Gun Rights

Why Malcolm X Is a Second Amendment Hero

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Writing at The New York Times, Charles C.W. Cooke offers a nice history of the central role that armed self-defense has played in both the civil rights movement and the broader struggle for racial equality. "For centuries," he writes, "firearms have been indispensable to black liberation: as crucial a defense against tyranny for Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King Jr. as for Sam Adams and George Washington." Cooke is correct: Civil rights and gun rights are inseparable.

Cooke, whose day job is writing for National Review, also offers some excellent advice to his fellow conservatives at the National Rifle Association:

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

It is one thing for the N.R.A. to celebrate black Second Amendment advocates such as its spokesman Colion Noir, and Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. of Milwaukee County, but it is quite another for Wayne LaPierre to inveigh against "home invaders, drug cartels, carjackers, knockout gamers, and rapers, and haters," and for the camera to then pan around a sea of white faces clapping in unison.

Malcolm X may have a deservedly mixed reputation, but the famous photograph of him standing at the window, rifle in hand, insisting on black liberation "by any means necessary," is about as American as it gets. It should be celebrated just like the "Don't tread on me" Gadsden flag. By not making that connection, the movement is losing touch with one of its greatest triumphs and forsaking a prime illustration of why its cause is so just and so crucial.

If supporters of the right to keep and bear arms want their pleas to be heard in their proper context, they might consider talking a little less about Valley Forge and a little more about Jim Crow — and attempting to fill their ranks with people who have known much more recently what tyranny really looks like.

NEXT: Asset forfeiture, drug legalization, and the mainstreaming of libertarian ideas

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  1. They should mention the Battle of Athens, Tennessee, too:
    http://jpfo.org/filegen-a-m/athens.htm

    1. Shhh… shhhh… second amendment is only for shooting sports.

  2. I wonder how far along the civil rights movement would have gotten if it had evolved in the current ubiquitous surveillance atmosphere.

    Not far I’d bet.

    1. I wonder how far along it would have gotten if it had been coopted by modern progressives, who would insist on not being mean old stinkyheads to the omnibenevolent institution of government.

      1. The proggies would have reinstituted slavery and put vaginas back in chains. Then they would have culled the herd by a few hundred million. But they would have done it for our own good and to save the planet, so it would all be good.

  3. I have not yet figured out how, but I am going to assume there’s something racist about this.

    In unrelated news =

    Salon journalist is absolutely appalled at the vulgar, impolite, derogatory and insulting way Crazynuts Gun-Freak Extremist Whackjob Monsters use language online“.

    Much exaggerated pearl-clutching ensues.

    As an example of their utter inhumanity and foul-mouthed insanity-spreading vulgarisms, the worst quote the author could find was, “here’s your chance to knock [Moms Demand Action] back into their little liberal utopia where they can chase leprechauns and ride unicorns all day long.” Can you *believe* that?!? These people are worse than the Klan!

    1. I’m still amazed how progs seem to think pants-shitting and announcing that you are afraid of everything is some kind of argument. They seem to think being a pussy (like being a victim, I suppose) gives legitimacy to emotional, non-rational arguments.

      1. Your comments frighten and confuse me. I am just a simple prog, thawed out by some of your scientists.

        1. “As a caveman frozen in a glacier, I face different challenges. The hardest thing was seeing my wife on display in the British Museum.”

      2. Maybe someone should read back some prog quotes about Palin to him.

      3. Feeling emotionally safe is more important than your selfish free will and profits, bagger! And if we have to take away all of our own rights as well as yours, then so be it!

      4. Your hurtful words and use of sexualized imagery are unhelpful and encourage an ‘unsafe’ environment and i’ve forwarded your information to the Campus Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Advocate so that you can be administratively re-educated

      5. It is hard to be a real victim these days Epi, so the progtards shit themselves – almost randomly – and hope that is close enough.

