I’m Black, Liberal and Pro Guns. Here’s Why

Yes, this petition is real. No, you can't click it.
Yes, this petition is real. No, you can’t click it.

There is a petition going around to repeal the Second Amendment of the Constitution. Don’t try clicking it. It won’t take you anywhere.

Even if you don’t know anything at all about the Constitution – there is some pretty good stuff in there –  you know about the Second Amendment. That’s the gun one. The one where the proto-Americans dropped that line about a “…well regulated Militia.” and then said, “Fuck it. They’ll figure it out.”

For some folk, those lines are the most American syllables ever uttered. Others look the same way a lot of Christians look at the lines in the Bible that advocate slavery and good old fashioned stoning.

Is it reasonable to raise arms once you realize your country has become a tyrannical state? One pithy Facebook guy suggested that the the Red Coats are long gone. Problem solved. Militia now moot.

But long before the Red Coats were driven from our shores, Africans and Native Americans in the United States lived in a tyrannical state. And that threat remained after the Constitution was ratified and the Red Coats climbed on their boats and got the fuck out of Dodge.

Below are four of examples of African Americans who raised arms to fight against tyranny. You should know, I’m just scratching the surface. If you click on the photos, they will take you to more detailed stories. Not, it wasn’t always State sponsored. Sometimes, it was just State approved.

Contemporary depiction of the Christiana Uprising.
Contemporary depiction of the Christiana Uprising.

The Christiana Rebellion: This one took place not far from where I grew up. Christiana Pennsylvania is where the rich, proper talking folk who work in offices in Philadelphia, go after the sun goes down. In 1851, however, it was a community where folks who had escaped from slavery went to find peace. And William Parker, ex slave and current farmer/ Underground Railroad conductor, wasn’t afraid to fire shots, to make sure that the free stayed free.

When slave owner Edward Gorsuch came to Parker’s farm, looking for his former captives, he shouted, “I will have my slaves, or perish!” And not surprisingly, he didn’t live through the day. Parker and his men shot the slave catchers down.

tulsa29The Greenwood Section of Tula Oklahoma, AKA Black Wall Street: You probably already know this one. A tyrannical mob attacked the wealthy, Greenwood section of the city, burning it down within the course of about 24 hours. People know the tragedy. The bombs dropped, the lives lost. But in that telling, people gloss over one thing. Remember, it erupted after about 100 Black men went to the courthouse to make sure that another young Black man didn’t swing from a rope. Tulsa wasn’t just a tragedy. It was our 300. Our Alamo.

Remember Mr. Man from Rosewood? He was real.
Remember Mr. Man from Rosewood? He was real.

Rosewood Florida: The tragedy of Rosewood was much like Tulsa and countless other towns. It began with allegations of rape and ended with the destruction of an entire town. During these situations, law enforcement either stood aside or joined in.

People fought back as they retreated into the swamps, but one story stood out. Samuel Carrier aka Mr. Man. His tale was alluded to in the movie Rosewood, but his real life was more epic. And more tragic.

New Orleans, post Hurricane Katrina: This last one are for those people who feel compelled to shout, “That was soooooo long ago.” There are no heroes here. Sorry. But if you think that something like Rosewood or Tulsa couldn’t happen again, you’re kind of wrong.

Photo of survivor
Photo of survivor

Hidden amidst the survival stories of Hurricane Katrina, there were stories of roving mobs of men and women who shot Black men and women indiscriminately. They went by names like the Militia of Algiers, and as far fetched as they sound, there are video of them bragging about it. Add to that stories of police killings, and it is clear that the rising water wasn’t the only threat.

The British are gone. That doesn’t mean that there is no longer a threat. The top three stories clearly illustrate that the Red Coats weren’t the only Tyrants in America. Depending on the color of your skin or other things such as union or political affiliation, the threat remained well into the 50’s and 60’s. As the stories that emerged from New Orleans demonstrate, in some, very rare circumstances, it’s still here.

 

Boxing for the Old AF

I’m not old. I’m just boxing old. There is a difference.

