There is a reason why gun violence will go on in perpetuity: White people.
It is in the interest of white people to cluck their tongues righteously when reporters ask them about gun violence. It is also in the interest of white people to step back and watch and allow black youth to shoot other black youth and kill them. “Cluck-cluck,” say the mayor and the police chief.
Cluck-cluck, but: Dead-dead. And a dead black youth is a good black youth.
And don’t forget the scared—I mean sacred—the Second Amendment. Uneducated white people (and rich ones) need those guns for the coming black revolution. So they can kill black people too. And because Whitey needs his gun, the guns flow.
1968 was the turning point when black Olympians Tommy Smith and John Carlos raised their gloved fists while the National Anthem was being played. White people suddenly hated the Olympics. Intellectual black voices, influenced by black James Baldwin (who had recently ripped William F. Buckley to shreds in a debate), black Lorraine Hansberry, black Stokely Carmichael and their ilk, started speaking up.
And the white South retaliated with unspeakable violence. And then the North jumped in. With guns. Gotta have those guns, even if the revolution is language, not out and out rebellion in the streets. I will never forget overhearing some Alton white men in a café talking seriously about arming themselves and capturing the Alton bridge so the blacks couldn’t attack after the Michael Brown murder.
Conceal carry equals white cowardice. It is (apparently? theoretically? ironically?) easier to shoot a black person than to talk or break bread with a black person. The sacred St. Louis Cardinals games now feature gun lockers because the poor white attendees, armed, show up in droves, in case the black revolution breaks out in the ninth inning.
Diapers? Check. Sun screen? Check. Phones? Check. Guns? Check.
“They ruined it.” White person speaking about St. Louis.
Exactly who are “they?” The poor? The folks who can’t afford to have a drink at the very architecturally ugly Ballpark Village? The black families who take their kids to the zoo? The mentally ill or down on their luck homeless who are homeless because we don’t give a shit—it’s their fault, it’s evolution, it’s “I don’t like black people?”
Black ministers and social organizers aren’t clueless. They are powerless. Because it is in the interest of the white power structure to allow senseless violence. It is in the interest of cowardly conceal carry white citizens. It is in the interest of Republicans because they can toss the red meat to their unwashed. It is in the interest of the Democrats because black people will vote for them anyway.
When white ministers stand up in pulpits and talk about racism, the healing will begin. With a price. In the 50s, Alton’s First Unitarian Church’s Reverend John Glanville Gill, author of by far the best biography of Elijah P. Lovejoy, spoke out against racism from his pulpit. His congregation kicked him out.
So what? So what, if the white community ostracizes you for speaking out?
St. Louis kindergartner David Birchfield III. Last Saturday he was in his mom’s car when someone shot him to death. His father said, “we have to stop this violence.”
I have the solution: ban all guns from public spaces. Make the penalties reflect the pain of the sufferers.
“We didn’t start the fire.” We’re not putting out the fire either.
Trayvon Martin was killed on this day. Michael Brown. Chandra Levy. The list just grows like a healthy tree root. While black children die like poisoned tree roots.