by Dan Gifford
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- In 1963, I saw Malcolm X speak in Harlem. Any who recall those times can appreciate how scary a figure he was claimed to be by our government and the news media.
Much later, I played a prison guard in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X film.
Through those and other experiences, I can attest that the real message of Malcolm X has been grossly misrepresented by people who want to destroy the Second Amendment by keeping racial animosity alive.
Considering the racial strife Black Lives Matter, Al Sharpton and George Soros, among others, keep fresh, I thought it may be instructive for all to revisit this article of mine that ran in a number of black audience publications during the early 90s.
The Heller Decision was roughly two decades away and though the Clintons were in the White House then, Obama has continued the same rights stripping politic of dependency which the distaff Clinton will recommence if she captures the presidency.
The Essential Malcolm X
Malcolm X has a message for the Clinton administration concerning two sacred Democratic Party cows it will soon be milking. Speaking to a new generation through Spike Lee’s excellent motion picture, he first transcends early anger and division to tell us how interracial harmony blooms when the dependent slavery of the welfare check is rejected and the backbone of self-reliance and self-respect is embraced.
That self-reliance and respect also includes a second message about self preservation. Listen closely and Malcolm will tell you a truth long silenced by those selling the bondage of paternal government: the history of gun control is the history of racial and class suppression.
Malcolm speaks openly about the inherent right of Americans to arm for their protection and about the need for blacks to form rifle clubs to exercise that right effectively. By joining the NRA, their clubs could receive military surplus arms to fight Ku Klux Klan and law enforcement agency violence, intimidation and murder – an important but no longer spoken of tactic that kept many civil rights workers and leaders alive.
Justifiable defense? Not then. It was a danger to the public’s safety and the existing order. All expected responses given gun control’s origins.
Slaves could be whipped or hanged for even touching a firearm. In a society where the Founding Fathers wisely empowered an armed citizenry as the ultimate barrier to government tyranny and Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney told Dred Scott that one of the unquestioned “privileges and immunities” of American citizenship denied him as a slave was the right to own firearms and carry them wherever he went, white rulers understood all too well that freedom, like that recently gained from the British, grew out of the barrel of a gun.
After the Union Army’s guns broke the chains of slavery, Southern states maintained defacto enslavement by passing special laws to keep blacks from owning or carrying guns. The ensuing Klan intimidations and murders of unarmed blacks so enraged Congress that Mississippi wasn’t going to be readmitted to the union until it respected its black citizens Second Amendment rights – the specific issue prompting the Freedman’s Bureau Act of 1866, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 and the first portion of the 14th Amendment.
All three measures applied the entire Bill of Rights as limits on the powers of state governments. The 14th even echoed Justice Taney’s words. But racist court decisions thwarted Congress’ intent. In that vacuum, state laws could contradict the Bill of Rights until told otherwise by the courts (an incomplete process that to date has left the states immune from portions of the Fifth and Eighth Amendments and the Second, Third and Seventh Amendments entirely).
New gun control laws made no reference to race. But their passage and enforcement was specifically intended to keep blacks disarmed and helpless.
Later, states and towns outside the South followed suit but widened the target. New York City’s 1911 Sullivan Law was specifically passed to keep handguns away from Jews, Italians and “coloreds”. But the moneyed and politically connected prompting those statutes and their hired goons could always get permits to carry the guns that intimidated and killed troublesome blacks, immigrants and union agitators.
By Malcolm’s time, gun laws had become institutionalized to the point that few knew or even thought about their origins or the fact that they were constitutionally illegal. That’s still true.
Keep that in mind when the Clinton administration starts claiming the curtailment (and eventual loss) of a constitutional right is needed for a safer society. Safer how? Is there any real danger difference between a right protecting lethal hardware and other rights protecting lethal people (who’ll always be armed) from jail? Police officials like Chicago’s Leroy Martin advocate cutting those liberties too.
When that happens, nobody’s safe. Not the American people who’ll have had their ultimate check on abusive government power gutted. And certainly not blacks, Jews, gays, native Americans and others whom the system cannot, and in many cases will not, protect from the criminals in and out of uniform that prey on them. Rodney King (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Rodney_King) would certainly agree, as would Malice Wayne Green (See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malice_Green) were he still alive.
Safer societies are had by living Malcolm’s first message. They’re ultimately protected by his second. So spread the word, pull the coats and give the politicians and others wanting to restrict and eventually take away the means to resist a message from Malcolm on behalf of the owners of the country. You’ll stand on your own and keep all your rights by all means necessary!
Dan Gifford is an Emmy winning, Oscar nominated film producer and former reporter for CNN, The MacNeil/Lehrer News, and The Village Voice. For more information visit patch.com/users/dan-gifford