Friday, June 26, 2015

Racism is Bad; Racism with Guns We Let Them Have… Unforgivable

We’ve had a slew of cop-on-black killings of late, and very few resulting in much at all in the way of police criminal convictions or even internal discipline, even when the “perpetrator” turned out to be unarmed. It’s just the way it is. A revolving door of black men, somewhere between 25% and 30% of them, convicted felons (easier to plea bargain even for the innocent these days), who can never thereafter really get the kind of jobs they need to avoid turning back to “work” that pays (often leading to recidivism and additional burdens on the state from supporting the children left behind plus the cost of incarceration). Trust me, if a fair shot of life is what you want, access to a decent education, the last place you want to grow up as an African-American is the inner city.
Hey, but all dem white folks being worried about their personal security with all dem black folks out dere wit criminal records looking to make a livin’! So dey needz dem guns! Dey needs to protect dere castle and stand dere ground, ‘cause white folks don’t get convicted too much for killin’ black folks. Now everybody be needin’ guns. Sounds disgusting and condescending, right? Racism across every word.
But guns do permeate our world, militias with white power roots are all over the place, and there are lots of sick people who feel that somehow a person of color, someone with a different sexual orientation or ethnicity, just isn’t worth the same as a traditional white person with strong Evangelical leadings. Sick people like Dylann Roof (pictured above), racist through and through (just visit his website), with unlimited access to all kinds of weapons… and the apparent malice to use these guns against deeply religious people who welcomed him to their worship service. Black people.
So let’s look at this security myth (the ‘self-defense’ cornerstone of the entire NRA philosophy), using precious statistics because the NRA has made it difficult for government agencies to collect homicide gun data. The Violence Policy Center has generated tons of raw data on the fact of guns used from crimes versus guns used for security. It’s all in their June 2015 Firearms Justifiable Homicides and Non-Fatal Self-Defense Gun Use report. Here are a few excerpts from this statistically-based study:
In 2012, across the nation there were only 259 justifiable homicides involving a private citizen using a firearm reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program as detailed in its Supplementary Homicide Report (SHR).
 That same year, there were 8,342 criminal gun homicides tallied in the SHR. In 2012, for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides. And this ratio, of course, does not take into account the tens of thousands of lives ended in gun suicides or unintentional shootings that year…
For the five-year period 2008 through 2012, there were only 1,108 justifiable homicides involving a gun…
In 2012 for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 32 criminal homicides. For the five-year period 2008 through 2012, for every justifiable homicide in the United States involving a gun, guns were used in 38 criminal homicides…
In 2012, 35.5 percent (92 of 259) of persons killed in a firearm justifiable homicide were known to the shooter, 51.4 percent (133) were strangers, and in 13.1 percent (34) the relationship was unknown. For the five-year period 2008 through 2012, 32.9 percent (364 of 1,108) of persons killed in a firearm justifiable homicide were known to the shooter, 56.0 percent (620) were strangers, and in 11.2 percent (124) the relationship was unknown…
In 2012 there were 20,666 firearm suicide deaths and 548 fatal unintentional shootings. Source: Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention WISQARS database.
Does a 32-to-1 or a 38-to-1 ratio of self-defense-to-criminal gun homicide make sense in justifying the right to gun ownership? Really? These numbers totally obliterate any “self-defense” justification for gun-ownership. Instead we get: Mass slayings, serial killers, and tons of murders.
Every time there is a mass killing, and the notion of gun control crops up, guns start selling in record numbers, such that Barack Obama may be the best “gun sales” incentivizing president in history. But why can’t we just take away guns that really have no justification being out there, allow strict licensing for the guns that remain, knowing that the Second Amendment was really just a way to arm our citizen soldiers. “It can never work,” says the NRA, that horrific lobbying group for American gun-makers.
Aussie comic Jim Jeffries (Washington Post, June 19th) puts it in a way perhaps even the most jaded gun owners among us might comprehend: “ ‘In Australia we had guns, right up until 1996. In 1996 Australia had the biggest massacre on earth. Still hasn't been beaten,’ Jeffries says. ‘Now after that they banned guns. Now in the 10 years before Port Arthur, there were 10 massacres. Since the gun ban in 1996, there hasn't been a single massacre since. I don't know how or why this happened. Maybe it was a coincidence.’”
“Jeffries explained that he understands, however, that Australia and America are different places.
I understand that Australia and America are too vastly different cultures with two vastly different people. In Australia we had the biggest massacre on earth and the Australian government went, ‘That's it, no more guns!’ And we all went, ‘Yeah, right, then, that seems fair enough.’
Now in America, you have the Sandy Hook Massacre where tiny little children died and your government went, ‘Maybe, we'll get rid of big guns.’ And 50 percent of you said, ‘[Expletive] you, don't take my guns!’
“Despite all that, Jefferies says in the stand-up routine, the real reason gun owners want guns is just because they like them. That's okay, but it doesn't mean that guns should be legal, he says. Some people like taking drugs or driving at 100 miles an hour, and can be perfectly safe and responsible while doing so, but other irresponsible people have ruined those things for them.” The Post.
Hey, we need guns to fight back those damned terrorists, right? How about the ones that grew up here with lots to hate and lots of locally available weapons:
“In the 14 years since Al Qaeda carried out attacks on New York and the Pentagon, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United States, explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants.
“But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise. Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, including the recent mass killing in Charleston, S.C., compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center.” New York Times, June 24th. So darn easy to get guns, almost any kind.
 The world stands mouth agape at our gun practices, even more at a political system that is so afraid of a profoundly evil lobbying group, the National Rifle Association, that simple care logic is rejected out-of-hand repeatedly. As I have said so many times before, we love our guns one heck of a lot than we do our own children… too many of whom have died with bullets in their hearts and brains.
I’m Peter Dekom, and we really should be ashamed of ourselves for our worship of the almighty gun.

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