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In Gun They Trust

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

In Gun They Trust

By Kevin Palmer

      Its official, the gun is like a god to white folk in America. According to a June 22, 2017 Pew Research Center article, America’s Complex Relationship with Guns, “As a nation, the U.S. has a deep and enduring connection to guns. Integrated into the fabric of American society since the country’s earliest days, guns remain a point of pride for many (white) Americans.”

The article references data in a March 13, 2017 Pew Research Center national survey about guns. The survey shows America’s attitude about guns has not changed since the time of the Founding Fathers. According to the survey, “About three-quarters of gun owners say owning a gun is essential to their freedom.” Not surprising the Founding Fathers felt the same way. According to Founding Father quotes listed on a Buckeye Firearms Association website, on January 8, 1790, while addressing both houses of Congress, slave owner George Washington said, “A free people ought not only be armed, but disciplined.” Washington meant gun toting free whites must remain disciplined while overseeing their African slaves.

Moreover, in a January 30, 1787 letter to James Madison, slave owner Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I prefer dangerous freedom [for armed white folk] over peaceful slavery.” However, privately, Jefferson preferred the freedom to have his way with female African slaves. Furthermore, in 1788, another slave owner George Mason said, “To disarm the people…is the most effectual way to enslave them.” This was the means by which Europeans were able to enslave Africans. It was the gun, not superior intellect, which enabled Whites to oppress Blacks.

Additionally, the Pew survey showed most gun owners are white men, with identity issues, who are less educated. According to the survey, “About half of white men (48%) say they own a gun. Half of all gun owners say owning a gun is important to their overall identity.” Moreover, “There is an education gap in gun ownership that is particularly pronounced among whites: 41% of whites without a bachelor’s degree are gun owners, compared with about a quarter of whites with at least a bachelor’s degree (26%).” That means for Trump followers, the gun is their emotional and educational gap insurance.

Indeed, when it comes to guns and white folk in America, the words of French novelist Alphonse Karr ring true, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”


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