Bernard Hopkins won the WBC title at 46, and still holds two major titles at 50 Photo: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Bernard Hopkins won the WBC title at 46, and still holds two major titles at 50 Photo: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Boxing old is when everybody at your gym is both younger and more experienced than you. By those terms, I’m boxing geriatric. Because everyone, from a handful of the trainers, to the man whose name is on the sign, is younger than me. Often by decades. The only guy at the gym who has walked the earth for longer than me is my trainer, Rob Lee.

I have to work harder. I’m not sure if it’s my weight or my 44 years, but I push myself as hard as I can in order to keep up. Because, ultimately, it is the only edge that I will ever have against the other, younger guys.

Dewey Bozella launched his short professional boxing career at 52, after serving 26 years in Sing Sing. He was, however, a champion boxer in Sing Sing.
Dewey Bozella launched his short professional boxing career at 52, after serving 26 years in Sing Sing. He was, however, a champion boxer in Sing Sing.

Does it make a difference? I am not trying to go pro like Dewey Bozella. At the rate I’m going, I’ll cut some pounds and learn a little bit with my hands, which is okay. But part of the reason I go to the gym is to learn to fight, not just box. And age matters. When you are young, you are as dumb as you will ever be. But you also have the potential to be faster and stronger than you will ever be again. How does an old dude meet that challenge of a younger, faster attacker? He just does his best.

44 year old Shannon "The Cannon" Briggs launched his comeback in 2014,In 2014, winning 6 bouts, 5 by knockout. Briggs now holds the NABA Heavyweight title.
44-year-old Shannon “The Cannon” Briggs launched his comeback in 2014,In 2014, winning 6 bouts, 5 by knockout. Briggs now holds the NABA Heavyweight title. Photo: Boxing.com

It didn’t occur to me that there were people out there who thought that they were too old to go to the gym. I found the video below when I was looking for remedies to the aches and pains that I was receiving in my first couple of days in the gym. (Warm baths and epsom salt, followed by cold showers. You’re welcome.) The guy makes some great points.

Former Light Welterweight Champion, Saoul Mamby, launched an unlikely comeback at 60.
Former Light Welterweight Champion, Saoul Mamby, launched an unlikely comeback at 60.

If you’re boxing old, like me, but you’ve always wanted to box, then get your ass to the gym. After all, old folk are allowed to be eccentric. It’s your right, once you pass 40, to start getting weirder and weirder, culminating in pulling your pants up over your navel and not knowing who anybody is on the radio.

You’re all out of excuses. Lace the fuck up.


Note: Bernard Hopkins, Dewey Bozella, Saoul Mamby and Shannon the Cannon are all perfect examples of what can be accomplished, regardless of your age. They are not, however, examples of what can be accomplished by new, old boxers. Going pro might not be a realistic expectation for the old, new boxer. 

Who or What is El Presidente

Run through enough drills with your firearm and you’re going to run into this guy. It’s happened to me more than once. I’m going through my handgun homework and run into reference the El Prez. And then I skip it.

I’m cool with drills that require me to move and shoot. I guess it reminds me of good, old-fashioned footwork. But on a difficulty scale going from, “Even a caveman could do it.” To, “Don’t even Trrrry it!” this one has been just beyond my reach. And now that I’ve done a little bit of digging, I’m wondering what the fuss was about.

Eli Wallach, AKA Tuko from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. In my mind, this man IS El Presidente
Eli Wallach, AKA Tuko from The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. In my mind, this man IS El Presidente

First, who was El Presidente? Whenever I think of it, I think of a guy that looks like this. A legendary Mexican gunslinger who fought on the side of peace and justice.

Truth is, there is no El Presidente. The drill was created by

Jeff Cooper in the 70’s and since then has become the acid test for shootn’ skills. Who was Jeff Cooper? A Marine, WWII bad-ass who redefined how pistols are used.

El Presidente goes like this (according to Wikipedia).

 

Three silhouette targets are placed 1 meter apart in a line 10 meters from the shooter.
The shooter starts with six rounds in a holstered handgun, and a spare magazine or speedloader with another six rounds.
The shooter begins facing directly away from the targets, often with hands clasped in front or over the head.
Upon the starting signal, the shooter turns and draws, fires two shots at each target, reloads, and then fires two more shots at each target.

