Fear is the greatest weapon used against the defenseless. It is one that makes a group of people believe in interests that are contrary to their very own preservation. It throws people off balance. It is a tactic that confuses the blurred minds of those who are in struggle. And right now, it is the best ammunition that the National Rifle Association can muster.
Just recently, the NRA has placed their bulls-eye on the heart of Black America with their new advertisement starring some black guy with a Yankees hat! Like Black guys wearing Yankees hats can have any success in this world! But with all seriousness, I find the message of this new video by the NRA deeply troubling, where the guy in the Yankees hat is advocating that our people arm themselves and fight the government (all under the banner of the NRA). Quite hypocritical of them, as during the Civil Rights movement, when the government was overtly oppressing our people, the NRA was quick to pressure legislatures across the country to get the guns out of the hands of the Black militants who were ready to fight back. I guess those weren’t the “well-regulated militias” they had in mind when they read their version of the Second Amendment. But, now that we have a Black President, and we have made great progress in creating a more equal playing field in America (although we still have much work to do), the NRA is encouraging us to pick up guns again and start poppin’. With smokescreens and a barrage of bullets, the NRA is intentionally playing into the fears of a very few people. Very, very few.
Our communities know that our problems do not mirror the same problems of many communities across this country that have experienced mass shootings. We are not plagued with random school shootings or sociopaths with dreams of amassing more assault weapons than the military. Our set of problems are quite different and need to be handled quite differently. To create more hysteria and confusion about our relationship with our government is what the NRA would like to do. That is fear-mongering at its finest and a distraction to the real problems that our communities face. We can’t be scared any longer as a community. So while other communities are holding tight to their guns, we’ve been dealing with a gun violence epidemic in our communities. We know the danger of taking up arms, guns weren’t invented to protect us, they were meant to kill us. If members of the National Rifle Association really want to “help” Black America, then they should fund programs like LIFE Camp that hires young men and women from the community to teach alternative methods to resolving conflicts that often arise. They should support programs like Homeboy Industries that train young people so they can enter the workforce with the tools necessary to get well-paying jobs. They should fund programs like Peacekeepers, an organization of Black men who positively mentor the younger guys away from a lifestyle the might include holding a pistol. The Black-on-Black crime epidemic that is destroying our communities will NOT be solved by arming more people with more guns. We do not need more fifteen-year-old children placing their fingers on triggers that when pulled, kill more fifteen-year-old children.
Our community is not interested in a corporate sponsored gun group telling us what to do, when their real mission is to make more money for the corporations that line their dirty pockets with rolls of cash and silver bullets. We’re much smarter than that and certainly can see through their motives. Until they show a real interest in solving the violence problem in our community, they can keep their Yankee hat-wearing spokesman and their African-American “campaigns” for themselves. In the words of another internet star, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”