RANGER AGAINST WAR: The Armed Citizen II <

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Armed Citizen II

I ain't asking you to keep no secrets
My reputation already shot

I ain't asking you to commit treason

Just tell me if you like it or not

--Skin Deep
, Melissa Etheridge

I'm watching the news …

Tupac Shakur was assassinated,

Biggie Smalls assassinated,

struck down by assassin's bullets …

no, they wasn't.
Martin Luther King was assassinated,

Malcolm X was assassinated,

John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Them two niggas got shot!

--Chris Rock


We are not sure why Trayvon Martin's sad case has become a national hullabaloo -- it is one more senseless black death. It is NOT an assassination, as Trayvon's mother claims, and her son is no martyr.

This post will offer further observations on race in America. We'll tell you what we see, and to answer those who feel our view is myopic: Lisa is from Washington, D.C., Ranger, Cleveland. We may live in Hickville, U.S.A. now (otherwise known as Florida's capital city), but we can offer perspective; if not exactly 360 °, certainly more than 270 °.

When the local historically black college, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical (FAMU) has its homecoming, there are always black-on-black shootings. This fact has closed down the local Governor's Square Mall in the past. It is well known that it is wise to avoid getting channelized on the major streets the night of the game, not only to avoid the violence, but also the risk of accidents due to drivers under the influence -- the lane markers are ignored, and cars swan out across Tennessee Street.

Citizens have the right and responsibility to be smart and avoid threat environments. I personally would not travel to South Tallahassee during these weekends if The Pope were standing on the street corner handing out Life Savers.

Jonathan Capehart has been leading the Trayvon charge for The Washington Post, and bemoans "the rules he was taught as a teenager: 'Don’t run in public,' 'Don’t run while carrying anything in your hands,' 'Don’t talk back to the police',” but those are not rules singled out for blacks. News flash: If you're a human being, don't talk back to the cops. Period.

We know Zimmerman was not a cop, but what might have happened had Martin openly approached him and said, "Good evening", or "Is something wrong?" or anything that might have shown him to be a Good Guy?

We know Chris Rock is a comedian, but in his skit, "How not to get your ass kicked by the police", he addresses the problem by taking it to the utmost:
"You probably won’t get your ass kicked if you just use common sense; Be polite ..." His satire applies to anyone, and should we be surprised? There is a reason some neighborhoods are gated and have neighborhood watches. Hint: the people do not feel like they live in Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

Ranger frequently attends gun shows for mixed crowds of collectors, hunters and everything in between, and he has never seen a young black man view or purchase any weapon other than a hi-capacity 9 m/m pistol, an AK-47 or an assault-type shotgun. These are politely known in the gun world as "kill your neighbor" guns. In addition, he has never seen a National Rifle Association (NRA) membership drive or hunter or shooter safety course held in a predominantly black neighborhood.

Every white man he knows owns and carries a weapon in his car and for home protection. This observation is not restricted to the South. This applies to his buddies in Cleveland, all of whom served in Vietnam and some of whom returned to enter law enforcement. Many of us have been threatened or beaten at some point in our lives by a group of blacks. (Many of Lisa's male friends have had the same experience.) You realize we are not saying this is everyone's experience -- this is our experience.

Every day one sees young black men with pants down to their knees, buckled (if buckled) under their rumps, underwear exposed in broad daylight. Slabs with stereos blasting hateful rap lyrics tell me these folks don't exactly share the values of white bread America. Then there are the locals who advocate arming all blacks so that they can annihilate each other, such is their feeling of alienation and antagonism. For a culture in which getting shot earns one street cred, this idea is not far-fetched.

Again -- and obviously -- we are not talking about all African-Americans, by any means. However, the above-described is a large enough contingent to cause a rupture in our society.
And for the rest of us to stand back and to deny this is hypocrisy of the finest grade -- a willing blindness which allows the sorry plight of all involved to continue, and do we dare to imagine that by bemoaning one death we are setting things aright?

What are the life choices for young black men? Be a Clarence Thomas, a LeBron James . . . what? That is what we need to resolve if we are to survive as a nation.

Meaningless though Martin's death is, there will soon be another in my neighborhood when the next drug deal goes bad, and it will never go beyond page three of the Gadsden County Times. On game day, the locals will continue to bet on whether "our nig**** will beat your nig****." And so it goes.

I will maintain my outrage for a war and a government that in my lifetime has killed Gooks, Hadjis and other dark people, invaded Grenada and Panama, and supports Egypt, Colombia and Turkey, where they repress their middle-shaded citizens.