 

That’s how it looks in competition. For dry firing, I imagine doing the above in a garage. On another note, I don’t like dropping my mags on the ground. I just don’t. But I’ll work it out.

Queens Shoot Too: Featuring Taj from ATL, a Shotgun and a Frost White Caddy

Taj Anwar of Atlanta, was introduced to firearms early in life. Since then she's done almost everything right; she is licensed to carry, she knows her weapons and she regularly practices.
Taj Anwar of Atlanta, was introduced to firearms early in life. Since then she’s done almost everything right; she is licensed to carry, she knows her weapons and she regularly practices.

Q: What is your earliest memory of firearms?

A: My father put a gun in my hand when I was 10. He wanted to make sure I wasn’t afraid of weapons.

Q: Where there guns in your home when you grew up?

A: Yes. Both of my parents and step parents are licensed to carry.

Q: What was your parent’s attitudes towards guns?

A: That they’re tools to be used only when necessary to protect you and yours.

Q: What was your perspective as a child, and how has it changed?

A: I was never afraid of guns. The only fear I had was having a gun in my reach and not knowing how to use it. All the reason why I’ve trained on different pieces over the years.

Q: Briefly describe your first time shooting a gun.
A: I was 10. It was a revolver.

Q: Do you currently own a firearm? Why?
A: I own several. Like I explained earlier, they’re for protection only. I do like to train as a hobby, though.

Q: How often do you go to the range, and what is your attitude towards training?
A: I go to the range at least once a month. Training is essential to know how to use what you have. I also think training on how to disarm someone is key too.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who had expressed interest in firearms.
A: Do the research, get licensed and get trained.

Q: What aspects of the shooting lifestyle do you have questions about, if an?
A: None

Q: What skills do you think each gun owner should know.
A: How to break down your gun and clean it, and put it back together. You should know your gun inside and out, up and down.

I Have a Problem. And it’s Not with my Shooting

My name is Chad. I have a bad habit.

I’m talking about holstering my gun without looking. I learned very early that it was no bueno. Sam told me during our first session that you draw quick and holster S-L-O-W.

There is zero benefit to holstering your weapon quickly. The threat is gone (why else would you holster it?). Your body is filled with adrenaline, and your fine motor control is shot to hell. So, what’s the rush? Seriously?

The thing is, I’ve been trying to hammer out my grip and my sighting. I’ve tried to make my trigger pull buttery smooth, but there are some areas where I haven’t been vigilant. My toolkit has holes in it. None of this is quite as detrimental as my habit of blindly holstering my gun.

I did it because it’s quick. I did it because it lets me move on to the next drill. Draw, sight, pull the trigger, rack the slide, holster. Wash, rinse, repeat. After I pull the trigger, I’m so focused on analyzing the shot (click) that I don’t pay attention to anything else.

I had done that for months. Then I began to see facebook posts about guys who shot themselves as they holstered their guns.

Like this poor dude.

Timothy Phonisay shot himself through the femoral artery as he holstered his gun.
Timothy Phonisay shot himself through the femoral artery as he holstered his gun.

Timothy Phonisay of Milwaukee shot himself through the femoral artery recently as he holstered a 45 caliber Springfield. He was posing with the weapon, which he had owned for three months. We will never know exactly what happened, but below is one hypothesis by Bearingarms.com.

We do not know, and are likely to never know, is if Mr. Phonisay still had his finger inside the trigger guard of his pistol and accidentally depressed the trigger with his finger, or if the firearm’s trigger snagged on an article of clothing or the holster itself causing it to fire. What is known is that something depressed the trigger while he was reholstering, causing the gun to discharge.

Bob Owens, Bearingarms.com

The article went on to suggest that Phinosay was appendix carrying, and might not have had the proper holster or learned how to holster with the trigger guard clear and without the barrel sweeping past vital organs.

I don’t appendix carry. I have the right holster. Now I have to build the habit of holstering slowly and vigilantly.

