The Difference Between ‘Gun Grabbing’ and ‘Common Sense Policing’? Skin Color.
Way back when, the National Rifle Association was for gun control. Of course, that was back when the Black Panthers were “patrolling” the streets with loaded weapons. California Gov. Ronald Reagan was alarmed by the Panther’s armed patrols and their increasingly bellicose rhetoric about using their Second Amendment rights to fight an oppressive government (sound familiar?) and passed the Mumford Act, which prohibited carrying loaded weapons in public — with the NRA’s help and blessing. That’s right, the NRA helped make concealed carry illegal in California.
But of course, it was because of the scary black people that guns needed to be controlled. Once the anti-government armed-militia talk shifted from urban blacks to rural whites, it also went from dangerous sedition to admirable patriotism. In fact, in the years since, the NRA has used the spectre of street crime and gang violence to frighten whites into buying guns. They never really dropped the scary black people messaging, it just shifted from “they shouldn’t have guns” to “they have guns, so you need them too.” This idea is so ingrained in gun culture that ads and articles in gun magazines seem to assume that “legitimate” gun owners are white.
So, when New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg bragged that his city’s stop-and-frisk policy had “taken some 8,000 guns off the street over the past decade,” you heard crickets. Here was one of the right’s favorite targets — a man who they call “Nanny Bloomberg” and use as the epitome of “big government” overreach — admitting that stop-and-frisk was basically a gun grab. And did the right condemn him for it?
No, they applauded.
After all, isn’t this exactly what the NRA pretends to panic over every time someone mentions gun control? Your guns will become illegal and the government will send it’s goons to round them all up. Well, there you go. It’s happening — or was until a judge stopped it — and, while the NRA is silent on the issue, their allies in Washington and in the punditry aren’t siding with the gun owners, they’re siding with the government goons and “Nanny Bloomberg.”
When gun control takes guns away from black people, it’s common sense policing. When it takes guns away from white people, it’s TYRANNY!!
It’s not my intention to defend carrying illegal weapons, to attack those who make certain weapons illegal, or to oppose the confiscation of illegal weapons. It’s my intention to point out the double standard the right has for “Second Amendment freedoms.” The message I’m getting here is that guns aren’t for minorities, guns are for white people to protect themselves from minorities. Dark skinned people with guns are street thugs, light skinned people with guns are Second Amendment Heroes.
The difference between a “firearm for legitimate use” and a “dangerous gun” that needs to be taken off the streets is the color of the skin wrapped around the grip.
[photo by Anas Ahmad]
[Mayor Bloomberg] has promised to appeal [the ‘stop and frisk’ ruling], but, fortunately, he will be leaving City Hall soon. His successor should retract the appeal and begin the process of bringing New York City’s police practices in line with the Constitution.
Bloomberg’s response to ‘stop and frisk’ ruling: fearmongering and logical fallacies.
I can sum up NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s response to a ruling effectively ending the city’s “stop and frisk” policy (it’s hard to see how any reform will be possible): “WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!" He defends the racial profiling by saying, "They fight crime wherever crime is occurring, and they don’t worry if their work doesn’t match up to a census chart. As a result, today we have fewer guns, fewer shootings, and fewer homicides. In fact, murders are 50 percent below the level they were 12 years ago when we came into office – something no one thought possible back then."
The problem, of course, is that the racial component of “stop and frisk” is an abject failure and Bloomberg’s math doesn’t add up at all. During the trial which led to her ruling, Judge Shira Scheindlin noted that “A lot of people are being frisked or searched on suspicion of having a gun and nobody has a gun.” In fact, only 0.14% of these searches turned up a gun or contraband, “So the point is suspicion turns out to be wrong in most cases.” Worse, some 80% of those subjected to “stop and frisk” were minorities. So not only is it applied in a clearly racist manner, but it couldn’t possibly account for a 50% decrease in homicides.
Bloomberg also hopes to rally lefties by waving his gun control flag and a whole lot of fearmongering; “The fact that fewer guns are on the street now shows that our efforts have been successful. There is just no question that Stop-Question-Frisk has saved countless lives. And we know that most of the lives saved, based on the statistics, have been black and Hispanic young men.”
The question isn’t whether or not it saves lives, the question is whether it’s just and legal. This was the same logical fallacy that the Bush administration fell in love with after 9/11; whenever they ran into resistance from civil libertarians, they’d say, “insert abusive policy here would’ve prevented 9/11! Why do you hate America?”