  4. AIR Brooklyn Yesterday
    The second amendment was designed to prevent Northern abolitionists from acting in Congress to disarm Southern slave patrols, which were necessary to keep the slaves in line. Disarm those patrols, which were usually part of the militia, and slavery would be unmanageable. Hence the language about a well organized militia being necessary to the security of the state, which needed to be armed. So, say what you will about the advantages of African-Americans being armed, you’ll not find support for that by celebrating the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment was passed to protect slavery and it deserves no one’s admiration.

    36Recommend

    Oh. Well then. It’s settled, guns are racist. I hereby renounce guns forever.

    1. Yes, that is why all those northen states included 2A equivalents or better in their constitutions. To protect the southern instutition of slavery.

    2. So the Constitution was written around 1850-1860? Or was just the 2nd Amendment added at that time?

      I need to go back and restudy my history, I must not have been paying attention back in school. I’m glad these very intelligent, knowledgeable people have set me straight.

    3. Yes, Massachusetts adopted a provision of its state constitution seven years before the Constitutional Convention essentially equivalent to the Second Amendment in order to protect slave holders hundreds of miles and several states away. That makes perfect sense, no doubt about it.

      1. Well, considering how racist most of Massachusetts has proven over so much of its history, this almost makes sense.

  5. A. Stanton Dallas, TX Yesterday
    If blacks are looking for a lot more trouble than they already have, getting hold of more guns would be an excellent start.

    Flag18Recommend Share this comment on FacebookShare this comment on Twitter

    Ahem. What now? How am I supposed to interpret that?

    1. You’re supposed to interpret that as a manifestation of that old truism, “Eric Liu is an insufferable prick.”

        1. The silent majority. That’s a ballsy thing to claim.

        2. I love it when someone is speaking up for responsibility. It typically means that someone else is responsible for my keeping and all of my mistakes. Yeah for responsibility!

          1. That has to be a soft J, right? Yay-NA. Ugh.

              1. Some senator on NPR this morning claimed that raising the minimum wage would lift “literally millions” of children out of poverty. I’m skeptical of that. But then she also claimed that it was our crumbling infrastructure that was holding back small businesses, so obviously we need more government spending.

            1. How about Jenya Lano instead?

    2. It looks to me like he’s warning the negrahs that they better not get armed up, or else.

    3. He’s warning them not to get uppity?

  6. I like Cooke’s work but I’m not sure putting a fellow who was murdered with a gun out as the frontman for gun rights is that smart.

    1. .

    2. So you’re saying that Malcolm X was in some sort of danger, and that the police weren’t there to protect him. Therefore he makes a bad case for owning a gun.

      1. I’m saying that gun controllers would note that his killers likely benefited from gun availability. He’s just not the best example to put forward.

        1. That argument is nothing new. Ever time a gun crime occurs, I’m blamed for it because when I vote “no”, I’m only making guns more available.

          Hell, gun crime in Chicago is blamed on lack of gun control in Indiana and Texas.

        2. Is this idiot seriously trying to climb this shit-rope, not knowing that it’s a rope covered in shit, or is he only pretending to do so because he has friends who think it’s funny to see him try to grasp tightly to a rope covered in shit? Shit that acts like grease.

          1. Awesome

  7. It’s an uphill battle when someone can make crap like this and get an Oscar for Best “Documentary”.

  8. Paul Philadelphia Yesterday
    Gun rights and concealed weapon laws are all designed to disproportionally affect the African American population. Just think as sophisticated “blue flu”. Poverty breeds anger and violence.

    So many communities are trying to stop the violence.

    Larry Livermore Brooklyn Yesterday
    The NRA is the marketing arm for the firearms industry. Thousands of Americans die every year to enrich these merchants of death. A disproportionate number of the dead are African-Americans, and a distressing number of them are children. More guns in more hands will only add to this bloody toll and hasten our nation’s perhaps already irreversible descent into barbarism. The author is cynically attempting to inject racial issues into his argument on behalf of collective insanity.

    S I New York Yesterday
    What’s meat for the goose is meat for the gander, right? Wrong!! No, only a Caucasian is allowed the right to feel threatened. Blacks can only be dead but never a fear or threat to his life. The 2nd Amendment is only for the self professed militia against an imaginary, US Government gone rogue especially now that we have our biracial President. NRA, Republicans, gun-owners, have’nt I got that right? I would be very honored to get a reply from anyone of you.