 

 

 

 

The Hard Life and Troubling Times of Henry “Black Death” Johnson

Henry "Black Death" Johnson. At 5'4, 130 pounds, this inexperienced Private was the worst nightmare for the Germans on the French front.
Henry “Black Death” Johnson. At 5’4, 130 pounds, this inexperienced Private was the worst nightmare for the Germans on the French front.

This isn’t a story about guns. It’s about what happens after you’re gun stops working, but before the enemy stops coming. It’s the story of Henry “Black Death” Johnson, a little brother from the South who joined the National Guard in Albany NY, and ended up a hero in France.
May 4,1918. Argonne France. Two Black privates in the 369th Regiment of the United States Army were on alone on sentry duty. Dressed in the uniforms of the French Fourth Army, they were considered to be throw aways by General John Pershing, fit to dig latrines or unload ships, but little else.

Soldiers of the 369th (15th N.Y.) who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action, 1919. Left to right. Front row: Pvt. Ed Williams, Herbert Taylor, Pvt. Leon Fraitor, Pvt. Ralph Hawkins. Back Row: Sgt. H. D. Prinas, Sgt. Dan Storms, Pvt. Joe Williams, Pvt. Alfred Hanley, and Cpl. T. W. Taylor Photo: Wikipedia
Soldiers of the 369th (15th N.Y.) who won the Croix de Guerre for gallantry in action, 1919. Left to right. Front row: Pvt. Ed Williams, Herbert Taylor, Pvt. Leon Fraitor, Pvt. Ralph Hawkins. Back Row: Sgt. H. D. Prinas, Sgt. Dan Storms, Pvt. Joe Williams, Pvt. Alfred Hanley, and Cpl. T. W. Taylor
Photo: Wikipedia

The fact that they were serving in French uniform was only the latest in a long line of insults that the soldiers had faced. Since the Civil War, Blacks had to fight for the right to defend their nation. A 1936, a manpower assessment produced at the Army War College described black soldiers as shiftless, dishonest and lazy.”
“Say what you will,” the report declared, “the American Negro is still a primitive human being.” (Anchorage Daily News)
We were considered to be cowards, incapable of appreciating civic duty or national pride. Even though we had displayed considerable valor during the Civil War, the country wasn’t ready to recognize our humanity.

They were comparatively raw troops and were yet subjected to the most awful ordeal…They charged upon fortifications through the crash of belching batteries. The man, White or Black, who will not flinch from that will flinch from nothing… It is no longer possible to doubt the bravery and steadiness of the colored race. It is useless to talk anymore about Negro courage. The men fought like tigers.”

Reporter’s account, as documented in Negros and the Gun by Nicholas Johnson

That night, outfitted in French military uniform, Henry “Black Death” Johnson, of either Alexandria Virginia or Winston-Salem NC, and Needham Roberts of New Jersey, began to draw German sniper fire. Johnson responded by hurling grenades at the advancing German troops. Although Roberts was injured by a German grenade blast, he continued to pass more of the grenades to Johnson.
When they ran out of grenades, Johnson armed himself with his rifle. That too failed him, as he inadvertently loaded a French round into his American rifle in the confusion of battle. By then, the two men were surrounded.
As their position was overrun, Johnson, who stood just 5’4 and weighed 130 pounds, attacked the men with his rifle, swinging it like a club and taking out anyone unlucky or dumb enough to get too close. And when the stock of the rifle splintered on a hapless German, he grabbed his bolo knife.
“Each slash meant something, believe me,” Johnson said later. “I wasn’t doing exercises, let me tell you.”
He stabbed one German soldier in the stomach, felled a lieutenant, and then buried his knife between the ribs of a soldier who had climbed on his back, taking a pistol shop in the arm in the process.
Johnson killed four Germans that night, and wounded anywhere from 10 to 20 more. More importantly, he had saved his friend’s life and held the French line.
“There wasn’t anything so fine about it,” he said later. “Just fought for my life. A rabbit would have done that.”
The French awarded both Johnson and Roberts the Croix de Guerre, which was France’s highest military honor at the time. In all, 500 members of the Harlem Hellfighters earned the Croix de Guerre during World War I.

When the 3000 Hellfighters returned to Harlem with Black Death leading the way,  the Borough went into hysterics.
When the 3000 Hellfighters returned to Harlem with Black Death leading the way, the Borough went into hysterics.

