David Horowitz’s Archives: Guns don’t kill black people, other blacks do


This article was first published in Salon on August 16, 1999.

When the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People announced plans recently to file an injunctive class-action suit “to force [gun manufacturers] to distribute their product responsibly,” the NAACP president, Kweisi Mfume, noted that gun violence takes a disproportionately high toll among young black males.

According to an NAACP press release, African-American males between the ages of 15 and 24 are almost five times more likely to be injured by firearms than are white males in the same age group. “Firearm homicide has been the leading cause of death among young African-American males for nearly 30 years,” it stated.

Am I alone in seeing this as an absurd act of political desperation by the civil rights establishment? What’s next? Will Irish-Americans sue whiskey distillers, or Jews the gas company?

That last analogy only works, of course, for those who think the Holocaust was a self-inflicted wound. In fact, black leaders have already accused white and Korean liquor vendors of “invading” black communities and intoxicating their inhabitants. Boycotts have followed these charges, and anti-white, anti-Korean race riots as well.

But who forces alcohol down reluctant throats? And who makes guns shoot in ways that victimize blacks more than whites?

How can the NAACP even make the comparison between gun deaths of blacks and whites, if not as a racist insinuation that whites are somehow the cause of those “disproportionate” violent deaths, just as whites are the implied cause of nearly every other social pathology that afflicts the African-American community?

In the sociology of the left, including the NAACP, there cannot be a wound the black community inflicts on itself that is not ultimately the responsibility of malicious whites. To think otherwise would be to “blame the victim.” Only mean-spirited conservatives (like me) would even think of doing that.

The fact is that while blacks make up only 12 percent of the population, they account for 46 percent of total violent crime and 90 percent of the murders of other blacks. It is they, not whites or gun manufacturers, who are responsible for the disproportionate gun deaths of young black males.

Firearms don’t kill people. Sociopaths do. It takes a human brain to pull the trigger. If young black males abuse firearms in an irresponsible and criminal fashion, why should the firearm industry be held accountable? Why not their parents? Why not themselves?

Unfortunately, as a nation we have become so trapped in the melodrama of black victimization and white oppression that we are in danger of losing all sense of proportion. If blacks are oppressed in America, why isn’t there a black exodus? Why do all those black Haitians want to come here? To be oppressed?

In the grips of a politically inspired group psychosis, we find it natural to collude with demagogic race hustlers in support of a fantasy in which African-Americans are no longer responsible for anything negative they do, even to themselves.

If blacks constitute just under half the prison population, for example, that cannot be allowed to suggest that the black community might have a problem when it comes to raising its children as law-abiding members of society. Oh no. Such a statistic can only be explained by the racism of a criminal justice system that is incarcerating too many blacks.

Nonsense like this is proposed daily by the entire spectrum of the civil rights leadership from racist bloviator Al Sharpton to urbane Urban League President Hugh Price. Against the intimidating atmosphere this consensus creates, to suggest the obvious — that too many blacks are in prison because blacks commit too many crimes — is to be identified as an apologist for racism, and perhaps even a closet racist oneself.

The NAACP’s anti-gun lawsuit comes on the heels of the crusade to defend crack dealers because 90 percent of them are African-American and their sentences are considered “too harsh.” This insipid campaign was launched by Jesse Jackson at the Washington rally of race-hater Louis Farrakhan.

That 90 percent of crack cocaine dealers are black cannot be seen, of course, as a moral stain on those crack dealers or as a massive social problem for the community that produces them. It can only be the result of a white legal system that stigmatizes crack as a more dangerous and more culpable drug than the powder cocaine it uses itself.

Forget that the heavier penalties were originally demanded by black leaders who claimed that crack was associated with street violence in the black community and the white criminal justice system did not care enough about its destructive consequences to make the penalties harsh.

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