Blacks on both sides of gun control issue
By Cash Michaels
On Saturday, May 28th, the last of ten African Americans killed in a racist gun massacre by a white teenager armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle at Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, Ney York two weeks earlier, was memorialized and buried.
Friends, family, and even civil rights leaders led by the vice president of the United States, all came together at the funeral of 86-year-old Ruth Whitfield, the oldest victim, to say that something must be done about the wanton gun violence that has strangled the sensitivities of the nation once again.
“Enough is enough,” proclaimed Vice Pres. Kamala Harris to the congregants, later adding to reporters, “An assault weapon is a weapon of war with no place, no place in civil society.”
Harris wants a national assault weapons ban.
The cry also came after 21 people, including 19 children, were also senselessly murdered by a crazy 18-year-old gunman with an AR-15 at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas just days earlier.
Just one day after the Tops Supermarket massacre, North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson, a Black Republican many say wants to be the state’s next governor, reportedly told a Nash County church that he owns two AR-15 semi-automatic rifles so he can fight back “in case the government gets too big for its britches.”
“Cause I’m gonna fill the backside of them britches with some lead,” Robinson bellowed, the nation still in shock in the aftermath of the Tops massacre.
Two weeks later, this time after the mass murder in Uvalde, Robinson - who rose to fame because of his gun advocacy stance - told attendees at the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Houston last weekend that he ‘cried’ upon hearing about the murdered children of Uvalde, but his position remained unmoved. “Secure our schools,” he said, which echoes the common Republican talking point of more guns, less school shootings.
Two high-profile Black leaders, two diametrically opposed views on high-powered weapons, with a traumatized African American community in the middle.
Generally, most African Americans, if not most Americans, favor a semblance of national gun control, seemingly to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. 89% of Americans in recent polls are in favor of background checks, for example before a weapon is sold by a gun dealer.
But most African Americans are unaware that originally gun control laws were fashioned to keep guns out of Black hands then faced with threats from the Ku Klux Klan.
Well, many today are feeling threatened again.
A recent Washington Post-Ipsos poll which surveyed 806 Black adults between May 18-20 found that 75% are worried about being physically attacked because of their race, with almost half saying that they are “very” worried.
According to Politico, thanks to pandemic shortages, George Floyd’s murder, and the increasingly toxic political atmosphere gripping the nation, many Americans are arming themselves for protection.
But add on controversies like the movements against Critical Race Theory, Black Lives Matter and so-called “wokeness,” fueled by conservative politicians eager to spread fear, and many blacks have decided not to sit still any longer when it comes to gun ownership.
As there were reports of many whites purchasing guns and ammunition after the election of Barack Obama as the nation’s first Black president in 2008, there are reports now of many Blacks arming themselves in the aftermath of the Trump Administration, the January 6th Capitol siege, and the extreme rightward turn of the nation.
“The days are over of African Americans sitting around singing Kumbaya and hoping and praying that somebody will come and save them. We’re gonna save ourselves,” one Black gun owner. Activist told the Associated Press.
“We’re not going to be sheep anymore.”
Editor’s note - Next week, how racism plays into the gun control debate.