Skip to main content

View Diary: White privilege and Sandy Hook (490 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Discussing sensible common sense gun control ... (11+ / 0-)

    ... MEANING, in context of Sandy Hook "how can we outlaw ugly guns with  oversized  magazines ?" -- which are, of course, not exactly the problem at least so far as young people of color are concerned.

     THAT's "handguns" and THAT is already off-the-table and outside the scope of  the discussion.  

     Not even Rev. Sharpton makes more than occasional oblique, dog-whistle references to handguns.

    We're already down the distraction rabbit hole talking about how to prevent  Mass Shootings  (hint: we probably can't) ... and how to keep better track of "mentally unstable" people.  

    We're NOT going to make it harder to buy, own, or carry Handtools for Personal Defense -- at least not at the Federal level. AND we're not going to invade the privacy of the American Pistolaro  by keeping centralized records of who buys, or is licensed to carry "Life Preservers".

    Just as ideological constancy required the ACLU to support the right of American Nazis to make a nuisance of themselves Gross Point MI, so the NRA (patriotic though they imagine themselves to be) is bound to support the right of people on Terrorist Watch Lists to buy guns "privately" at gun shows and out of the trunks of parked cars.

    Personally, I'd like to see firearms brought under a regulatory scheme, not unlike what we have for motor vehicles ... license the user, register the hardware, insure the liability.  And I suspect in most States, taking firearm control  away from the county police and giving it to the State Motor Vehicle Bureau would probably produce the most equitable system at the lowest cost to the taxpayer and the gun owner.

    But let's face it:  "Sandy Hook" is simply a timely distraction from "Washington Gridlock"  (for which both parties are equally to blame, donchaknow ?)

    •  The Sandy Hook massacre was so shocking because (4+ / 0-)

      it involved children. There was also the idea that Sandy Hook was such an idealized safe place. (Although apparently it had its share of irresponsible gun nuts.)
         Individual shootings by people who know each other is a whole different ball game.
         The Sandy Hook and Aurora slaughters might still have occurred if the shooters hadn't been able to get their hands on high capacity magazines. But there wouldn't have been as many dead.
         A sensible measure would be to ban the sale, including the resale, of high capacity magazines. Provide incentives for owners of such armament to turn theirs in.
        Close the gun show loopholes.
        Register guns at the point of sale.
        Require gun owners to obtain a firearms license that must be periodically renewed.
        Tax firearms and ammunition and require insurance such that the costs to victims of gun crimes can be fully compensated.

      Measures such as I've suggested would make mass shootings less likely and would minimize casualties when such shootings did occur.
        Whether they would have a significant effect on urban violence is questionable, since the firearms and the violence culture exist there already.

      •  The idealized safe place (7+ / 0-)

        is a construct of white america and the flight to the suburbs.  It's a matter of privilege, class and race.  And again and again I see people talking about "assault rifles" as if the last ban had any significant effect on gun murders.  Banning lead in various things has had more of an effect than that law did.

        The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 08:53:39 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  seems to me that it's only (15+ / 0-)

          white Americans who are entitled to that "idealized safe place".

          I would contend that NONE of the African Americans who live in economically disadvantaged communities (i.e., the "ghetto" or "the hood") have ANY safe place. None. They are not safe in school, nor on the street, nor at the mall, nor on their front porch. Nowhere. And it matters not how young or old they are. Matters not whether they "know" the shooters or don't. (Don't know many 2- and 3-year olds who actually "know" any gangbangers!)

          So that's another element of white privilege that enters into the picture here: privileged white (and especially privileged white WEALTHY) Americans are entitled to safety.

          The rest of us are not?

          •  According to NRA-thinking (0+ / 0-)

            the 'hood ought to be the safest place in the world. You know, because guns.

            The idea of a safe place seems to come with a sense of community. I've lived in poor areas where I felt much safer than the "nice" neighborhoods, for the simple reason that I knew my neighbors and happened to share half a block of street with people who had kindness in them.

            I grant that I am a white woman, and that state of existence affords me the privileges of membership in the White Privilege club. Sandy Hook was shocking on many levels, but I think it was less the location variables (middle class, northeast US, small town) than it was the fact that it was little kids. Columbine should have taught us that white, middle class suburbs were no safe place.

            Now, of course, the news coverage angles and such are a different story. I stuck to NPR and print/online rather than TV, but the few news clips I saw made me think there was an element of "how could this happen to nice white folks" mixed in.

            How does the Republican Congress sit down with all the butthurt over taxing the wealthy?

            by athenap on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:30:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not to jump on you, but no, most people in (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ancblu, mamamedusa

              "The Hood" don't have guns, and it's the racist narratives of the news and our society at large that lead you to believe that they do.  Part of the reason more black people don't get concealed carry permits is because they know that it would greatly increase their chance of being killed by the police.  If black males get killed for reaching for their wallet or ID then why in the world would they be safer with an actual gun.

              The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

              by AoT on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:52:45 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  However well meaning, (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                AoT

                it seems extraordinarily difficult for many to recognize the realities of privilege, class and race and the continuing inequalities that perpetuate them -- not least in our "justice" system.