Life can be a jungle out there, and this shooting death may be emblematic of our downfall not as blacks or white or Latinos, bit rather as a nation.

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Blogger Underground Carpenter said...

Hi Jim,

...and turn that shit down!

Chris Rock is one funny dude.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 6:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

He's brilliant -- love him!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 7:39:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...


But a couple of notes.

1. In Portland, politeness is no defense; if you LOOK at a copper funny you are likely to get Tasered. Our boys in blue have something of a rep for beating the living shit out of anyone who gets involved in what they consider their business. This ridiculous fear of, exaggerated "respect" for, and idolization of the local flatfoot seems, well, unAmerican to me. Here we are, a country founded on rebellion, and we're supposed to get all cringing and humble when Officer Friendly asks us for our ID? WTF is wrong with us?

2. I'll be the first one to agree that I'll walk across the street to avoid a pack of young black guys. But I'd do the same thing if it was a pack of rowdy young white frat boys. Young men in packs are as smart as the dumbest one divided by the number of the group.

3. And I'm not a big fan of "black" culture - I'm a 54-year-old white guy; duh. But I'll bet the local Chamber of Commerce was pretty disgusted with my grandpa's thick accent and idiotic immigrant clothes back in the day. Not sure what that says other than the "nice" people have always hated the scary poor people...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 9:04:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


[1] I don't idolize the cops; I have my own reasons. That said, some are quite good. But I know if I get pulled over, I might escape with just a speeding ticket rather than having it piled on if I display a courteous attitude.

That they put their lives on the line is enough for me to maintain my courtesy.

[BTB, I wonder how white guy vet Scott Olsen's doing after the Oakland police split his skull for being a righteous observer @ OWS?]

[3] As for our peculiar grandparents, they met with prejudice everywhere outside of their own enclaves, but they dearly wanted to fit into this new culture, which for so many was literally their only hope for survival.

Attitude was not part of the package; becoming a good citizen was.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 at 10:26:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger basilbeast said...

At least with uniformed police ( I suppose you're screwed if the officer is fake )you have a good idea of what to expect.

With the thousands of armed CCers now roaming the countryside, we really have no idea what to expect.

And 23 states have laws that protect them specifically.

That tale Ranger told of going into a market, making a comment, and having a deadly weapon shoved in his face scares me no end.

Creeps me out thoroughly.

Lisa, Olsen's experience tells me that there's no guarantee in this life. The universal supposed motto of the police to "preserve and protect" apparently in some places does not apply to us proles anymore.


Thursday, March 29, 2012 at 5:02:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Lisa: I find it hard to buy this notion that our local coppers are "putting their lives on the line" when 99.9% of the time the person with the 9mm-sized hole in him/her is not wearing the blue.

And the problem with Trayvon & Co. is that when grampa dropped his accent and his goofy clothes and all his old customs he was pretty much indistinguishable from Henry Gotrocks the secretary at the Country Club.

The black folks tried that, remember? They were all Booker T. Washington and all, dressing nicely, acting politely, "yessum" and "yessir" and how'd that work for them?

I get frustrated with the deep well of stupid in hip-hop "culture". But I keep coming back to what American blacks got out of being well-dressed and polite, and wonder - would it matter if our black fellow citizens were a "credit to their race"? How much better off would they be?

Saturday, March 31, 2012 at 10:36:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

You are dead wrong about my grand dad losing his accent, and then being like every one else EXCEPT he still had a square head.
As for being a credit to their race- would the White House allow a black man to attend a official function with his ass hanging out?
Wasn't there a recent incident where a young black man was not admitted to a tour b/c of improper attire??
I'll bet he was a sterling citizen.

Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 5:09:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Chief says,

what [did] American blacks get out of being well-dressed and polite

What anyone does: Respect and opportunity. Did Mr. Obama become president by being poorly-dressed and impolite? Ditto any person, black or otherwise who has achieved anything.

I don't about your grandparents, but I can tell you mine did not segue seamlessly. Ghettos and tenements continued in the New World leg of their journey, and prejudice was still the order of the day. There were no hand-outs.

Hip-hop "culture" is not "stupid": The most virulent aspects are not simply vile and misogynous, they are dysfunctional.

You say, "Would it matter if our black fellow citizens were a 'credit to their race'? How much better off would they be?" --

We're talking about being a credit to humanity ... simply being law-abiding. As for how much better off they'd be, well, how does this apply to any of us? MLK was effective because he educated himself and became a great orator; ditto Malcolm X. These men dressed well, which honored both themselves and their audience.

Sunday, April 1, 2012 at 9:48:00 PM GMT-5  

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