It's Time for African Americans to Lock and Load
Justice Thomas made it clear in his fiery opinion in the Supreme Court's gun control decision this week that the right to bear arms is inextricably intertwined with black freedom. We need a new organization to make it happen.
But let's put all that aside for now. I don't want to upset Justice Thomas. I'm hoping he'll agree to be the honorary chairman of the American Rifle Association. I can see him joining a stellar board of directors made up of distinguished African Americans who have been unfairly persecuted because of unduly restrictive and discriminatory gun laws. My next target for the board is P Diddy, who was accused of pulling a gun in a nightclub when he was still hanging out with Jennifer Lopez under his old Puff Daddy alias. Then there's Gilbert Arenas, the former Washington Wizards star, who did 30 days for waving guns around in the team locker room. Just waving them around, for gosh sake. I would want Lil Wayne to sit on the board too. Showing the injustice of making a rapper at the peak of his career serve a one-year sentence just for carrying a gun could do wonders for our fundraising abilities. Maybe that would inspire rapper Ja Rule to join as well; in August he goes to trial on felony gun-possession charges. Think of the rap song they could collaborate on, with P Diddy producing, to help us raise money.
I'm also thinking about former New York Giants star Plaxico Burress for the board. Yeah, I know, he shot himself in the leg with his own gun. But that's exactly why we need the American Rifle Association. All those accidental shootings and drive-bys are the result of a lack of weapons discipline. The black community used to get proper training in the use of guns by being in the military. But with today's all-volunteer army, African Americans are less likely to get that valuable training. And I think that has a lot to do with why guns keep going off and innocent children get shot so often.
My dream is to set up ARA chapters in every large and small city across the country with a significant black population. We will offer African Americans proper training in buying and using guns. I think the possibilities for growth are great. We can add shooting activities to black family reunions, where dads and moms and kids can learn the safe way to care for and handle AR-15s, Uzis, AK-47s and other weapons that already widely available in America. And think of the deterrence value when thugs, muggers and petty criminals who normally prey on our community have to worry that Grandma or the old man who used to be such an easy target might be "carrying."
I think that once the heads of the NAACP and the National Urban League read Justice Thomas' stirring language tying black freedom to gun ownership, it's likely that we can get those organizations to add some red-blooded American activities to their annual conventions, like a deer hunt or a visit to a firing range to shoot off machine guns. Maybe we can do it right after the Sunday-morning prayer breakfast.
Now, I remember comedian Dick Gregory suggesting in the 1960s that the only way to get gun control in America was to start forming NRA chapters in the ghetto. But we're post-racial, aren't we? I can't see the NRA, GOP or the Tea Party opposing the American Rifle Association. We'll adopt a logo with an Uzi against a red-black-and-green background and an American flag. I can even see President Obama appearing at the first ARA convention, lifting that MAC-10 above his head and declaring, "They'll have to take this out of my cold, dead hands!"
Joel Dreyfuss is managing editor of The Root. Follow him on Twitter.