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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Racism Doesn't Have To Be Overt To Be Dangerous

Category: Guns
Posted: 07/09/16 16:58

by Dave Mindeman

The officer who shot Philando Castile is offering this explanation through his attorney....

A suburban Minnesota police officer who killed a black driver reacted to the man's gun, not his race, his attorney said Saturday, giving the most detailed account so far of why the officer drew his own weapon.

So far, there is no evidence that Castile pulled his weapon. His girlfriend said he let the officer know that he had a permit to carry and that he was reaching for his registration.

Let's assume that the gun was the factor, not Castile's race, and run with that.

Minnesota has a growing number of permit to carry licenses. The training for these weapons states that when stopped by a police officer, you should let him know immediately that you have a weapon and a permit.

That is what Castile did. The officer says he reacted to seeing the gun. It would be interesting to know if he has encountered other people with permits when conducting a traffic stop.

Because we have a number of people with permits, I would guess that this officer has had an encounter like this before and if the person was white, I suspect that his reaction would have been much calmer.

I don't know if this officer has racist tendencies - frankly, I would guess that he considers himself not to be a racist. And maybe in broad terms he isn't. But I suspect that there is an underlying assumption that a black person with a gun must be treated differently than a white person with a gun.

Again, I do not think this is intentional. It is just an inherent police bias that has developed over time. Whether or not it is justified (and it isn't), that perception has to change.

I don't have an answer for that, but the first step is to recognize that it exists. That alone may alter that instant reaction.

A reaction that seems to be so deadly.
comments (2) permalink

Questions On Guns - And Gun Owners Should Help

Category: Guns
Posted: 07/08/16 20:10

by Dave Mindeman

Besides the tragic circumstances surrounding the Dallas shootings, there are also a number of questions that gun activists should consider:

1) The shooter amassed an arsenal of weapons and munitions that he stored in his home. Why should all of that be legal? And why shouldn't there be some notification to authorities when the amount purchased, even if legal, exceeds a certain level?

2) A gentleman who was licensed to carry brings a long rifle to the Dallas protest (clearly visible to all) gets listed as a person of interest in the shooting. Why should that type of carry be allowed without some notice? (It should be noted that this particular individual is a conceal/carry advocate and publicly stated his advocacy, but then feared for his life when he found out he was being sought by police. He turned himself in and was cleared by authorities, but you have to wonder why resources were needed to deal with that in the first place.)

3) The shooter used a high powered semi-automatic weapon. Witnesses said that a hail of bullets came down in rapid succession. And authorities were convinced that more than one shooter was involved because of the way the firepower was deployed. Why should a private citizen have access to such weaponry?

4) This was one person. Yet, he killed multiple officers. He held most of the Dallas police department at bay for hours. He never ran out of munitions even after hours of stand off. One person. Just one person. Our laws allowed this.

These are just some of the obvious questions that arise as we learn details of this horrific event.

We can't fix hate. We can't easily fix a snapped mental state. But we can fix the outrageous proliferation of guns and munitions that turn these tragedies into multiple mass murder crimes.

Personally, I think conceal/carry permits should be ended. The two black men killed earlier this week had licenses to carry, but that became a detriment to their lives rather than a protection. Even the black man in the Dallas protest found out that there seems to be a difference in America between a white legal permit and a black legal permit.

But aside from that, any legal conceal/carry permit only makes complications for law enforcement. If one individual can wreak havoc of this nature, then why should authorities have to contend with multiple other people carrying weapons that are not involved - yet have to be accounted for.

And there is no real reason to obtain personal arsenals...at least other than shoring up personal insecurities. People who use weapons for hunting or target practice or other sport activity can't really use more than one gun at a time can they? Maybe gun collectors have a legitimate reason, but then they should be willing to license that with authorities.

This last week has shown that we have an enormous amount of work to do in this country on a variety of things. We have a deep racial divide that has to be addressed. That won't be easy and it will take a lot of time and effort.

But as for guns? That is one area we can address. That is a place where we can start to do something.

And gun owners should be helping us.
comments (0) permalink

Too Much Tragedy - We Need More Dialogue

Category: Guns
Posted: 07/08/16 03:05

by Dave Mindeman

This really sets me off.

Conservative voices were pretty much silent about the latest round of black men getting shot via a police stop. That was not worth noting.

But tonight, when tragically 4 Dallas policemen were killed and 7 others were wounded by snipers, they couldn't wait to lay blame on Black Lives Matter, Governor Dayton, and Barack Obama - couldn't wait for the incident to even get resolved before they were making direct correlations.

John Hinderaker of the Power line blog and now of the Center for the American Experiment wasted little time....

This seems like the inevitable result of the out of control hysteria we have seen about police shootings over the past year, and especially over the last few days.

Out of control? Frankly, I think the responses have been pretty responsible and substantive. And exactly what is the Hinderaker proper response? Nothing? Just accept it?

It is like the conservative crowd wanted something like Dallas to happen. It was as if they had their responses prepared for the opportunity.

Hinderaker has the audacity to say that Governor Dayton was acting hastily. That he was reaching conclusions too soon. This, coming from a guy that hasn't even waited for the Dallas situation to be fully confirmed.

Well, blaming the Dallas situation on the words of a Minnesota governor has to be considered outright ludicrous if you ask me.

All of this - Castile, Sterling, and Dallas - all of it is tragic. The Black Lives Matter movement isn't operating on any kind of unique incident. It is hard to ignore an ongoing pattern. A pattern that has to stop.

I don't know exactly why the Dallas sniper attack happened. Its proximity to the recent protests can't be ignored, but then an attack of this magnitude required some serious planning as well. So, unlike Hinderaker, I am not going to dump political reasons onto something that has only begun to be investigated.

But even if this is related to some kind of racial backlash, isn't that exactly what we have all feared? Isn't this why we want some kind of resolution to this obvious police problem?

We want justice because it is needed. It needs to be resolved in a way that can give us a reason to hope for the future. That we have the chance to find a solution that is meaningful and that we all can wrap our arms around.

We all grieve for the officers in Dallas. They were out protecting those protesters and talking and communicating with them in the manner we would hope other police departments would do. The pictures taken together with the protesters offered some hope.

But all of that was tragically brutalized by more hate.

Is that all we have left? Hate?

If Hinderaker wants to dismiss the concerns of Black Lives Matter because some people chose to respond in hate, then he is also part of the problem.

People want a resolution to a real problem. And we are losing that opportunity because we want to focus on a back and forth blame game.

Life is too short for that. Really too short.
comments (1) permalink
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