Monday, June 27, 2011

Gary McCarthy on the Racial and Ethnic Implications of Gun Violence

From HuffPo by way of aol, video from youtube:

Garry McCarthy, Chicago Top Cop, Calls Gun Laws 'Government-Sponsored Racism'; Right Responds

Gun rights advocates and other right-wing groups responded harshly on Friday to some strong words on gun control by Chicago's new top cop.
Garry McCarthy, brought in as the superintendent of police by newly elected mayor Rahm Emanuel, made the comments at St. Sabina, a liberal black church in the heart of Chicago's South Side. The Auburn-Gresham neighborhood where the church is located has struggled with gun violence for years, and its pastor, Father Michael Pfleger, is an outspoken supporter of limiting gun rights.
So McCarthy was playing to his audience when he made remarks like these (at around 5:40 in the video):
"So here’s what I want to tell you. See, let’s see if we can make a connection here. Slavery. Segregation. Black codes. Jim Crow. What did they all have in common? Anybody getting’ scared? Government sponsored racism. I told you I wasn't afraid [of race]. I told you I wasn't afraid. "Now I want you to connect one more dot on that chain of the African American history in this country, and tell me if I’m crazy: Federal gun laws that facilitate the flow of illegal firearms into our urban centers across this country, that are killing our black and brown children."
Immediately after those remarks, he also insisted, as he has often said since coming over to Chicago from Newark, N.J., that the gun control debate has to move "back to the center."
But conservative commentators overlooked that more moderate position in their response to the recently-surfaced video.
“After several minutes of gratuitous self-promotion, McCarthy launched into a racially charged tirade in which he accused the NRA and law-abiding gun owners of participating in a government-sponsored program to kill black people," Richard Pearson, executive director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, wrote on the group's website.
Like most of you, we believe an assertion such as McCarthy’s is too nutty to dignify with a response." Andrew Breitbart's Big Government blog goes for guilt by association: "McCarthy states his comfort speaking to the “right audience” about his views," blogger Rebel Pundit writes. "Could this be because outspoken radical activist Rev. Dr. Michael L. Pfleger is the Pastor of the Faith Community of Saint Sabina? Pfleger is known for his strong anti-gun views, outreach to prostitutes, anti-drug campaigns, and warm relationships with Louis Farrakhan, Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright."

And a vitriolic blog post on ChicagoNow pulled no punches. "[W]e have a top cop more interested in appearing at racist churches making race-baiting speeches than doing his job," writes Warner Todd Huston. "Emanuel better watch out because what we obviously have here is just another arrogant jack-booted thug that thinks he should be allowed to make up his own laws instead of enforcing the laws actually on the books.

McCarthy issued a relatively toned-down statement on Friday. "Strong gun laws against illegal firearms are critical in order to maintain public safety and private rights,” McCarthy said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Gang and drug activity intersect with guns, and all three must be the focus of violence-reduction efforts in our communities.”
Obviously from my previous writing, I agree with Mr. McCarthy that gun violence has a disproportionately large impact on certain demographics of race and economic status.  I agree with him completely that preventing - so far as it is humanly possible - the possession of illegal firearms by people who will do violence or commit crimes is essential to public safety.  I would point out that doing so makes all of us safer, whether we are legal gun owners, or choose not to own firearms.

In considering the knee-jerk reaction on the right against Mr. McCarthy, I found the following video to be informative in how effective McCarthy has been in pursuing his theories, as they are reflected in crime statistics, including the reduction of gun violence.

This kind of result is what I wish to see, and what I believe my co-bloggers also wish to see happen.  I believe this is absolutely possible, without keeping legal and responsible gun owners from possessing firearms.  If minor inconveniences like registration and gun purchasers being checked for things like a criminal conviction (including drugs and/or gang activity), or a pattern of domestic violence as evidenced by a restraining order, or a medical history of mental illness that includes violent behavior or threats, then that is a reasonable balancing of individual rights to own firearms for their own enjoyment and the need for public safety where far too many people are injured, killed, or threatened.  McCarthy correctly addresses issues which have a disproportionate and devastating impact on largely minority areas of Chicago, issues which parallel those problems in other communities.   I would argue that those areas are affected in this way not because of a correlation to race or ethnicity and violence, but because of the correlation to prejudice against minority individuals that tend to result in fewer opportunities, greater obstacles to success, and other problems that are the result of poverty.  So long as poverty affects those demographically defined groups more severely than other segments of our population, they will be more strongly affected by crime and gun violence as well; the two go together.

I strongly disagree with the right attempting to discredit McCarthy, and the way in which the right characterizes both the black religious community and sincere, legitimate, effective efforts to reduce crime.  Black churches have a long history of being a source of stability and progress in these communities, of making positive and constructive contributions to solving the problems of the areas in which they are located.

There is nothing 'jack booted' or 'thuggish' about McCarthy.  Government is in part very much a matter of our laws and law enforcement.  McCarthy is perfectly correct when he points out the racism that has been inherent and intended in the old 'Jim Crow' laws.  Another example of racism as it intersects with government is the recent indictments of the campaign staff of the former Republican governor of Maryland from the 2010 Maryland state election, where there was attempted voter suppression of exclusively black voters: .

Just one more in a long line of conservative, and recently largely Republican, political and government connected racism.  I think the balancing of the right to free speech by the legislation that prohibits this kind of voter suppression very closely parallels the need to balance the right to own guns against the legitimate public safety issue of regulating legal guns to reduce crimes by illegal guns which were initially legally owned and obtained, or illegally transferred to criminals.


  1. So he thinks that the Gun Control Acts of 1934, 1968, 1986 and the Brady NICS check are all a racist plot so we need what? More gun control laws?

    Bwahahahahah. What a tool.

    Garry McCarthy is bat-shit crazy and should probably be a prohibited person himself.

  2. Here's another one of those terror threats that are statistically insignificant compared to so-called home-grown terrorists.

    Of course they contacted a known felon to procure guns for them. Wonder why they didn't just go to a gunshow or a Wal-Mart?

  3. "Black churches have a long history of being a source of stability and progress

    in these communities, of making positive and constructive contributions to

    solving the problems of the areas in which they are located."

    What black churches have you attended and on what planet? Instead of parroting

    the liberal party line (or lie), how about you ask some black people what they

    think about the black church.

    Better yet, i'll save you the effort and tell you what I think. The black church

    ceased being a constructive contributor to the community years ago. These days

    many of them are nothing more than rackets run by pulpit pimps who live in houses

    and drive cars their church members could never afford in communities they would never be welcome in. Black churches are also the main promoters of homophobia in the black community. So much for progress. And the worst part is that they are the main advocates of soft ball sentences for violent criminals within the black community.

  4. Poor Chicago. The problems they face are largely of their own making. Always looking for another scapegoat rather than deal with their own accepted dysfunctional lifestyle.

    How about they end Chicago as a sanctuary city for illegals? Cut down on crime and needless deaths almost immediately.

    How about increasing the boys program? So many boys of single mothers who join gangs for lack of a father figure and proper role models. How many end up needlessly dead every year from that group.

    How about organizing mass tutoring sessions within groups of parents? Works in other urban areas (especially when some parents can't read) and an educated population results in reduced crime.

    So many things they could do for themselves at little cost IF they actually wanted to fix their problems (over political pandering). And most would help the situation far faster than pandering for unlikley federal gun control. Even Che was able to increase Cuban literacy from 60-95% in under a decade.

    Chicago is a mess. If you've ever lived there you'd know 1st hand the political machine and rampant bribery to get anything done.

  5. The only thing wrong with Chicago gun laws is Indiana.