Police Shoot Black Man with Toy Gun, Give Perfect Example of White Privilege in Regard to the 2nd Amendment

© Josh Sager – August 2014

Last year, I wrote an article titled “White Privilege and the 2nd Amendment,” where I described the racial disparities inherent to the perception of armed individuals. In short, I explain how racial bias and the perception of black males as criminal by many in American society creates a situation where armed black people are seen as dangerous while equally armed white people are simply seen as “patriotic supporters of the 2nd Amendment.”

Unfortunately, the police of Beaver Creek Ohio have given me a perfect example of this disparity, and the extreme consequences that can follow.

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On the evening of August 5th, John Crawford—a 22 year old African American man—was killed by the Beaver Creek police department, in a Walmart, because he was holding an airsoft rifle that he was planning on buying from said store. Apparently, a currently-unnamed shopper saw Crawford holding the toy, got scared, and called the police. Once on scene, the police opened fire on Crawford before they had even ascertained that he wasn’t actually carrying a weapon. Crawford was executed by police who made a snap-judgment based around his skin color and the fact that they thought that he was armed.

The following quote is from LeeCee Johnston, Crawford’s girlfriend, who was on the phone with him at the time of the shooting:

“We was just talking. He said he was at the video games playing videos and he went over there by the toy section where the toy guns were. And the next thing I know, he said ‘It’s not real,’ and the police start shooting and they said ‘Get on the ground,’ but he was already on the ground because they had shot him,” she said, adding: “And I could hear him just crying and screaming. I feel like they shot him down like he was not even human.”

While it is absolutely irrelevant to the greater context of this situation, it also bears mention that Crawford had no violent record, history of gun crimes, or other run ins with the law that could have biased the police into such aggression.

The “Right” to Open Carry?

White gun fetishists and open carry protesters regularly flaunt their weapons in public, but are never summarily gunned down by police called to the scene by concerned citizens—they are approached respectfully and their “right” to carry weapons is respected. The reason why most pro-gun activists and protests are able to carry guns without eliciting reflexive violence from the police is…let’s face it…because they tend to be working class, middle aged, white Americans rather than black males in their 20s.

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In effect, white Americans enjoy the radically expanded gun access that has come from right wing judicial activism (ex. the Heller decision by the Roberts Court) and legislation, while black people face the threat of summary execution if they hold a toy that looks like a gun in public.

Personally, I don’t blame anybody who calls the police when they see somebody carrying around an automatic rifle in public—we live in a world of mass-shootings and it is better to be safe than dead. That said, the disparity between the treatment of white and black gun-carriers is a very real constitutional issue. If the courts decide that this is a country where everybody has the “right” to walk around with assault weapons, the application of the law cannot allow one group to have that right while tolerating another group getting killed by police for the same actions.

Ideally, the police would balance the scales and find the middle ground between how they treat white Americans and how the treat black Americans, which they can then apply to everybody. All people who carry powerful weapons in public should be treated with the increased scrutiny that armed black people currently face, but the police should show the restraint that they currently accord armed white people (I.E. not executing them).

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Silence from the Gun Nuts Exposes their Bias

In addition to the issue of police bias where weapons are involved, this situation has exposed the internal biases of the American gun fetishists. In theory, this is the perfect situation for the gun fetishists to rally around—a law-abiding American was gunned down by police for no reason other than carrying a weapon I public—but their silence has been frankly deafening. I have yet to see any rally around this shooting by the gun fetishists, and the only reason that I think of for this is the fact that the victim is black.

If the victim were a white, middle class gun owner, I have no doubt that the gun fetishists would be screaming about Constitutional violations and tyranny while puffing up their bloated persecution complexes. Gadsden flags would be raised, open carry hordes would mobilize, and the police would be lambasted in the right wing blogosphere.

