As the battle for the gun rages on, an intriguing question came to mind: If the NRA was mostly black and brown folks, would we even be having this conversation? Let’s take it a step further: What if mass murderer Adam Lanza was a young black, Hispanic or Middle Eastern male?
The National Rifle Association is politically and socially powerful, there is no disputing that. They have their tentacles deeply buried in our legislative discourse and have successfully maintained their stronghold despite many gun massacres and other gun violence over the years.
That is, until this latest school tragedy, which was cataclysmic in the scheme of gun violence in America. This time it was mostly young elementary-school children butchered, and the diabolical nature of it has sent the gun debate to critical levels.
The Second Amendment has always been used as the staunch defender of US citizens’ rights to bear arms—all of it, even the high-powered killing machine like the Bushmaster, used in the Sandy Hook school shootings.
After remaining mute since the slayings in Newtown, Conn., the NRA issued a statement Friday calling for armed guards in every school, instead of addressing the massive amounts of guns flooding our communities.
But what if most of the 4.3 million members of the NRA were law-abiding black and brown folks? (Currently, there are a reported 73,700 folks of color in the NRA. Read more here). I saw a tweet floating around the social network that read, “Let people of color start joining the NRA in droves and becoming gun nuts to protect our neighborhoods; regulation would happen swiftly.” In fact, I venture further to say the NRA would have “died a swift death” a long time ago.
What about the killer who busted into Sandy Hook Elementary on Dec. 14 and pumped 3 to 11 bullets into each of the 20 children and 6 members of faculty murdered? What if 20-year-old Lanza was black or brown? Would the media be quick to psychoanalyze him or speak of mental illness being the root of his bloody rampage?
David Sirota of Salon.com spoke to CNN about his article,”A Time to Profile White Men,” which created a recent firestorm online. He said the fact that more than 70 percent of mass murders committed in the US are done by young white males is worth having a serious conversation about. Sirota said that if the killer was any other color than white, the gun conversation would have been drastically different and we would have been referring to shooter Lanza as a thug, terrorist or anything other than the media is calling him now. (Check out the video above for more.)
Incidentally, when black, Middle Eastern and Hispanic men are profiled, the noise isn’t half as loud. Why? If we shouldn’t profile young white males because of the actions of some, why is it America continues to subject people of other ethnic and religious groups to profiling?
New York City has practiced profiling for more than a decade, under a program authorized by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. A case is currently before the state Supreme Court as I type.
Come weigh in: Are there some disturbing truths to the questions raised above?