By Jordan LaPorta
This morning, I, like every other American, awoke to the news of terror in Las Vegas. Those healing and the families of the victims should be our first and foremost concern, and I know they will be in many American’s prayers.
However, I also awoke to the all-too-familiar cacophony of contradiction from the left, which is once again heralding the cause of gun-restriction. The narrative is not a new one, and it is recycled by talking heads every time an attack like this occurs.
Put simply, the argument goes like this: weapons such as assault rifles are far too dangerous for the general public to own. There is no legitimate reason for a private citizen to own such guns, and people should trust and rely on law enforcement to protect them when real danger arises.
Despite the many philosophically troublesome issues with the argument, perhaps the most glaring issue is that it currently undercuts the strength of the en vogue social justice cause: the opposition to racial policing.
The debate over American law enforcement tactics has dominated the emerging culture war for the past few weeks thanks to President Donald Trump’s comments about NFL protests and many players’ response. Taking a knee during the national anthem became a symbol to raise awareness of the racial disparity many believe exists in our law enforcement system, and seemingly everyone on the left hopped on the bandwagon.
Police brutality, abuse of discretion, and racial profiling are very real issues that should be recognized, addressed, and solved. Reasonable minds can quibble about the degree to which these biases permeate our system, and only people completely blind to the truth will refuse to recognize them in any capacity.
But for the sake of argument, let’s assume even the worst assertions the left makes about American law enforcement are true. In this case, the left’s two arguments in tandem — that American police are racist and American gun ownership should be limited — leave African-Americans with no realistic option of defending themselves and their families.
Let that sink in. The logical conclusion of the left’s narrative is that those who are most at risk of being victimized by the abuse of police authority should trust those same police officers with their safety. It’s an absurdity of Orwellian proportions.
To make matters worse, African-American communities are already among the most under-policed in the country for violent crime. While black Americans are routinely over-policed for minor and petty crimes such as drug possession, their neighborhoods often lack the necessary police presence to keep them safe from real violent crime.
In a Wall-Street Journal Article titled “The Underpolicing of Black America,” Jill Leovy illustrated the real impact that a lack of effective policing has on black communities.
From 1988 to 2002, the number of unsolved homicides in the L.A. Police Department’s South Bureau was 41 per square mile. Even as many white neighborhoods remained untouched by killings during this period, some predominately black ones had three unsolved cases per block—seven at the especially violent intersection of South San Pedro and East 84th streets.
Meanwhile, police focused, as they had in the past, on nuisance and vice—the cheap and easy, low-hanging fruit of the trade. As early as 1956, Los Angeles police arrested more than 200,000 people a year for “drunkenness” and municipal code violations—a number that is nearly a tenth of the city’s population. The “broken windows” theory of policing echoes these old paddy-wagon tactics.
For many Americans, not just blacks, self-defense is the only thing that stands between life and death. According to American Police Beat, the average response time for an emergency call is 10 minutes. In attempted robbery or assault situations, people don’t have time to wait that long before the scenario goes from frightening to tragic.
Americans should not be denied the potentially life-saving right to self defense via firearm. For black Americans who doubt the police’s motivations or interest in their communities this right is especially paramount.
The Second Amendment is not perfect — as the tragedy in Las Vegas clearly shows. But the average American should not be denied his or her natural rights on the accord of some nutcase acting on criminal impulse. It’s time to let the justice system take care of the attacker and to continue to allow Americans to control their own safety.