Rachel Stovall

Race is making everyone in politics crazy. We need therapy firmly wrapped around some common sense.

Recently, in Denver a Republican official inadvertently found herself on the hotseat. Kristina Cook, chairwoman of the Denver Republican Party, shared a picture on social media with an image of herself holding a rifle. A comment she made lower in the thread of comments under her picture read, ‘I wish that doctor Martin Luther King was still with us, I think that he would help heal the division that we see.”

That comment makes sense to me. It probably makes sense to you as well. Of course, we are talking about the actual words that were used in the comment.

Unfortunately, someone decided to use this phrase instead. “I bet Dr. King wishes he’d had a sniper on his side that day.” The badly doctored meme features those words and a picture of Cook holding a gun. The only thing more irritating besides this obvious lie is the manufactured outrage of some on the left. Looks like it is time for some equal opportunity slap down. Liberals first.

The lie has been exposed. News outlets with an actual conscience (or healthy fear of being sued for libel) are removing the meme from their articles about the subject. This is not a story that should be in Newsweek. Shame on them for not vetting the facts before printing the story.

Speaking of truth, we remember King as being nonviolent. His philosophies and approach to gaining civil rights was built on it. Even so, we need to remember that MLK was not against the bearing of arms.

In 1956, MLK applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. He was rejected. As you may recall, discrimination regarding Second Amendment rights for any person of African descent was the norm then.

Due to the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1875, no government entity could not explicitly prohibit gun ownership by blacks. Unfortunately, municipal, county and state governments (often in service to the KKK) turned to more subtle methods to keep black people disarmed.

In this environment, The Rev. King, out of necessity had unarmed and armed supporters guarding his home. In fact, Glenn Smiley, an adviser to King, described the inside of King’s home as “an arsenal.” So, although MLK gave up on carrying guns, supporters and those who traveled with him stayed armed until he was assassinated in 1968.

If you know that history and were part of the outcry against Kristina Cook, shame on you. And if you didn’t know the history, shame on you for your ignorance.

I wonder how King would feel about our debates about gun control today. I think that the black community should be the last people to advocate for gun control. Those laws have always been unfairly used against us! And it won’t be different today.

Since this is an equal opportunity slapdown, let’s give some criticism to conservatives.

Some of you are going to have to accept that the MLK legacy must be approached carefully. Politically, the wrong approach is a landmine that will blow you up.

Many people black or not — are deeply hurt about his assassination. The subject cannot be discussed from any but the most respectful of perspectives. You should respect that stance.

Don’t get me wrong. I can understand a person thinking that a sniper added into the protection detail for MLK would have helped. It is a pragmatic thought that I agree with. Even though it is not what Cook said.

Guns, gun control, and blackness sometimes intersect in a wide variety of ways. But the history should give us pause. The civil rights legislation could not protect Martin Luther King. All that stood between him and death by a crazy gunman were some good black guys with guns.

Hmm... That sounds a lot like the recent Walmart shooting. Perhaps we should consider the idea of good guys with guns more seriously and with no attention given to race.

Rachel Stovall is a longtime community advocate and organizer. Stovall is most known for singing with her dance band Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors.

Load comments