A lot of things would prevent murder and reduce crime. If we killed everyone in NYC, for example, the violent crime rate would drop to zero. If that’s too extreme for you, we could lock everyone up in solitary in a supermax — same outcome. We could institute 1:1 policing, where everyone is followed around by their own personal cop, who keeps a loaded gun pointed at their head. How about mandatory weekly lie detector and drug testing for all citizens? There are a lot of things you could do that would reduce crime drastically — the question is whether they’re constitutional — or even a good idea — not whether or not they work.
"Stop and frisk" is a police-state tactic and it’s practiced in a racist manner. Whether it reduces crime or not is irrelevant — and, since Bloomberg’s numbers are obviously horseshit, we can assume it doesn’t.
Bloomberg’s shamefully hysterical defense of this policy is one of the worst examples of fearmongering to come out of his office since Rudy Giulliani occupied it. For the record, that’s not a good thing.
When Gun Nuts Abandon Guns as Their Method of ‘Tyrant-Killing.’
For a while now, I’ve been arguing that the gun lobby’s and Tea Party’s interpretation of the Second Amendment amounts to advocating terrorism. There’s no small amount of bullying thuggishness in the threat to start shooting “tyrants” if you don’t get your way. They would have us believe that the founders intended that constitutionality be tested not by the courts, but by wild-eyed, poorly-informed loons who believe that “unconstitutional” means “something I don’t agree with.” And that the remedy for an unconstitutional law or act isn’t to reverse it in the judiciary, but to start blasting. Luckily, people who feel the need to hide behind piles of guns and ammo aren’t exactly paragons of courage, so the threat had remained a threat.
New York Times: Two letters that contained threats to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — one addressed to him, the other to a lobbyist who works on his gun control campaign — have tested positive for the deadly poison ricin, the authorities said on Wednesday.
The first letter was opened at a New York City mail center in Lower Manhattan on Friday, the police said. Although staff members at the mail center do not appear to have become ill, several police officers who came into contact with the letter’s contents “indicated some mild symptoms the next day, including diarrhea,” and they are being treated in hospitals, the New York Police Department’s spokesman, Paul J. Browne, said on Wednesday afternoon. “They’re being checked out as a precaution.”
The second letter, which was opened on Sunday in Washington, was addressed to Mark Glaze, the director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group Mr. Bloomberg helps run and finances, officials said. Mr. Glaze opened the letter, an official said. No injuries were reported, Mr. Browne said.
“Both letters were identical in content, bore references to the debate over gun regulation and contained written threats to Mayor Bloomberg,” the report tells us.
OK, so mailing poison isn’t exactly carrying out the threat to start blasting that the rightwing Yosemite Sams are so fond of making. But the motive is apparently the same. Besides, chemical weapon or projectile weapon — what’s the difference, really? If your intent is to eliminate “tyrants,” then one’s as good as the other. Revolution is war, after all. And of course, ricin is a much less risky weapon. Mountains of bravery and valor are not required.
It’s tempting to blame rightwing media for escalating the rhetoric to the point that wingnuts start seeing justifications for murder, but the truth is that they aren’t really necessary to bring this whole pot of crazy to a boil. Elected Republicans are doing a fine job of it, by constantly amping everything up to eleven and making any bills they oppose seem like constitutional crises foretelling the imminent collapse of the United States. We don’t need Rush Limbaugh to get all the gullible cowards crapping themselves. At least, not when we have Rand Paul.
But the most amazing part of all this is that the wingnut base has no tolerance nor appetite for the things they routinely threaten to do. If tyrant-killing is the most American of pastimes, then they aren’t very American. Whenever anything like this happens, the cry of “false flag!” goes up on conspiracy theorist websites and is echoed in the comment threads of the wingnut blogosphere. Even when one of their own rises up to fight what they see as tyranny, it gets twisted around into yet more evidence of tyranny. They continually call for terrorist acts, but when one actually happens they blame someone else — in this case, Bloomberg himself.
For his part, the Mayor of New York City is undeterred by this act of terrorism. “The letter obviously, referred to our anti-gun efforts but there’s 12,000 people [who] are going to get killed this year with guns and 19,000 that are going to commit suicide with guns, and we’re not going to walk away from those efforts,” he said of the incident.
It’s pretty clear which side in this fight has all the courage.