                As with the revealing and misplaced emphasis on "assault weapons" rather than handguns as a chimerical "safe haven,"  it is another central and indisputable fact that large urban centers have the lowest per capita gun ownership rates and the highest incidence of firearm related homicides and other violent crime.

                The most obvious issues of under-privilege in most public discourse on this national crisis are studiously neglected and ignored -- almost universally on the right and by a substantial majority on the left.

                The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

                by ancblu on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 01:46:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I would correct you only in that (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ancblu

                  I imagine that it's the lowest private gun ownership rates, the police have more than average.

                  The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                  by AoT on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 01:57:06 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "Per Capita" (0+ / 0-)

                    is simply on average per person - in an individual capacity.

                    It is certainly correct that various sub-population groups, whether urban, suburban or rural, would have different relative ownership rates ... police vs. civilian, older vs. younger, or wealthier vs. poorer, or more educated vs. less ... and so on.

                    The one permanent emotion of the inferior man is fear - fear of the unknown, the complex, the inexplicable. What he wants above everything else is safety. H.L. Mencken

                    by ancblu on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 03:07:44 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

              •  I know this is late but I've been out sick... (0+ / 0-)

                And I don't think any but the most troubled parts of the most troubled neighborhoods of any city would have a higher concentration of guns per capita (in fact, I'm inclined to think that rural areas have a higher concentration of guns to bodies because of the low population density, but I digress...).

                But like I said, it's NRA-thinking. Populations with approaching 1:1 gun to human ratio should be the safest, free-est, happiest, liberty-est places in the world, because guns=freedom.

                And yes, I'm being sarcastic there. I'm encountering a lot of people for whom freedom boils down to the 2nd amendment and all others count for nothing. If that's truly the case, then there's only going to be one free person in the whole world, and that'd be the dude with the most guns. I throw up my hands at such logics.

                How does the Republican Congress sit down with all the butthurt over taxing the wealthy?

                by athenap on Wed Jan 02, 2013 at 03:23:54 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  This is a big part of it (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              peggy, mamamedusa
              The idea of a safe place seems to come with a sense of community. I've lived in poor areas where I felt much safer than the "nice" neighborhoods, for the simple reason that I knew my neighbors and happened to share half a block of street with people who had kindness in them.
              This is also why I prefer the term 'Hood over ghetto. To me, the hood is about who my neighbors are.

              Most activists and scholars I know or have read, along with just about everyone who remembers the "good old days", agree that the collapse of the sense of community is one result of the various wars waged against Black and especially poor Black people--the war on drugs, war on poverty (which drugs and poverty obviously won), urban "renewal", redlining, mandatory sentencing laws, the rise of the prison industrial complex, the broadening of the primary school to prison pipeline, etc.

              And of course, this collapse of community is a huge factor influencing what's going on in urban black-and-brown areas.
              We need to understand that the black community didn't just collapse on its own--policies, attitudes, on the part of the government and its people--put so much pressure on it and in so many different forms, I challenge any community anywhere in the world to come out intact.

              Takes a village? Yeah, well, wasn't there also something about destroying the village to save the man? (wink wink) Oh wait. Mixing massacres here. But still. My point is that once the village has been destroyed, it's probably going to take a nation to raise the child.

              •  This was the only reason (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                mamamedusa

                I voted for legalizing marijuana.  I don't smoke anything and don't want to be around it.  I don't particularly understand why people want to do it.  That said, getting rid of laws that are only used to target certain people is desirable.

                 

        •  The reason: Everybody was allowed to keep... (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, ksh01, Renee, Triscula, mamamedusa

          ...their black rifles if they already had them and every high-capacity magazine in inventory that was made before the ban could still be sold retail. And there were hundreds of millions of these mags.

          The only way an assault-rifle ban will work is combined with a buy-back program with a deadline and grace period. High-capacity mags will far be harder to get rid of, but one thing that can be done is immediately ban sales of all of them, including private transfers. While I am optimistic about licensing and better background checks and bans on internet sales, I don't think we're likely to get a workable ban on black rifles and high-count mags, just an unworkable one.

          Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

          by Meteor Blades on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:39:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Oversimplify much? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Plu

          'Cause, ya know, no people of color live in single family homes with backyards and swimming pools and BBQs and shit.

          The problem with ad hoc discussions of complex issues like the intersection of race, economics, and gun violence is the lack of historical context and complexity.

          What I see many times with discussion of "privilege" (white, male, hetero, abled, etc.) is the old "when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail". Too many of these discussions involve flogging it with a blunt instrument rather than consideration of complex, layered, nuanced causes and effects.  

          (That sound you are hearing is a paradigm being shifted at Warp Factor Infinity using no clutch.)

          by homogenius on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 01:45:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah, in a one paragraph comment (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mamamedusa

            I simplified things.

