By Ken Shepherd ~
Whining that the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution “has been contorted, misinterpreted, and applied in a way that destroys its intended meaning and threatens the safety and stability of our nation,” self-described “race-and-culture journalist” Barrett Holmes Pitner set out to explain today at the Daily Beast’s website that no, “President Obama Isn’t Taking People’s Guns—But Maybe He Should.”
For his part, Pitner seems to be at least somewhat aware of the racist history of gun control in the American South – a prominent liberal law professor has written pretty comprehensively-but-accessibly about the topic – but seems absolutely convinced that government alone should be trusted with firearms and that President Obama should be entrusted with disarming Americans who, in Pitner’s paternalistic judgment, are simply too immature to bear the responsibility (emphases mine):
Instability, terror, and death are the inevitable outcomes of a heavily armed citizenry, yet in the 1846 case Nunn v. State of Georgia, an integral case that the Supreme Court used in the Heller decision, the state of Georgia—my home state—argued that arming citizens and allowing them to openly carry firearms created a safer environment. And the referencing of this decision only continues the Supreme Court’s idyllic re-imagining of America’s Southern states.
Georgia in 1846 was a slave holding state where African Americans were counted as three-fifths of a person and were not allowed the right to vote. Firearms at this time were regularly used to keep blacks in line and sustain the South’s racist, oppressive society. Additionally, duels were a regular occurrence in the South during this time period. In this volatile environment, carrying a firearm out in the open actually did bring about stability. The reason for this was that carrying a concealed weapon was illegal. Therefore, the assumption within society was that most white men owned or carried a gun, so being able to see everyone’s gun made it less likely that anyone would be killed by a surprise bullet. Additionally, guns could not be removed from the society because they were needed to oppress, intimidate, and terrorize blacks in the state.
This was a society whose infrastructure and logic regarding social stability should no longer be applicable to modern society, yet in recent years it has been to disastrous effect. Democracy and valuing human life were not principles that were celebrated in the pre-Civil War South.
But far from rejecting that old logic, we’ve embraced it, and the application of the South’s antithetical principles have brought instability, danger, and a disregard for human life to rest of the United States. Armed and dangerous and unregulated militias are on the rise, in addition to the numerous lone-wolf attacks that befall schools, offices, shopping centers, and public spaces at a disturbing frequency.
Of course Pitner fails to account how blacks in gun-rights-friendly southern cities like Atlanta, Houston, Birmingham, Miami, and Charleston are much safer from fatal gun violence than black residents of say northern and/or majority African-American cities – Chicago, Washington, D.C.; Boston; and New York come to mind –in jurisdictions with a history of stringent gun control.
But never mind a pesky thing like logic, Pitner’s on a roll with his emotional screed and he thinks he’s got his ace-in-the-hole by arguing that:
Right now the Second Amendment is being applied in a way that takes away the rights of thousands of Americans each year. The president must address this crisis, and not only to ensure the safety and stability of the American citizens who are threatened by gun violence. He also must do it to preserve the ideals and institutions that govern our society that are being threatened by the archaic notions of stability from a racist and oppressive society and the unregulated militias of today that openly advocate armed conflict against the government.
Obama is not going to take away America’s guns. I would argue that he should, as countless Americans have displayed a gross misuse of the social responsibility that comes with gun ownership, except that using force to attempt to disarm people of their firearms might inevitably lead to more violence and bloodshed.
Of course, the vast majority of the “countless Americans [who] have displayed a gross misuse of the social responsibility that comes with gun ownership” are convicted felons who are legally barred from gun ownership after having been deprived of that right via due process of law.
Gangbangers terrorizing the good folks of Baltimore or Chicago – who, by the way are predominantly unarmed African-Americans priced and regulated out of legal gun ownership by the good intentions of liberal politicians who run those cities and the states wherein they lie – care not for the law nor social responsibility.
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor of NewsBusters.