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CI: Who’s Afraid of Virgil Wayne Woolf? A Rant on Guns and Race

August 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm by: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Criminal Injustice Series, Intersectionality, White Privilege

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Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm CST.

Who’s Afraid of Virgil Wayne Woolf? A Rant on Guns and Race
by Badphairey

In the leader of the NRA Wayne LaPierre’s own words, Obama has “endorsed a total ban on the manufacture, sale, and possession of all handguns…[and] the sale or transfer of all semi-automatic firearms”. Never mind that Obama’s been in office for three years and has yet to suggest any substantive changes to gun laws of any kind at the Federal level.

Never mind that while the one of the few non-white groups (The Black Panther Party) to assert the Second Amendment had their leaders killed for their troubles, and were forcibly reminded by law enforcement that only one group is entitled to defend their Second Amendment rights. Militias, which are highly correlated with white pride groups, exist with almost complete impunity. There are no Militia Task Forces that correlate with the inevitable Gang Task Force in nearly every state. There are little to no social and quasi-legal sanctions for wearing white-power regalia, as there is with minority kids sagging their jeans.

The lack of distinction between “people who tend to wear a lot of camo and decorate their homes in Taxidermies R Us” and “RAHOWA nutbars who are two steps from Randy Weavering themselves and their families” serves to keep militia groups under the radar and whitewash their image. So every time another ”isolated incident” happens, they can all claim they were completely innocent, that sort of thing doesn’t happen here, he was such a nice quiet boy, his parents must be so ashamed. No one ever says, “Yes, I’ve been worried about the swastika-wearing militia guys who train in the national forest so I don’t take my kids hiking there anymore.”

Apropos of that observation, does anyone else find it strange that the militia folks camp about half as well as your local Renaissance Festival staff? MREs are not exactly a “self-sufficient” foodstuff, as they take many people, complicated chemistry, and several factories to produce. I don’t see a lot of militia members learning animal husbandry, genetics (snicker), botany, boatbuilding, trailcraft, or distilling/brewing. Do they think Natty Light falls from the sky in handy-dandy cardboard cases?

They use the public roads, public campsites, public airwaves, and the internet (which was financed largely by DARPA, a branch of the U.S. government). They buy coolers and camo gear and guns made in China, nicht die Vaterland, seemingly without the least bit of awareness at how utterly bankrupt and hypocritical it makes the movement look “Keep your dirty government hands off my public highway to the public access to the public beach at the lake in my local National Forest”.

Yes, really. Perhaps it is this silliness that makes it hard to take them seriously as threats to the nation.


They are.

Neo-Nazi Rampage: Army Psy-Ops Vet, White Power Musician ID’d as Gunman in Sikh Temple Shooting 08/05/2012

Ariz. border militia leader kills 3 adults, infant and self 05/02/2012

Looking Behind the Mug-Shot Grin 01/08/2011

Militia Charged With Plotting to Murder Officers 03/29/2012 

Two Deputies Are Shot and Killed in a Louisiana Ambush 08/16/2012

So Many More….

The election of Barack Obama has re-energized the militia movement, according to a report by the SPLC (see graph). The FBI concurred a year ago by issuing a bulletin called “Sovereign Citizens: A Growing Domestic Threat to Law Enforcement” finally dubbing them ‘domestic terrorist’s.

But will this be tracked, and profiled in the way we track and profile other groups? Or will this continue to be filed under “boys will be boys” and “another isolated incident…of the month”. If the latter happens, make no mistake that it is more evidence of white privilege that goes unacknowledged by the general public.

Does calling it white privilege upset the journalistic status quo? Too bad. If 300,000 black people were running around in the woods armed to the teeth, there would be a law enforcement response that would make Wounded Knee look like 5 minutes of Bouncy Castle Time at the Fair.

By and large, the people running around in the inner city killing people with guns are killing other inner city people. For them we create mile after mile of cellblocks. For the people running around in the suburbs killing other people with guns, we do nothing. And yet if we do nothing, we say nothing, we leave them alone entirely, as we have been doing, they still persist in crying wolf.

