Friday, June 27, 2008

Inner-city Blacks Don't Have The Same Constitutional Rights As Civilized Americans In The View Of Some

The more that I think about the situation it becomes more clear to me that the debate held in the public square regarding the rights of African-Americans and against the violation of our constitutional rights IF these violations are in line with those held dearest by the usual suspects (or, I must add, if the entity doing the violating as such is a favored target of theirs.) Both of these points will be clearly demonstrated in a moment.

Today's Supreme Court decision to uphold the individual rights to gun ownership is a watershed moment for one's right to self defense. We have been treated to much intellectualizing and "English lessons" regarding how the amendment was constructed. If some academics had their way - we would be a mere placement of a comma away from losing our 2nd Amendment right to bear a firearm. This court ruling today affirmed this right.

Let's get a bit more detailed though because there are two police actions that must be looked at as a pair so that I can justify my opening salvo regarding the perceived reduced set of rights that Inner-city poor have in the eyes of some who are seen as their defenders.

In today's dissent - Supreme Court Justice Breyer said:

"In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas."

I assure you that during the weeks in which this ruling will be discussed the "usual suspects" will fall silent in their offense taken about this delineation about "crime ridden areas". I assure you that had Justice Scalia used similar language to defend a state police's action in support of a law enforcement body that was not of their own - again a state's or federal agency rather than one of their own - we would hear charges of "second class citizenship" being hoisted upon the Black poor by those who respond to these type of coded words.

I will continue to use the term "police force of their own" as I move into the second example for investigation. A few weeks ago I reported on the Washington DC Police setting up a road block to block access to an "urban, crime-ridden area" of the city which has seen a dramatic increase in homicide. Upon being inspected by the police while attempting to enter if you do not have a good reason to go into the community - you were turned away.

Please understand this - after years of hearing stories about how White police men in the 1950 used to stop Blacks walking in parts of the city where they didn't belong and turning them the other way - it is amazing to me that today when a 'favorable government' to the Black community of DC does the same thing the usual paragons of civil liberties are SILENT. When has the ACLU or NAACP chosen silence and complicity over vocal outrage even if the prima facia reaction from the public is that their actions are counter to what is popular sentiment?

Video: DC Roadblock Video

Which is more important, the right to security or the right to move freely? One neighbourhood in Washington D.C. is struggling with just that.

After a deadly spike in crime this spring in the Trinidad neighbourhood, the metropolitan police took an unusual step to curb the violence. For six days earlier this month, the police set up roadblocks in the streets of the northeast part of the capital city. These roving checkpoints, moving every few hours, were used to stop cars entering the neighbourhood.

Drivers were required to prove a legitimate reason for entrance and, if they could not, were not allowed to drive through this part of the city. Euphemistically termed a ‘neighbourhood safety zone', the checkpoints served as a gateway where policemen, with ‘reasonable cause' could search the vehicles for weapons.

As I watch the video above I must make note in the presence of two individuals in the violation of the 2nd and 4th Amendments - DC Mayor Fenty and DC Attorney General Nickles

These two men appear to operate with the notion that it is necessary to deny the people of the Trinidad section of the city and elsewhere in the city their rights to their full suit of constitutional guarantees simply because some of their neighbors are acting up. I thought that "mass incrimination" was played out in this country?

As I listened to AG Peter Nickels on PBS Newshour I could not help but notice his logic which says the constitutional right to own a gun is not the issue - the need for the police to secure the area trumps these concerns. Then the repeated reference used by Nickels and the police chief that the citizens are in agreement with these police sanctions only means that SOME people are willing to give away their rights. Again this is not material to the question of it what they are doing is legal.

I have long spoken about the "assumed inferiority" of some Black people,specifically POOR BLACK PEOPLE. In truth this is what we have in operation here. The logic goes that since "these people" have not always shown themselves to be capable of acting in a civilized manner the government needs to do the necessary acts to keep them in line. You get no argument from me that it is important for a people to be conscious and to carry themselves with the same dignity that they seek others to to deliver to them. At the same time we can't get past the painful truth of the situation. The government of Washington DC would never seek to implement such a policy in Georgetown or other elite areas of the city. It would never be tolerated.

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