Thursday, May 7, 2020

Armed Citizens Escort Black Michigan Legislator to Work

One would imagine because of the ugly history and current situation of Black Americans: Slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, pogroms, constant police brutality and murder, genocidal hate groups, Confederate apologists, etc, that Black Americans would be the biggest and most vociferous proponents of the Second Amendment and armed self-defense that one might find in any nation in history. 

Well one would be wrong. Still, eventually, I suppose it finally might get thru to folks that when you're dealing with hateful irrational unstable armed people, it's in your best interest to be armed as well. 

You may recall that the recent anti-shutdown protests in Lansing, Michigan saw mostly white armed individuals enter the Capitol building, shrieking and yelling. Some had Nazi flags, Confederate Battle Flags and nooses. Despite all this, given that Michigan law allows open carry (and that the protesters were Caucasian), the Michigan State Police refused to take any aggressive action against the protesters. 

Somehow other various police forces haven't always shown such restraint when a Black person has attempted to exercise his or her right to open carry in Michigan but I digress. Anyhow, either to make a point or because she was honestly scared, Michigan Representative Sarah Anthony accepted escort by armed Black citizens. 

WEDNESDAY, May 6 — After a horde of armed and angry protesters swarmed Lansing last week, State Rep. Sarah Anthony brought some extra protection on her way to the State Capitol today.
At least three African Americans carrying large rifles escorted Anthony across Capitol Avenue earlier this morning so she could safely attend committee meetings without fear of intimidation. She said she didn’t necessarily request the help, but welcomed the extra security nonetheless.

“We were all just appalled by the lack of support and lack of security that I had, that other legislators had, and the fact that a lot of the demonstrators last week were adorning many racist, anti-Semitic signage. I think it just triggered a lot of folks, especially African Americans.”

“We want to change the narrative, first of all. We want people to understand that people of color can come out here with guns just the same as anybody else can,” said Michael Lynn Jr., a black Lansing firefighter and community activist who helped organize Anthony’s security detail.

Lynn watched a video that Anthony posted to Facebook as the protest formed last week. In it, she looked on from her office across the street as protestors slowly crowded the Capitol Lawn carrying Confederate flags, Nazi symbolism, nooses and other blatantly racist forms of imagery.

After some demonstrators eventually made it inside the building last week, one maskless and gun-toting protester got so close to Anthony’s face that she could smell his breath. And lawmakers shouldn’t be scared to come into work because of armed intimidation, she said.

“The majority of the protesters were white,” Anthony said. “I’m still not exactly sure on the connection between confederate flags and Nazi symbolism. They just had no connection to the stay-at-home orders. The fact they were carrying guns openly while we voted was unnerving.”

“It was just unnerving to me as a woman and as a person,” Anthony said, noting that Capitol sergeants otherwise do an adequate job keeping lawmakers inside safe. “These community volunteers today won’t be needed all the time, but they wanted to have a presence today.”

Because Lynn is black, he suspects that cops would’ve been a bit more cautious — and perhaps violent — had his group been as boisterous as some of the crowds last week. He wanted to prove a point that Second Amendment rights aren’t limited on the basis of race.

Again, I don't think that protests or votes or public policy should be decided by who can put out more button men in the street at any given point in time. But it is also a horrible no good very bad idea to give cowards with guns that they are the only people with guns or that other people won't fight back. That just encourages bullying behavior. 

We have hundreds of years of examples of what happens when racists are armed and ready for conflict but Black people aren't. Good for Michael Lynn Jr. and men and women like him. There are enough bad actors out there that I think there's going to be an increasing rethinking about the necessity of armed self-defense and deterrence. We're going backwards in many ways. And we need to stop that.
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