The silence of the gun fetishists on this issue exposes their majority as simply white people who are terrified of the world (and most of the people in it) and need gun to feel safe. They only care about the gun rights of people who look like them, and their “constitutional” rhetoric is just that…rhetoric. At best, they could care less about some black guy getting shot for “exercising his rights,” while, at worst, they would shoot at him for “looking like a thug” (like Michael Dunn did in Florida) because he had a gun.

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Conclusion

At the end of the day, we need increased gun control regulations that ensure that only responsible people can obtain guns. There are simply too many guns in the USA and too many crazy people have obtained guns for us to tolerate the status quo.

That said, until the day that we can get increased gun control, we must ensure that all Americans have equal rights and protections from getting gunned down by police simply for exercising their “rights.” All too often white people take their privilege for granted and assume that they have a right to carry weapons that goes beyond that of black Americans—they see armed white people as patriots while they fear armed black people in a way that often leads to violence.

9 thoughts on “Police Shoot Black Man with Toy Gun, Give Perfect Example of White Privilege in Regard to the 2nd Amendment

  1. Interesting article. I honestly had not heard about this tragedy. For some reason, the media didn’t give it the same attention as Michael Brown has received. John Crawford had an
    airsoft rifle and Michael Brown was reported to have been unarmed. How exactly do these two incidents relate to the Second Amendment? They are mainly about over reaction by the police if anything.

    The important thing to remember (just like in the George Zimmerman case) is that neither you nor I were there. We need to hold our judgment until after the investigation has been completed. The surveillance video may show a completely different series of events.

    I personally would not open carry unless of course I was actually hunting, practicing at a range or heaven forbid protecting myself or others. Open carry at Second Amendment support rallies is understandable although I would not recommend bringing live ammunition. These “white, middle class gun owners” who open carry their weapons usually have them secured in a holster or supported by a sling on their backs. They also tend to be cooperative with the police. Here is a video for you to enjoy.

    People who are informed choose to be armed and are less afraid because they are armed. People who berate Second Amendment supporters are oblivious to the real dangers in society and have the delusion that they are without fear simply because they are naïve. They fear Second Amendment supporters and police officers more than they fear criminals even though they often lack the courage to admit it.

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  2. The police are out of control, racism is escalating and young black men are dying in our streets. It is estimated a 500 people of color, primarily black men and mostly black men under the age of 35 die every year from vigilante justice; this includes police, security guards and stand your ground justice. That is one every 28 hours.

    The actions of the police in this case were unwarranted.

    Open Carry is not a Second Amendment right.

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  3. Pingback: General News Reporters arrested in Ferguson, Mo. - Empty Closets - A safe online community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people coming out

  4. “and it is better to be safe than dead”

    Do you begrudge the cops the same mentality. Fact is we live in a country where 14% of the population commits over 50% of the homicides. Clean your own house before you tell others to do the same.

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  5. RAP DON’T EDUCATE –
    IT HELPS ERADCATE –
    ITS MUSICAL AIDS

    THE BLACK HOLOCAUST
    JOHN W. FOUNTAIN
    author@johnwfountain.com
    Last Modified: May 6, 2012

