By Eddie Griffin
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Never would I have thought that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas standing up for a black man's right to bear arms for self-defense purposes. To stand requires a spine.
What Thomas has created, however, is a legal defense of the Second Amendment so thoroughly original and starkly race-based that none of the white justices would even acknowledge it, as if it were some blank sheet crafted by an invisible man… Washington Post
In the Gun Rights case of McDonald v. Chicago, Justice Thomas sided with the court's conservative majority in a 5 to 4 vote to give petitioner, Otis McDonald, a 76-year-old black man from Chicago, the right to buy a handgun. McDonald said he needed a gun to protect himself from young black "gangbangers" who were terrorizing his suburban Chicago neighborhood.
The case was joined by the NRA, with thirty-three amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs, filed by U.S. senators Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R, TX) and John Tester (D, MT) and U.S. representatives Mark Souder (R, IN) and Mike Ross (D, AR) asking the Supreme Court to find in favor of the petitioners and rule that the Second Amendment does apply to the states. The brief was signed by 58 senators and 251 representatives, more members of Congress than any amicus curiae brief in history.
Thomas agreed with McDonald, concluding that owning a gun is a fundamental part of a package of hard-won rights guaranteed to black people under the 14th Amendment. And just because some hooligans in Chicago or D.C. misuse firearms is no reason to give it up.
By the FOURTEENTH AMENDMENT, Thomas opens can of worms. The Right to Citizenship did not include the Right that Blacks could Bear Arms. There had been too many Supreme Court cases in history where seizure of arms from Blacks was condoned and deemed legal. What did Clarence Thomas have to say about this?
Referring to the disarming of blacks during the post-Reconstruction era, Thomas wrote: "It was the 'duty' of white citizen 'patrols to search negro houses and other suspected places for firearms.' If they found any firearms, the patrols were to take the offending slave or free black 'to the nearest justice of the peace' whereupon he would be 'severely punished.'" Never again, Thomas says.
Thomas goes on to say, “Militias such as the Ku Klux Klan, the Knights of the White Camellia, the White Brotherhood, the Pale Faces and the '76 Association spread terror among blacks. . . . The use of firearms for self-defense was often the only way black citizens could protect themselves from mob violence."
From Frederick Douglass, Thomas writes: “The black man has never had the right either to keep or bear arms, and that, until he does, the work of the Abolitionists was not finished.”
Courtland Milloy writes:
This was no muttering from an Uncle Tom, as many black people have accused him of being. His advocacy for black self-defense is straight from the heart of Malcolm X. He even cites the slave revolts led by Denmark Vesey and Nat Turner -- implying that white America has long wanted to take guns away from black people out of fear that they would seek revenge for centuries of racial oppression.
Of course, Thomas's references to historic threats posed by white militias might have been dismissed if not for a resurgence of such groups in the year after Barack Obama's election as the nation's first black president.
And if their behavior turns as violent as their racist rhetoric often threatens, then Thomas will almost certainly go down in history as the nation's foremost black radical legal scholar.
POST COMMENTARY by Eddie Griffin
From the Supreme Court bench, Clarence Thomas can see clearly the history of African-Americans and their gun rights in the courtroom. However, as an African-American jurist, he is as alienated from history as he is today’s reality.
He has created a spoof, that as a result of this ruling, blacks will go out and arm themselves against white militia. It is not the arm, but its usage, whether legal or illegal. The problem is proving intent, and most of the time a black man using a weapon, whether in defense or self-defense, he will be criminalized or terribly inconvenienced for exercising that right.
A recent case, in Forrest Hill, TX, a black man shoots a thug breaking into the house. He dies, and the man was indicted. After all the stresses of exercising his right to bear arms, he was found no guilty.
Why do we have to go through this, when other people can carry their weapons in the open, and use them when they please? Carrying an unconcealed weapon in Texas is legal. But for a black man, it would lead to an arrest. That’s not law. That’s life.
Gun Right is not a right worth risky all a man's other freedoms.