Saturday, August 22, 2009

"Leave the guns at home", says EJ Dionne, Washington Post columnist ... .

There has been little or no comment on the differences or similarities between Mr. Dionne's thought-provoking and moving editorial which brought to mind the chilling and long-familiar images of the Black Panther Party marching in formation -- fully and legally armed -- through the halls of the State Capitol in Sacramento during the early Sixties. That act ushered in the era of CoInTelPro and the relentless and brutal siege staged against black militancy, nationwide, over the following decade. With militias now blessed with legal permission to publicly arm themselves in many states -- and with the NRA fiercely defending their 2nd amendment rights -- is skin color the only difference? How were J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI justified in shutting down black militancy by use of deadly force then, and where are those powers now? What has changed? I'm not at all sure of the answers to this new and seemingly irrational show of force -- and this time not by our government but by the citizenry -- nor do I support or defend the Panther's deliberately provocative strategy back in the Sixties. It's the loss of control over the issue that is so disturbing.

But the irony was inescapable -- of the young black brother decked out in his strapped-on shoulder holster assault rifle plus his openly displayed revolver; given that history. Out of what rabbit hole do you supposed he climbed? About the time that his image slid into view -- being interviewed by a white dude with a revolver strapped to his leg(!) -- I found myself giggling helplessly! Testosterone on the rampage! What in the world? It was about at that point that the "deja" became completely unglued from the "vu" and I lost it! Maybe laughter is the only defense reasonable folks can have to such behaviors; but surely that isn't enough. Something critically important to our survival may be at risk here; something activated by decades of unending war and ceaseless urban violence. Have we become so desensitized that we've lost the ability to respond appropriately? This morning the grin has disappeared and my skin crawls with fear for what may lie ahead ... .

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