When Johnson and his fellow Hellfighters returned to the United States in 1919, they were celebrated with a parade down Fifth Avenue. Thousands came out to cheer them; particularly the small man in the drop top Cadillac which led the procession. Johnson, who had been promoted to Sargent by then, waved a bouquet of red lilacs as the crowd hollered out, “Oh you Black Death.” (The Hellfighters marched in their own parade. The laws wouldn’t permit them to share the same celebration as the returning White troops.)
If you’re looking for a happy ending, stop reading now. Go back to Facebook with the knowledge that “Black Death” Johnson threw Harlem into hysterics.
Afterwards, the Army used his image to sell Victory War Stamps. He was used in recruiting literature and even former President Theodore Roosevelt recognized him as one of the five bravest men to fight in WWI.
Johnson went back to his job as a redcap porter in Albany, New York. The war, however, had taken his toll. He had lost his shinbone and most of the bones of his foot. He simply couldn’t keep a job.
Some sources said that the Army discharge didn’t grant him a disability pension. Others say that he received a disability pension up to his death of tuberculosis in 1929 at the age of 32. At any rate, his life was difficult. By the time of his death, he had separated from his family and descended into alcoholism.
“Black Death” Johnson finally received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 2015, only 97 years after that night in Argonne France.

 

That Time I went out Back To School Shopping and found a Gun Range

Shooting at the Master Gunman on my birthday.
Shooting at the Master Gunman on my birthday.

The Flinch.

I have been dry firing for months. In that time I’ve been to the range around four times. I’ve gotten good instruction. My grip has been changed, I’ve learned how to use the sights and I’ve practiced.

I have owned a gun since 1998. And I’ve learned more since I started this blog than I had in the previous 14 years.

But I had this flinch.

 

 

 

Flinches like California.
Groups like California.

At seven yards, I was shooting groups that were roughly the size of my hand and the shape of California, if Cali sloped down and to the left. Still not bad. If I shot like this in a crisis situation, each bullet would hit center mass. On the other hand, if I was shooting like this when I was slowly and deliberately aiming, the chances of me shooting this well during a crisis situation are pretty slim.

I’ve been training with Samuel Hayes, pretty regularly. He told me in one of our first meetings that he expected for me to be able to reach a decent level of accuracy before we would expand into draw and fire. And my bullshit ass, California shaped groups were wasting my time and his.

You can’t get rid of a flinch without getting in range time. You just can’t. You have to train until your body doesn’t anticipate the noise and recoil. So, all of the dry firing in my hot ass garage wasn’t going to make me much more accurate.

Anyway,  I made a wrong turn out of the Walmart on Rockbridge in Stone Mountain, as I was waiting for them to develop pictures from out trip to the Botanical Gardens as part of a Back to School project for my son when I stumbled upon The Master Gunman.

The shop portion of the Master Gunman was pretty small. There were a handful of Taurus’. (Tauri? Tauruses? What’s the plural of Taurus?)  and a S&W Shield in the case. If memory serves me, there were a couple of AK variants on the wall.

The real news was the shooting range. The whole thing cost about $35 dollars. Twenty of that was from that one box of 9mm bullets. I also bought three targets and rented ear and eye protection. Not bad, considering it about five minute’s drive from my house. Next time I’ll bring my own bullets.

The Master Gunman. If my favorite bar in Philly had a shooting range and a small selection of firearms, and no alcohol
The Master Gunman. If my favorite bar in Philly had a shooting range and a small selection of firearms, and no alcohol

The range… Let’s just call it rustic. How about high mileage. Tried and true? The targets hung from wire. You cranked them out and back again. Anybody who has ever had wind up windows in their car knows what I’m talking about. They’ve been around since the 80’s. Let’s call it retro.

I had shot thirty rounds before I realized that I didn’t have a plan. By then, I had cranked the target as far out as possible. I went out and bought two more targets, and borrowed a pen.

Below is a picture of the second target following a haphazard warmup. The target was at about seven yards. Notice the WTF’s. They were always the first shots in the group. I overthink the first shots.

