Y’all, I’m not even sure how to formulate this.
Let’s start with Kevin, who was kind enough to come by and point me to a quick “how we ended up here” when it comes to gun rights. He quotes a very interesting part of the Dred Scott decision, which I quote here:
[Citizenship] would give to persons of the negro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one State of the Union, the right to enter every other State whenever they pleased, singly or in companies, without pass or passport, and without obstruction, to sojourn there as long as they pleased, to go where they pleased at every hour of the day or night without molestation, unless they committed some violation of law for which a white man would be punished; and it would give them the full liberty of speech in public and in private upon all subjects upon which its own citizens might speak; to hold public meetings upon political affairs, and to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, and inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the State.
Just keep in mind “to keep and carry arms wherever they went.” We’ll be coming back to this.
There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted — and you create a nation of law-breakers — and then you cash in on guilt.
Hmmm, as well.
As y’all know, I’ve been following the saga of Say Uncle’s friend with interest and Blake has said all I have to say about the issue better than I could. Can a liberal heathen feminist and a conservative Christian gun nut find common ground? On this issue, apparently.
Anyway, it was one of Blake’s commenters that made me suddenly go “Well, duh.” This commenter says
If you don’t like the law get em to change it, don’t blame the cops for enforcing it.
As for me, I don’t want felons owning guns or voting.
Posted by: TWM at March 26, 2006 07:50 PM
And I stared at my computer screen dumbfounded.
Then I read this:
the other side of the Republican coin on immigration is the Bush plan to create a “guest worker” program that is nothing less than the realization of corporate America’s wet dream of having a labor force that cannot vote. It would create a permanent underclass of disenfranchised workers
The light went on and I immediately called the Professor and asked, “Why can’t people see that rap music and country music are the same?”
But what I really meant is that–duh–we’ve created draconian laws to “punish” behavior that doesn’t hurt anyone–like say, outlawing drugs–and the result is not a reduction in the use of drugs but prisons full of poor men.
Yes, those poor men are disproportionately black, which means that the war on drugs has allowed the government to find a way to follow the spirit of the Dred Scott decision even now–the war on drugs makes felons out of many black men, which means that they cannot carry weapons or vote. Which means that they cannot legally defend themselves and they cannot change the way they are governed. Both are equally troubling. Black men are left with no way to force the government to hear them.
But it’s not just black men who are fucked by this–it’s really poor people in general. As folks over at Say Uncle and Blake’s have pointed out repeatedly, there are all types of felonies, from having too much weed to killing your boyfriend, but the stoner and the murderer are stripped of their rights just the same.
And who most needs to have their rights protected? The people who are most often chewed up and spit out by various law enforcement entities. Who do we strip of the ability to hold our government accountable? The people who are most often chewed up and spit out by various law enforcement entities.
It’s really brilliant, if you think about it. Who’s going to best know the ways that the government fucks people over? People who have been fucked over. What can they legally do about it?
Nothing, it seems.