by Errington C. Thompson, MD –
Imagine for a second that you are shopping at your neighborhood grocery store.
You are picking up bread, ice cream, and some diet drink because you are watching your calories. (Note the ice cream) As you turn the corner with your cart, you confront a gunman. He is going to shoot you because you are Black. He is not shooting you because you lied to his boss and took his job. He is not going to shoot you because you stole his woman. Nope. He is going to shoot you because of your race. This is America.
The refrain that Blacks have heard for the past 50 years is that it is not all about race.
Well, it is.
From GI Loans, to Mortgages, to Farmlands
The reason that we have ghettos in the US is because of race. The reason that Blacks did not get GI loans that injected hundreds of billions of dollars into the middle and lower classes in the 1950s was because of race. The reason that Blacks could not move out of the ghetto to the nice area of town was because they could not get loans to buy homes in those nice neighborhoods—because of Black Codes, under which banks agreed not to loan money to minorities who wanted to buy homes in nice neighborhoods. The reason that minority children find it harder to get ahead is because their schools are not quite as good as those in the nicer neighborhoods.
The reason only 1.7% of all US farmers are Black is because of race. In 1920, 1 million Black families made up 14 percent of all farmers; now there are not even 36,000—because between 1910 and 1997, they lost 90 percent of their property due to official, racist government policy. (White farmers lost only 2 percent in the same period.)
According to the most recent US Census data, the average annual income for Blacks is around $45,000. The average income for Latinos is $55,300 and for non-Hispanic Whites it’s $35,000. WHAT? Oh, wait. That’s not right. For non-Hispanic Whites, average income is almost $75,000! (For the math-challenged, that’s one-and-two-thirds higher than Black incomes.)
So, when I hear these White supremacists shouting at the top of their lungs that they are losing everything. I have to wonder what in the heck are they talking about. I’m sorry that they don’t have a great union job. Those jobs were shipped overseas, but I did not do that. There was no minority who spearheaded shipping jobs overseas. That was corporate America. Who runs corporate America? Oprah? Nope. Kenneth Chenault, former head of America Express and a Black man? Nope. It was a bunch of rich White guys. Right?!?!
Oh, and the other reason there are so few union jobs is because unions were deliberately busted beginning in 1982. Under the Republican president (and former union head and former Democrat) Ronald Reagan, who destroyed the Air Controllers Union and, with his party colleagues, went on to undermine every other work-force union in the country.
So, how out of touch with reality do you have be, in order to walk into a grocery store, thinking that Black and Brown people are the cause of your problem? The slaughter in Buffalo represents mind control, brain-washing or whatever you would like to call it.
Tucker, Fox, and LOTS of “Big Lies”
Hate like this is taught. The hate is online. It is on the radio. It is on Fox News. Tucker Carlton, Fox News host, has been “just asking questions” for several years. He has perfected the train of asking misleading questions that lead the viewer to either become nauseated and throw up (like most thoughtful people) or leap off the couch and scream, “Hell yeah!”
Tucker has told the big election lie, and the “Russia hoax” lie, and the gun control lies, and the lies about CRT being taught in schools. None of these claims has an ounce of truth to it, but his followers swallow them all like addictive sugar candy.
The “replacement theory,” which Tucker has promoted for years and is central to the Buffalo shooter’s rantings, claims that immigrants and minorities are here in America to replace or remove or eliminate the White people of America. The stupidity of this theory is mind-numbing.
As a Black man, I’m here in the US because my mother’s ancestors were brought over here against their will. My father immigrated to the US from Guyana, South America in the mid-1950s. He wanted a better life. He wanted to be a doctor. He worked two jobs to put himself through college. At the same time, my mother was putting herself though school by being a typist—while getting straight A’s.
Mom got two degrees. Dad became a successful doctor. All my parents wanted was equal treatment. They wanted loans that they were more than qualified for. They wanted to buy a house in a nice neighborhood that they could afford. (They had to threaten to sue in order for us to live in far North Dallas in the late 1960s.) My Dad and Mom didn’t want to replace anybody: they just wanted to be rewarded for their hard work like other hard-working Americans. That’s it.
Brainwashed with Hate
Please understand that the lost soul in Buffalo is not an isolated problem. Domestic terrorism directed toward Blacks and other minorities has a long history in the US. Many Americans think that the Klu Klux Klan was the start of terrorism against people of color. Well, no, not exactly.