Miscellaneous”

 

The group in the upper right hand corner was my best. By then I was over the shock of the first shot. I was also down to my last five bullets
The group in the upper right hand corner was my best. By then I was over the shock of the first shot. I was also down to my last five bulletsIf you took them away, the groups were respectable.Miscellaneous:
  • I’ve already said that I need to buy bullets. I also need to bring my own eye and ear protection. I found myself trying to see through a thick band of blurry distortion where the rent-a-glasses curved. As for the ear muffs, they were great. I hate the little squishy things that some ranges offer. Muffs are awesome. I just need my own. I’m sure they are diligent about cleaning theirs, but still. Cooties.
  • I like the place. I like it so much that I will try to make it there every week or two. Still, it isn’t the kind of place I would choose for a double shooting date. Quick Shot is better for that. Their waiting area is nice and big, and, last time I went, they had cookies. Stoddards would do in a pinch. But, if they are trendy clubs, then The Master Gunman is your corner bar. Not fly, but just as necessary.
  • I know Taurus is flamebait on Facebook, second only to Hi Point. But, they had a selection that was priced so nice that I was looking for an excuse to buy one.

 

 

Get a Gun. Learn How to Use it.

FYI. This is NOT a valid strategy for dealing with potential assault.
FYI. This is NOT a valid strategy for dealing with potential assault.

My wife has a friend who used to enjoy walking alone around Stone Mountain Park, back in her single days. She would take her little dog out and walk for hours, simply because she didn’t like being home alone.

“What if something happened?”

“I wasn’t worried about it,” she said. “There was a phone box.”

In other words, she was confident that if something happened along a deserted stretch of the trail, she would be able to make it to one of the phone boxes that they station every hundred feet or so, and activate it, before things got ugly.

In other words, she didn’t have a plan. Just a vague sense of security.

Nothing happened to her, by the way. Most of the times nothing does.

I have another friend who recounted how she was followed around Decatur during her nightly jog by two creepy guys in a car. They did a couple of slow passes, and then, at one point, they crept behind her for a long time. Eventually she found a well-lit, crowded place and called a friend to pick her up. The two creeps stayed out there, almost until her friend arrived.

These are two intelligent, capable women, but they hadn’t really thought about it. IT. The great, unforeseen Oh Shit moment. And they weren’t prepared.

Get a gun. Get a license to carry it. Learn how to use it.

It’s funny how that little bit of advise can be so controversial. The following is based on a conversation on Facebook.

Someone asks, “How can you carry it while you’re jogging?”

I can’t answer that. I don’t know what she wears when she jogs. I also don’t know what kind of gun this hypothetical firearm is. Finally, I am not a professional trainer or firearms salesman or bra holster maker guy.

I can’t answer that, but there is an answer.

But maybe I should have said, “Get a gun. Get the right method of carry. Learn to use it. Get a license to carry.”

“But someone will take it from her! If she has a gun, they’ll use it against her.”

Maybe…  Below is a list of other suggestions for the jogger, should the creeps resurface.

  • Nunchuckas (really)
  • Perfume, to spray in the eyes. (They could track the guys down from the sweet smell trailing behind them)
  • Pepper spray
  • A long knife
  • A big flashlight
  • Rape whistle
  • Rip cord activated alarm
  • Jogging partner (good idea)
  • Borrow a friend’s dog
  • Self defense classes

The only items on that list that can’t be used against her by an attacker are the borrowed dog, the self-defense classes and the jogging buddy. In fact, so many weapons can be taken and used against you that maybe we should be thankful that bad guys are considerate enough to bring their own weapons.

You can either give up and cloak yourself in prayer and positive thinking, or arm yourself and then prepare yourself as thoroughly as possible. Which still isn’t a guarantee.

Should I have said, “Get a gun, get a license to carry it, get a proper method of carry that fits your lifestyle and activities, and get professional training that will give you a tools and tactics for a variety of different scenarios while building on your situational awareness. Also, get a variety of training in both lethal and non lethal options so that the firearm is part of broad but pragmatic matrix of tactical possibilities.”

I thought that was implied. Evidently it wasn’t.

