Good guy with a gun

I’ve seen security kick plenty of people out of bars. They sometimes come back wanting to start something with security. In this case, one shot at security from outside who returned fire and apprehended one of them and held him at gunpoint for authorities. A police officer who showed up killed the security guard.

When I was an “emergency coordinator”, we once had a session about what to do during an active shooter situation. Guns were not allowed then. (Unclear now.) It was the Hide, Run, Fight philosophy which was hole up in a secure room if you can, get out if you can, fight back as only a last resort. The trainer’s point was when a police officer shows up, if you are armed, then you might get shot because they will not know who is a good vs bad. They see a weapon and might shoot before they know.

Georgia Campus Carry Year One

AJC TL;DR: 27 violations; no shootings.

Basically, the AJC says that some students seem to have some issues understanding this pretty complicated law and run into situations where they are in violation. They are unaware that concealed means it needs to be out of sight. (Some supporters really want Open Carry.) Some people are negligent, such as the people at UGA who left guns in gym lockers, the conference center hotel room, or at a bus stop. This is still better than Georgia K-12 school teachers who accidentally discharged their gun or left it in places for a student to find them.

Supporters, in general, want a simpler law that allows guns everywhere as the existing one is pretty complicated to comply with given all the exceptions. Opponents, in general, want it repealed. Faculty supporters of campus carry feel the law discriminates against them because they can carry in their classroom but not their office. Faculty opponents see themselves under a more severe disadvantage to angry students still developing their executive function in the brain.

Somewhat surprised the AJC failed to add a few related things from their own reporting:

It doesn’t really look like campus carry ended shootings on campus. Nor did it spur a Wild West constant shootout situation or a rampage of mass shootings. Students are still getting robbed near campuses. So, it made some students feel safer that they are carrying a gun. Well, until they are held up and someone steals their $500 gun.

 

 

Firearm stocks under Trump

Talking about gun regulation causes increased gun sales. People buy out store stocks seeking to get them while they still can. So in that regard, President Obama was terrific for gun stores and manufacturers. For all the talk needing to do something, there was little done. The talk was enough to spike gun sales.

Sales and stock prices of firearms makers slumped after Trump’s unexpected election victory was seen as reducing prospects for curbs on gun ownership… But tweets and comments by Trump on Wednesday and Thursday that he supported raising the age limit for purchases of some kinds of guns, as well as other measures, turned up the heat on the gun control debate, and boosted gunmakers’ shares.” (Reuters) Trump also advocates arming some schoolteachers, which would also likely boost gun sales.

This chart is interesting. There were about 3 million a year manufactured under President George W Bush. There were about 8 million a year under President Obama.

Statistic: Number of firearms manufactured in the U.S. from 1986 to 2015 | Statista
Find more statistics at Statista

Gun Intimidation

Me at the office where not allowed a gun
Me at the office

In my naive freshman year I was arriving at campus around 7:30am to get a relatively decent parking spot and only have a ten minute walk to class. I could arrive at 7:45am, but the walk would be closer to fifteen minutes. Plus, I could use the extra 20 minutes to study before my 8:00am class. What I failed to account for was the white female student who was arriving to campus about the same time and walking to the same building. Some days we were not in sync and I never saw her. Other days she’d be slightly behind. The days where she was slightly ahead became scary when the Campus Safety officer started showing up and placing himself between us with his hand on his gun watching me. The message was clear that the officer was ready in case of danger. But, I also suspect the officer used this to signal a message of intimidation that he would have no problem shooting me if there was a need. So, I would sit in my car until 7:40am and place myself outside the dangerous window of time.

It was a common occurance for me that Campus Safety officers would hold their gun still inside the holster while talking to people of color. African-American males would hang out on the Quad joking around the same as they might on their home front porches. Campus Safety would show up and order them to disperse while holding their weapon. The Quad was the only designated area of campus where students are allowed to gather. White students were okay, but black males must disperse under duress of armed officers holding their guns “just in case.”