There were the slave codes of the colonies. These laws, written and unwritten, controlled the behavior of slaves. They included slave patrols in the South. These patrols controlled the Black population at the point of a gun. In some states laws required all freed Whites to own a gun so that they could participate in these patrols. These patrols would put down uprisings. They would round up runaway slaves. They would help punish those who didn’t follow the rules.
There were killings (massacres) large and small following the Civil War. These incidents were designed to instill fear in the Black population. The most well-known of these domestic terror events was in Tulsa. (I have discussed the Tulsa massacre in this space before.)
Tulsa—Burying the Victims, and the History
It started with a Black teenager accused of assaulting a white elevator operator. He was arrested. Rumors circulated that he was going to be hanged without a trial. Several armed Black men encircled the jail. They insisted on a real trial. Whites came back with larger numbers and with more guns. This is an excellent example of how guns have been used to bludgeon the black community.
The Blacks retreated to their neighborhoods, which in Tulsa a century ago were upper middle class—Tulsa’s Black community was called The Black Wall Street, it was so successful and enterprising. So the Whites burned the neighborhood to the ground. This was 1921. They even bombed the houses from the air. These White people were the ones determined to replace the successful Black entrepreneurs of Tulsa.
No one knows how many people were killed (30, 300, possibly more). Although Black newspapers carried this outrage, many mainstream newspapers carried the original story, then … poof. A decision was made to erase this atrocity be from the collective memory of the American public. Graves of the massacred Black citizens were unmarked. There is no official record of what was done with the bodies. After the initial news reports, there was nothing said or written about this incident in major newspapers for decades.
We must understand that these incidents happened all over the US after the Civil War—from Detroit to Mississippi, from Texas to Florida, and even New York.
This brings me back to Buffalo. This mindless zombie was killed 10 people. He is only the latest in a line of these guys. We can’t forget the fellow zombie who wanted to start a race riot in Charleston, SC. He walked into a black church—where he was accepted, even welcomed. He sat down and had Bible study then opened fire and killed nine, including the pastor, a state legislator.
Let’s don’t think that all of this violence is always directed at Blacks. Hate knows no bounds. In 2016, the attack on the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fl, was committed by a soul-sucking zombie who hated homosexuals. He killed 49! Forty-damn-nine people out having a good time at a nightclub! And don’t forget Las Vegas in 2017. From his 32nd-floor hotel room, a man killed 60 people attending a country music festival—and wounded another 411.
Guns and Hate
The deadly combination of White men and hate are killing America. These mostly young men (the Las Vegas shooter was 64) are able to read hate every day. This is just like stoking a fire with fuel. The fire never gets to settle down. It is fed constantly. Sooner or later, there is going to be an explosion.
The only way to stop this kind of violence is for us to understand that some Americans are vulnerable to the lure of hate speech. I would go so far as to say that most of us are vulnerable. The difference between us going about our normal business and becoming a serial killer really isn’t as much as we would like to believe.
Becoming a zombie really depends on tons of different factors. Are we truly loved? Do we believe that we are loved, or have we recently had a spectacular failure in school? at work? in our love life? Is our money tight, and did our old, beat-up Chevy Cavalier just threw its last cylinder? Frustration can put any of us in the “right” frame of mind to accept hate into our hearts.
Hate is an intense emotion. When we are truly mad, our brain shuts down. We lose the ability to reason. This is one of the reasons that I use the term “zombie.” We truly develop this singular focus, and that becomes problematic. What it means is that, if you encounter someone like this, it is hard, if not impossible, to talk this zombie out of their trance. We must remember that any extreme emotion—hate, love, fear, or anxiety—can lead to brain shutdown. Any emotion in the extreme can lead to irrational behavior.
So, given a society in which hate speech is freely available to read and listen to, it is only a matter of time before someone becomes a ticking time bomb. Add to the mix that guns are literally everywhere. This is the deadly mix—Zombies in the Land of Guns. We have to admit that as humans we can all be susceptible to this siren’s song. With a country of over 330 million—and more that 400 million guns—the question is not if, but when. Where will the next incident happen? New York. LA. Dallas. Kansas City. Vicksburg. Asheville. It could be anywhere. We must figure out a way to turn the rhetoric down.
I have discussed gun violence in this space multiple times over the past decade or so. Now, a group of children were gunned down in Uvalde, Texas. Why?
I don’t think that why is the correct question. After each of these mass shooting tragedies we fret over details. We focus on the gunman. Was he unstable? Was he loved by his mother? Did he have a loving family?