    What explains this kind of insanity? Toxoplasmosis?

    1. I’m not sure what explains in full that 2nd comment. But ignorant and stupid have to be at least part of it.

    2. Mongoloidism.

      1. There is no way these people can bring home the bacon. They probably can’t even wear hats.

        1. Mongoloidism has changed since Devo’s time, Warty. It’s gone way downhill.

    3. The NRA is the marketing arm for the firearms industry. Thousands of Americans die every year to enrich these merchants of death. A disproportionate number of the dead are African-Americans, and a distressing number of them are children. More guns in more hands will only add to this bloody toll and hasten our nation’s perhaps already irreversible descent into barbarism. The author is cynically attempting to inject racial issues into his argument on behalf of collective insanity.

      Are you fucking kidding me?

      1. It took a whole one sentence for him to contradict himself. For a progressive, that must be some kind of record.

    4. Thousands of Americans die every year to enrich these merchants of death. A disproportionate number of the dead are African-Americans, and a distressing number of them are children. … The author is cynically attempting to inject racial issues into his argument on behalf of collective insanity.

      My brain is eating itself.

    5. What’s meat for the goose is meat for the gander, right?

      WTF?! Meat?

  9. You have to remember the purpose of the black leaders is to convince the black community that the conservative white community is racist and hates them. So picking out issues that the conservative white community will agree with blacks on doesn’t serve that purpose. This is the main reason why black leaders don’t care about gun control even though black people are often victims of it.

    1. I don’t think blacks are duped into following corrupt leaders anymore or less than any other group. Blacks emphasize different things in our history than other groups and just have a different understanding therefore as to what contemporary policies to support.

      1. I don’t think blacks are duped into following corrupt leaders anymore or less than any other group.

        Evidence says otherwise. Beyond that, that doesn’t change the motivation of the leaders. Its the same reason black leaders only get angry about police brutality cases where the victim is very unsympathetic even though there are dozens of sympathetic victims to choose from. If the victim were sympathetic, whites would be outraged too and it wouldn’t serve the purpose of convincing blacks whites all hate them.

        1. I’ve always said that Sharpton’s and Jackson worst nightmare is black people becoming self sufficient and not depending on the government. It would put them and others like them out of a job.

        2. Hmm, that’s an interestingly cynical view. I just assumed they were having a hard time finding innocent black teens who had been shot by white police.

          And by the way, did you see this? I think it was you who first formulated the phrase, and then it was picked up by Instapundit, and now it’s a meme!

      2. Blacks emphasize different things in our history than other groups and just have a different understanding therefore as to what contemporary policies to support.

        Of course, this “different emphasis” is a fairly modern phenomenon which seems to be shaped more by contemporary voices than actual historical experiences…

        1. Are you kidding? Think Civil War and Reconstruction

          1. Both of those events led many blacks to back a stronger federal government vis a vis local and state governments. Sadly, racists of the day opposed that using small government rhetoric, tainting such in the eyes of blacks

          2. Amazingly, there was a time period between the 1870s and the 1970s, inconvenient though it may be to your arguments…

            1. Yes, blacks forgot the civil war and reconstruction during that time!

              1. Being more free and prosperous does tend to drive historical injustices from the mind, yes

              2. And of course, there were no significant events in that span where segregationist and Jim Crow supporters used small government anti federal government rhetoric. None at all…

                1. And of course, there were no significant events in that span where segregationist and Jim Crow supporters used small government anti federal government rhetoric. None at all…

                  And of course, there were no significant events starting in the 1960s that shifted the focus of blacks from self-reliance to government dependence…

                  1. Yes, they just chucked all the decades of preceding experience and totally started anew!

                    1. Yes, they just chucked all the decades of preceding experience and totally started anew!

                      Tell me, which party controlled the South by the end of the 1980s? And which party controlled the South at the beginning of the 1960s?

                      Yes, radical shifts in prevailing attitudes happen. It is not unprecedented nor unique to blacks.

