• Defending America Against All Threats, Mostly Imagined.

    What do you want to bet if this was a picture of a black man, with a Black Liberation flag hanging in the background, watching The New Black Panther Party on TV, surrounded by weapons, calling for black people to take up arms against the government, accusing the government of trying to take their guns away and calling it tyranny, we would have us some gun control legislation quick, fast and in a hurry?

    Oh Redeye, you and I know full well that gun control bills would be flying out of the anuses of every Republican senator and representative on Capitol Hill if that ever happened. It's the reason Madame J. Edgar came up with COINTELPRO in the first place. Well, that and those dangblasted commies.

    America's excessive fascination with guns transforms into abject fear whenever they end up in the hands of blacks, Latinos or any other vaguely threatening minority groups. Ironically, the whole idea of gun control was to keep guns out of the hands of those awful Negros and other assorted "undesirables" in the first place:

    In the Haitian Revolution of the 1790s, the slave population successfully threw off their French masters, but the Revolution degenerated into a race war, aggravating existing fears in the French Louisiana colony, and among whites in the slave states of the United States. When the first U. S. official arrived in New Orleans in 1803 to take charge of this new American possession, the planters sought to have the existing free black militia disarmed, and otherwise exclude "free blacks from positions in which they were required to bear arms," including such non-military functions as slave-catching crews. The New Orleans city government also stopped whites from teaching fencing to free blacks, and then, when free blacks sought to teach fencing, similarly prohibited their efforts as well. [4]

    It is not surprising that the first North American English colonies, then the states of the new republic, remained in dread fear of armed blacks, for slave revolts against slave owners often degenerated into less selective forms of racial warfare. The perception that free blacks were sympathetic to the plight of their enslaved brothers, and the dangerous example that "a Negro could be free" also caused the slave states to pass laws designed to disarm all blacks, both slave and free. Unlike the gun control laws passed after the Civil War, these antebellum statutes were for blacks alone. In Maryland, these prohibitions went so far as to prohibit free blacks from owning dogs without a license, and authorizing any white to kill an unlicensed dog owned by a free black, for fear that blacks would use dogs as weapons. Mississippi went further, and prohibited any ownership of a dog by a black person. [5]

    Understandably, restrictions on slave possession of arms go back a very long way. While arms restrictions on free blacks predate it, these restrictions increased dramatically after Nat Turner's Rebellion in 1831, a revolt that caused the South to become increasingly irrational in its fears. [6] Virginia's response to Turner's Rebellion prohibited free blacks "to keep or carry any firelock of any kind, any military weapon, or any powder or lead..." The existing laws under which free blacks were occasionally licensed to possess or carry arms was also repealed, making arms possession completely illegal for free blacks.[7] But even before this action by the Virginia Legislature, in the aftermath of Turner's Rebellion, the discovery that a free black family possessed lead shot for use as scale weights, without powder or weapon in which to fire it, was considered sufficient reason for a frenzied mob to discuss summary execution of the owner. [8] The analogy to the current hysteria where mere possession of ammunition in some states without a firearms license may lead to jail time, should be obvious.

    One example of the increasing fear of armed blacks is the 1834 change to the Tennessee Constitution, where Article XI, 26 of the 1796 Tennessee Constitution was revised from: "That the freemen of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence," [9] to: "That the free white men of this State have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defence." [10] [emphasis added] It is not clear what motivated this change, other than Turner's bloody insurrection. The year before, the Tennessee Supreme Court had recognized the right to bear arms as an individual guarantee, but there is nothing in that decision that touches on the subject of race. [11]

    Ardent gun lovers will go as far as threaten to commit mass murder or contemplate treason to maintain their "God-given" right to own as many AR-15s, Calicos and SKSs as their budgets and dwelling spaces allow. These same people wouldn't hesitate to talk up coups de tat, revolutions and even breaking away from the U.S. if they don't get their way. All of this, just to keep gun control off the table.

    Add blacks to the equation and the tone suddenly shifts. You'll start hearing millions of reasons why black Americans shouldn't have guns. You'll have reams of crime statistics thrown in your face by "race realists" who use data to bolster their beliefs and validate their theories. Listen long enough and you'll hear talk of RaHoWa - race wars that aim to "purify" the nation of its supposed "filth." You start with a white American spending hours in his basement caressing his gun collection and you end with Algiers Point.

    Fear - that's the main active ingredient in the potion whipped up by certain pro-gun advocates, lobbyists and self-proclaimed militia organizers, an ever-present element that's literally driving this country to the brink of psychotic collapse. Only the gun manufacturers seem to benefit - every time gun nuts hear a rumor about the scary black guy in office taking their guns away, they buy more of them. It's a lovely racket as long as you have enough lawyers on hand to keep your business distanced from what your buyers do with your product.

    Fear of what black Americans might do in masse if they ever got the sense to do as their WASP gun-loving brethren are doing is what historically drove - and continues to drive - efforts to keep themselves armed to the teeth and efforts to keep blacks and other minorities perpetually disarmed and perpetually vulnerable. History is a great tool for figuring out America's peculiarities when it comes to gun ownership. Without it, it would be a lot easier to swallow the assumption that stockpiling guns is a sure-fire sign of liberty.