None of these questions matter. The only question is what can we do to reduce the risk of this type of violence from ever happening again.
Let’s look at some steps that can help reduce this kind of killing in America, which is now commonplace.
Real background checks on every gun sale. If you do not pass the background check, you can not get a gun.
Just like cars, guns must be registered. All guns. If you are a law-abiding citizen, then registering your guns shouldn’t be a problem.
Like cars, every gun owner is legally responsible for their gun. If your 15-year-old takes your gun to school, as the legal owner, you are equally responsible for the killings as the 15-year-old child who did the shooting. As a registered gun owner, you are required to carry liability insurance which would help offset the cost of gun violence.
The minimum age to buy a gun should be 21. Today, 17% of mass shootings are caused by someone less than the age of 21.
People who have been shown to be mentally unstable or have committed domestic violence should have their guns confiscated for at least a year. Special gun courts should be developed. They would review cases and decide if the gun-owner is well enough to have their guns back.
We need to outlaw any gun that is made with a 3d printer.
We must define assault-rifles then ban them. If you have an assault rifle the US government should give you a check for $250 for each assault rifle. You must hand over all of your assault rifles.
Whose Rights Matter?
This is about public safety. We have regulated cars in order bring down the death rate from motor vehicle crashes. There was not one huge bill that fixed all of the auto safety problems. Instead, it was a series of small measures that added up to a huge reduction in motor vehicle mortality. Seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, safety glass—all of these measures work in concert to decrease mortality.
Many Americans point out that the majority of Americans who die from gun violence commit suicide. This is 100% correct. We should try to decrease the alarming rate of suicide also. The above measures should help in increasing public safety and decreasing the suicide rate.
Together we can make this happen. This is a public safety issue. It is not about the rights of gun owners. It is about the rights of the victims. They have a right to life! Innocent Americans are counting on us to get this done. By the way, while we are at it, we really need to re-write the Second Amendment to the constitution. Law-abiding Americans who want a gun should be able to legally have one—licensed, registered, and responsibly.
It is imperative that we understand that this is a long-term fight. The NRA did not change from a gun advocacy group to the voice of the gun manufacturers overnight. It took decades. Our fights that could be over tomorrow. It’s not to be over next month. This is a years long battle. We must stay focused. We need to elect individuals who believe in public safety. We need to elect individuals who believe in the rights of the innocent more than the rights of gun owners. This is a long-term fight.
I do send out prayers and deep condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Uvalde and Buffalo and everywhere else in the US where gun violence has taken a loved one. As a nation we must do better.
January 6, 2021
Almost everybody told us that holding these hearings during prime time was ludicrous. Everybody knows what happened on January 6th. Everybody has read the New York Times, the Washington Post or even Time magazine. Well, we were all wrong. This was compelling TV.
I think there are several points that need to be emphasized. First of all, the January 6 committee is trying to prove that Donald Trump was not a bit player but instead was the player. Everything evolved around Trump. When you think about it, this makes sense. Right? President Trump did not participate in anything where he was not the center of attention. So, this only makes sense.
We also learned that the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers worked in concert. They were not the separate groups we were led to believe. Instead, they coordinated their assault on the capital. They had a master plan. This kind of changes everything. As a matter fact, the Proud Boys left Trump’s rally several hours early in order to go scope out the capital and find the weak spots. Once they found the weak spots, they just waited for Trump to send the crowd which he did on cue.
Several of the January 6th committee members stated that this was a broad conspiracy. They stated that the plan had several moving parts that all worked together to attempt a coup of the United States. Let me say this again, this was a coup attempt. This was not some crowd that got out of control. Instead, it was a crowd that was deliberately incited by the president and led by two gangs with the intent of overthrowing our government.
Many pundits tried to give Donald Trump a past. They tried to say that he did not know what was really going on. He was fed misinformation by his inner circle which led him to believe that the election was stolen. This was just another lie. Trump was told over and over again that he lost the election.
Finally, it appears that the Justice Department is doing its own due diligence and groundwork in the background. Many of us on the Left have been disappointed with Merrick Garland, Attorney General of the United States, for a lack of action. We have seen a lot of arrests of low-level people but not much else. It appears … appears, that the Justice Department is taking this seriously. I have my fingers crossed and am praying for the best. Our democracy needs our best. We cannot allow this to be swept under the rug.
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed here, as well as assertions of facts, are those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of The Urban News.