Ignoring problems does not make them go away, and continuing to ignore the increasing danger of white-pride-based militants is not going to improve the situation. If domestic terrorism is a problem, and we are told daily that it is, then we have to suspect the guy in the Cabela’s hat as much as we do the guy in the turban. Otherwise, don’t come crying to me the next time some guy associated with the sovereign citizen or Christian Identity movement shoots up a classroom full of cute little Aidans and Jordyns and Heathers. Because when Antwan or Ibraim or Swamequa shoots someone, it’s a very different story.

Badphairy is a graduate student in public health and an adjunct professor. She has lived in five states, lately of Oakland California. Her writing for CI reflects a combination of passion and humor she employs to make sense of the political spheres of influence in the United States.

56 comments
Domino14
Domino14 like.author.displayName 1 Like

White privelege. Sick.

 

and horrified when I clicked on the link to Cabela's. Had no idea what that was.

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Domino14 They're hugely popular with many people, and their flagship stores in the midwest attract people in droves. They sell decent outdoor gear - especially if you're into camo (I am not).   Not everyone who goes to Cabela's is a raving RW maniac. They cater to the hunting crowd and camo dudes - and I'm sure their politics are not mine. 

Richard Lyon
Richard Lyon like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

There are a growing number of far right groups in this country that make the tea party look like what that term has traditionally connoted. They've always been around hiding under slimy rocks, but it looks like they are crawling out into the light of day more and more often.

 

badphairy
badphairy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

I also find the hate crime framework problematic, but imho it's better than nothing.

 

I think assigning white pride and militia groups to the "oh just ignore them, they're fine" category is completely unjust. I just have to find some way to let it make me laugh as well as be out- and en-raged. Thank you all for the space and opportunity to express myself.

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @badphairy I need to second Nancy's laughter at Cabela's expense.  It's like White Cammo Dude Land extraordinaire. 

badphairy
badphairy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @KayWhitlock I also find it quite interesting that in MN, it's quite difficult to get to any places selling guns or gun accessories if one is using public transportation. There are ammo deserts, as well as food deserts.

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @badphairy Ha!  Since I live in Montana, I'll probably have at least one, or 20, more opportunities to use that line!

 

 

badphairy
badphairy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @KayWhitlock "Why thank you for your concern, sir. Would you like a helping of my culinary speciality, red beans and ricin?"

badphairy
badphairy like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @nancy a heitzeg  @KayWhitlock  I spent several years growing up in Rochester. I don't remember a huge amount of gun silliness, but then I was one of those people in the funny-looking pants riding a horse. Tragically I could not deduct him on my taxes ;^P

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName 1 Like

Ha!  In Montana, there is hardly any public transportation.  But here, whites monitor whites.  I was stunned not long ago when a line repair guy for the ISP/digital phone/cable provider we bundle with sized me up when he tried to come in my back door and found it locked, informed me that guns are better protection than locked doors and asked point blank (sorry for the expression) if I had any guns in the house.  Then he referred me to the statewide RW nutcase who runs the gun lobby for safety training and political indoctrination.

 

Service with a smile.

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @badphairy  @KayWhitlock you gotta go to rochester girl :0

 

or in Wells MN-- they actually hold they annual gun show in the HIGH SCHOOL

 

debated about it for 5 minutes after Columbine and then went right on ahead

Seeta
Seeta moderator like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 7 Like

This is a stellar piece -- very educational.  Although the subject matter is always difficult to embrace, the writing is reflective, sharp, honest, and pitch perfect.  

 

I simply loved this: "Does calling it white privilege upset the journalistic status quo? Too bad. If 300,000 black people were running around in the woods armed to the teeth, there would be a law enforcement response that would make Wounded Knee look like 5 minutes of Bouncy Castle Time at the Fair."

 

Brilliantly said. 

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Seeta You and badphairy are providing the best quotes of the day, the week, the month.  Thank you. 

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

i will also say -- that while i do not agree with the "hate crime" framework -- i am glad that splc and others are attempting to take some sort of account of militia activity

 

and now finally the feds too

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

 @nancy a heitzeg The hate crime framework doesn't permit us to address deep, broad questions of community wholeness and well-being within a framework of social, economic, and religious justice.

