As a movement boils up into the streets and our consciousness, guns are the issue of the moment in America. The rest of the world looks on with amazement, not understanding how it got this far in the first place. Why do Americans love guns?
Why, indeed, do we have so many unusual problems in America which are not shared by other developed nations? Why don’t we have a reliable social safety net? Or a health care system of some kind? What is it that gives the United States the color of a developing nation?
Ah, yes, color. It’s about race. Racism is the poison that affects every single public debate in this nation one way or another. White people may think that they never feel the sting of racism, but they do. We all do. We are, actually, one people – but dividing us up by race is the original sin, the disease at the center of all other problems.
The problem that we have is not about gun ownership, necessarily. It is absolutely a given, provable fact that the vast majority of gun owners, probably in excess of 90%, are highly responsible. The number of mass shootings is tiny compared to the number of gun owners out there, and the murder rate is down substantially over the last few decades.
The reason we cannot keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people is simply that we do not create enforceable laws and systems to do it. There are laws requiring background checks and other things before buying a gun, but they are easily circumvented. Databases do not talk to each other. Why? Because they are deliberately under-funded and all attempts at simple measures taken by the government are thwarted.
This is clearly not a rational thing. So what is the irrational fear? Why do people feel they need guns?
A peek at gun demographics of gun owners shows that it is overwhelmingly white males who own them. And studies have shown repeatedly that white males feel a need for guns not based on rational desires such as the great thrill of sport shooting or hunting, but out of a fear of “Them.” It’s largely about “Those People” and what “They” might come and take away if we aren’t ready to defend ourselves in a very base, adrenaline fueled way.
It’s all about race. Who is going to “take it all away”? Black people.
Fear of government is, ultimately, a fear of blacks. In racist talk, the real reason for any social safety net, or in fact for all taxes, is to take money from whites and give it to blacks. Nevermind that the majority of federal spending is social security, which goes to all races. Nevermind that the majority of discretionary spending is taken by the Defense Department. “They” are taking from us, and if we just cut all welfare the budget would be balanced.
And, of course, we need guns to defend our very lives from “Them.” It’s a matter of life and death.
The same is true for a health care system. Why are so many vehemently opposed to a rational system? Because it is commonly seen as a way to shovel money to minorities who don’t work or contribute in any way. The racist view of non-whites includes an image of “takers” who want nothing more than free everything. And so they must be stopped.
We see this strongly in the language surrounding all federal budget and policy debates, but guns gets to the heart of it. Ultimately, guns are the last line of defense from “Them.” Most of the talk about “A good guy with a gun” involves a strong image of what a “good guy” must be, and rest assured that he is white. You can logically conclude who the “bad guy” is from this.
And so, racism affects everyone. White people don’t have a rational, functioning government because there are many who are afraid that such a thing would be a vehicle for “Them” to legally steal. White people don’t have health care because it would give a benefit to “Takers” who contribute nothing.
White people are shot because we supposedly need guns to protect us from “Them.”
So as you contemplate the marches, as you consider the blood and gore on the news , as you debate what kind of policy you would like to see in order to feel safe walking down the street ask yourself, “What are we all so afraid of?” The answer is clearly America’s original sin.
It’s all about racism.