I’m glad I’m not black.
Why? One reason: If I were, then my little four-year old son would grow into a black teenage boy someday. Being a black teenage boy in this country has to be a tough gig.
For Trayvon Martin, it was fatal.
It was for Jordan Davis, too. Have you heard of him? I just did this morning, in this excellent article on Trayvon Martin, the NRA, and racial profiling. It’s an uncomfortable read, for sure, but worth your time. (Thanks to Liz Gumbinner at Mom-101 for writing about it.)
Jordan Davis was in an SUV with some friends in a gas station parking lot in Jacksonville, FL. Michael Dunn, a 46 year-old white man, pulled in next to them. Dunn asked the teenagers to turn down their music. They didn’t. Dunn felt they were getting mouthy with him. Threatening, even. And, wait! Did those kids have a gun in the car? They probably did. Or at least Dunn felt he had reason to think so. So he did what any good, permitted gun owner in the State of Florida has the legal right to do when faced with black teenagers who were “threatening” him by not following his instructions: He pulled his gun out of the glove compartment and shot into the SUV. Davis was killed. He was 17.
Yes. “Stand your ground” is part of Dunn’s defense. More on this here.
You know what would solve this? MORE GUNS!
You all know I’m no proponent of the MORE GUNS! solution to any problem. The Trayvon Martin case is a huge example of why armed “citizen soldiers” is a bad idea. Jordan Davis is another.
I’d like to believe that in their hearts, most people are good. But you know what? That doesn’t mean they aren’t stupid. Or wrong. Or racist.
I’ve said it before but I guess I’ll say it again:
Let’s get rid of the idea that there will be a cadre of well-trained, virtuous superheroes living among us who will jump in and save the day when danger strikes. Not everyone is super smart, super skilled, or super heroic. Giving more people guns is a recipe for more Trayvon Martin situations, where some overblown supposed “good guy” takes matters into his own hands, makes a bad assumption, and innocent people get killed.
Think of who you’re saying should have guns:
The dude who can’t manage to drive through a four-way stop sign without hosing up traffic.
The lady who still tries to pay with checks at the grocery store.
Your idiot coworker who always manages to explode his lunch in the microwave and then doesn’t clean it up.
All the people whose photos appear on the “People of Wal-Mart” Facebook page.
And … black teenage boys. (Just imagine if Davis or any of his friends had a gun that night. Imagine.)
Surprise, surprise: I’m not as anti-gun as you think.
But you know what I am? White. And so are my kids. Being white didn’t save those kids and their teachers in Sandy Hook. I realize that. But at least I know my kids probably aren’t going to get murdered for playing loud music in a car or for simply walking in a suburban neighborhood.
If I were black, though … I wouldn’t know that. And I would have no idea how to send my kids out in the world, or what to tell them about how to stay safe when some people would automatically assume that they were up to no good. What a message to have to raise your child with.
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Trish Sammer Johnston
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