I'm sure you've heard of Larry Ward, the Washington, D.C.-based NRA member/apologist and right wing marketing master whose stellar idea it is to hold a National Gun Appreciation Day roughly to coincide both with President Obama's Second Inauguration and with what would have been Dr. King's eighty-third birthday celebration.
And that's hardly Mr. Ward's most stellar idea.
The man brims over with them.
On CNN late last week, Mr. Ward with a straight face said that general gun ownership among African-American slaves would have been the answer to captivity. Four million slaves, Mr. Ward told an incredulous interviewer, would have, had they just not forgotten to amass millions of rifles, handguns, and tens of millions of rounds...slaves would have been able to free themselves from brutal Plantation-Class rule.
Let that one sink in.
And allow me to share with you a suggestion I took from a South Carolina caller when I was interviewed about my gun-related writing on a radio station Saturday afternoon. Eric Smith (he's pleased for me to name him here) suggested that the NRA should ditch its American Eagle-with-the-rifle-in-its-beak logo.
In line with the NRA's and Mr. Ward's concern for African-Americans who forgot to arm themselves while they were slaves, Mr. Smith suggests a replacement logo for the organization, a portrait, really. This portrait:
This is Nat Turner. Mr. Turner, a slave, remembered he needed firearms and this emboldened him to become the architect of the most successful slave rebellion in the ante-bellum period, in August, 1831. Numbers of Virginia slaveholders were killed, as were, of course, many rebelling Black men (and many, many hundreds more were, most of whom had not participated in the uprising, beaten regularly for the rest of their shortened lives).
For slaveholders were, it turned out, not inclined to look favorably on Black Men With Guns, and Mr. Turner, of course, was executed. In addition,
across Virginia and other southern states, state legislators passed new laws prohibiting education of slaves and free blacks, restricting rights of assembly and other civil rights for free blacks, and requiring white ministers to be present at black worship services. [Wiki]
I'd take Mr. Smith's suggestion a bit further.
If the NRA is concerned about the plight of Nat Turner, John Brown, and countless other potential insurrectionists, most of whom forgot to arm themselves and their four million brethren in violent rebellion, the organization should give strong consideration to hanging Mr. Turner's, Mr. Brown's,
and this man's portrait in every NRA office.
Black Panther Huey Newton
Heck. If they do, I'll sign up.