                    2. But you don’t need to suggest a radical shift, it’s an unbroken line

                    3. But you don’t need to suggest a radical shift, it’s an unbroken line

                      Yes, those blacks who tried to improve their lives on their own with nothing but distrust for the government in the 1890s, 1920s, and 1950s really need to get back on that plantation, lest they reveal some kinks in your “unbroken line”.

                      Do you endeavor every day to be a fucking tool, or does carrying water just come naturally to you?

                    4. Your argument is with history, not me.

                      Blacks in 1865 saw a situation in which their freedom was denied by people yelling about state’s rights and limited constitutional government, and a federal government which had spent much blood and treasure freeing them. Then they went through Reconstruction, where again the same rhetoric was used by murderous white supremacists and the federal government seemed to be the only force defending blacks. After Reconstruction blacks saw the federal government being the rare bright spot for them, FDR opening up defense jobs for them, Truman desgregating the military, and the Dixicrats once again invoking limited government and state’s rights to defend Jim Crow.

                      For our part, we can’t even get most libertarians here on H&R to unequivocally savage the Confederate South. So yes, I think blacks are not exactly simply being duped when they fail to join our cause.

                    5. …and the federal government seemed to be the only force defending blacks.

                      Yeah, if you just discount all of the states that didn’t have Jim Crow laws and segregation, and completely ignore the role that private citizens and the 2A played in defending blacks, then it was totally only the fedgov that was defending blacks!

                      Your “unbroken line” also conveniently omits the fedgov being segregated (or re-segregated, as the case may be, such as the US Navy) starting with the Wilson administration and stretching until Truman’s executive order in 1948.

                    6. Actually, the segregationists weren’t much pushing states rights in the post Civil War period. They were arguing White Supremacy and getting very little pushback from the Feds until the 1940s and 50s. That’s when the state’s rights argument started to be pushed.

                    7. Blacks in 1865 saw a situation in which their freedom was denied by people yelling about state’s rights and limited constitutional government

                      The voices in your head do not constitute a valid historical argument.

                      The only way to spin a consistent and cohesive narrative of the black experience vis-a-vis the role of government in the United States from before the Civil War to the present day is by cherry picking.

                      The Federal government was as much an instrument of oppression of blacks as it ever was an instrument for their liberation. From enforcing racist laws, to turning a blind eye to blatant violations of the Constitution, to making promises and then reneging on them when it mattered most, an observant black populace can (and frequently did) view the government at all levels with grave suspicion.

                      The modern narrative is spun by politicians and academics who serve to benefit from the notion that the best policy for black Americans is graft and favoritism from the Federal government. Yes, it holds considerable sway among the voting segment of the black population in the present day, but that does not mean you can extrapolate backwards to your convenience.

      3. I don’t think blacks are duped into following corrupt leaders anymore or less than any other group.

        Which would mean that they mostly do get duped into following corrupt leaders most of the time.

    2. Semi-related question: do you know what the current state of the case law is about gun ownership for people who have medical marijuana cards? I believe California doesn’t allow those people to have CCW permits. And when you fill out your 4473 to buy a gun, you have to state that you’re not a user of illegal drugs. But there would be significant 5th amendment implications if the feds tried to prosecute people for buying a gun while they merely had a MJ permit, right?

      1. Semi-related question: do you know what the current state of the case law is about gun ownership for people who have medical marijuana cards?

        But the law applies equally to all of the sloppy drunk boozer lawmakers in Sacramento, right?

      2. There’s a case ruling against card holders working through the 9th Circuit and SCOTUS recently passed on an Oregon Supreme Court ruling for marijuana users.

      3. I don’t know what the current case law is, but if you fill out a background check form and say you’ve never smoked Marijuana, you’re setting yourself for being prosecuted for lying on the form.

        1. Is that just in CA? Because I am always hearing a lot of people who think that the federal law, the Brady Act is not nearly as encompassing as what it is. A lot of folks seem to think that only a felony will fuck up your 2nd amendment rights, but if I am getting the story correctly from some people I’ve talked to, they have been denied gun purchases because of misdemeanors, like possession of cannabis.

