In the last few days there have been at least three newsworthy killings, all by guns. One was an innocent, unarmed black man who was being held down on the ground by the police yet still was deemed a threat to the life of one other policeman that he felt obliged to pump numerous bullets into the body of the subdued black man. Another was a black man who was stopped for an alleged tail-light malfunction. The black man informed the police that he was armed but that he carried a permit for the concealed weapon. The police demanded his papers and when he reached for the papers, he was shot and killed by an over-anxious policeman who apparently was very afraid of a black man with a gun.
Then last night while patrolling a Black Lives Matter rally, an apparent crossfire of angry African-Americans killed at least five policemen and wounded many other people, police and civilian. Later the police were able to kill at least one of the shooters. Now we learn that the lone shooter was a veteran and trained killer clad in body armor and upset about the recent police killings. Interestingly, the shooter was taken out by sending in the bomb robot, not to remove a bomb but rather to deliver a bomb. Skynet, here we come.
Now the exercise is: how is the equation suggesting that one good guy with a gun trumps one bad guy with a gun still a thing?
First, however, it is necessary to identify the good guys and the bad guys. Are the policemen who murdered the black men good guys or bad guys. It seems that the police can exhibit any kind of aberrant behavior and commit any sort of violence including unprovoked murder and still be considered by many as being good guys. So that means in the first two instances, the good guys with the guns killed the other good guys with or without the guns, unless you consider being black as a prime characteristic of a bad guy. But would anyone outside of the Klan be that racist and bigoted?
Now the Dallas situation is easier but also more complicated. It seems like there were lots of good guys with guns and many of them are now dead or wounded. So the good guy with a gun thesis seems to rely on faulty logic. We don’t even want to conjecture that the bad guys with the guns probably thought they were the good guys with the guns.
What have we learned? Two things: First, guns kill people and without the guns there would be at least seven people still walking around today. In fact if you gather the statistics for the week around the country, there are a lot more than seven people who would be alive today if it wasn’t for guns.
The second factor was only recently suggested to me and it involves fear. Why are policemen who are sworn to uphold the law and protect the people so quick to profile black people as being immanent danger? I’ll just offer two suggestions and allow you to contemplate them further. First, there is a political strategy that breeds fear of anyone with other than white skin. This is part of the message, “Make American Great Again;” it lays the blame for any problem in the United States directly on immigrants or people of color. So the policeman is afraid.
The second is both a part of the political rhetoric of the non-progressive elements of the society and a vital aspect of the gun lobby often referred to as the NRA. First, although many Americans still equate theNRA with learning gun safety and plinking Necco wafers in the back forty of the farm, the NRA is solely the lobby organization responsible for increasing and protecting the profits of the gun manufacturers. Any educational or recreational aspects of the NRA up to and including the bad-ass decal they give you to display proudly in the back window of your shiny new pickup truck with the high-volume resonators and sealed bed liner to maintain neatness is peripheral and unimportant compared to the prime directive: sell more guns no matter how many bodies litter the streets of America.
If you are a good guy with a gun, even a trained law enforcement officer, and you stop a black man with a damaged tail-light, what are you thinking when you approach the driver of the car who is black and therefore dangerous and probably carrying a concealed firearm, holding it at the ready in order to kill you as these dangerous people are wont to do. You are afraid for your life, not because of anything the driver of the car has done, but because of the fear and loathing that has been pounded into you by some of the best propaganda organizations in the history of man.
The Republican Party, Right-Wing Politics, and the NRA has in effect given you permission to pump sixteen shots into the chest of evil you see before you.