There was a lot of violence and senseless death in 2012. There was a great deal of fuckery in accompaniment as well. According to this article on The Nation, there were 16 mass shootings in America in 2012 alone. This article on ThinkProgress highlights only 9. Either way you look at it, there were more mass shootings in 2012 alone than in the three years prior combined. Many cities throughout the US were plagued with gun crime as well. In Chicago, the death toll (506-513, according to redeyechicago.com) for gun related deaths exceeded 2011′s total by 15%. These statistics show that there is a very big problem in this country, and guns are the common denominator. I’ll save my thoughts on the mental health component for a later time.
These mass shootings have been the main events giving steam to the ongoing gun debate, which has received even more life since the tragic Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting where 20 of the victims were children. While the families of the victims and other’s who are concerned about the alarming occurrence of such horrific events are coping with their losses, the gun debate is raging on. Pro gun activists, gun enthusiasts, and 2nd amendment interpreters have been coming out to defend their side of the fence. I must say, they have come out with a vengeance and are getting things done on their behalf. Those gun lovers with the coin and influence have somehow convinced some schools that teachers should be armed in the classroom because if only the Sandy Hook teachers had guns on the day Adam Lanza came in and raided the school with semi automatic assault weapons, they’d all be alive right now.
You think that argument is ridiculous, wait till you hear this one.
In this clip, Gun Appreciation Day Chairman Larry Ward argues that if Black people had guns that slavery would not have happened.
Usually, in the event that I am accosted by a ridiculous video/news clip with so much fuckery to address, I have to decide whether or not it is worth the effort of condensing my comment to efficiently express my point of view in under 500 characters on YouTube. However, that is no longer a concern as I now have my own space to really unpack as much fuckery as I need to with as much space as I need. So, let me count the ways in which Mr. Ward’s argument is stupid.
Ward, a privileged white man and gun lover, is on this show because he is behind the organization of Gun Appreciation Day. The day, proposed to be celebrated on January 19th, is set to coincide with the President’s Inauguration and Martin Luther King Day. On the gun appreciation day website, those who want to celebrate the pseudo holiday will be instructed to go to their local gun range or shop with American paraphernalia and a sign that reads “Hands off My Gun”. The event has obviously been constructed as a protest to bring more attention to the pro gun debate/campaigns to counter the opposition. His exact words when asked to comment on his plan for such a day to coincide with these two events:
“I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would agree with me if he were alive today that if African-Americans had been given the right to keep and bear arms from day one of the country’s founding, perhaps slavery might not have been a chapter in our history.”
He also stated that Gun Appreciation day honors Martin Luther King’s legacy.
It was clear to me, after viewing the video, that Mr. Ward spent a considerable amount of time formulating his little response to that question prior to the on-air interview. If you observe his body language, you’ll see moments of him briefly looking down as he speaks as if to glance upon a piece of paper with prepared talking points in his lap. With that being said, unfortunately for Mr. Ward, his efforts do not compensate for his ignorance. He just didn’t do enough research.
- The first thing that is wrong with Ward’s statement is that he has the audacity to make a parallel between the plight of his current mission and that of MLK and other Black people during the Civil Rights era. No, sir. Blacks weren’t just fighting for some day of recognition. Blacks weren’t selling t-shirts and other paraphernalia to make a profit. Blacks were fighting for something far more profound than any protest you or any number of your cohorts could ever conceive in life: the freedom to be.
- Secondly, it is pathetically obvious that he knows nothing substantial about the institution of slavery, how it came to be, how it’s occurrence still impacts the Black Diaspora population until this very day OR about an important event in the history of America’s development (which isn’t surprising but still saddens me). African-Americans were not so named in the days of colonial America. They weren’t even considered human. To assert that if slaves had guns that there would not have been slavery belies the reality of the facts. My ancestors were stolen from their various African homes by greedy, cheap white men. They were emasculated and stripped of everything that was a reference to their culture and distinct group of origin, which resulted in the gross homogenization of African people. They were shackled, shaved and treated like cattle – and this was before they even made it to America. In America, slaves were separated from their families, raped, killed, beaten, and worked to death. Slaves were treated and traded as property. Black people were treated lower than shit, lower than the most disgusting things you could ever imagine. No description I could give could truly capture the essence of misery that life was like as a slave, and he thinks that a gun would have solved all their problems? Where would they have gotten those guns from? The white slave owners? There were laws that prevented Blacks from owning guns. To call his statement an argument at all is really a reach, but it’s the least I could do. Read this post from colorlines.
- Thirdly, does he even know why MLK isn’t alive today? It may have slipped his mind, but to him and those of you that may have forgotten, MLK was murdered from a distance by a white man named James Earl Ray. The weapon used to carry out the task was a rifle. That’s kind of an important detail to consider when making a pro gun argument while concurrently discussing MLK.
Now those are a few HUGE ways in which Mr. Ward’s “argument” couldn’t hold a milligram of water.
He also is evidence to the sad problems that persist in this country; I’ve said enough for now.
What say you, conscious people?