Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Open Carry and Double Standards

There are studies which claim to show that police are more likely to use violence against black citizens regardless of the threat level. That is to say that police, black, white or other, tend to view black skin as a threat in and of itself. Other studies claim to show the opposite. Anecdotally there are numerous examples of police violence against black people. Police have shot black men because police mistook a wallet for a gun. Police have choked black men to death because they didn't think the black man was submitting to arrest quickly enough. Police have tackled and body slammed black schoolgirls because they didn't like their attitude. Police have shot black boys because they thought the black boy's toy gun was real. Police have shot black men who were holding BB guns in stores which sell BB guns. Police have shot black men who opened doors in housing projects. Police have shot black men who called police for help. Police have shot black men who were running away from them. Police have publicly strip-searched black men and black women just because they felt like it. Yada, yada, yada. Some police appear to have a lower threshold for using violence against black citizens. It doesn't take much for a black person, armed or not, to put some police officers in fear of their lives. The flip side of this is that some police appear to, with white citizens, at least be open to the idea that deadly force should be a last resort and not the first/immediate one. Michigan is an open carry state. You may legally carry a loaded firearm on your person. This is highly unusual though. Most people don't do it. And there are exceptions to open carry based on location.

Open Carry activists James Baker and Brandon Vreeland, upset about an earlier run-in with the Dearborn police, decided that they needed to file a complaint. They also decided that the best way to make this complaint was to visit the police station and use cameras to document their grievance. Nothing unusual about that right? Nope. Oh I forgot to mention that along with the camera they took along body armor, masks, and a pistol and rifle. They wanted to test the police department's fidelity to the law and the constitution. They didn't prove anything to me other than not being black has its privileges. They weren't immediately lit up. I can't imagine too many black people in today's world doing what they did and living to tell the tale. Video is below. It's a good thing Baker and Vreeland weren't carrying BB guns. Cause then they might have gotten shot.
The two men wanted to file a complaint about being pulled over earlier by Dearborn police officers, but also saw it as an opportunity to test the suburban Detroit department to see if its officers “honored” the Constitution and their right to carry guns.

When the two men walked into the lobby of the Dearborn Police Headquarters on Michigan Avenue on Sunday afternoon, just about what you would expect to happen happened. Police officers with guns drawn were waiting, and a tense standoff occurred as the two men initially refused to comply with orders to drop to the ground as they argued they had a right to carry weapons.

"Put it on the ground or you are dead," one of the officers screams in the video that was live-streamed on the Internet via cell phones by Baker and Vreeland as the confrontation unfolded. "I will shoot you. I will put a round in you. What the hell is the matter with you?"

Baker insists his guns are legal, but police insist he put them down. The video goes blank, but audio recording continues and the confrontation ends without gunshots. Both men were placed under arrest.


Stupid Stunt or Constitutional Confrontation? 

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