Home | About | Donate

Mixing Guns and Racism


Mixing Guns and Racism

Robert C. Koehler

In Illinois, as in all the rest of the states, it’s legal to carry a concealed handgun, unless you’re at a ballgame or in the library or a number of other designated public places. But one of those places is not the corner of 71st Street and Jeffery Boulevard, in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood.

You mix guns with racism, and stir in some law and order, and it gets very confusing.


Once a police officer murders someone, they cease to be a police officer from that point on.

From then on, they are a murderer.

“Why can’t a black man, who isn’t bothering anyone, walk down the street in his own neighborhood without being accosted by police?”

In other words, why do the police patrol communities of color as an outside, occupying force rather than as part of the community?

very good questions which get us to the crux of the problem. governments, even municipalities, tend to view poor people–especially people of color–as distrustful and unpredictable. therefore, the system looks to hire police who have similar biases. also, part of cadet training is learning how to appear intimidating in every possible way.

a couple of years ago i had an arts 'n crafts booth at a powwow. for some reason the committee had hired a guard. while chatting with the guard, i commented that i find most people to be pretty honest.

“oh no!” he said, “most people are not honest!” hmm, i wonder if he was saying something about me or himself?

They came into South Shore much the same way U.S. troops enter Iraq: armed and fearful, not part of the community but “in control” of it.
yes! a whole lot of new police recruits are vets—many suffering unrecognized ptsd. just like in iraq they fearfully enter a strange neighborhood mistrustful of the community. the u.s. is quickly turning into a militarized fascist state.


Here’s bit of info. If a police officer initiates contact with you, for whatever reason, and you are carrying a concealed weapon you are supposed to to hand the officer your permit as sign that you have the gun you. You don’r say “Hey, officer i’m armed” or reach for it to show it. Not sure what the laws are in Chicago but in most places you have to go thru some training before you get a concealed carry permit.

Then again, this guy was carrying illegally so i can see why he tried to take off. The fact that Chicago has some extra idiotic gun laws didn’t help either.


thanks for whitesplaining… very helpful.


Didn’t work for Philando Steele shot four times while trying to comply with demands for his license and registration which happened to be in the glove compartment with his licensed, permitted gun which he explained to the officer. Catch 22 got him killed in front of his fiance and daughter.

Many have suggested congress should mandate national standards for constitutional policing, including civilian oversight. The standards would be enforced, like past civil rights legislation, through the threat of withholding federal funding to those police departments who refuse to adopt the national standards.

They can’t muster enough support for that. BUT they feel police are in far more danger from us. “Protect and Serve” laws were proposed in both the House and Senate a couple months ago making law enforcement a protected class for hate crimes and even criminalizing some contact with officers. Watch yourself when demonstrating.


It seems every incident arises from officers’ fear of the citizenry, or at least their defenses fall back on claims of fear. That’s what’s gone upside down, and what’s gone haywire in our culture. We have to find some way to reverse the dominance of fear.

[Love your handle]


well, i don’t know what the answer is, but i feel that a u.s. congressional mandate would not solve the problem. policing should be more local or neighborhood supported. we need smaller police presence and police should work in their home neighborhoods where people know their first names and vice versa. i’d suggest people even form their own security watch to create a community working together for common goals. big city police forces often represent a political agenda, protecting business and political interests and not the people. on the other hand the neighborhood watch idea didn’t work so well for trayvon martin.

“they” [the political powers] may feel that the police are in greater danger from us, but statistics do not bear out this claim. i think the “protected status” category is the wrong way to go. what do you think?

p.s. the first episode of a trayvon martin documentary will be airing on july 30th


It simply boils down to this: If he had been white, it is highly likely that he would be alive today.


This is the bitter legacy of our interminable, illegal, unjustifiable “forever” wars.


Not where I live, MN.
We don’t need to inform the officer unless asked.

However, if I were pulled over and asked for my license, I’d keep my hands on the wheel and tell the cop that I have a permit to carry and that my wallet is near my holster and ask her how she wants to proceed.

You are absolutely correct that one would must never use the G word or make any move whatsoever that could be misinterpreted.

His using the G word and then reaching for anything was a bad mistake no matter how innocently.
His MN carry classes should have made that REALLY clear. Mine did. Cops, like most people simply don’t process language well, particularly under any stress.

A some months before that incident, a cop was killed in St. Paul during a traffic stop while asking for license and registration. The guy, white in this case, just pulled a gun instead and shot the cop through the window.
I know a number of cops and that memory is still fresh for them.

In my opinion, They both screwed up. Steele did exactly the wrong thing and the cop over-reacted.
It was bad for both of them.
Steele lost his life for no reason and the cop (yes, some are actually human too) will have to live with that for the rest of his life.


Full stop. I’m a White woman who does not own a gun, whose curly hair once regularly got me mistaken for African American, but maybe now is getting enough salt in the celery, even in back, that I haven’t had the experience (which proceeds from “Oh, um …” when they get to my window to simply “don’t do it again”) in several years. But if I am again pulled over, I’ll keep my hands on the wheel and check every movement with the cop.

Oh, and his name was Philando Castille, not Steele.


Call it whitesplaining if you want, but what did he say that is factually inaccurate?


So, just like me, then.

You are correct, I was responding to a post in a hurry got the name wrong. Which is pretty embarrassing since I live in the area.