When it comes to gun control, I think it’s too simplistic of a conversation. Both Alton Sterling and Philando Castile had guns on them, which is part of their Second Amendment right. It is a part of a culture that is largely protected by special-interest groups like the N.R.A., but the right to bear arms, it seems, only exists for white people. When black people have arms, legally, they can still also be killed at the hands of the police. That’s what we saw this past week.At that point, Cobb sees reason to remind Garza that most people say "they want better policing" and not "that they want to actually kill the police." Garza answers:
At the same time, because it’s a question of police and vigilante violence is so prevalent at this particular moment in this country, it feels asinine to be calling for gun control when black people, in particular, are on the losing end of that conversation, so there’s that. But then there’s the reality that, in this country, we have more guns than people, and we put guns into the hands of more people than any other country on the planet, and so that dynamic needs to be shifted. I’ll be honest with you, I really struggle with the conversation around gun control.
It’s clear to me that this person who committed these acts was not well. And also was experiencing a level of emotional trauma, like the rest of this country, in particular like the rest of black people in this country, who watched two executions on television, so his stated motive was, “I’m really upset by what I’m seeing where police are killing black people.”
I don’t disagree, but the point that I’m trying to make is, I think it’s an error to look at the state of why this country is so violent and not understand the complexities that lie underneath the violence. The violence that was caused by that lone gunperson in Dallas was very complex. It wasn’t about him being an adherent to black-power ideologies, as the media tried to frame it. He may have been pro-black, but he was also probably a lot of other things, and similarly when we look at the underlying causes for police violence, it’s also not black-and-white. It’s not always only about racism, or it’s not always about “police just hate black people.”By the way, when the Dallas shootings took place, there were many people in the protesting crowd who were exercising their right under Texas law to carry firearms openly:
The Dallas police chief, David O. Brown... said the event had attracted “20 or 30 people” who “showed up with AR-15 rifles slung across their shoulder... They were wearing gas masks... They were wearing bulletproof vests and camo fatigues, for effect, for whatever reason.”
When the shooting started, “they began to run,” he said. And because they ran in the middle of the shooting, he said, the police on the scene viewed them as suspects. “Someone is shooting at you from a perched position, and people are running with AR-15s and camo gear and gas masks and bulletproof vests, they are suspects, until we eliminate that.”...