The NRA dodges a big bullet in Charlottesville.

Now that the President of the United States has finally discovered something known as racism, we can all sit back confident that the violence in Charlottesville will be addressed. But the folks breathing a deep sigh of relief aren’t the few remaining Establishment Republicans who giving Trump ‘one more chance.’ It’s our friends in Fairfax, a.k.a., the NRA. Anyone who believes there’s no connection between the resurgence of far-right activity and recent NRA messaging shares a brain with my mother-in-law, and she’s been in the cemetery for more than ten years. How has the NRA aligned itself with the alt-right, alt-white crowd? On the issue of terrorism, in particular terrorist violence within our own midst.

charAccording to what we know about this jerk James Fields so far, this 20-year old graduated high school, was briefly in the Army but washed out of basic training and sent home. If he had a job, it didn’t interfere with the time he needed to drive from Ohio to Charlottesville at some point before the attack occurred.

But what if instead of using his car to attack the crowd, our young white supremacist had pulled out a gun, let’s say a Glock like the type Jared Loughner used to shoot Gabby Giffords and nineteen others in Tucson or the AR-15 that Adam Lanza used to mow down 26 adults and school kids at Sandy Hook?  Trump or no Trump, I suspect the public reaction would have been intense because the death toll probably would have been much higher than just 32-year Heather Heyer who associates and friends described as being committed to equality and ‘very strong.’ I can just see Trump getting back up there and blustering about supporting 2nd Amendment ‘rights.’ Yea, right.

The NRA has been promoting the idea of armed citizens for a long time, but what was initially a strategy based on the idea of using a gun for protection against crime has now morphed into a more generic argument about the value of carrying a firearm in response to the threat of a terrorist attack. At the 2015 annual meeting, Wayne-o Lapierre told the faithful that ‘terror cells’ were operating in all major American cities and a major terrorist attack was soon going to take place. He’s recently honed the message a bit in order to take pot-shots at the continued resistance to his buddy Donald Trump; now Wayne-o claims the biggest threat is from something called the ‘leftist movement’ which is ‘angry, militant and willing to engage in criminal violence to get what they want.’

But it wasn’t a member of this militant antifa who committed the horrendous act of violence in Charlottesville, it was someone who identified with the alt-right, alt-white groups who are one hundred percent behind Trump’s efforts to make America great. In fact, a number of the neo-Nazis were wearing red MAGA hats during the Charlottesville march, no doubt they bought them for $2.26 (marked down from $3.33) on eBay, free shipping when you buy.

In his recent remarks about left-wing violence and terrorism that I quoted above, Wayne-o mentioned that ‘multiple police officers’ were hospitalized during the Inauguration because of injuries suffered at the hands of the left-wing mob. It turns out that all four officers were treated and released; two were hit by ‘something’ thrown from the crowd, a third was because he fell off his bicycle and the fourth because another cop sprated him with mace. Want to compare those injuries to what James Fields did with his car?

The last thing I would like to see is one of those white supremacists taking the NRA at its word and going out gunning after members of a ‘terrorist cell.’ But if Wayne-o keeps equating carrying a gun with patriotism and Trump-o keeps saying that patriots can make America great again, you have all the ingredients for someone to walk up to a crowd of demonstrators, pull out a cannon and bang away.

 

 

 

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Is The NRA America’s Oldest Civil Rights Organization? Not By A Long Shot.

Now that Colion Noir, or whatever his name is has spiked my Huffington column views by denouncing me as a not-so-closet racist and as someone who knows nothing about guns, I think it’s time to finally set the record straight as to why I find his video arcade to be so appallingly amateurish, silly and without serious content of any kind.  Because behind his verbal pitter-patter and the prancing around in his endless collection of baseball caps, what we have is an effort to promote the ‘gun culture’ as some kind of uniquely American lifestyle that deserves our interest, attention and support.

But what Colion is really supporting is nothing more than the continued marketing campaign of the gun industry to convince us that the real enemy is the ‘mainstream,’ liberal media who wants nothing other than to take away all the guns.  And this is particularly serious for our man Colion, who sees himself as the last line of defense against people like me and my “pathetic attempt to manipulate Black people away from the gun rights issue.”

noir           But what exactly does Colion mean when he talks about ‘gun rights?’  What he and the NRA want you to think is that gun-grabbing liberals (like me) are really devils in disguise, because we pretend to be in favor of equal rights when, in fact, we are endlessly trying to strip Black folks of their most precious and hard-won right, namely, the right to defend themselves with a gun.

This nonsense about how the so-called ‘tradition’ of African-Americans arming themselves for self-defense is part of the bigger pile of historical untruthfulness that the NRA endlessly promotes every time it proclaims itself to be ‘America’s oldest civil rights organization.’  The NRA was founded in 1871, and had it actually been concerned with civil rights, perhaps the African-American community wouldn’t have had to wait until a century following the end of the Civil War to gain the same legal and social equality that the White citizens of this country enjoyed once the Constitution was ratified in 1788.

In fact there was a tradition of Black armed, self-defense which grew up in the decades following the Civil War.  And when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., began preaching the strategy of non-violence, he found himself in disagreement with other Black leaders, like Robert Williams, who publicly made no bones about the fact that they wanted and needed access to guns. But let’s make one thing very clear: civil rights activists like Williams didn’t want guns to protect themselves against crime.  They needed guns to protect themselves against organized, state violence in the form of racist sheriffs and the KKK.  To Southern civil rights activists, Black and White, terrorism wasn’t something which existed in the Middle East.  It was home-grown, violently racist and bent on keeping Blacks ‘in their place.’

There is simply no relationship, historical or otherwise, between the century-long struggle for civil rights in this country and the cynical attempt by the gun industry to pretend that their promotion of the 2nd Amendment is an equivalent effort to strengthen Constitutional rights.  I happened to be living in Chicago in 1969 and working on the city’s West Side when a unit of the Chicago Police Department mounted a machine gun on the roof of a backyard garage, opened fire, and assassinated the local leader of the Black Panthers – Fred Hampton – as he lay sleeping in his bed.  I was at the scene shortly after the murder took place, the bedroom wall sustained more than 200 rounds of high-power ammunition from which Freddie had absolutely no chance to escape.

The Panthers got their start in California and it was their public display of guns which resulted in a gun-control law signed by a Governor named Ron.  But the Panthers didn’t arm themselves for protection against ‘thugs.’  And if Colion wants to pretend that he’s fighting for the ‘rights’ of minorities by prancing around for the NRA, what you’re seeing is a modern version of the minstrel show.