, and how fortunate we all are to live here.

      • If their race isn’t important then why is their age? Why any descriptions at all? Every flash mob (the violent kind. Not the dancing teenagers) I saw or read about this summer that was reported in the media neglected to mention race. And in every single video and picture the perpetrators were black. And more often than not, the victims were white. I could link countless articles of black people attacking white people. I could also give you the statistics that black people are more likely to attack white people than viceversa. Group dynamics matter. With that said, if my neighbor comes over and asks for a cup of sugar I’m not going to say “No” because of the color of their skin. I’m not going to judge a colleague at work because of the color of their skin and I’m certainly not going to say the bill of rights doesn’t apply to someone because of the color of their skin.

        • you probably don’t even realize the stereotype you just made with the sugar reference (hint: Kool Aid). But I digress . . . I would love to see statistics on the propensity of blacks to attack whites. I doubt they exist, but am willing to learn. Bottom line, most violent attacks are perptrated against people of the same race. statistically. Anecdotes are unecessary. It is just the media reports we see (yes, many fail to mention race although with video, why bother?) are not the entirety of the attacks that have occurred. Just what the media editors chose to show.

        • This is crap. I used a cup of sugar because the saying is “borrow a cup of sugar” There are plenty of things you can use sugar for.

        • that’s the point: intentions were pure, but how someone may interpret them can be logical also. It doesn’t make anyone right or wrong, but just requires willingess to walk a mile in their shoes and accept the understanding that may flow.

        • Replying to this whole massive thread is tough, but here’s something. I grew up in inner city Houston (white minority), and I got picked on a lot because of my race. Junior high, I was a white boy among Mexicans, high school, a white boy among blacks. I took some abuse and some mild beatings, but a couple of my friends got seriously f’d up because they were white – one kid was in the hospital for two weeks with his jaw wired shut, and the black perpetrators made it perfectly clear that they were beating him because he was white.

          On the other hand, many of my closest friends (some of them still friends, thanks to the Internets) were Mexican or black (insert “some of my best friends are black” criticism here).

          The actions of a few black, Mexican, white, whatever knuckleheads do no justify the pervasive, institutional racism in our society.

          Finally, Dirk Diggler, what’s with the porn name? If your name actually is Dirk Diggler, I apologize. Also, I don’t care much more Glocks.

          Seriously, you make some good points.

  9. Are we discussing racism or general bigotry? If bigotry is judging someone by an arbitrary condition, rather than by their actions or the content of their character, then, yes, it’s possible to be a bigot and support the “2nd Amendment.” Just because somone judges another by some arbitrary condition does not mean that they espouse the removal of that person’s natural, individual rights. I don’t think bigotry and supporting individual freedom are a consistent viewpoint, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

    • “Just because somone judges another by some arbitrary condition does not mean that they espouse the removal of that person’s natural, individual rights.”

      That’s correct in theory, but it’s almost never been that way in practice, at least when the bigot holds power. As you properly noted, bigotry and support of individual freedom are inconsistent, if not antithetical. It’s a bit like “separate but equal” was back in the day. There was a whole lot of separate, but not even a little bit of equal.

  10. One correction, Tim. The Founders were extremely divided on racial issues. Some were slaveholders. Some were abolitionists. Franklin, Madison, Monroe, Jay and Marshall (the first Chief Justice) all founded or led abolitionist societies. John Adams was an abolitionist. The 3/5ths clause, often cited as a poor reflection for the Founder’s regard for slaves, actually punished slave states. The same African-Americans as free men would count 5/5ths, as they did in Northern states where freeborn blacks abounded.

    According to Thomas Jefferson, only the founders from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia favored slavery. Later, additional Southern states would jump on the slavery bandwagon. It was the invention and rapid deployment of the cotton gin that would turn many more Southern plantation owners into devout slavers, double the number of slave states and increase the number of slaves in America fivefold.