[photo by zhouxuan12345678]
Stories to Watch: 10/13/11
Sorry for the late headlines, but for some reason a windows update was sucking up all my CPU power. Never did that before. I couldn’t get anything to work, so I decided to let the updater run its course while I got something to eat. Seems to be working fine. Now here’s the [somewhat abbreviated] news…
A Reuters story trying to tie the 99-percenters to George Soros is so weak that even a Reuters blogger can’t get behind it.
A Wall Street CEO writes a very strange op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that seems to blame President Obama for ungrateful panhandlers.
Remember how Michael Bloomberg said the Wall Street protesters could stay as long as they wanted? Yeah, that was bullshit. He’s trying to run them out again.
Americans support Occupy Wall Street and oppose the Tea Party. This is a fact the 'baggers don't seem to like much.
Can we all stop pretending that Paul Ryan is some sort of economic genius now?
Finally, Ron Paul’s got the mange or something.
Stories to Watch: 10/10/11
I’ve pointed it out before, but I think the new movie Real Steel was originally pitched as Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots: The Movie. Prove me wrong. Either way, you couldn’t pay me to see it. Now here’s the news…
Mike Lupica of the NY Daily News rips Eric Cantor up, down, and sideways for hypocritically calling the 99-percenters a “mob.” Cantor is a “a dull young congressman clearly aspiring to be an even duller presidential candidate someday,” in Lupica’s view. He sounds “like one of the pompous patriots of Cable America and talk radio who have made Occupy Wall Street an attack on capitalism. And if it’s an attack on capitalism, that means it must be an attack on them. Rich and white. Generally, their rallying cry goes something like this: I’ve got mine.” There’s more fire than substance here, but it’s still nice to see.
And, of course, the Wall Street Ministry of Propaganda makes a big deal about what the Iranian Ministry of Propaganda says about the Wall Street protests. Heads up to Fox News: the stuff Iran’s government says is usually bullshit and smart people don’t pay it no never mind no how.
Michael Bloomberg says that the protesters can stay at Zuccotti Park for as long as they want. That’ll probably be a nice change from pepper spray and cracking heads.
Rick Perry’s already being written off.
Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbinky plans to run for congress, apparently unaware that his 15 minutes of fame ran out a long, long time ago.
The statistical and demographic information you can glean from the We Are the 99% Tumblr blog is really kind of fascinating.
Finally, you kind of wish they’d make up their damned minds. First the Wisconsin GOP puts up metal detectors in the state Capitol, now they want to allow concealed carry there.
News Roundup for 10/7/11
-Headline of the Day-
"Michael Bloomberg tells Occupy Wall Street protesters to lay off banks."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has just about had it up to here with these darned protesters on Wall Street. Mike wonders why they gotta pick on the banks, instead of protesting the government — like decent ‘baggers do. Unfortunately, his reasoning is just one big ol’ sack-o-stupid.
"Everyone’s got a thing they want to protest, some of which is not realistic," Bloomberg said during his weekly radio show Let’s Rap With Da Mair. “And if you focus for example on driving the banks out of New York City, you know those are our jobs… You can’t have it both ways: If you want jobs you have to assist companies and give them confidence to go and hire people.”
Because that’s what the protesters want, don’t let the total lack of any “BANKS GET THE HELL OUT OF NYC!” signs or anyone saying anything like that fool you. The whole thing is about driving those danged banks to New Jersey.
Mike also had some words for labor unions that have thrown their support behind the protests, telling them “their salaries come from — are paid by — some of the people they’re trying to vilify.” He’d have a point, except labor unions pretty much exist to hold employers accountable. Try using that argument on a picket line sometime Mayor, then enjoy all the open-mouthed “WTF, are you stupid?” stares you get.
"We’re just supposed to sit there and be silent while people get hurt?" asks Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers. "Is that what the mayor’s rationale is?"
Apparently so. Now go home, put on a three-cornered hat and pantaloons, and protest Obama — like a normal person.
Did I mention that Micheal Bloomberg is a gazillion-dollar Wall Street type? I probably should have. (Politico)
-I think you’ve run out-
The Republican Party is taking the news that Chris Christie and Sarah Palin won’t run pretty hard.
Click for full comic
I think you guys are stuck with the nuts you’ve already got. (Go Comics)
"Nearly Half of Americans Cannot Name A Single GOP Presidential Candidate."
Kind of explains the previous item, doesn’t it? (Wonkette)