By Kenn Blanchard
I got into the pro-rights movement by accident. I just wanted to take what the government had taught me and help the people in my community live safer with training. I didn’t know that people of color, specifically Americans of African descent in most cities that I was trying to help were discombobulated about guns. It was the swimming pool all over again.
When I was in basic training at Parris Island, SC to become a US Marine, all recruits had to get classified to what level they could swim or operate in the water. It was the largest indoor pool I had ever seen. It had been a rough week for me and I couldn’t do anything right I thought. I was so glad when they told us to put on swimming trunks and jump in the water. I knew it would one of the few places, that the Drill Instructors couldn’t get me for a few minutes. I love water. Like going to the chapel, this was going to be a peace break.
Well, over a hundred young men, jumped into the pool. That was quite a sound. I swam to the deeper end and floated effortlessly for several minutes as I noticed that the room was growing quieter. Underneath me, I saw men in scuba gear patrolling like reef sharks. When I finally looked to the wall, where we had all launched I noticed that there were at least seventy black men, dripping water and shaking from the experience. I looked around and wondered did I miss the whistle. Trying to whisper to my bunk mate who was also out of the water; “Why are you out of the water?” He cautiously whispered back, “The brothers don’t swim.” I thought to myself, “Damn, what am I a mutant?”
Well, here I was a certified law enforcement firearms trainer, with citations from the Federal Law Enforcement Training center and the NRA for expert shooting. I was not the only black man with a gun. My grandmother was a heckuva shot with her no named, rusty, dusty, single barreled shotgun.
I also knew that I wasn’t the only US military veteran, person with a security or law enforcement background, socially conscious person that owned a gun either. They were college educated, and traditionally trained by the hunters in their homes people that looked like me. Every relative I have in Virginia as old as my mother has a modern musket of some type. It was as important as a lantern. It was another tool.
You’ve probably heard the statistics about crime in the “urban” environment, right? Someone has promised you that if you vote for them they are going to solve all your problems. Someone was lying to somebody. We do have a crime and violence problem in our cities but it’s not the fault of the gun owner. Lying is popular when it comes to firearms. It’s almost like fishing. The fish I caught was this big….!
Why is crime so bad in the city? I can give you a few reasons, overcrowding, poverty, addictions, ignorance, unemployment and hopelessness. It doesn’t matter what color you are if you are stuck. If you choose to live in closer proximity to others than you would in a rural environment, you give up space and personal freedom to get along.
Additionally, almost everything that is said about guns always has a racist “black” spin to it. You might not notice it now because you are used to it but because I am so immersed in the roots of this issue, I know. What color is an assault weapon? Did you guess black? Believe it or not, people that like modern sporting rifles even call them, black guns. They are in effect, modern muskets.
Gun buybacks are big media events that happen in predominately “black” churches with black ministers allowing it to be done in the sanctuary. If the people in it were for some propaganda, ignorance or fear, that wouldn’t be tolerated. Gun “buy back” programs are misnamed. You cannot buy back something you didn’t own in the first place. What it is really is a way for rich people to get a tax deduction, an inner city church to get some press. Criminals don’t turn in guns unless to get rid of evidence. Gun owners know that guns are worth more than a gift card or tennis shoes. And if you have actually been to a gun buyback, you see stuff that (1) is inoperable, (2) will probably never make it to get destroyed, if of value or (3) hardly anything turned in. Why would anyone support the turn in of legal property simply to destroy it, when it can be done selling it to law-abiding individuals?
And the biggest lie is that black people don’t hunt, collect, own, compete with or also don’t want to own a firearm to protect themselves. If you agree to that; are you saying people of color are less responsible? How about the thought that only “white people,” red necks, and other nasty-named people would own guns? If you hear a lie long enough you will start to believe it. I could go on but this is enough to get you thinking.
Gun control is racist. Anyone that will give you a sidearm is an ally. Anyone that wants to disarm you is not your friend. Gun control has been an issue since the 1600s here in America. None of concepts of prohibition work. Learning how to swim or learning how to safely handle a sidearm are excellent skills to have. You learn to swim so that you won’t drown. You should learn the truth about firearms because for more reasons than self-defense. Avoidance programs perpetuate ignorance. Ignorance kills.
Kenn Blanchard is a voice over actor, speaker, pastor and runs the Urban Shooter podcast available on iTunes and Stitcher radio. You can find out more about him at http://kennblanchard.com.