    Washington once said of slavery, “I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of it.” His position seems ironic, given that he owned over 100 slaves. Toward the end of his life, though, Washington turned against slavery, Unfortunately, he was unable or unwilling to undergo the cost involved in freeing his own slaves and chose not to cause distress in the young Republic by advocating abolition.

    The fact remains that most of the Founders were not slave owners, many strongly opposed slavery, and when they said “all men are created equal,” they meant all men. The abolitionists may not have liked African men, nor respected them, but they recognized them as being “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,” such as life and liberty.

    • Ralph,

      Your corrective is well placed. I do know that the majority of the founders were not slave holders and many of them were abolitionists but in my desire to acknowledge the existence of the morally suspect failed to properly honor those who objected to slavery.

      I think those who were on the right side of the issue were successful in creating an agreement that sewed the seeds for eventual emancipation.

      • “creating an agreement that sewed the seeds for eventual emancipation”

        They did, which is one of the reasons why several states tried to terminate said agreement.

        • true, but now you are opening up a can of worms. Does the Confederate Battle Flag bother me? Not really. It is part of our history and cannot be denied just as the evils of slavery (and acknowledged hypocrisy of our Founding Fathers) should not be glossed over either. I have ancestors that were white slaveowners. They are part of me as much as the ancestors who got the free boat ride here. why can’t they co-exist?

    • Well, the slave owners won during and after the Revolution and probably screwed up this nation for a long time in the process.
      The original Declaration of Independence was actually very anti-slavery, but that one got tossed.
      The Constitution in some round about Amendments actually tactically enshrined slavery up until after the Civil War.
      Probably the reason the pro-slavery group could hold onto power was that they had the cash crop and could pay the bills. The industrialized cash economy did not take place until shortly before the Civil War.

    • Glad somebody remembered the American Colonization Society. Shame the Liberia thing didn’t work better. Africans deserved a fair shot on another continent. Free from our society and standards which were alien to them. Marcus Garvey was onto something.

  11. I treat the Second Amendment like I treat the First, in that it applies to everyone no exceptions. Hate groups shouldn’t be denied their First Amendment rights because of their beliefs, even if I happen to disagree with them. The same can be said for 2a, it is unreasonable to deny racists the right to firearms because I disagree with their views. In their mind they need their firearms to protect them against would be attackers, just as I need my firearms to protect me against the hordes of zombies that will one day devour the planet. I think the better question that should be posed is if atheists can believe in inalienable rights.

    • I think the better question that should be posed is if atheists can believe in inalienable rights

      Yes. The idea of natural and unalienable rights goes back to classical times. Then Paul came along and for centuries political philosophy in Christendom was dominated by the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings*. It took until the Enlightenment for philosophers to come up with a theological argument (for which the language in the DofI is an extreme ‘Reader’s Digest’ version) for natural rights that would be acceptable to Christians.

      *Which really was part of a philosophy of unalienable rights – just not one in which those rights were the same for everybody.

  12. As irock340 points out the 2nd Amendment is one of the 10 that were expeditiously added to the Constitution as the framers had promised. I believe it is best seen and understood as addressing one of the fears that the anti-federalists had concerning the new Gov’t becoming too strong. Just as the first disallows the Fed’l Govt from establishing a religion or limiting the free exercise of religion it, or keeping the people from peaceably gathering and petitioning the Gov’t, similarly, the 2nd. protects the right of a the people to keep and bear arms. Nearly all of the elements of the Bill of rights were the result of bitter experience dealing with previous Gov’ts. For example, the British quartered troops on civilian populations, and this was sorely resented. Similarly the 2nd Amendment sought to prevent the very general attempt of tyrants to disarm their subjects. The word subjects is key, as that is how men in almost all of the world were looked upon by their respective Gov’ts. As this was not to be the case in the new United States, the right of the people to keep and bear arms was an essential safe guard to liberty; as it is the only right that allows the people to resist the attempts of the Gov’t to successfully restrict their rights. In fact the disarming of a group, racial, religious, etc; is wise, as it is very hard and dangerous to bully an armed citizen. Now to the question at hand: Can a racist support the 2nd amendment? It would seem that racists, to the extent that they wish to trample the rights of the despised group would naturally seek to disarm them first, if only for their own protection. We see this over and over throughout history. As mentioned above the post reconstruction South sought gun control in order to suppress the black population, as is very dangerous, after all, to lynch armed men. However, some of you are probably saying, that doesn’t answer the question, only shows that gun control is a part of racist practice. So let me answer the actual question; no a logically consistent racist can not support the 2nd amendment. The 2nd, and indeed nearly all the Amendments, limit the Gov’ts power over the citizens and the states. It would be irrational for a racist to support the equal right of all citizens to exercise the right to keep and bear arms, as that would make the exercise of racially based discrimination both difficult and dangerous. Unfortunately, many a racist is a supporter of the 2nd amendment, as many racist (and not so racist) people are very irrational. So my answer is that a rational racist has to be for disarming the focus of his animus, but in practice many are too stupid to see that.

