One of my socialist anti-gun friends posted this article on Facebook. It’s a fascinating article not so much because of its content but because of the cognitive dissonance the author, Chauncey Devega, openly displays:
When the New York Times editorial board issued its powerful condemnation of America’s gun culture, they went beyond mere outrage in response to the recent murder sprees in San Bernardino, California, and Colorado Springs, Colorado. The Times went so far as to suggest that “assault rifle”-style weapons should be banned from civilian ownership. As is our national ritual, President Obama also condemned gun violence, and just as he has been forced to do too many times during his tenure, pleaded that Americans must find a way to stop killing each other. The American people do in fact support stronger gun control laws; the NRA, functioning as the lobbying arm for the gun industry, opposes even the most basic common sense gun laws. The NRA wins while the American people die.
Devega disparages the fact gun control hasn’t been a political success as of late. As an author for Salon this probably doesn’t surprise anybody. What is surprisingly is the fact he then notes the fact that gun control in the United States is founded on racism:
After the Civil War, white Southerners desperately tried to snuff out the freedom dreams and democratic power of now free African-Americans. Once Reconstruction was betrayed, white Southerners would launch a reign of terror where it is estimated that approximately 50,000 black Americans were killed by whites. White elites understood the practical and symbolic power of the gun. As such, they passed laws that made it illegal for black Americans to own firearms. African-American Civil War veterans, a group that had earned their full citizenship as men via martial prowess, would be made the focus of special violence by white Southerners.
The notion that gun ownership should be exclusive to white people would be asserted once more. Ronald Reagan, then governor of California, worked to pass stricter gun laws because of the Black Panthers using open carry laws. Robert Williams would be forced into exile in Cuba. Black people who fought back against white racial terrorism were killed by white mobs, police, and other State actors.
Laws are the problem! Laws are the solution! This article is a self-contradictory mess, which is unavoidable when one is arguing democracy is the solution to minorities being oppressed. Democracies are based on the will of the of the designated voting bodies. Here in the United States the designated voting bodies include the Congress of the United States, the congresses of the individual states, the councils of incorporated cities, the school boards of each school district, and so on. Most of them operate under majority rules. Therefore the laws passed will inevitably reflect the will of the majority of those bodies. Congress is made up predominantly of white Christian males.
Voting bodies are just half of the equation though. The other half is law enforcement. It wouldn’t matter what any designated voting body decreed if it didn’t have a means of enforcing those decrees. In this country there are very powerful police forces whose primary job is to enforce the will of the designated voting bodies. Like the designated voting bodies, law enforcers are predominantly white.
Some of you are probably wondering why I’m making a big deal out of race. Since I don’t subscribe to collectivism I don’t believe membership in a category, such as race, is a valid indicator of their behavior. I mention it because it is the crux of Devega’s article:
There will be no effective gun control in the United States, even in the aftermath of horrific events such as Sandy Hook, the Planned Parenthood Shooting, or the San Bernardino massacre, until politicians, pundits, and analysts realize that the gun is a type of totem or fetish object for too many white men. As such, when we try to talk about gun control in America, a centuries-deep sense of white masculinity that understands the gun as its exclusive right is made to feel imperiled and upset.
If guns are a type of totem or fetish object for white men why does he think a voting body make up predominantly of white men is going to overcome their fetish? Why does he believe law enforcement bodies, against predominantly made up of whites, are going to fairly enforce the laws? Hell, we know for a face law enforcers don’t fairly enforce the laws. Although the laws passed today aren’t overtly racist, in fact many of them appear to be quite the opposite on the surface, the results indicate that they are either crafted to be covertly racist or the enforcers are enforcing the laws in a racist manner unchecked (in the case of the latter it would be necessary for the designated voting bodies to either be directly or implicitly accepting of such enforcement).
Devega claims that guns interfere with democracy. If that’s the case then he should support repealing every single gun law because democracy is the problem. It established a power hierarchy. One group of people are able to create and enforce laws while the other group of people cannot. That means the first group gets to make the rules and the rules it makes, due to human nature, favor the members of that group.
Until that power hierarchy is abolished cities will continue passing laws criminalizing homelessness, poor neighborhoods will continue to be demolished and replaced with more valuable properties that pay high property taxes, intellectual property laws will continue to serve the politically connected at the expense of their competitors, and gun control laws will target non-whites. That’s because the homeless, poor, small businesses, and non-white population are minorities not only in our society but especially in our designed voting bodies.