Rudy Giuliani Thinks He Understands Gun Violence. He Doesn’t.

When I was a kid, we used the term ‘racist’ to describe the actions or views of people who justified racial inequality because the racial group on the ‘bottom’ didn’t have the intelligence or the motivation of the racial group on the ‘top.’  And while there were always African-Americans who made stupid or hateful statements about Caucasians (think Jesse Jackson’s ‘Hymietown,’) these dopey attitudes didn’t qualify as racism because Whites who were sometimes demonized by Blacks were still on top.

BLM           This rather obvious Black-White interrelation blurred when the legal barriers upholding racial segregation began to collapse.  It blurred some more as African-Americans, some African-Americans, a few African-Americans made it into the middle class or became visible and successful in entertainment and sports.  And of course the idea that racism presupposed inequality became blurred even further when a certain Kenyan-born person moved his family into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, an address from which, unfortunately, he will soon have to depart.

But what has really confused the issue of racism is a conscious and continuous effort by the right-wing noise machine, aided and abetted by the Republican party and Fox News, to pretend that African-Americans are also racists whenever they raise concerns about their own status, as if questioning the behavior of Whites toward Blacks is some kind of ‘proof’ that Whites can be victimized by racism and racist attitudes as well.

This nonsense erupted in response to the emergence of Black Lives Matter following the execution of Trayvon Martin by a neighborhood-watch activist who happened to be walking around with a gun.  “What do you mean, Black lives matter?” thundered Rush Limbaugh, “Don’t all lives matter?’  And since BLM is only concerned about their ‘own’ kind, this is proof pari passu that the organization’s perspective and strategies are racist to the core.

Now the fact is that police violence is endemic to inner-city communities where most African-Americans happen to live. The fact is, the fact is, the fact is, but who cares about facts when you can earn a living by running your mouth off on television and say whatever happens to be in your stupid head?

And the numbskull I am referring to is Rudy Giuliani, who went on Fox and accused BLM of being ‘inherently racist’ because the real danger of a Black kid getting shot was not from a cop but from another Black kid. So why does the BLM movement spend all its time talking about the behavior of racist cops?  Because the cops are White, the BLM movement is Black, and it’s the racism of the BLM movement which keeps them from talking about Blacks shooting other Blacks.

I’m not trying to posture myself as an expert either on politics or race.  My expertise extends only to the issue of guns.  So I’m going to correct Rudy G not from a racial perspective, but from the facts (here’s that damn word again) about gun violence no matter whose skin color happens to be involved.

Gun violence between civilians is overwhelmingly intra-racial, and in eight out of ten instances gun violence occurs because two or more people get into an ongoing argument and sooner or later someone pulls out a gun. With whom do people have disputes?  With people they know because they live together, or they live on the same block, or they go to the same school. And even if it’s an argument over drugs, Rudy’s favorite form of gun violence, the argument erupts between two members of the same gang.

On the other hand, police are supposed to be trained to keep the lid on disputes with citizens so that violence between law enforcement and civilians, particularly gun violence, is kept under control. If the shootings in Louisiana and Minneapolis are part of a wider problem of cops too often using their guns on minorities, than the problem has to be corrected now, and no amount of demagoguery from nincompoops like Giuliani should prevent that from taking place.

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If You Don’t Think There’s A Connection Between The Black Lives Matter Shooting And Donald Trump, You Haven’t Been Paying Attention.

I’ll take the short odds that sometime in the next 24-48 hours, Donald Trump will get up at a campaign rally and tell the crowd that the kids who were shot at the Black Lives Matter encampment outside the Minneapolis police station “got what they deserved.”  I found myself at a Republican Party election rally in South Carolina on the eve of the 1976 election which was the last time that the Democratic Party was able to carry the South.  And this rally, which was headlined by none other than Strom Thurmond, could have been at another time and another place, a meeting of the Klan.  The speeches were overtly racist, the Federal Guverment was comin’ down to take away everyone’s rights, the South, according to Senator Strom, was goin’ to be ruled by a combination of the NAACP and HUD.

trump2               If you don’t think there’s a connection between the Black Lives Matter protestor who was beaten up at a Trump rally in Alabama and the attempted killing of peaceful demonstrators in Minneapolis, then you haven’t been paying attention to the news or the Trump campaign.  When you stand up in front of a cheering-jeering audience and call someone a ‘jerk’ or a ‘dope’ or a ‘crazy’ because they yell something during your speech, you’ve abandoned any degree of public civility and are now just pandering to the lowest and meanest folks in the crowd.

When Trump first started encountering hecklers during his long-winded speeches he handled them pretty well.  He never had the class of John McCain, who once bluntly told a woman who made an ugly, racist comment that she had gone over the top.  But I knew that Trump’s brief encounter with civilized behavior wouldn’t last because once he responded to a demonstrator in a proper way, he was just sounding like everyone else.  And what keeps him at the top of the polls without spending any of the billions which he claims to have but really doesn’t, is his ability to always say something that nobody else is willing to say.

So let me say something about Trump that nobody else is willing to say, at least not in a public way.  What he’s doing is debasing political rhetoric to the point that we won’t have any meaningful discussion about political or public issues at all.  He reminds me of kids in the New York neighborhood where I grew up who hung out on the corner and yelled insults at drivers whose cars whizzed by in nthe street.  If you were an African-American they yelled ‘nigger,’ if you were a Chinese-American they yelled ‘chink.’  They didn’t yell because they expected the drivers to hear them; they yelled because using an ethnic slur out loud was just fun. Some of these kids ended up in Viet Nam, others got menial jobs with ‘da city,’ one got a job in the power plant shoveling coal.  They probably still use words like ‘nigger’ and ‘chink’ but now they have to keep those words to themselves.

But they don’t have to keep quiet if they can go to a rally headlined by Trump.  And they don’t have to keep quiet when they walk up to a demonstration held by Black Lives Matter because another Black man may have been gunned down by the cops.  After all, these guys have a Constitutional right to call someone a name and they also have a Constitutional right to walk around with a gun.  Put those two rights together and you know what you get?  You get three young Black men in the hospital with gunshot wounds and the cops, in a shooting which took place right outside a police station, still looking for the guys who pulled out the guns.

It happened right outside the police station.  Think about that.