  13. A real racist wouldn’t likely support the Second Amendment. That would mean the right of the People to keep and bear arms. People as in everyone, including the ones the racist doesn’t like, and who could fight back if necessary. Most gun control now disproportionately harms minorities. Chicago, New York, and D.C. are all perfect examples of how minorities are disarmed and therefore easy marks and disproportionately victims of people who don’t care about little biddy gun laws. Which leads to another question, is gun control racist?

  14. If we had the acceptance of racial equality 45 years ago that we have now, I could have married the woman I loved………………

    • That’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. Thank you for your comment. It put a truly human face on the issue.

    • sorry to hear that. my late paternal grandfather was white. He married my black grandmother in 1929 and they were married for 74 1/2 yrs. They lived in Michigan all of this time, although both were from Georgia and couldn’t live there as a married couple for obvious reasons. the sad part is when they went back to visit family, my dad and aunts had to drive separately. My dad was in the middle and he and his older sister had to go with my grandmother since they were “darker” while the baby sister, who is very fair skinned, could ride with my grandfather and “pass”. Race was not an issue growing up – my grandfather was even a deacon at a traditional black baptist church. A lot of the shit going on in america could be fixed if people would try to hear each other out.

  15. So, are only my long posts delayed by hours? I realize I don’t have a birthright to post on TTAG, but I’d like to know the score. I’m thinking Technical Difficulties.

    • Fret not. I’ve had some of my comments delayed by several hours, and since I’m on staff here, I know it’s a technical issue.

  16. “hinged on self-defense issues faced by newly emancipated blacks in antebellum America.” Umm I believe antebellum means “before the war.” And the Thirteenth Admendment freeing the slaves came about in 1865, or when the war had ended.

    • Good catch – I had a brain cramp and wrote “antebellum” instead of “postbellum”.

      One is always asking for trouble when making references to the Civil War – there is always someone out there with more knowledge of the details than you.

      • I probably know less about about the Civil War than you Mr. McNabb. However, despite my SFSU education I did manage to learn a few words.

  17. This country has sold its soul to the gods of Political Correctness. Every single one of you is a racist. It is the very foundation of simple human survival. If you can not discriminate between “same” and “different” you don’t last long.
    Only the one with the gun has the luxury of discussing the finer points.

    • In my town, certain groups of people will prompt the wise to go to a heightened state of alertness. Race is a factor.

      Is one’s willingness to discuss the finer points with an individual of a particular race, and become open to that individual a measure of racial tolerance?

  18. This has been a really interesting and articulate discussion. Thanks to all of you for a good, thought-provoking, and very interesting read!

    My take on the basic question is that a racist would support the Second Amendment in order to insure themselves and their like-minded tribe members are armed against those they focus their racist views upon. Racists tend to project hostile intentions onto the people they are racist about, in order to rationalize their own hatred and violence. Ironically, I think many racists would also support disarming those they hold racist views about and rationalize that contradiction with various spurious arguments about the hostile, dangerous and inferior nature of “those people”.

