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Black gun owners worried about treatment after shooting

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    Dallas police respond after shots were fired during a protest over recent fatal shootings by police in Louisiana and Minnesota tonight in Dallas. Snipers opened fire on police officers during protests; several officers were killed, police said.

WASHINGTON » One man told an officer during a Minnesota traffic stop that he was a licensed gun owner, and that he was reaching for his wallet, a witness said. The other was on the ground with police officers on top of him in Louisiana when someone shouted “He has a gun!”

Police in each circumstance thought the black man carrying a gun was dangerous and immediately shot him dead. Activists say black gun owners are often treated differently than white gun owners to a sometimes fatal degree.

The perception of an armed black person has not changed much since the days of slave rebellions, said the Rev. Kenn Blanchard, a former firearms instructor who runs

“If you have a firearm or you scare the wrong people, you’re going to get shot. You’re going to get killed. The perception of the scary black man still exists. The threat of the slave going rogue, it’s still there. The bad gangbanger,” Blanchard said.

Snipers opened fire on police officers in the heart of Dallas, Thursday evening, killing five officers and injuring six others during protests over two recent fatal police shootings of black men, according to police.

The gunfire broke while hundreds of people were gathered to protest fatal police shootings this week in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and suburban St. Paul, Minnesota. Protests were also held in several other cities across the country after a Minnesota officer on Wednesday fatally shot Philando Castile while he was in a car with a woman and a child. The aftermath of the shooting was livestreamed in a widely shared Facebook video. A day earlier, Alton Sterling was shot in Louisiana after being pinned to the pavement by two white officers. That, too, was captured on a cellphone video.

Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, said he told the officer during a traffic stop that he was carrying a gun for which he was licensed. Castile did “nothing but what the police officer asked of us, which was to put your hands in the air and get your license and registration,” she said.

On a video purporting to show the aftermath, the officer tells her: “I told him not to reach for it. I told him to get his hand out.”

“You shot four bullets into him, sir. He was just getting his license and registration, sir,” the woman responds.

This all comes during a discussion in the United States about the killing of black men and women by police officers after the deaths of Travyon Martin in Florida, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Freddy Gray in Baltimore. Their deaths have inspired nationwide protests under the “Black Lives Matter” moniker including protests this week over the deaths of Castile and Sterling.

“Would this have happened if those passengers would have been white? I don’t think it would have,” Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said.

“We have seen tragedies like this too many times,” President Barack Obama said Thursday. When incidents like this occur, many Americans feel it’s because they’re not being treated the same, Obama said. “That hurts.”

It can be dangerous for black men and women to own guns in this policing environment, and it shouldn’t be, considering that gun ownership is a constitutional right, said Philip Smith, president and founder of National African American Gun Association.

Sterling was a convicted felon, which would have barred him from legally carrying a gun, according to court records. It was not immediately known whether the gun held by Castile was legal.

That information might not have mattered during their confrontations with police, Smith said.

“They’re not getting any kind of the benefit of the doubt. There’s no conversation. If there is a conversation, it’s a one-way conversation where the African-American male is being yelled at, pretty much, ‘Sit down and be quiet or you’re going to get shot,’ ” Smith said.

Messages left for the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the National Rifle Association were not immediately returned.

The first gun-control laws were passed to keep weapons out of the hands of black slaves and freedmen in colonial days, said Nicholas J. Johnson, a Fordham University law professor and author of “Negroes and The Gun: The Black Tradition of Arms.” During the post-Civil War period and the times of slavery, Southern states imposed strict gun laws against blacks that lasted through the civil rights movement.

Police have an outsized fear of armed blacks, activists said. The majority of blacks are not armed and the majority of killers of police officers are white. The FBI said 199 law enforcement officers were killed between 2011 and 2014. Of their killers, 133 were white and 70 were black.

Blacks also are only about half as likely as whites to have a firearm in their home — 41 percent vs. 19 percent — according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey.

But another Pew survey showed more and more blacks becoming comfortable with owning guns, with 54 percent saying in 2014 that gun ownership does more to protect people than endanger personal safety, nearly double the 29 percent from December 2012.

“Historically, African-Americans have viewed guns kind of like the boogeyman — ‘The master told you not to look at the gun and we shouldn’t touch a gun,’” Smith said. “But that mindset is changing very, very quickly.”

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  • Wanna know why cops nationwide are losing Obama’s war against policemen?

    Could it be because our colleges and universities are pushing the benefits of victim-ology for all it is worth ?

    UBD judge:

    A “micro-aggression tool” published by North Carolina State University’s faculty ombuds informs the school’s employees that phrases such as “America is a land of opportunity” or “I believe the most qualified person should get the job,” are “micro-aggressions” and shouldn’t be used.

    The tool was published last month by NC State faculty ombuds Roy Baroff. In an accompanying blog post on June 29, Baroff — who did not return a request for comment — said the topic of micro-aggressions “is important as we seek to build a more collegial environment and based on the concerns that faculty members bring to the NC State Faculty Ombuds Office.”

    The tool defines micro-aggressions as “the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target people based solely upon their marginalized group membership.”

    The tool provides several examples of micro-aggressions.

    One example micro-aggression, listed under the theme of the “myth of meritocracy,” is the phrase “I think the most qualified person should get the job.” The “message” hidden in this micro-aggression, according to the tool, is: “People of color are given extra unfair benefits because of their race.”

    Another example micro-aggression in the same theme is the phrase “Gender plays no part in who we hire,” which apparently communicates the hidden message: “The playing field is even so if women can not make it, the problem is with them.”

    “America is the land of opportunity,” is another micro-aggression that perpetuates the “myth of meritocracy,” as is the phrase, “Everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough.” According to the tool, these micro-aggressions communicate the message that “People of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.”

    The phrase “America is a melting pot” is another example micro-aggression, listed under the theme of “color blindness.” So too is the phrase “There is only one race, the human race.” According to the tool, these micro-aggressions contain the hidden “message” of “Denying the significance of a person of color’s racial/ethnic experience and history.”

    The tool was adapted from Derald Wing Sue’s 2010 book “Micro-aggressions in Everyday Life.” In the book, Sue claimed that a hypothetical “friendly neighbor” wishing a Jewish woman “Merry Christmas” would be a clear micro-aggression. Sue also called it ironic that “hate crimes are illegal, but micro-aggressions are not!”

      • Aw c’mon. It takes a real über mensch to spend all night creating such a painstakingly detailed illustration of over-engineered self pity. Give the man some credit. It’s magnificent: it’s got to be twice as long as the offending article.

      • I think that you are responding to his argument with nasty name calling, based on invented categories.

        If he were to do the same to you it would be a part of a vicious circle.

        Personally, I think the problem comes from the failure to treat people as individuals.

        When arguments are carried out in the land of fabricated generalities, often using shaky logic, it seems we get nowhere.

  • Curious that the article makes no mention of perhaps the most egregious example of the disparate treatment of black people with guns — the killing of John Crawford III in an Ohio Walmart in 2014. Crawford was talking on his cellphone while holding a BB gun that he had picked up in the store’s toy department when he was shot and killed by police. Ironically, Ohio is an open carry state where Crawford could have legally carried a real firearm, whether or not it was licensed.

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