Friday, July 8, 2016

The NRA and Philando Castile (and Dallas): I Welcome Their Hypocrisy

Throughout the day yesterday, as people on social media mourned the death of Philando Castile and expressed their outrage at his killer, I saw one constant thread: People pointing out the hypocrisy of the NRA. Numerous articles appeared talking about the ways in which the NRA's call for the broadest view of the 2nd Amendment doesn't seem to apply to black people (including from principled libertarians). This is all true, they are hypocrites.

It made me think, though - what if the NRA did issue a statement on Castile? What if, now that black individuals bearing semi-automatic or automatic rifles (probably) shot cops in Dallas, the NRA got behind an assault weapon ban?

My response - I welcome their hypocrisy. Please stay silent.

I am a long time critic of the proliferation of firearms in our society, writing for CNN about violence on college campuses/guns on college campuses in particular. Throughout, I have recognize that there is no tragedy that could lead the NRA to support any type of gun control measure. Sandy Hook didn't. Nothing could. Therefore, I do not seek to persuade, but to marginalize.

The NRA has long deployed racist ideology to make white America afraid of black America, and thus convince white people to buy firearms. At absolute best, the NRA would seek to separate Castile from the hundreds of other black victims of state violence. To say - this man was an unjust victim. To say - this man had his second amendment rights violated. And then to ignore the broader issues.

The problem with America's police, from a policy standpoint, is not that they treat CCW holders too aggressively, but that use of force standards trains officers to treat the mere possibility of a threat as an actual threat.

We have two overlapping problems: Police violence. Proliferation of firearms. The NRA will help with neither.

Stay silent, NRA. I welcome your hypocrisy.

Some of my essays on guns:

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