Get a gun. Get training. Get legal.  Photo from Fort Apache: The Bronx
Get a gun. Get training. Get legal.
Photo from Fort Apache: The Bronx

She could do all of the above. Krav Maga, a borrowed Doberman and a guitar case full of weapons.

But do something. Preferably something that won’t get you put into prison. Walking out of the house with a dagger strapped to her ankle would be wrong. And illegal. Nunchuckas? Very wrong. You might as well carry a broadsword. Perfume? Legal but wrong, on a whole lot of levels.

And all of the right answers come with obligations and risks of their own. There is no scenario with a fool-proof answer. Sorry. Even armed people get robbed, and trained martial artists get trounced on the street with alarming regularity. That’s life.

Also, guns aren’t for everyone. Another friend of my wife’s was car-jacked for her Benz last year. I said, “Get a gun.” She said, “They scare me.”

“Have you gotten training?”

“Yes, and a piece of hot brass popped down my shirt. It hurt like hell.”

Case closed. She isn’t going back. I asked her. Until she gets past her fear, a gun would be a liability.

But someone might take it from her and use it against her... Maybe, but I doubt it. Hamer woman with HKS rifle. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.
But someone might take it from her and use it against her… Maybe, but I doubt it.
Hamer woman with HKS rifle. Photo courtesy of Pinterest.

But I’m sticking to my original statement. Get a gun, get legal and get qualified training. (Not your uncle who was in the Army back in the 80’s.) And while you’re at it, take everything that you read on Facebook with a grain of salt. Including this.

 

 

 

#WeHaveShotBack: The Story of that Low Down Larry Davis

This was Larry Davis. In 1984 he was involved in a shootout with nine cops in his sister's Bronx apartment. He escaped the apartment and then escaped conviction on the grounds of Self Defense.
This was Larry Davis. In 1984 he was involved in a shootout with nine cops in his sister’s Bronx apartment. He escaped the apartment and then escaped conviction on the grounds of Self Defense.

Let’s get one thing straight. Larry Davis was not a good guy.

If you believe the charges against him, he killed four rival drug dealers in the Bronx, and another up in Harlem. He was finally put in jail for weapons charges and murdering another dealer by shooting through a crack house door. These crimes took place before he was 20.

Like I said, he wasn’t a good dude. And, Spoiler Alert: He died like a lot of bad guys die, with a shiv in the gut in a prison cell upstate as he served a 20 to life sentence.

So why the hell would I write about him, especially in the context of self-defense? Because his case proves that even if you are a low down, dirty rotten dealer, you have the right to defend your wretched life. Even against the police.

There are different stories as to what led up to the notorious shooting in his sister’s apartment in the Bronx. The police said that they were tracking him down in connection with the killings of the four Bronx dealers. Davis said that he had been brought into a life of crime by the very police that were now tracking him down. And they were coming not to put him behind bars, but to silence him.

Although it might sound far-fetched, rumors of the police colluding with drug dealers are nothing new, and persist to this day. Also, the police had allegedly told his mother that when they found him, they would kill him.

At about 8:30 p.m. nine officers stormed the three-room apartment of Davis’s sister Regina Lewis. Davis, his girlfriend, his sister, her husband and their four children were all there. Two of her infants were sleeping in a back room.

When she was interviewed the following day, his sister said that she answered a knock, and then the police stormed the living room with guns drawn. They told the adults to get the children and go, and then they shouted to Davis, “Come out, Larry, you don’t have a chance – we’ve got you surrounded.”

Nobody was sure who fired first, but Davis began shooting a sawed off, sixteen gauge shotgun and a 45 caliber pistol from a dark bedroom.

Larry-DavisSeven of the police were injured in the barrage, two seriously. They returned fire as they retreated, but Davis took advantage of the confusion and slipped out of his sister’s window, leaving behind a .32 revolver and a .357 magnum. Miraculously, the infants that were sleeping the back room weren’t hit.

After one of the largest man hunts in New York’s history, Davis was apprehended in a Bronx housing project. After taking a woman and her two daughters hostage (I told you he was a dirtbag) he finally surrendered to the police and was taken into custody.

