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The African-American Second Amendment

Post by Patrick O'Callahan on June 30, 2010 at 6:21 pm with 8 Comments »
June 30, 2010 6:23 pm

Clarence Thomas – standing alone in a concurring opinion – took the most fascinating position in the Supreme Court’s Second Amendment decision this week.

It has to be one of the blackest writings ever to come out of the court, including anything authored by Thurgood Marshall. In arguing that gun ownership is “essential to the preservation of liberty,” Thomas dwells on the long and horrifying history of white massacres of unarmed or poorly armed African Americans in the South, especially after Reconstruction fell apart following the Civil War.

Thomas particularly execrates the United States v. Cruikshank decision of 1876, in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that the federal First Amendment and Second Amendment didn’t protect citizens against actions of state and local governments.

The context is important: The case arose from the infamous Colfax Massacre, in which more than 100 blacks were killed by a white militia after they tried to guard the local courthouse against a takeover by pro-slavery Democrats.

Excerpt from his opinion:

Cruikshank’s holding that blacks could look only to state governments for protection of their right to keep and bear arms enabled private forces, often with the assistance of local governments, to subjugate the newly freed slaves and their descendants through a wave of private violence designed to drive blacks from the voting booth and force them into peonage, an effective return to slavery.

Without federal enforcement of the inalienable right to keep and bear arms, these militias and mobs were tragically successful in waging a campaign of terror against the very people the Fourteenth Amendment had just made citizens.

Leave a comment Comments → 8
  1. tubbythetuba says:

    Pat, Thomas was absolutely correct. I mention that citizens must be able to protect themselves from the Gubment and others laugh at that notion. This is a prime example of Gubment, if not doing the killing, sure turned a blind eye to those that were doing the killing of citizens. You will find hundreds of examples of Locals not allowing Blacks to own firearms because they were in fear of being, robbed, hurt and killed by them.

  2. YouCantHandleTheTruth says:

    Who will be the first con/repub to suggest that Thomas is a bitter racist hater to even broach the subject of race in our enlightened age. That is the standard comment in response to Leonard Pitts or Eugene Robinson, or for that matter President Obama–a Black man that brings race into the discussion is the real racist. I’m curious to see what you cons will have to say.

  3. YouCantHandleTheTruth says:

    Tubby–you totally mis-read Thomas’s reasoning–they didn’t need guns to defend themselves from the government itself but from the “militias and mobs” of white racists that the government refused to protect them from.

  4. larsman says:

    That sounds almost like AZ defending itself against Mexican nationals invading the U.S. because our Fed. Govt. refuses to do its job by planned design, right, Rahm?

  5. villager98 says:

    Mexican nationals haven’t been invading AZ in armed groups although they would be well advised to come armed into a place as dangerous and corrupt as AZ. Mexicans can’t buy guns easily until they cross the border unless they can find the Americans who smuggle guns into Mexico.

  6. mediasmith says:

    Well no wonder you have truth problems. Somebody has fed you a bunch of bull.
    Few are more conservative than I am and only because I have a strange opinion on abortion (It is a religious/cultural question. None of the government’s business.) AND I don’t belong to or promote organized religion.

    That said, I danced a jig when I heard what Thomas wrote. He is the only one on the court to fully understand the meaning and importance of the amendment.

    I know it is near impossible for the enlightened intellectual to comprehend but a lot of people never made it to considering color. Being a lawyer with no record of accomplishment was enough for me to reach for the “anybody else” button.

    We of the Illiterati often confuse the elite. I’m supporting Star Parker’s campaign in California and follow Walter Williams, Leonard Pitts and J.C. Watts. I was in the first desegregated class in my school system. We did not have a problem because all the troublemakers concentrated on the Southeast part of the country. Today, my hometown police chief is the son of a black lady who was in my class. He is as competent, capable and professional as any to occupy the position. A couple of his predecessors went on to nationwide acclaim as law enforcement legends.

    As for Arizona not being invaded by armed Mexican groups… where have you been? Drug cartel troops have fortified outposts on our side of the border.
    Phoenix is an armed camp with the highest murder and kidnapping numbers in the country and Tucson is one scary place. I’m currently trying to help relocate a family who fled the terror.
    It is that bad.
    And race is nothing but a diversion.
    It is simply an accident of geography.that Mexico has the largest, best and least protected drug and people transport route to the United States. Drugs that were once picked off by the Coast Guard as they neared Florida now come from Mexico via armed convoy. That includes the crops our troops can’t disturb in Middle Eastern countries.
    The trickle from Canada is nothing compared to the monumental amounts crossing the southern border heading for a school house near you.
    And you joke about it?

  7. mediasmith says:

    Here is a clue for you:

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