Friday, October 2, 2009

The Color of Gun Control

So we're watching the news the other night, my honey and I, and he flipped to Fox News as he often does during his tour of the evening news. A real comedian, my husband. I like to think of Fox News as the Jerry Springer Show of cable news, whereas your 360 with Anderson Cooper is more your early-Phil Donohue. (Later he became a total warm glass of milk, but early Phil was a rich, chocolaty, berry-filled cab. Look it up.) We usually end up with Jon Stewart, who is the modern-day Walter Cronkite. It is what it is. Stewart takes the news about as seriously as he should, given the content, but like Cronkite he actually informs his audience with depth, thought, and a perverse sense of respect for the truth.
Anyway, I ramble and trail.
We were watching Fox News when they started blaring some infomercial for the NRA... I mean a 'news story' about gun control laws being revisited by the U.S. Supreme Court. Daley's ban on hand guns in Chicago was mentioned and as the reporter droned on indignantly about the loss of civil liberties, a video played of lawful, red-blooded Americans doing fun things with guns. In the background, boot-wearing dads helped their blonde little sons aim at cans in the backyard, they walked with their freeze-dried-haired wives through gun shows, and stood up against their faded red trucks holding rifles and spitting tobacco as they lamented the attack on their gun-toting ways. Very apple pie-ish.
As I'm watching all this I'm thinking the same thing I always think: "They're just so rural. They're not bad people. They don't understand city concerns about guns because they live in rural places where guns are as normal and doorknobs." I'm nothing if not devoted to seeing the other guy's point of view. It usually doesn't change my mind about a damn thing, but I'm willing to see his point.
But then Tony turned to me and said, "Can you imagine what a reversal you'd see from these people if those pictures were all of black men with their little black boys aiming guns at cans? Or Mexican men with their wives at gun shows? The whole conversation would be turned on its ear. It'd become 'They're taking over our country, threatening our womenfolk and our boys with guns everywhere!'"
I snickered back, "You're right! That would change the conversation, wouldn't it?"
And he said, "You want to effect gun control in this country? Have Acorn start registering poor, uneducated blacks and Hispanics for gun licenses. That'd do it."
And the more I thought about it, the more I thought he was right! The image we all have of people defending their gun rights is a Charleton Heston type, wearing flannel and sporting bad hair or a worse trucker cap. We don't think of a young black man in jeans and a Sean John tshirt. We certainly don't picture Julio and his son Paco toting guns through the mall on the weekends.
Maybe what it comes down to is that we figure Trey and Jorge aren't going to read the constitution. Because - have you read it? The 2nd Amendment states that "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Militia. Context schmontext, right? The origins of this amendment may be in dispute by some, and the current interpretation even moreso. But I'm sure we can agree that the right to bear arms was not intended to preempt the right of school-age children to travel to and from school without being in fear for their lives.
That's what's happening in Chicago, though, and our pathetic laws and even more pathetic enforcement devices are complicit in the murders of our children. Funny, though, that most of the children we are killing don't look like the kids in the gun rights videos. They're not blonde or freckled. They are black. They are poor and black and live in the city. And their mothers weep inconsolably, as would I if I lost my son. And their younger siblings grow up in fear, as would mine, if their big sister were shot down in the street near our home. Their communities suffer the loss of them, as would mine if my child were not able to grow up, work and re-invest in my neighborhood.
Its almost as if minority children are under attack by a persistent and dangerous threat that the army and the police cannot seem to control. Its a good thing, then, that we have rights under the 2nd amendment to protect our families - set up a well-regulated militia, if needed - and that right cannot be infringed. Now, all we have to do is make a video.


  1. Brilliant! You know how much Tony likes to use his video camera?...I think you two should make an exact replica of the ad you saw, except using black or Latino actors. Don't try to make it a parody- play it serious.
    Good stuff, Carmen.

  2. I think we are on to something. We can do what the Pimp and the Ho did with ACORN. Who knows, this might get on FOX NEWS and we can make Money!