February 25, 2003

The Rice Update

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I was searching for answers on Condolezza Rice's stand on gun control. I've only recently gotten back to Condi: The Condoleezza Rice Story, but it didn't take long to find the goods. Ms. Rice grew up in Birmingham, Alabama during the civil-rights movement. This is from a section describing the bombings and related violence of 1963 (p. 50):

With the bombings that summer came marauding groups of armed white vigilantes called "nightriders" who drove through black neighborhoods shooting and setting fires. Condi's father and other neighborhood men guarded their streets at night to keep the nightriders away from their homes. Armed with shotguns, they formed night-long patrols. The memory of her father out on patrol forms Condi's opposition to gun control today. Had those guns been registered, she argues, Bull Connor would have had a legal right to take them away, thereby removing one of the black community's only means of defense. "I have a sort of pure Second Amendment view of the right to bear arms," Condi said in 2001.
I can hear the objections brewing. Just call the police. They'll protect you. But what do you do when the police are in on it?
Shores [a friend of the Rice family and a prominent black lawyer -- Ed] and others knew that going to the police didn't help because the police department itself played a role in the bombings. "The police would show up and tell everybody to get off the streets," said Birmingham historian Pam King. "They'd clear the streets and the Klan would come through and throw the bombs. They weren't looking out for the safety of the citizens, they were just trying to clear the way for the Klu Klux Klan to come through and bomb." When a firebomb landed in the Rices' neighborhood--a dud that didn't go off--John Rice took it to the police and requested an investigation, but they would not conduct an inquiry.
When the authorities are corrupt or indifferent, you're on your own. Heck, you're on your own anyway, it's just that most people aren't ready to admit it.

Posted by Aubrey at February 25, 2003 07:33 PM

Many restrictive gun laws were adopted after the Civil War. For example, it is a felony to carry a concealed weapon without a permit in many Southern states but a misdemeanor in most Western states. I believe restrictive gun laws were often aimed at the newly freed black slaves and were seldom or only selectively enforced against whites until the second half of the 20th Century. Am I right?

Posted by: Ken Willis at March 20, 2003 08:48 AM


That has been my understanding of a lot of these laws. And the racism doesn't always extend to blacks. I have heard that one of the factors in the gun restrictions passed in New York in the early 1900's was the desire to keep the Irish immigrants from having guns.

Posted by: Aubrey Turner at March 20, 2003 09:28 AM

Guns laws after the Civil War.... The bill of rights was for every person, they just knew it wasn't time to enforce the bill of rights for everyone.

People like the cherry pick, why would the Bill of Rights be different?

Posted by: Matt at June 27, 2003 01:52 AM
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