            What I see many times with discussion of "privilege" (white, male, hetero, abled, etc.) is the old "when all you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail". Too many of these discussions involve flogging it with a blunt instrument rather than consideration of complex, layered, nuanced causes and effects.
            There's a hell of a lot of intersectionality in these issues of course, but what's your solution?  Not talk about the problems with race and violence and our reaction as a society to those things?  Or to just talk about guns?  This accusation rings hollow to me because the idea of privilege exists because of the complex nature of the problems, not at all as a blunt instrument.  If you see the concept as blunt then I'd say you misunderstand what it is as a concept.
            'Cause, ya know, no people of color live in single family homes with backyards and swimming pools and BBQs and shit.
            Of course they do.  I grew up with plenty of people of color who lived like that.  I even went swimming at their house sometimes because I didn't have a swimming pool.  That doesn't change the facts about suburbs being the creation of white flight from the cities.  Nor does it change the fact that we never hear about the "it can't happen here" mindset when it's people of color targeted by this sort of violence.  The Sikh temple that was targeted was in the suburbs, from what I could tell, and I didn't see anyone going on about not believing it could happen there except for the people involved.  Because, as some above you have pointed out, that sort of safety and exclusiveness is largely a white, well off thing.  Sure, not exclusively, but mostly.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 01:54:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  I don't get this: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, old possum
        Individual shootings by people who know each other is a whole different ball game.
        Most of these mass shootings involved people who "knew each other"--small towns where "everybody knew everybody".
        •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

          Everyone in Aurora CO (pop. 328,075) "knew each other"? Everyone at Virginia Tech "knew each other"? Everyone at that shopping center in Tucson "knew each other"? Actually, I can't think of any such shootings that have occurred in a genuine "small town."

          "Individual shootings by people who know each other"=spouses, immediate family, close friends, business partners, not random people who happen to be in a particular place.

          "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

          by Alice in Florida on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 01:31:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Certainly not in Aurora (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            grumpelstillchen

            But in most other places these things have happened the victims knew the perpetrator.  In the mall in Oregon they definitely did.  Ditto at columbine.

            The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 01:55:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Banning high capacity magazines ... (0+ / 0-)

        I think THAT ship has sailed eight years ago.  The 1994 law expired in 2004 and since then every mail order hunters' supply company on the internet has been selling the damn things.  

        (And for that matter, a couple of years ago the ATF approved a tricky aftermarket stock for the AR that effectively converts the weapon to an awkward approximation of full-auto fire.)

        Because of the quaint and curious ways the Government protects the privacy and trade secrets of the civilian arms industry there IS NO accurate tally of how many "Modern Sporting Rifles" (AR-15 and AK47 ook-alikes/shoot alikes) are in private hands.  Estimates run from 350,000 to twenty million.

        Whatever --the "AR-15" with it's accessories and modifications is probably THE MOST POPULAR long gun sold in the US.

        So ... without a central data base of weapons and owners,  continuously updated by the registration of every "casual sale" in a centralized, accessible data base, I'd guess "anyone who wants one will be able to get one"

        Now, as long as they keep it hidden at home along side their home  pot and porn stashes -- so what and no harm done.

        And when they DON'T ... well, then it's plenty much too late, isn't it ?

      •  I think it shocked us so much (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Plu

        for a hundred different reasons, some of which are that this town was "white" and "middle-class." Homogeneity does make for a more stable local ecosystem in some respects--if everyone looks like/acts like/thinks like everyone else, you have less disagreement overall.

        It shocked us so much because, at the heart of our culture, there is still such an unconscious desire to look for sense in senseless acts, that we are inclined to entertain thoughts--no matter how brief or illogical, or how much we recognize them as illogical--that somehow the violence is merited or karmic retribution. It doesn't make sense to us when innocent people become victims because those people were doing everything "right." And of course, it doesn't help that a lot of our cultural cues in storytelling, religion, and social behavior are cause-effect based. Sandy Hook knocked us all on our asses because there's no way a 7 year old could have racked up that much bad karma, no way a 6 year old could have "been involved with bad people," no way that whole aura of "personal responsibility" that some will write off crime victims with (if he only had a gun...) can be hung around the necks of little kids.

        How does the Republican Congress sit down with all the butthurt over taxing the wealthy?

        by athenap on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:15:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Disagree about likelihood of action: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Triscula, mamamedusa
      AND we're not going to invade the privacy of the American Pistolaro  by keeping centralized records of who buys, or is licensed to carry "Life Preservers".
      For the first time ever, I think licensing and centralized record-keeping may be imposed along with a budget to make it real. That may seem insanely optimistic given that we haven't had other than an acting ATF director since the Bush administration. But there does seem to be a different attitude this time, however much that is a function of white privilege.

      I think the gun-show "loophole" will soon be dead. I think Internet sales of ammunition may be, too.

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:34:47 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can see the gun-show and internet ammo (0+ / 0-)

        sales getting killed, but with a GOP House the rest does seem pretty optimistic.

        The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Thu Dec 27, 2012 at 12:55:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well ... who ever would have thought that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT

        people would willingly line up, remove their shoes  and submit to x-ray photography revealing their breasts and genitals.

        So, I suppose "anything is possible."

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site