          1. If you say “yes” to any of the questions on illegal substances, you’re disqualified.

            Now, the question on form 4473 specifically asks:

            Are you an unlawful user of

            People with medical marijuana cards are “lawful users of”, but unlawful users of from the point of view of the Federal Government.

            My opinion is, until all of this marijuana shit shakes out, I’d be real touchy about making it publicly known that you use marijuana, either by asking the state for permission (medical mj card) or getting on a database where it’s legal recreationally.

    3. The purpose of black leaders is to give white journalists a convenient quote/sound bite without having to go too far into the hood.

      1. +1 true statement.

  10. Funny enough, I notice that the people who want more gun control are white liberals who live in the safe areas of the city or in the Chicago suburbs. If you talk to many blacks in the inner city, they would scoff at the idea that they shouldn’t be able to own a gun.

    1. If you talk to many blacks in the inner city, they would scoff at the idea that they shouldn’t be able to own a gun.

      So do the white people.

      1. Very true.

    2. Actually, polls show blacks are significantly more likely to support gun control.

      1. The likelihood that the polls are actually representative however, is pretty small.

        1. The polls are wrong, but EdWunclers surmises are correct?

          1. Not necessarily. However, it is indeed unlikely that the polls are accounting for the sorts of individuals that EdWuncler is talking about.

            1. I doubt that many polls are that far off.

              1. I doubt that many polls are that far off.

                I doubt many pollsters understand and properly apply statistics or sampling techniques because that’s not how they make money, but sure, let’s go with the consistency proves accuracy argument.

                1. When it’s lots of different pollsters all finding the same thing over years, well yes that’s more solid than anecdote

                  1. When it’s lots of different pollsters all finding the same thing over years, well yes that’s more solid than anecdote

                    I never said EdWuncler’s experience could be extrapolated to all blacks, I only said that the polls have poor claim to being representative.

                    Even so, ultimately, his point had more to do with nuances of different groups than crass and arbitrary national demographics.

            2. I don’t know much about polls but you know being a black man from the Southside of Chicago and talking to other blacks about this issue, while a lot of black folks think that we should have background checks, they out of the same mouth say that they should be able to own a handgun for self defense.

              1. And so, even if the polls are representative in sampling methods, it is still possible that the questions asked do not reflect the privately held positions of the individuals being polled but instead reflect the what is “acceptable in polite company”.

                It is entirely possible that a gruff black man may not feel comfortable saying that he believes in gun ownership to a soft-spoken white woman on the other end of the line. If you must pull a racial narrative out of this, you can spin it any number of ways…

                1. … that the answers to the questions asked …

                  … instead reflect the what is “acceptable in polite company”.

                  The right to keep and bear an edit button sadly is an underpolled question.

              2. Growing up in the South, I didn’t realize that not having a shotgun or two around the house was an option until well into my teens. Every black family I knew owned one or more guns.

      2. “Actually, polls show blacks are significantly more likely to support gun control.”

        That’s been my experience, anecdotally.
        To their detriment.

  11. I have a good number of black friends through my hyper-gay sweaty manwrestling club, and they’re universally in favor of guns. A good number of them are even libertarian to one degree or another. Maybe it’s just that the kind of guy who fights for fun is going to be the kind of guy who wants to be able to defend himself, but I still find it interesting.

    1. It’s because guns are just penis extensions and you’re all super gay. Yeah, I said it. Can I join?

      1. Depends. Can you pass the…*zipper sound*…initiation?

        1. That’s pretty small for an initiation. Don’t you have anything more…challenging?

    2. I was at a gun show this weekend, desperately looking for the loophole (I found none) and I saw black folks there.

      Maybe that’s the loophole progressives are talking about.

      1. If 594 passes I’m going to be seriously pissed.

        1. If by “pissed” you mean “drunk”, I’ll be right there with you.

          1. Both. And if the fucker does pass I’m going to buy and sell a whole bunch of guns before it takes effect.

            1. What’re you selling?

              1. I’ve been wanting to unload this; I just never use it and it’s so much less fun than a semi-auto .22.

            2. You need to become an AR snob. You’re already a snob about everything else, you might as well become one more kind of asshole.

