The Killing of Michael Brown


The killing of Michael Brown, which was completely unjustified according to every eyewitness, as well as the provocation from a militarized police force, drew reaction from both the left and the right. On the left, the incidents served as yet another reminder that our country has a racist present and not just a racist past, and provided the strongest example yet of the dangerous consequences of militarizing our police force. The right instead sought to blame the victim and lecture the black community for assuming that the police were in the wrong. But one political faction that has been noticeably silent? Supporters of the Second Amendment.

Despite advocating post mortem for arming black people as a recourse for situations long past, there does not seem to be the same enthusiasm for ensuring the same access today. As digby wrote in the aftermath of the murder (in everything but name, at least) of Trayvon Martin:

Think about it. Every other situation in which an innocent person gets gunned down there is a cacophony of gun nuts screeching that if only this person had been armed he could have defended himself. It’s been the basis of every concealed and open carry argument for the last couple of decades. And yet, in this case, nothing…

No impassioned appeals for loosening the gun laws so that ordinary Americans could go to the store in the evening to buy some candy and an iced tea without getting stalked and shot by some unhinged vigilante.

No solemn op-eds about the dangers for average Americans when venturing unarmed into the streets of their own neighborhoods.

No fiery speeches from Wayne LaPierre insisting that if only everyone in the neighborhood had been armed with submachine guns they could have run outside and started firing immediately upon hearing the screams for help.


Why do you suppose that is?

There were no gun rights activists standing up for Trayvon Martin. There will be no gun rights activists standing up for Michael Brown, or for the numerous protesters who had their civil rights violated by the heavy-handed tactics of the militarized police.

In the moment, these activists feel that Second Amendment rights and remedies only exist to defend white tax cheats against government officials.

But unarmed black teenagers killed for doing nothing other than walking down the street in their own neighborhoods? The gun nuts may stand up for them eventually, but only when decades or centuries have ground these incidents into a more dispassionate historical lens.

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Categories: Item of the Week

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