When interacting with my white friends, these same officers never touched their gun. The message was also clear that the officers did not feel in danger around my white friends. This held true even when my white friends were antagonizing a visiting preacher and causing a very tense, uneasy situation. These were college kids looking for a fight, but intimidation was not warranted when the pale kids were aggressive.

This was not the experience with all law enforcement during the same period. City, county, and state officers who pulled me over for speeding or a not working tail light often did the same hand on the gun thing. An off duty city police officer would work security midnight to 8am at the Waffle House knockoff where my friends and I would hang out Saturday and Sunday mornings. He never did the hand on the gun thing for anyone that I saw. Even when belligerent drunks were about to throw down, the threat of using the gun was not suggested. When I asked about the behavior of officers holding their gun while interacting with others, he expressed concern about the threatening posture of it. Talks about what he liked doing the job was helping people and building a rapport and de-escalating tense  situations. He had the gun in case, but for him it was a tool for a very specific job that he would rather not cause.

When people talk about civilians carrying a gun, I think back to these encounters. The presence of a gun would make them more intense and dangerous not less. The officer would be more terrified of what I might do. My darker skin adds to the threat calculus. Enough so I feel like I would be more likely to be shot carrying than not. We are supposed to be safe by complying with an officer’s orders. Lately the citizen videos seem to show that is not necessarily the case. Tell the officer you are armed and have a permit might just make the officer more twitchy. They have the gun to use deadly force if necessary but the threat of deadly force is a tool to intimidate us unarmed citizens. It maybe makes them more confident knowing they could protect themselves against me if needed when I am unarmed. Having my own gun removes that confidence making it more likely that I end up shot.

 

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!

Rep John Lewis on Peaceful Protest

Alabama Police Attack Selma-to-Montgomery Marchers
Alabama Police Attack Selma-to-Montgomery Marchers

Apparently Rush Limbaugh made a statement that armed marchers of the Civil Rights Movement would have not been physically assaulted during “Bloody Sunday” on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. He said African Americans, but if I recall my history correctly there were a Caucasian Americans there who were also assaulted. Perhaps armed marchers might not have been struck with weapons by police. Though there were definitely guns present on the police side as you can see in this FBI photograph of the event. If the people intended to attack are armed with guns, then the attackers use their guns not batons. Bull Conner knew shooting unarmed marchers would go too far. Armed CRM marchers would have invited a massacre. Unarmed peaceful protesters getting attacked by armed police attain the sympathy of the general public who shift more strongly to the side of the protesters. If the CRM marchers had been armed, then like all the failed rebellions of the past, almost no children or adults today would know anything about them. Certainly there would be no Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, or Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Because we as Americans do not celebrate those we deem as fomenting insurrections. There is no Nat Turner Day. (Okay Southerners do celebrate Robert E Lee and Jefferson Davis, but they view Lincoln as the leader of the rebellion.)

Here is Rep John Lewis’ statement on what Limbaugh said.

Our goal in the Civil Rights Movement was not to injure or destroy but to build a sense of community, to reconcile people to the true oneness of all humanity,” said Rep. John Lewis.  “African Americans in the 60s could have chosen to arm themselves, but we made a conscious decision not to.  We were convinced that peace could not be achieved through violence.  Violence begets violence, and we believed the only way to achieve peaceful ends was through peaceful means.  We took a stand against an unjust system, and we decided to use this faith as our shield and the power of compassion as our defense.

And that is why this nation celebrates the genius and the elegance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s work and philosophy.  Through the power of non-violent action, Dr. King accomplished something that no movement, no action of government, no war, no legislation, or strategy of politics had ever achieved in this nation’s history.  It was non-violence that not only brought an end to legalized segregation and racial discrimination, but Dr. King’s peaceful work changed the hearts of millions of Americans who stood up for justice and rejected the injury of violence forever.

The philosophy of “violence begets violence” goes back to the Gospel of Matthew, “Then said Jesus unto him [Peter], Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Attaining the moral high ground is difficult as an armed mob.

