Black Guns Matter

(There seem to be two Black Guns Matter campaigns. One about Blacks owning guns. The other about owning tactical rifles also showing up as #blackriflesmatter.)

Several years ago before Orlando, before Charleston, and maybe even before Sandy Hook, I had a conversation with my mother about guns and gun rights and gun control. I made a point that has stuck in my brain:

Gun Rights activists want everyone to have a gun EXCEPT for people like me. They want people to have a gun to protect themselves from people like me.

As a six foot four semi-black male, as Walter White put it, “I am the danger.” [1] People see me and move to the other side of the street. Full beard, scruff, or no beard does not make a difference. People are scared of me. And I am okay with that. My “Resting Bastard Face” probably does not help, but that is a post for another time.

Guns are how people with too little melanin feel safer around monsters with too much melanin and testosterone. The stereotype is that we are murders, rapists, drug dealers, with presumably a few good apples.

Think of the Open Carry people walking into businesses with their guns openly displayed. I did a Google Image search and only counted individuals where I could see the weapon and skin and not a police officer and not duplicates. I was surprised to see a black male as the 5th image. Out of the first 100 people shown me, he was in the results twice. (Two different photos of the game guy.) The token open carry guy? Adding Georgia to the search got different results and a different black male in the 42nd, 46th person and a black female at the 47th. At 70 there were so many duplicates that I stopped counting.

Certainly even during the pacifist Civil Rights movement, there were armed individuals. Martin Luther King, Jr owned a gun. He just did not take it into tense situations where it might escalate further people already primed to violence. The Black Panthers were armed black men standing up against the government. Samuel L Jackson said for an L.A.Times article,

I don’t think it’s about more gun control. I grew up in the South with guns everywhere and we never shot anyone. This [shooting] is about people who aren’t taught the value of life.”

Of course, the whole thing is irrational. Gun sales skyrocket after a mass shooting because people become scared the government will take them. Yet, they are tiny fraction of gun deaths while dominating the new cycle. There is not enough time in the year to achieve the same amount of coverage for suicides. Of course, news organization policy is not to report on it so others will not copycat it. How bizarre!?!? One would think the same should apply to mass shootings.

[1] The full context of the Breaking Bad quote.

Skyler White: Walt, please, let’s both of us stop trying to justify this whole thing and admit you’re in danger!

Walter White: Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean, even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly up. Disappears! It ceases to exist without me. No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks!

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