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The Latest Massacre Shows the Second Amendment Model of ‘Slave Patrols’ Is Still in Effect

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/05/latest-massacre-shows-second-amendment-model-slave-patrols-still-effect

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Yay! Finally, Thom Hartmann calls it out! Although he’s been speaking along these lines for a long time, people just don’t remember, or don’t want to remember, the slave patrols from days of yore. And, Patrick Henry, of “Give me Liberty, or Give me Death” fame, actually meant, 'don’t give slaves liberty, give them death. When I reply to various Facebook posts by saying the vaunted 2nd Amendment made it legal for slave chasers to cross state lines, even into free states, people rarely take such statements with ant degree of comfort. It’s good to see such a statement in print.

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The “Freedom and Liberty” that people continue to insist those Revolutionaries fought for was in fact the Freedom to steal more lands from the First Nations peoples and the Liberty to kill any slaves that got uppity. The hallowed second amendment was to ensure the GUN remained the means by which this was done.

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Jackson got shot 'cause he pissed off the bankers.
Lincoln got shot 'cause he pissed off the bankers.
McKinley got shot 'cause he pissed off the bankers.
Kennedy got shot 'cause he pissed off the bankers.
Let’s hope Trump pisses off Putin.

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You can’t stress this enough. The militia in the Second Amendment does NOT refer to the National Guard as so many progressives have even interpreted it. It refers to local militias formed to eliminate the “Indian threat” as settlers pushed native peoples off their lands and, concurrently, as patrols to keep the slaves in check. These voluntary militia extended well into the western territories to fight native peoples. A prime example was the all volunteer 3rd Colorado Cavalry militia and their savage massacre of peaceful Arapahoe and Cheyenne at Sand Creek in 1864, butchering men, women and children, even to the point of ripping unborn children from the wombs of pregnant women. This is what the Second Amendment is preserving. Keep this in mind the next time the NRA brags about their members being true “patriots”.

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Gambling casinos generate violence. The Wall Street Casino is no exception.

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Let freedom ring

Hollow

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Thank you for remembering that genocide against Indigenous people was the other aspect of systemic racist violence, and also continued after the enactment of the 13th amendment.

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Yes – one root of the problem is the Second Amendment itself and its roots in racism and the political economy. Another important work on this is Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz, Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 2018).

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Article makes the important point that the US’s national government-established gun rights for a “militia” functioned to - and had the purpose of - the violent enforcement of slavery and the violent conquest of North America by whites.

U.S. government, laws, police and military also violently enforced slavery and conquered N.A., but the Second Amendment enabled the crucial role of the ‘citizen-foot-soldier’ in enslavement and conquest:

  • As in the West Bank today, armed citizen “settlers” occupied state-claimed territory and were supported by the state when the indigenous population fought back.
  • As during the hundreds of years of the slave-dependent economic system in the US, armed white citizens self-organized to violently support the post-Reconstruction laws and state violence that kept blacks an economic and political underclass.

I do disagree with Hartmann’s important concluding point when he writes: “The slave patrols never really went away. And the slave patrollers are finding in Trump the president they’ve been missing since Andrew Jackson passed away.”

Hartmann’ formulation has a value, pointing up how present right wing violence depends on the Second Amendment and racist, nativist, white supremacist attitudes, just like past “slave patrol” violence.

At the same time, this formulation constructs a too unitary - and, as a result, too deterministic - vision of US national political culture over three and a half centuries.

What I mean is that Hartmann ends up with a causal explanation of right wing violence in the present that - by focusing entirely on the Second Amendment and the US’s conquest and slavery history - leaves out other historical reasons for the weakness of left wing social forces in the US, and, as a result, the greater power of the right: if the nativist “slave patrols” of the present echo - and even lay claim to - the white supremacist past, this can be understood as the result of many historical factors that weakened the US left…

…Waves of multi-ethnic immigration that facilitated the pitting of one generation of US workers against others, and, as a result, weakened unionization and cross-ethnic political unity, to take just one example of such a force.