Crispus

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Fear of Black Man With a Gun?

Cincinnati Black Blog asks this question, while responding to a local case involving Gary Smith (pictured). The Cincinnati Post reports that Smith shot four men in 2001, killing one in a case where he initially faced the death penalty. He was instead sentenced to 47 years, but then it was overturned a year or so later because he wasn't allowed an opportunity to be his own attorney, and the new case just ended in a mistrial.

Why did he shoot?: Smith was accused of shooting Jimmie Gordon to death and convicted of wounding three other men in a shooting rampage Smith started when he tried to get crack dealers away from his home. They responded by robbing him, killing his cat, urinating on his home and slicing his tires.

Like Cincinnati Black Blog, I have mixed opinion. For one, no one shot at Smith. Robbing, urinating, tire slicing, and yes even cat killing are no justification to murder and almost murder folks. However, did Smith believe his life was in danger? Probably. And the larger question: why were the crackheads messing with his property in the first place?! Had they not be up to no good, Smith wouldn't have shot them in the first place.

Had Smith been some white suburbanite - like the suburban Chicago man who wounded a robber who broke into his home twice, and charges were later dropped against the suburbanite for illegal gun possession - he wouldn't have almost faced Death Row or 47 years in prison. Just the amount of time that he's already served, as it would've been viewed as self-defense. And I've previously argued (as has The Mulatto Advocate and our sister site Booker Rising) that gun control laws are racist anyway, hampering common black folks' right to defend our bodies and our property.

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