Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — and his guns
Some people keep asking “why would anyone need one of those?”
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. needed “one of those”. From the HuffPo:
Most people think King would be the last person to own a gun. Yet in the mid-1950s, as the civil rights movement heated up, King kept firearms for self-protection. In fact, he even applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
A recipient of constant death threats, King had armed supporters take turns guarding his home and family. He had good reason to fear that the Klan in Alabama was targeting him for assassination.
Granted King and his supporters didn’t use AR-15′s; they used the current technology of the time, as the AR-15 hadn’t been invented yet. But if it was today, they certainly would have because it’s the current technology of the time. Just like we use the Internet and iPhone’s, instead of black-and-white TV’s and hand-written letters.
In fact, you can see some of the racist roots of gun control because of Dr. King:
As I found researching my new book, Gunfight, in 1956, after King’s house was bombed, King applied for a concealed carry permit in Alabama. The local police had discretion to determine who was a suitable person to carry firearms. King, a clergyman whose life was threatened daily, surely met the requirements of the law, but he was rejected nevertheless. At the time, the police used any wiggle room in the law to discriminate against African Americans.
Lordy no! We can’t be letting them filthy niggers have guns! that might allow them to stand on equal footing with us! That might enable them to stand up to our tyranny! Hooray for gun control and its racist roots. *sigh*
T.R.M. Howard, the Mississippi doctor and mutual aid leader who founded the pioneering Regional Council of Negro Leadership, slept with a Thompson submachine gun at the foot of his bed. During the murder trial that followed the horrific lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till, Howard escorted Till’s grieving mother and various others to and from the courthouse in a heavily-armed caravan.
Similarly, John R. Salter, one of the organizers of the famous 1963 sit-ins against segregated lunch counters in Jackson, Mississippi, said he always “traveled armed” while working as a civil rights organizer in the South. “I’m alive today because of the Second Amendment and the natural right to keep and bear arms,” Salter said.
The original HuffPo article ends with:
Whether a broader acceptance of the King’s later pacifism would have made us safer than choosing guns, we will never know.
Nothing said Dr. King was aggressive about his use of guns. He used them to stay alive in the face of obvious danger to his life. Granted his life was cut short, but how much sooner could he have been taken from us? Might we never have heard his “I Have A Dream” speech? No, we will never know.
But this is why some people need guns. It may be that woman with a crazy ex, because a piece of paper called a restraining order will not keep him away from her. It may be the elderly couple that just cannot stand up to a strong young thug. It may be the black man in fear of his life because as far as we’ve come, we’ve still a long ways to go.
Most gun owners I know are not violent people (conversely it seems lots of anti-gun people are rather violent). They do not wish violence, they do not want violence. They are peaceful people and try to undertake actions and options of peace and avoidance. They would prefer to just go through their lives peacefully and being left alone, and leaving you alone to live your life. The difference is we accept ugly things may happen to us, and we wish to be prepared to contend with them if they do — just like Dr. King was.