Black men with semi-automatic rifles slung casually over one shoulder walking around the movie theaters. Black women in restaurants with their guns on the table between them. What in hell is going on? Have black people, finally tired of being on the receiving end of the bullets, risen up? Are they taking back the South? Has another Civil War begun?
No. These men and women are invoking their right to open carry. What? Wait a minute. Isn’t there something in that law that says only white people can be gun slingers? You know, down at the bottom in print too small to read?
No. In Texas blacks are protesting police violence by showing us their trigger fingers. More than 30 members have formed the Huey P. Newton Gun Club. Dressed in black, faces solemn, they “march through South Dallas with rifles, shotguns and AR-15s. People on the sidewalks are wary and stop to watch them.
Are they about to witness a shoot-out at the OK Corral? Is this a massive bank robbery? You can see the fear in the eyes of the bystanders as they pull their children closer and scan for the closest exists.
When a white man conspicuously carries a gun, we wonder if he has been drinking and/or if he’s smart enough to practice gun safety. When a black man carries a gun, there is a whole different set of perceptions. But the bottom line for many is a terrible, soul-jarring fear.
This new gun club marched right into a restaurant where Dallas police were having lunch. Talk about gutsy!
According to their gun club’s website,
“The recent murders of unarmed black, brown, and whites across the United States of America has eradicated trust in the police states.”
They believe that,
Individuals across this nation have been stripped of due process, subjected to state-sponsored police terrorism, and continue to suffer the fate of being terminated extra-judicially.
The group of black people formed the Huey P. Newton Gun Club for the purpose of “self-defense and community policing.”
“Huey P. Newton was an African-American activist best known for founding the militant Black Panther Party with Bobby Seale in 1966.”
They are making a statement and protecting friends and family from being “gunned down and murdered by violent and militarized police forces.”
The gun club members chanted (Michael) Brown’s name and said that their main goal is to,
“Shed light on local shootings by police. Dallas County leaders recently announced that they are looking into ways to change how they investigate shootings involving police officers.”
“We think that all black people have the right to self-defense and self-determination. We believe that we can police ourselves and bring security to our own communities.”
The police in Dallas murdered 70+ “unarmed individuals, most of them black and brown men, over the last 10 years.”
With the exception of one recent incident where where the defense used the surveillance footage to contradict the police testimony, there have been “no police indictments since 1973.”
The indictment of Dallas policeman who killed an unarmed civilian was possible only, because the surveillance footage was available. That means dashcams and body cameras for police officers are vital.
Darrin X, representing the New Black Panther Party said,
“We need to arm ourselves, not to attack anybody, but in self-defense. We can’t let people just come into our community, whether they are law enforcement or not, and just gun our people down and there is no accountability.”
The violence and ensuing demonstrations make palpable the murder of a 25-year-old man, gunned down by police this week in St. Louis. The incident occurred only a few miles from where Michael Brown was shot and killed. The man had taken two energy drinks from a convenience store, and was acting erratically.
He made no attempt to disguise or hide the theft. Then he placed the drinks on the sidewalk, paced back and forth, talking to himself. Two police got out of the cruiser and approached the man.
Did they taser him? No. Did they try to reason with him? Not unless you count the 28 seconds it took for them to take lethal action. No. Both officers had their guns drawn as they emerged from their cruiser. They said the man had a knife. So both officers shot the man dead. That is a nasty habit.
A cell-phone video released today shows what happened,
“It shows clearly two St. Louis officers barely stopping their car before they open fire on a man with his arms seemingly at his side.”
The Huey P. Newton Gun Club website says that,
“We demand the immediate end to police brutality, harassment, and murder of the people, We assert the right of the people, particularly those of color, to bear arms and protect themselves where local, state, and the federal government have historically failed to do so.”
Good luck Huey P. Newton Gun Club members. I applaud your bravery. And I hope your adventure ends well. But sadly, I am doubtful.