Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thomas Jefferson at the Police Barricades

 Militarized Minneapolis police guard the Fourth Precinct, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, 

The far right does not spend too much time defending the First Amendment, and the far left does not spend too much time defending the Second Amendment, but our Founders understood their relationship.

I was reminded of that when I read the headline in The Huffington Post this morning: Minneapolis Shooting Officers Identified As Protests Rage; Dozens of protesters have camped in front of the north Minneapolis precinct near where the shooting occurred.

Minnesota officials on Wednesday identified the two Minneapolis police officers involved in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man as chanting demonstrators surrounded a key police station.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety said Minneapolis Police Department Officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze were involved in the shooting of Jamar Clark, 24, Sunday. Both men have been police officers for seven years, including 13 months with the city. The officers, whose race was not disclosed, are on administrative leave during an investigation.

Clark is the latest in a series of unarmed black people to be killed at the hands of police in the United States over the past several years, fueling protests nationwide and rekindling a national civil rights movement.

Community activists have said Clark was unarmed and handcuffed when he was shot shortly after midnight on Sunday. Officials confirmed Clark was unarmed but were still investigating whether he was handcuffed.

We will see what the facts bring to light.  Or maybe not since police are trained liars.

It is always good to remember that in the warped world of policing, lying to witnesses is considered a core competency of the job, and lying to the public is seen as an essential element of their shield of infallibility and impunity.

The Founders of this great nation understood the capricious violence of the police state.  This was not a theory or a rumor.  It was a very real element in their world, and they knew it would always be lurking in ours.

And so they decided that the right of the people to assemble and protest would not be restricted (First Amendment), and that the only way that  right could be guaranteed in a creeping police state, was to make sure the right of the people to own guns for self-defense could not be abridged (Second Amendment).

This is an important point.  In a creeping militarized police state, if only the police have guns, and the courts themselves are part of the problem, then the only safe-check left is People Power, secured by force if necessary.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that, but push has come to shove in almost every other country of the world at some point, and it's a bit naïve to think it could never happen here (since it already has).

Some years back I wrote a piece o
n this blog entitled The Liberal case for Gun Ownership:
The Good Old Boys of Virginia -- Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington -- knew that power belonged to the people only so long as the power of the state could be met with an equal power organized by the populace at large working in tandem.  
Guns were not to be used capriciously, but they were part of the long term plan crafted by our Founding Fathers to protect this great nation from powerful, cunning and patient forces of oppression -- whether those forces came from within or without.

Of course, the gun debate in America quickly boils down to the limits of white oppression of minorities.

White folks want to own all the guns, and are terrified of any black man with one,

As I noted in another post, entitled The Quickest Way to Gun Control:

The quickest way to gun control is if black folks and Hispanics "Open Carry" handguns to their State Capitols and loiter near the parking lots where state and federal legislators and their staffs park their cars.

It was not the federal government, but local and state police that participated in the lynchings of black men and women in the south.

It was not the federal government, but local and state police that routinely arrested young black men on trumped up charges.

It was not the federal government, but local and state police that bashed men and women in gay bars, and called Mexicans "tonks" because of the sound their heads allegedly made when slammed with the butt of a rifle.

And yet, with the NRA today, notice that no one is "AR-15 rattling" about the REAL (and occasionally continuing) civil rights abuse done by local and state police against blacks, Hispanics, gays, and others.

And why not?

Simple: the average NRA member is more than OK with blacks, Hispanics and gays getting beat up by cops. That's what police are for, they think: to protect white, male, heterosexual hegemony.

The pendulum that swings right
will feel a gravitational force pulling it left, and vice versa. These swings are not a defect, but a feature, of democracy. It is a subtle point too often missed by those who sneer at protest, or recoil at gun ownership, but our Foundering Father understood the relationship.

The Second Amendment does not follow the First by accident, and First Amendment is in the pole position by design.


Olde New England said...

I'd like to see you post a graph, year by year starting in, say 1990,of the number of white people killed by blacks as opposed to the number of blacks killed by whites. There may be a problem accessing the data though - because it does not fit in with the current narrative of blacks as victims.

PBurns said...

I say cops are killing Americans hand over fist, and you think it's a black and white issue.

OK. It is.

Here are the statistics:

1. Whites make up 63 percent of the population of this country. Blacks are just 12 percent.

2. Most poor people are not black and most black people are not poor, but a 300-year legacy of institutionalized racism that is still prevalent today (ask the banks) ensures that the bias is towards poverty. As a general rule of thumb, 10 percent of whites are poor, and 27 percent of black, and 24 percent of Hispanics are poor (Kaiser Family Foundation data, 2013)

2. Black men are 3.5 times more likely to be killed by cops than white men.

3. Black males aged 15 to 19 were 21 times more likely to be killed by police than white males in that same age group.

4. Unarmed black men were seven times more likely to be killed by police this year than unarmed white men.

More info, and links to sources, here >>

jeffrey thurston said...

I'm no lover of cops and I hate our new police state but that being said it is a fact that in my hometown of Oakland CA you could bring the homicide rate down 90% if young African-Americans and Latinos didn't have guns. In a typical year here in Oaktown 62% of gunshot victims are black, 25% are Latino and 4% are Asian. !% is white. This may not be typical everywhere but it does show that the current culture young African-Americans her are growing up with can be lethal.

PBurns said...

Oakland is 65% non-white and most of the poverty is non-white. Not a surprise that most violence has a color-tinge to it.

That, of course, doesn't change the local stories about bad shoots, or the national stories and data about entrenched police discrimination, militarization, and escalation. Nor does it change the fact that most white people only really care about black-on-white crime. One bomb in Paris, and it's burn the mosque. No one seems to notice that Boko Haram is killing more people than ISIS. Who cares? The people they are killing are black.... amazing, sad, and wrong, but true.

jeffrey thurston said...

Oakland is about 40% white. The mayhem in Oakland is a product of a stupid violent loud-ass culture which simply perpetuates itself because as you say NO ONE gives a shit. Black Lives Matter here only if they are taken by PoPo. Black on black violence is like the sun rising in the morning- no one cares. Most murders here are young people settling beefs- the gang component isn't even the primary driver- just stupid kids with illegal guns. We have 5 Sandy hooks a year but no one gives a rat's ass because it is racist to point out what's really going on...

jeffrey thurston said...

PS- Kill 200 Russians by blowing up a plane and it's: "Oh well- they had it coming- too bad!"...

Karen Carroll said...

Years ago, We went as a family in the late 60's to Philadelphia during the Holidays. We enjoyed the unique Christmas and Hanukah decorations of the different ethnic neighborhoods. And were not afraid to drive around at night to see them Now days, we would never consider it.

Chinatown and other Asian neighborhoods are relatively still safe to visit for a day in the culture and the food. But, (Mexican) Latin, or Black neighborhoods, well……