The jury deliberated five days. Though he was found guilty of six counts of criminal possession of a weapon, he was acquitted of attempted murder and aggravated assault charges in the shootings of the officers. The jury foreman had this to say in a later interview. “[Davis was] a young and innocent kid who got recruited by a few corrupt policemen… they came in to wipe him out… they wanted him dead so he couldn’t squeal on them… they would have killed him.”

A year later, three of the wounded officers accused the NYPD of “negligent” and “reckless” planning and execution of the raid, and blamed the Bronx detectives for creating “chaos” by bursting into the apartment before Emergency Service Unit officers could seal off escape routes.

What’s the point? I remember a discussion about the Charleston shooting, when someone said, “If someone had been there and managed to shoot him before he shot those people, then they would have gone to jail for it.” That depends on a whole lot of things that are beyond the scope of this post.

But you absolutely have a right to defend yourself.

 

We Have Shot Back! William Parker and the Christiana Uprising. #WeWillShootBack

Every once in a while, some obvious shit makes the headlines.

Earlier this week the hashtag, #WeWillShootBack was sprung on twitter, where it caught fire. It was inspired by Dylan Roof and nine innocent dead victims of old-fashioned terrorism. If you haven’t heard the story by now, I envy you.
White man comes into a Church. White man prays with the congregation. White man has a moment of hesitation, because of the love that he felt from said congregation. Then he lines them up and slaughters them.

There are those who said that this wasn’t an attack on Blackness. Rather, it was a strike against the Christian faith. Well, not only is Dylann Roof a devout Christian, but he was also kind enough to write a racist manifesto. He even wore patches from white supremacist groups associated with South African Apartheid. He is a connoisseur of hatred, and he wanted to create a race war.

Since then, seven churches have burned, most of which were blamed on arson. Then there was the copycat in Richmond Virginia. He knocked on the windows of a Black Church, promising to kill them. Check the video.

Nine dead, promises to kill more, and seven churches burned. #WeWillShootBack should be the least controversial hashtag, right up there with #ILikeLiving.

But just so you know that you are in good company, here are a handful of instances when Black people actually did shoot back.

Contemporary depiction of the Christiana Uprising.
Contemporary depiction of the Christiana Uprising.

Remember the Christiana Uprising:

Christiana Pa. 1851. An escaped slave named William Parker risked his life in a gun battle to protect people who had escaped slavery from their former captors.

Parker had settled in Pennsylvania close to its border with Maryland. He was an old friend of Frederick Douglas (knew him from the days when they were both slaves in Maryland) and now he was a front-line soldier in the Underground Railroad.

He was harboring men and women who had escaped from slavery when their former captor Edward Gorsuch  rolled onto his property with a gaggle of relatives and government marshals in search of his “property”.

Parker was a hardened fighter. He had already confronted other kidnappers, shot at and been shot in order to protect the free. This time he knew that they were coming. When Gorsuch arrived, papers of ownership in hand, he was met by an army of between 50 and 100 men.

Gorsuch said, “I will have my slaves, or perish!” And not surprisingly, he didn’t live through the day. Parker and his men shot the slave catchers down.

After a battle that filled the small farm with thick gun smoke, Gorsuch lay dead, a couple of his men were badly wounded and Parker had fled to Canada with a couple of his compatriots and the men and women who had escaped slavery on Gorsuch’s plantation, and federal marshals hot on their trail.

On their last morning in the United States, moments after they had snuck to the ferry that would take them to the freedom of Canada, Parker gave Frederick Douglas the revolver that Gorsuch was holding when he died.

We reached the boat without remark or molestation. I remained on board till the order to haul the gangplank was given.

I shook hands with my friends and received from Parker the revolver that fell from the hand of Gorsuch when he died, presented now as a token of gratitude and memento from the battle for liberty at Christiana.

Frederick Douglas

I wonder what Douglas would say about the hand wringing and nervous talk, whenever there is discussion of us defending our own, comes up.

Parker didn’t try to appeal to the slave master’s humanity. When the slave owner knocked at his door, holding a piece of paper that he believed to be worth several lives, there was no hastily convened prayer circle. They grabbed their guns and returned fire.