On Wednesday, a small group of black people exercised their Second Amendment right to bear arms by walking to the state capitol building in Lansing, Mich., toting large rifles, much like the mobs of white anti-quarantine protestors did last week. The difference is, these black people weren’t there to intimidate lawmakers or cause a ruckus while holding symbols of hate like nooses and confederate flags. These citizens were there with one mission in mind: protect a black woman.
Lansing City Pulse reports that State Rep. Sarah Anthony was escorted to an appropriations committee meeting in the state capitol building by at least three armed African Americans who volunteered their services after witnessing the chaotic (not to mention racist as fuck) events of last week.
“We were all just appalled by the lack of support and lack of security that I had, that other legislators had, and the fact that a lot of the demonstrators last week were adorning many racist, anti-Semitic signage. I think it just triggered a lot of folks, especially African Americans,” Anthony said, noting that she didn’t ask for the escort but was happy to have them there.
“The majority of the protesters were white,” she said. “I’m still not exactly sure on the connection between confederate flags and Nazi symbolism. They just had no connection to the stay-at-home orders. The fact they were carrying guns openly while we voted was unnerving.”
Michael Lynn Jr., a Lansing firefighter and community activist who helped organize Anthony’s escort, said he was inspired to act after seeing video footage Anthony posted to her Facebook page of the protests last week.
“I could hear the fear in her voice during that protest,” Lynn said. “It was the visual of her being that scared to go to work. It meant we had to do something. We came out here today to make sure we could provide some protection, even if it’s only just to make her feel better.”
Lynn also wanted to show that the Second Amendment isn’t only a white people thing.
“We want to change the narrative, first of all,” Lynn said. “We want people to understand that people of color can come out here with guns just the same as anybody else can.”
Of course, that’s debatable because, again, three black people carrying guns and peacefully escorting a lawmaker to her place of business isn’t remotely the same thing as scores of white people rambunctiously storming a government building armed with rifles and hateful symbols. It’s still hard to imagine crowds of armed and angry black people being afforded the same accommodations as the white folks were, regardless of their constitutional right to be there with their guns.
Still, Lynn makes a good point in saying that people of color need to be less afraid of openly exercising our right to bear arms.
Despite the armed escort, Anthony and Lynn both oppose the carrying of guns into government buildings.
“There are certain things that are just inappropriate,” Lynn added. “We don’t take guns in the courthouse. We don’t take guns into City Hall. Why would we take guns of this caliber into the Capitol? I have 150 rounds on me right now. I could make terror. This could wreak havoc.”
Lynn and his fellow armed guards should be commended for their efforts to keep Anthony safe—especially since Lynn had to suspend his belief that guns shouldn’t be allowed there in order to do so. What they did took courage and it gave us a picture-perfect example of how black people protect our own. It’s a beautiful thing.