It was curious to see Limbaugh make the case that African Americans should be armed. Usually the arguments I see regarding the need to for guns as protection are to protect themselves from those nasty criminal African Americans who all have illegal guns.

Source of the photo above is the Library of Congress.

Trayvon

At around 16-17 years old I did not have a car. So I rode my bike or walked anywhere I wanted to go. Store managers sometimes searched my backpack or my person only to find I had not in fact shoplifted anything. Loss control or security guards would follow me around the store. Neighborhood watch people kicked me out. Police interrogated me about what had been doing and intended to do. This pattern of distrust about who I am was well prepared for as my father raised me to understand it could happen not just “the talk” but ongoing pointing out to think about how about how others perceive me. He wanted me not to get upset because my anger would play into their hands proving I am dangerous like they assumed. Also, just obeying commands to get out of the situation could prevent things from escalating out of control. (Interestingly work’s security expert gave the same obey advice when police are looking for a suspect.)

Every time it was upsetting. Even today almost two decades later, in the back of my head I know that I have to avoid behaviors that will draw suspicion because I am likely guilty until proven innocent. It is better to go into a store wearing a dress shirt or polo with slacks than shorts and a teeshirt. If I take my phone out of my pocket, then it stays out until at the cashier where putting something in my pocket is normal. And while I may think of wearing a basketball jersey so TSA thinks I am black not potentially arabic, never ever ever wear a hoodie because that slides me in the direction of appearing to be a criminal.

This is why I feel sad Trayvon Martin‘s family lost him because a self-appointed neighborhood watch character armed with a gun decided to follow, then chase, then ambush this 17 year old kid in a hoodie armed with Skittles and tea. Nothing can fully repair this.

Zimmerman, Trayvon’s killer, said on the 911 call Martin was acting guilty of something. This was also the stated reason the store managers, security guards, neighborhood watch, and police stopped me at Trayvon’s age. Who isn’t when creepy people follow them around?

The whole thing smacks me of Jean Charles de Menezes in 2005 London. A guy leaves his apartment. Guys follow him onto a train. He tries to run from them only they turn out to be police who shoot him. His crime was both living in an apartment building under surveillance and attempting to resist people who did not look like police but were.

Resist? Get shot. Run? Get shot. Do whatever the people with the guns say and maybe live to tell a lawyer.

Last weekend, a female friend, described how she would not be willing to just obey commands. As a big black guy, I have to worry about keeping people from worrying about me attacking them. If provoked, then they are going to put me down lethally or non-lethally. For my female friend, she has to worry about rape, but she is also does not present the physical threat I do. We have two completely different perspectives. But I think we understand each other’s.

NRA Poll

The National Rifle Association needs better pollsters. It might help to keep off the list people who are going to analyze your question for how it might be used and provide an answer just to be contrarian.

An “Andy Bush” (I think that was the name) asked in a phone poll:

Do you think 3rd world dictatorships and Hillary Clinton should determine US gun rights?

Apparently I was supposed to forget their own VP Wayne LaPierre in a recorded message (portrayed as live) described the United Nations as a bunch of 3rd world dictators. LaPierre has for years claimed the UN deliberations about buying the illicit arms in African war torn areas somehow means taking American firearms but omitted anything about Africa from his message. Shame on me for being well read to know the background information so as to not be completely swayed by the spin. In the recorded message he also described the United States Congress as willing to hand our country over to the dictators. (Whatever that means.)

This message and question are deliberately framed the so the only possible answer is “No.” At the time I could not see this question as possibly being shown in any publication as anyone would dismiss the question as so completely skewed the results are meaningless.

Such an attempt to manipulate me annoyed me, so I answered “Yes” just to waste as much of their time as they did mine. Andy Bush sounded confused when he asked me if I said “Yes”. He asked if I wanted to change my mind.

Next time ask me a legitimate question to get an real answer.