    I think most of us are guilty of some racist feelings. The very concept, “I am a unique individual with inherent liberty and rights” sets us at odds with everyone else to some extent.

  19. Can a racist support the Second Amendment?

    What is a racist? We’re dealing with a term coined by Lev Bronstein (Leon Trotsky) so some caution must be used. It’s an inherently loaded term. One originally used by Communists to disparage pan-Slavists.

    For our purpose let’s say that a “racist” is a racial supremacist. What about folks that acknowledge racial difference without wanting to dominate others? What about those that just want their race or tribe to have it’s own exclusive space?

    Any of those groups can support the privilege to own firearms. That privilege applies to citizens of America and members of the actual (White) nation.

    Where do rights and privileges come from? Simple. They come from membership in a community. They do not come from a sky-fairy. Merely falling out of the womb onto a particular tract of land does not grant rights. Freedom comes from being in a defined group featuring the division of labor.

    In essence, homogenous racial/ethnic groups make the only true and lasting democracies. Of course ancient democracy was much different (and superior) to what passes for it now. See this link for more:

    http://www.counter-currents.com/2011/10/rethinking-democracy-alain-de-benoists-the-problem-of-democracy/

    With some background available to all those interested in learning, I’ll sum things up. We are the most free in a society of like beings. Where common standards prevail. Racial differences exist and matter. Tabula Rasa fantasies have no place in the world. The United States was founded (implicitly for some and explicity for others) as a White Republic. Deviating from this model causes resentment, violence, and suffering. If the United States continues along this path something will give. Whites should form a new republic for themselves when this happens.

    • Well someone on another thread asked if you were a white supremist, I think this wacky post pretty well answers that question even if you continue to pretend to be just a separatist.

      It’s you and your racist or “separatist” cronies who give decent gun owners a bad name. Your ignorance and bigotry provide them plenty of ammo to turn the tide of public opinion against us.

      This has never been a single race nation and if it ever becomes one it will only be over my dead body.

      • I literally just endorsed separatism in the last sentence. If we can’t salvage what’s left of the Federal system we should leave.

        You’re willing to die for diversity? lol.

        • We seem to have a batch of ignorance, bigotry and racism cropping up around here lately. Not sure why. But, I’ll treat you like I treat Matt, call you on it and denounce your views for what they are. What they are, of course, is appalling.

        • Oh, I’m not in any doubt, truly. I personally don’t see any political correctness in calling out bigotry. Moral correctness? Well, maybe more accurately moral responsibility. Just can’t seem to sit back and let your repugnant notions be tossed out there without denouncement by the rest of us.

        • *Yawn* Just empty condemnations from an empty soul. Save the half-baked pontificating for someone else. You’re profoundly uninteresting, kind sir or ma’am.

        • You misapprehend, sir, I have zero intention of engaging your interest. This isn’t about connecting with you, this is about expressing contempt for your views in a public forum so that passers-by can see you for what you are and be assured that your attitude is not reflective of the rest of us.

        • So you’re the “parental advisory” on my CD? The one that makes said musical disc even more appealing? I see lol. Thanks for the promotion.

    • O.N.

      “Where do rights and privileges come from? Simple. They come from membership in a community. They do not come from a sky-fairy. Merely falling out of the womb onto a particular tract of land does not grant rights. Freedom comes from being in a defined group featuring the division of labor.”

      You are free to believe this, but the Declaration of Independence makes it clear that our rights are an attribute of being human. Inalienable from that sky-fairy I call the Sovereign God of the Universe.

      Our form of government, properly understood is not granting rights by the authority of the community based upon how the collective chooses to value members of that community. It rather acknowledges transcendent rights and sets out to limit that government’s ability to infringe upon those rights.

      As it turned out, the first Americans – predominantly white – may have been the most culturally prepared to shoulder the burden of self government by dint of common practices like congregational churches. Still, cultural practices can be taught to anyone so it is mistaken to claim that treating all races as equal causes strife because all races really are not equal.

