Thursday, January 22, 2015

Just F*#@ing Ban Them

It is becoming painfully obvious to anyone paying attention to the full scope of things that this country is NOT equal under the law. People of Color do not have equal protection under the law (we never have), we do not receive equal treatment in the courts, and we damn sure don't receive equal treatment by all cops. Laws do not apply fairly to everyone and now, citizens are taking it upon themselves to help police with their jobs and that's only making things worse.

Open and Concealed Carry Laws have never been applied equally.

On May 2, 1967, the Black Panther Party walked into the State Capitol building in California carrying loaded guns. This was completely legal. At that time, California was an open carry state. The Black Panthers were merely exercising their Second Amendment Rights (as we have so frequently heard from groups of armed men and women all across the country in recent years). Their actions, prompted CA assemblyman Don Mulford to draft the Mulford Act, which was later signed into law by then-governor of CA, Ronald Reagan.

Fast forward forty plus years later to August 2014 and John Crawford, III is walking around a Wal-mart in Ohio, carrying a toy air rifle that he intended to purchase before leaving the store. A 911 caller claims Crawford is walking around the store pointing the gun at people, which was a lie as the surveillance video footage indicates. Cops arrive on the scene, approach Crawford from behind and fire. He dies. Another shopper trying to get away from the shooting collapsed, had a heart attack and died. Let's note here: Ohio is an open carry state.

Fast forward just a few months later to November 2014 and young Tamir Rice is sitting in a snow-covered Ohio park playing with a toy gun. (Note again, the state.) A 911 caller calls to report the person playing with the gun. The caller notes that he believes the person to be a child or teen AND that he believes the gun to be a toy, but he cannot tell. Neither the suspected young age or the toy factor are relayed to the cops. Cops arrive and within seconds Rice is shot dead.

Now, what's the difference between the incidents with Crawford and Rice and this demonstration of Open Carry Texas in March 2014 in a Target store? Is it because Open Carry Texas has more than one person walking around with guns inside a store where other people are trying to calmly shop and get on with their lives? Is it because the men are walking around with AR-15s? Or is it something else?

Now, let's fast forward to January 2015. A 62 year old Clarence Daniels carrying a concealed weapon walked into a Florida Walmart; Florida is a concealed carry weapon state. A white male saw him adjust his concealment before entering the store, so he followed him. Once inside the "concerned citizen" pounced on the older man and put him in a chokehold. TWO other "concerned citizens" jumped in trying to help. The entire time, the older man was screaming that he legally can carry his weapon. The "concerned citizen" and others paid this no mind and continued to "detain"him until cops arrived. They even took his gun from him, which I suppose was their point in the first place. Paying no mind that many other citizens (including children, parents, other shoppers, and workers) could've been injured during this takedown. Paying no mind that it might've been possible that Daniels was legally carrying his firearm. Paying no mind that maybe, just maybe Daniels might've even been a cop. Once the cops arrived on the scene and it was all sorted out, the "concerned citizen" was arrested for assault though nothing happened to the other "helpful, concerned citizens" who also piled on top of Daniels.

Now, what could've possibly been different between the situations of Rice, Crawford, and Daniels and that of the men of Open Carry Texas?

It seems that each day I check my news sites, I find yet another incident of someone (usually a person of color) being killed or seriously injured by cops, cop types (security guards and "door shakers") and even "concerned citizens." Each time I read yet another story like this, I can't help but wonder "if only military and highly trained armed units of police forces (including diversity, mental health, etc. training) carried guns, then incidents like this wouldn't happen.
Toddlers wouldn't accidentally shoot their moms while mom and the kids are out grocery shopping.
Grandmothers wouldn't shoot their grandsons who were spending the night while their dad is at work on the third shift.
Wives wouldn't shoot their husbands who were coming home to surprise them with breakfast.
Police chiefs wouldn't "accidentally" shoot their wives twice while cleaning their guns.
People "preparing for protests" wouldn't allegedly shoot themselves in the head.
Schools and buildings wouldn't be shot up time after time after time after time. Hell, even the Amish communities aren't safe from the gun violence.
And on and on and on and on it goes.

I frequently tell my students that you can't stack the deck to make your argument. You can't offer example after example after example and assume that the examples themselves make the argument. You have to prove the point yourself.

However, I also believe the saying "if you see hooves, think horses NOT zebras." Based on the preponderance of evidence, I'm starting to see that not only is there an issue with equality under law, but there's also an issue with guns themselves.  Greatly restrict the guns=far fewer gun-related deaths.

I wonder what the stats of gun-related deaths were before the mass increase in the number of states with open-carry? I have to believe that when there was more restriction on any and everybody carrying and having guns, then there were fewer gun deaths.

This gun carry .gif was quite interesting.

I'm all about the Constitution. I support it. However, the more I study history, the more I believe that the Second Amendment was NOT intended to allow any and everyone to carry a gun. The Second Amendment and its drafters could NOT have imagined assault rifles and high capacity magazines. The Founding Father could NOT have imagined school shootings

Incidents like these I've described will continue to happen unless changes are made. We're so worried about the planet (and we damn well should be), but we're so concerned with what sort of planet we might leave our children and grandchildren, but if we don't do something better, there won't be any children or grandchildren left alive to deal with whatever shitty planet we leave them.

Pay attention.
Be informed.
Have an informed opinion and stand on those principles.

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