 

But the SPLC has been documenting these groups and warning of the mainstreaming of their ideas.  I'd say those ideas are very mainstreamed now, with the NRA/ALEC "Stand Your Ground" laws. 

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

 @KayWhitlock Yes

 

my personal gripe -- as you know -- is also the false equivalency created when splc and others deem NOI and Black Israelites etc as "hate" groups akin to the KKK

 

i disagree with that entirely

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

This is an excellent and righteous rant - and I say that from Montana, where white militia groups have caused problems and posed threats for years. 

 

Yes, it's a complete double standard rooted in white privilege.  In Sanford, Florida, Trayvon Martin is killed because he is profiled as a dangerous criminal of color armed with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea.  Militia folks stockpile hundreds and thousands of rounds of ammo and no official blinks an eye.  Yes, they are itching for a fight - one in which they are armed and the folks who didn't take them seriously are gobsmacked.  And the rest of us pay the price.

 

I am grateful to the SPLC, Center for New Community, and other groups that monitor and report on these folks.

 

Please write more, Badphairy. 

badphairy
badphairy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @KayWhitlock  I do not to believe the white pride interpretation of how RAHOWA might go. I have lived in Oakland CA, I'm well aware that minorities have had guns for a very long time and that they/we seem to know how to use them. I certainly do. Learned to shoot an automatic in Idaho, no less. Also, camouflage meant for forest and desert does tend to stand out in the city. It may be difficult to debunk a fantasy, but I am willing to continue to try.

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @badphairy And I'm white, anti-racist, queer, and my mom taught me how to shoot back in Colorado more than 50 years ago.  I know a lot of progressives just like me, who also learned how to shoot when they were young. 

 

I love the image of cammo standing out in the city. Especially bark and woodland snow cammo. 

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @nancy a heitzeg First a Nazi costume, then he gets naked.  Poor Harry.

 

I was thinking with some Date Palm cammo, I'd really blend in in South Beach or the Dinah Shore golf tournament.

badphairy
badphairy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @KayWhitlock Just had this discussion somewhere else. I decided on the eucalyptus because it's invasive, non-indigenous, and tends to burn down the wealthy part of Oakland about every five or ten years.

badphairy
badphairy like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @KayWhitlock Bark? Haven't seen that one yet. If you could be a heavily armed tree, which one would you be?

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @badphairy  @KayWhitlock Ok the "bark" cammo is the worst.. :)

 

btw i am glad the piece has a link to those ridiculous TV shows onb "Doomsday Preppers" et al -- another attempt to mainstream the madness

 

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Links to groups in addition to SPLC that have monitored militia & white nationalist/nativist groups and documented the mainstreaming of their ideas:

 

Political Research Associates:

http://publiceye.org/

 

Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights: 

http://www.irehr.org/

 

Center for New Community:

http://newcomm.org/

 

 

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 @KayWhitlock thanks for these kay

 

i do believe Badphairey will turn up soon -- a rant is refreshing sometimes isn't it?? :)

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 5 Like

 @KayWhitlock just read about some texas county judge wanting to raise $$ for Armageddon if Obama is re-elected...

 

the new "normal"

 

 

rubyr
rubyr like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

 @nancy a heitzeg Hey baby, It just makes the hair stand on end. 

 

Hope all is well with you and yours. 

rubyr
rubyr like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

 @nancy a heitzeg I would not express the level of my 

loathing for that non-human on a site populated by people that I think so highly of. Sodas, salt, smoking, breast feeding --there is just no limit to the little man's need to control the planet. 

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @rubyr yes it does

 

i am good -- hope you are too

 

hope you are not trying to purchase any super size sodas in Bloomberg Land :) Stop and Frisk!

KayWhitlock
KayWhitlock like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

 @nancy a heitzeg Remember how some folks in Wisconsin were quoted as telling media reporters, after the attempted recall of Walker failed, "I guess now we can put away the guns."

nancy a heitzeg
nancy a heitzeg like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

 @KayWhitlock yes i do

 

people need to be prepared for all sorts of craiziness - no need to be surprised by anything