Did you ever think you’d live to see the day when you could make a Venn diagram for ultraconservative commentator Ann Coulter and historic Black leader Malcolm X? Well, if you’re reading this, you’ve lived to see that day.
In an interview on Bill O’Reilly’s Fox News program last week, Coulter said that, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, African-Americans should begin arming themselves.
Here’s the full context of the conversation:
Coulter: We are going to have a trial, but I was just making the point that if what [MSNBC] is claiming happened — that George Zimmerman stalked this young black child just because he was black, shot him dead in cold blood — if that's the case, well, the reaction isn't the conclusion they're coming to on the left which is oh, we need more gun control. Gun control laws have been used historically, they were — they were to keep guns out of the hands of blacks and it was the Republican Party and the NRA that has always supported arming blacks in order to protect themselves from the democratic Ku Klux Klan.
O'Reilly: All right so what you're saying is if MSNBC and NBC News's hypothesis is true that this was a racially biased driven murder, that all African-Americans should take that as a warning sign and arm themselves against that happening to them, therefore, they should support the NRA. They should support the law that gives, allows you to fight back if threatened, and they should arm themselves. That's what you're saying?
Call Coulter what you’d like, but she is correct when she says that gun laws from early American history were enacted specifically to disarm African-Americans. But is she right in saying that Blacks need to arm themselves for their protection? Not so fast.
This from an article in the National Bureau of Economic Research:
After peaking in 1993, gun homicides in the United States dropped 36 percent by 1998, while non-gun homicides declined only 18 percent. In that same period, the fraction of households with at least one gun fell from more than 42 percent to less than 35 percent. Duggan finds that about one-third of the gun-homicide decline since 1993 is explained by the fall in gun ownership. The largest declines occur in areas with the largest reductions in firearm ownership.
In times of loss, it’s tempting to get angry, and in that anger we can wish some awful things. If you find yourself wishing that Trayvon Martin was armed the night he was killed, stop.
Statistics show that an uptick in handguns means an uptick in homicides and death. And would anything be better if Trayvon had also shot his killer, George Zimmerman? Or what if Trayvon shot first and then was, himself, the one facing second-degree murder charges? Would that have been a better outcome?
Go ahead and mourn the loss of Trayvon — it’s a sad, tragic thing. But wishing for more guns on the streets, as Coulter is doing, is shortsighted. It’s what got us in this mess in the first place.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Fox News)