    Imagine Soldier Field beyond capacity, brimming with 63,879 young African-American men, ages 18 to 24 — more than U.S. losses in the entire Vietnam conflict.
    Imagine the University of Michigan’s football stadium — the largest in the U.S. — filled to its limit of 109,901 with black men, age 25 and older. Now add 28,223 more — together totaling more than U.S. deaths in World War I.
    Picture two UIC Pavilions packed with 12,658 Trayvon Martins — black boys, ages 14 to 17 — nearly twice the number of U.S. lives lost in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Now picture all of them dead. The national tally of black males 14 and older murdered in America from 1976 through 2005, according to U.S. Bureau of Justice statistics: 214,661.
    The numbers tell only part of the story of this largely urban war, where the victims bear an uncanny resemblance to their killers. A war of brother against brother, filled with wanton and automatic gunfire, even in the light of day, on neighborhood streets, where little boys make mud pies, schoolgirls jump rope, where the innocent are caught in the crossfire, where the spirit of murder blows like the wind.
    It is, so far, a ceaseless war in which guns are often the weapon of choice, and the finger on the trigger of the gun pointed at a black male is most often another black male’s.
    The numbers alone are enough to make me cry — to wonder why — we as African Americans will march en masse over one slain by someone who is not black, and yet sit silent over the hundreds of thousands of us obliterated from this mortal world by someone black like us, like me. It is a numbing truth borne out by hard facts:
    From 1980 through 2008, 93 percent of black victims were killed by blacks.
    Translation: For every Trayvon Martin killed by someone not black, nine other blacks were murdered by someone black.
    In 2005, — blacks — accounted for 13 percent of the U.S. population but 49 percent of all homicides. The numbers are staggering, the loss incomprehensible.
    Add to the tally of black males 14 and older slain across the country from 1976 to 2005, another 29,335 (slain from 2006 to 2010), and their national body count rises to 243,996, representing 82 percent of all black homicides for that 35-year period. What also becomes clear is this: We too often have raised killers. And this war is claiming our sons.
    But that’s still not the end of the story. Add to that number 51,892 black females ages 14 and older, plus five whose gender was not identifiable, and the total, not counting children, is 295,893 — more than the combined U.S. losses of World War I, the Vietnam, Korean and Mexican-American wars, the War of 1812 and the American Revolutionary War.
    Is the blood of these sons and daughters somehow less American?
    Two hundred ninety-five thousand eight hundred ninety-three . . .
    Imagine the United Center, Wrigley Field, U.S. Cellular Field and Soldier Field nearly all filled simultaneously with black boys, girls, men and women. Now imagine that twice over. Now imagine them all dead.
    As far as I can see, that’s at least 295,893 reasons to cry. And it is cause enough for reticent churches, for communities, for lackadaisical leaders, for all people — no matter our race, color or creed — to find the collective will and the moral resolve to stamp out this human rights atrocity occurring right under our noses.
    Just imagine the human carnage and the toll to us all if we don’t.
    I can’t. I won’t.
    JOHN W. FOUNTAIN

    THE AMERICAN NEGRO IS A HYPOCRITE – AL SHARPTON IS AN FBI INFORMANT!
    JESSE JACKSON WAS THE “JUDAS GOAT” THAT WALKED MLK TO HIS DEATH!
    LOUIS FARRAKHAN INSPIRED THE HIT ON MALCOLM X.
    MALCOLM X WAS COLOR BLIND WHEN HE WENT TO MECCA – HE SAW NO BLACK SLAVES!
    PROPHET MUHAMMAD WOULD EXCHANGE 2 BLACK SLAVES FOR 1 WHITE!
    AMERICAN NEGROS ARE SO FAR UP THE WHITE MAN’S ASS, HE IS BEGINNING TO LOOK WHITE!
    AMERICAN NEGROS NEED THE “RIGHT OF RETURN” JUST LIKE THE JEWS, SO THEY CAN GO BACK TO AFRICA!
    SMALL PROBLEM – NO WELFARE OR FOOD STAMPS IN THE JUNGLE!
    THEY WOULD SWIM BACK, THROUGH SHARK INFESTED WATERS, JUST TO BE WITH WHITEY AGAIN!

    ONE BIT OF ADVICE – “SHUT THE F–K UP”!

    ALL THE OTHER RACES IN AMERICA GOT OFF THEIR ASS & MADE SOMETHING OF THEMSELVES & THEY DID IT BY FAIR COMPETITION – NOT LIKE THE NEGRO & HIS “POSITIVE DISCRIMINATION” – HE ONLY NEEDS TO GET 30%, WHILE EVERYONE ELSE HAS TO GET 70%.

    THE BLACK & HIS 3 Rs
    RAPING!
    RIOTING!
    ROBBING!

    WASS UP?

    NEGROS LOVE MURDERING ONE ANOTHER!

    ITS ONLY WHEN WHITEY KILLS A NEGRO THAT ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE:

    Like

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