More Anti-Gun Laws Mean More Racism

The Colorado Freedom Report:  A libertarian journal of politics and culture.

The Colorado Freedom

More Anti-Gun Laws Mean More Racism

by Ari Armstrong, January 23, 2000

The Denver police department is remarkable: over the last several weeks it has managed to violate the First, the Second, the Fourth, the Fifth, and the Eighth Amendments of the Bill of Rights. If, as Random House defines it, a police state is one in which the police "suppresses any act that conflicts with governmental policy," can anyone doubt that we are close to arriving at such a state, if not there already?

All of these infringements of civil liberties have one thing in common: they targeted racial minorities. As The Rocky Mountain News reported February 20, 82 percent of no-knock raids in 1999 were conducted against blacks and Hispanics. That figure in itself doesn't necessarily imply racism, but as the NAACP's Gill Ford wonders, "Would a $20 rock of coke suffice to use a no-knock in Cherry Creek?"

Yet a $20 misdemeanor cocaine allegation prompted the September 29 wrongful killing of Ismael Mena, a Mexican father of nine. Police had the wrong house. Oops.

In recent days the Justice for Mena Committee was exercising its First Amendment rights of speech and assembly when the Denver police department dispersed the crowd.

But it's hardly surprising the police disrespect the First Amendment, since they flagrantly violate the Second. In the same edition of the News which discussed no-knock raids, Sue Lindsay ran a story about a man named Jimmy West, whose car and pistol were stolen (er, "confiscated") by Denver police after West told police he had a pistol in his car for self-defense. Police had pulled over West because his "tail lights were obscured by snow," as Lindsay puts it. Of course, the fact that West has dark skin tones and long hair had nothing to do with the fact that police pulled him over, interrogated him, and hauled him off to jail for daring to exercise his Second Amendment rights.

In a quote that could have come from the pages of Brave New World or 1984, the News relates:

Assistant City Attorney Curt Steigelmeier says West was violating the law by carrying a loaded weapon for self-defense in the absence of a direct or immediate threat.

"That's not what the 'make my day' law says," he said. "I'm sorry, but in Denver what he was doing was a crime. I'm sorry he misunderstood the law. But the law applies to everyone, whether they know it or not."

When the law is ambiguous and unjust, then everyone is a criminal, and the police can use any excuse as a pretext to violate people's rights.

Ironically, some minority members advocated the very laws which are now used unjustly against minorities. Kevin Flynn and Lou Kilzer write in the previously cited News story:

No-knock raids are a key police weapon in the war against drugs.

Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, who is independent of the city administration, said the police practice of targeting suspected crack houses in minority neighborhoods was sparked by residents in the same neighborhoods more than six years ago.

In the wake of a series of gang-related drive-by shootings in what came to be called the Summer of Violence in 1993, citizens at [Mayor Wellington] Webb's Safe City Summit demanded a police crackdown on drug dealers in their neighborhoods.

They got what they asked for. Except now that police have been granted such expansive arbitrary powers, the innocent suffer along with the guilty.

Unfortunately, some minority leaders have bought into the social-engineering schemes advocated by white leftist elitists which damage minorities and whites alike.

Note that the so-called "war on drugs" -- better named the war on minorities -- is responsible both for the draconian, anti-constitutional no-knock raids and victim disarmament laws, as well as for inner-city gun violence.

Odd, then, that a few members of the minority community call for even more expansions of police powers to deal with gun violence. On the same page as the story about West, another News story by Tillie Fong talks about a black woman who advocates a war on guns, because her son was shot in drug-related violence.

So the cycle continues: white elitists propose social-engineering schemes, such as the drug war, which leads to a violent black market, which leads to increased victimization, which leads to more white elitist social-engineering schemes, such as the war on guns.

And when police step up their no-knock raids as a "key police weapon in the war against guns," minorities will once again bear the brunt of police brutality.

Drug prohibition has always been the driving force behind gun restriction laws. When the United States banned alcohol during the 1920s, violent gangsters operating on the black market mowed down competitors with automatic machine guns. (At least that was the popular image of events.) So in 1934 Congress passed the National Firearms Act, technical violations of which have since led to such tragedies as the Ruby Ridge killings and the Waco conflagration.

Today, when victim disarmament lobbyists speak of "crime guns" and violence statistics, the violent black market created by the war on drugs is behind most of those numbers.

So the cycle continues.

Both the war on drugs and the war on guns create violent black markets which perpetuate crime. Both the war on drugs and the war on guns expand arbitrary police powers and increase police brutality. Both the war on drugs and the war on guns harm people of all racial groups.

Of course, one mustn't paint all police officers with the same brush. Most are decent, hard-working, helpful people who work hard to make their communities safer. Unfortunately, bad laws empower the bad apples to violate citizens' rights and taint their profession.

If minorities are angry about police injustices now, just wait until the cops start acting on newly proposed disarmament laws. You ain't seen nothin' yet.

The Colorado Freedom