Two threads of American history are coming together “nicely”, but neither is nice. The one is the freedom of the constabulary to shoot down Black people at will. The advent of film easily made has made this phenomenon an ineluctable fact, thrust into our faces by surveillance cameras. dashcams, cell phone videos, body cameras and just plain old touristy handheld video cameras. The police shoot down Black people. Period.
The other thread is mass shootings, a phenomenon celebrated in old West movies but not so appreciated in real life where the shootees are often friends, family and neighbors. We have always had individual shootings where two people have a beef and resolve it the good ol’ â€˜Murican way, with shootin’ irons. We have idealized and idolized this manner of conflict resolution. Arbitration by gunfire.
With not only film of these events but heavy and professional news reporting, this feature of our culture is being crammed down our throats. I just heard that one of the idiot Congressman who kept funding for research into gun violence away from the CDC (yes, that’s condescending) has changed his mind, saying even that he was wrong. That man deserves a medal once he gains enough intelligence to appreciate it.
The individual shootings occur primarily among the poor, and thanks to the American caste system, Blacks are over represented among the poor. As all people around the world do, they organize into gangs and make money through illicit trade, all resulting in a great deal of violence. Because the media reserve their attention for the Black underclass and ignore the massive number of shootings in meth-soaked rural America, the Right gets to yell about Blacks picking on poor policemen just trying to keep the streets safe by gunning down Black thugs while violence in their own communities goes unaddressed. Due to the fact that most White (and other) people ignore Blacks other than on this issue, they are unaware, poor things, that Black communities have been holding marches and block watches and anti-gang and anti-gun and anti-violence campaigns for decades. They just don’t know (yes, more condescension).
Therefore, be it here resolved that the American Negro needs to organize his own communities, police his own communities, render swift justice on the con-artists, flim-flam artists, and shysters who will immediately try to take advantage of an all-Black environment, esp crooked politicians. How likely is it that this will occur? About as likely as my 3 stage assault on mass shootings: on-site security measures, increased mental health facilities and access to them, and gun buy-back programs. Because my plan will not totally eliminate gun violence, it will be rejected; also it will be rejected b/c it costs money to improve mental health care (which incl early intervention in schools at the primary level as they do in Finland) and it costs money to train security officers and equip sites with state-of-the-art equipment, and it costs the gun company executives their freedom when they are found selling guns unlawfully.
As they say in Japan: never hoppen.
Later—- correction: nevah hoppen
And this is a good item, like the earlier post on a disconnect between my wife and me on race as a factor in slavery, to explore the distinction between world view and perspective. I would say my wife’s take on slavery as race-based is world view b/c she is not looking at its origins but at its pervasive character once the 17th century had passed and slavery in the U.S. became entirely race-based, laying the foundation for the chasm between Whites and Blacks in the country. OTOH, the views on gun violence are based, in the case of sane people and not the rabid Right, on perspective and opinion. Many gun-owners know only people who use and own guns responsibly; as a kid growing up in a gun-owning culture, I don’t recall anyone thinking in terms of defending themselves by shooting people. OTOH, there are many people whose perspective calls them to own guns for self-protection.
This gets confusing b/c people can have world views e.g. a Clash of Civilizations which also call them to arm themselves, but I am talking about people who simply look at all the crime reported on TV and take the perspective that they had better arm themselves. Or my mechanic whose son in miliatry service with Homeland Security is alarmed that Arizona is a corridor for illicit trade and trafficking – that can be a perspective based on the son’s constant dealing with such threats, though in the big picture the threats may be minor. That perspective leads to the son’s conclusion that his family is in danger and he wants his father to defend his family. We may not agree with that perspective, but it is not necessarily a world view.
Aside to the grouplet: I do not put forth my world view, perspectives, nor opinions as sacrosanct. Where the rubber meets the road is on facts. I understand how my wife can have the perspective and even world view that race has divided the world as she knows it while I have studied a narrow slice of history and have gleaned the fact that Africans were not initially targeted as being worthy only of being slaves. The Portuguese Court received ambassadors from the Kingdom of the Kongo in the 1500s whereas Blacks in the South in this century were not allowed to testify against a White man. Those are facts and no matter your world view, you have to account for them.
Charles Blow has a nice column today on visiting a gun show with his brother, a gun collector, in Austin. Few crazies, just people who enjoy guns. Where are these people when we need to pass regulations that will cut down, not eliminate, abuse of firearms and institute reforms in mental health service priororities and beef up security at public sites?
May 9, 2023 update
The mass shootings have now grown so common, a majority, I believe, with the assistance of AR-15s, the de rigueur weapon for such shootings and quite a few committed by gunmen with a White Supremacist orientation despite themselves not quite qualifying as White.
So let’s start examining this phenomenon and then review the above attempt made in 2015 to relieve some of the blood-letting. My premise is that there is a lot of shallow, uninformed, confused, self-serving, and downright clueless discussion around this issue. I would add ‘hysterical and panicky’ but those are pretty much in order now, given the spate of shootings we’ve seen just this half-year.
Continuing……….. The first thing to get rid of is the notion that if a particular solution does not get rid of all guns, then it is no use trying it. The second: that the mental health issues that stalk most gunmen can be dealt with by mental health professionals. The third is that armed people can stop such gunmen or that having everyone packing will result in a peaceful society. The fourth is that politicians are the people to lead us to effective reduction of death by gun; they have elections to win and open discussing of real unpleasant things does not make one popular. The fifth is that there exist experts somewhere who have the solution; America is unique and even we do not produce people with the answers. Sixth is connected to number five: that we can compare our nation to another nation without taking into account all the effective factors mitigating gun use by unhappy people.