      I believe the strife and resentment we witness today is because my neighbor is a different race, but not because there is an inherent defect within that race. I think the issue is that there are bigots who derive some sort of sustenance by fomenting resentment and strife.

      I count you among such wicked men, though perhaps you are just misguided. I also believe your obvious racism is a welcome and refreshing form in that it is out in the open. I admire your honesty and I think you are largely harmless to society. I doubt any minority would give you a second thought beyond a desire to punch you in the nose.

      My opprobrium is reserved for the despicable sort who would look at my neighbor of another race and take pity upon them and convince that man that his way is crippled because of their race. These make dependents of my fellow citizens and create snare after snare that can trap otherwise free men in soft prisons for generations.

      • So what’s your source on a deity granting rights to humans? I hear “God given rights” all the time but never see the textual evidence from a holy book to back it up. Your government can claim to recognize “transcendent” rights but that doesn’t make them real.

        Cultural practices can be taught to anyone, so what? Teaching Mandarin to a Turk won’t make him Chinese. Biological racial differences are well documented if you know where to look. I would recommend “Race, Evolution, and Behavior” as a start to your intellectual journey.

        As for the rest, nobody said anything about “pity” or “defectives” except you.
        I’m glad that you acknowledge the importance of race. Other factors do affect society. Sadly this one is downplayed and as a result the truth is distorted. Competing ethnic groups within a democracy or republic do cause problems. But since the differences won’t go a way we are left with one option: stop the hate and separate.

      • I’m afraid if you are looking for a link to a Wikipedia entry for the existence of God you will find satisfactory, you are out of luck.

        As to the specific citation in Judeo-Christian texts detailing the bill of rights, again you are out of luck. I point you to the large body of abolitionist writings on the theology of liberty. They make a better case than I can make.

        “Cultural practices can be taught to anyone, so what? Teaching Mandarin to a Turk won’t make him Chinese. “

        You can teach a Turk English, teach him our core principles of equality and the rule of law. You can instill within the Turk the civic virtues that haves sustained America for over 200 years. You can make him an American. Probably a damn good one.

        We’ve been doing this for decades. There are third and fourth generation Turks in my hometown who are able to get along with their third and fourth generation Chinese neighbors just fine. It is because both have adopted enough of the transferable American principles to have common ground to be neighbors if not friends.

      • “Competing ethnic groups within a democracy or republic do cause problems. But since the differences won’t go a way we are left with one option: stop the hate and separate.”

        Only when those ethnic groups choose to, or worse – encouraged to – compete on an ethnic or racial basis. We already create ethnic enclaves organically, but these are not problematic in and of themselves so long as those residents do not abandon the baseline American culture of equality and rule of law.

        A major problem I see with racial and ethnic strife is that many Americans – particularly in politics and the Academy – have broken faith with those core beliefs. Politicians derive a power base by chiseling off this group or that and pitting them against their neighbors over some grievance. Academics participate in this wicked process in service to their own political agenda and disdain for the American ideal.

        It’s all very sad. America for all its faults is the most successful nation in the world in getting disparate groups to live together in peace. Tragically, we no longer expect folks to assimilate, neither immigrants nor native-born (children are immigrants of a sort, ignorant of American culture and tradition), into the baseline American culture. By doing this we are putting at risk something unique and beautiful.

        One ought to be free to “stop the hate and separate” of their own accord, I suppose but it is hardly the only solution.

  20. Props to O.N. for being right out there with the racism (or whatever he wants to call it), however wrong it may be.

    If nothing else, this thread shows us that the gun issue and the race issues are connected, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

    • Bad ideas will never go away any more than the tide will. Our job is to examine those ideas and resist them.

  21. You are not a unique and special flower. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else. Your vain delusions of racial equality is truly dispicable. Get over yourself. You don’t have the power to change the nature of a race of people.

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