              1. I just don’t do enough rifle shooting to be a proper AR snob. And if I’m going to be a snob, I’m going to do it right, damn it!

                No, I’d be a much better shotgun snob.

                1. No, I’d be a much better shotgun snob.

                  I have a friend who’s a shotgun snob. Won’t shoot anything that isn’t side-by-side with hammers.

                  Anything past about late 19th century… he won’t have any of it.

        2. What is this 594?

          1. All gun sales and transfers, public or private require a full NCIS background check. Period, the end, es todo, no mas, el fin.

            1. /face-palm

              That’s weird and messed up.

              1. The current anti-propaganda I’m seeing is that law enforcement is against it. They’re afraid they’ll be flooded.

            2. The measure also requires that dealers who are facilitating gun transfers, be they through the licensed dealer or a private seller, receive confirmation in writing from the chief of police or sheriff that the purchaser in question “is eligible to possess a pistol […] and that the application to purchase is approved by the chief of police or sheriff.”

              WHAT THE FUCKING SHIT

              1. Yup. And Washington is so good on guns at this point.

                I don’t think it’ll pass, but…you never know. There is also the competing Initiative 591.

            3. And it’s gonna pass, too. I’ve been wondering when Washington would realize its destiny and become a cold California. I guess it’s getting started.

          2. Brought to you by Mayor Bloomberg.

          3. Washington State Ballot Initiative 594?

            1. Washington State Ballot Initiative 594?

              Yes. And if you could drive your ass up here and vote on it, that’d be great. Don’t bring your ID.

  12. Kind of OT:

    Oh, by the way, I have some interesting news I learned this weekend for people who live in the Pacific Northwest.

    I looked into getting my non-resident carry permit for Oregon some time back because I travel there often, and I’m a WA permit holder. In Oregon, out of state permits are MAY-issue only. You have to provide a valid reason.

    Since I don’t travel to Antwerp and carry large amounts of diamonds and cash (which would be stolen by the cops anyway) or wasn’t a prominent politician, I figured I’d be denied. NOT SO! At the Washington Arms Collector gun show (no loopholes there, sorry) there was an Oregon Sheriff that actually had a booth, and HELPS WASHINGTON RESIDENTS get their carry permit.

    According to people there who were in the know, there are a number of Oregon Sheriff’s that are VERY pro second amendment and will practically rubber stamp a may issue permit for an out of state resident.

    1. Well, if you successfully find one of those Sheriffs and get an Oregon permit, let me know who it was so I can apply too.

      The fact that OR does not have reciprocity for WA is retarded.

      1. When we asked a couple of booth vendors, they seemed to be in the know, and said that there were several Sheriffs down there who would rubber stamp an out of state permit request (you still have to pass all the regular requirements still– so you and Warty might be out).

      2. NW stupid – OR and ID, and ID and WA have reciprocal CCW, but not OR and WA. Is this just more of that retarded Portland/Seattle rivalry shit?

      3. There are 36 counties and 36 different sheriffs. Any one can issue an out of state permit. Just call around until you get one that will. I’d put the Willamette Valley counties last.

        Good to see that at least one is still going out of state. Most counties got flooded wth resident applications after Clackamas and CT shootings.

        1. Just look at NW Firearms forums. Grant and Columbia County are the two easiest to work with and the ones going up to Tacoma and Puyallup.

  13. Also see “Deacons for Defense and Justice”: “an armed self-defense African-American civil rights organization in the U.S. Southern states during the 1960s.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D…..nd_Justice

  14. The photo of Malcolm X holding an M1 Carbine at the ready is one of best 2nd amendment images of the 20th century if not THE best. I got it on my desktop background and may get it as a T-Shirt, if I can find one thats not too heavy with the printing material (I usually don’t like T-shirts of photographs because they end up being about a centimeter thick and rather uncomfortable).

    For those unfamiliar http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi…..ine3gr.gif

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