The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Second Amendment Vigilantes

By Guest on January 24, 2013 - 10:16 am, Posted in Antigovernment, Militias, White Supremacist

Editor’s note: The author of this guest column, Ron Carver, is a former field organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He is currently an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies (IPC). This piece was distributed via OtherWords, a nonprofit editorial service operated by the IPC.

I don’t hunt, but I have nothing against hunters or owners of rifles, bows and arrows, or boomerangs. However, I am against vigilantes and those, like the NRA leaders, who encourage them.

I had my own run-in with vigilantes when I joined the movement to end segregation and guarantee all citizens the right to vote.

After weeks of death threats delivered by phone to our Freedom House in Starkville, Mississippi, I was alone on a November night in 1964 when three armed and drunken Klansmen banged on the door of our two-room shack. I demanded to know who was there, and a chill ran through my body when the white men responded, “just us niggers.”

There wasn’t a stick of furniture I could use to defend myself, only the bar across the door. But lift and wield it, and the front door would swing open. And who could I phone for help? The sheriff? The chief of police? For all I knew, they were waiting out front, too.

Terrified, I slammed through the nailed-shut back door and slid on my belly down the hill into the darkness, as fast as I could.

That was one incident in a violent, bloody year.

Armed Klansmen burned 50 African-American churches and kidnapped and killed three civil rights activists in an infamous attack that became a pivotal moment in the civil rights struggle. During the search for Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, Lyndon Johnson sent Navy sailors to scour Neshoba County’s riverbeds. They didn’t find them, but they uncovered the corpses of dozens of African American men. It was a time and place where any crime was tolerated if it preserved the segregationists’ “way of life.”

In the previous hundred years, thousands of African Americans had been lynched, as documented in scores of gruesome photos that were proudly sold as souvenirs.

It is no surprise to me, then, to learn that James Madison’s reason for proposing the Second Amendment in 1789 was to preserve the state militias, the white population’s “principal instrument of slave control.” As documented in The Hidden History of the Second Amendment, an article published in 1998 in the University of California, Davis Law Review, these militias (often called “slave patrols”) were tasked with periodic sweeps of plantations to seek runaway slaves and intimidate any who dreamed of freedom.

Today, the proliferation of armed hate groups, which sometimes call themselves militias, is at least as dangerous as isolated, unbalanced, and gun-toting men with scores to settle. The number of anti-government so-called Patriot groups, such as armed militias, grew by 755 percent in the first three years of President Barack Obama’s first term, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The number of these groups rose from 149 at the end of 2008 to 1,274 in 2011, the SPLC reports.

Hate groups have expanded into every state but Hawaii. They are in everyone’s backyard.

The atmosphere today is toxic. Radio talk jocks promote armed struggle and one security industry executive boasts on YouTube that he would “start shooting people” in response to new gun controls.

For more than a hundred years the NRA promoted sportsmanship and responsible gun ownership — period. But since extremists seized control in 1977, the organization has forced a stranglehold on Congress while promoting the myth that the Second Amendment was enacted to facilitate armed rebellion against our own government, should it become tyrannical.

I support the right to own guns, but we don’t need 30 rounds in a semi-automatic weapon — or a well-armed militia — to bag a deer. I draw the line when my fellow citizens turn their homes into armories and begin training for insurrection. We used to call that treason.

  • Bill

    Aron said,

    ON JANUARY 25TH, 2013 AT 10:00 AM
    Bill, you aren’t worth my time. You obviously have no idea what SNCC was really about.

    And a bucket of water to fight a petrol bomb? Are you crazy? Or just stupid?

    “Not worth my time” is the typical response from someone who has suddenly realized they have a position they can’t defend. And I’m not crazy, or stupid, just a cop who sees the results of violence on a regular basis, and recognizes that it can’t be wished away if only this gun or that gun were to be banned.

  • Bill

    Gun ownership makes you are target for crime? In that case we should ban cash, prescription drugs and LCD TVs. Maybe we could crush crime by just setting all our stuff by the curb.

    My unofficial study indicates that criminals account for 100% of stolen stuff. Not owning something because someone might steal it is strange. I’m guessing we need to ban cars, then also.

  • aadila

    Right on, Erika. The revolving door if there is such a thing in our grotesquely bloated prison system has to do with the failure to rehabilitate.

    After subjecting inmates to torture, denial of medical care, rape and unwholesome condtions to punish them as harshly as possible, our 80% recidivism rate suggests that is not the way to go.

    In fact, four things have been shown to be effective in keeping people out of prison upon release, which are 1) education, 2) substance abuse treatement and counseling, 3) job skills and professional training, and 4) faith-based initiatives that provide a perspective on ethics and a new sense of self.

    Unfortunately those four things are secondary to the intentions of our prison system, which seeks foremost not to rehabilitate, but to punish.

  • Gregory

    IIRC, the last time the term “Saturday Night Specials” figured prominently in the debate was leading up to the Gun Control Act of 1968. That was a few years ago, give or take forty.

  • Erika

    Sam, far from a revolving door the U.S. has some of the harshest criminal sentences and one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. And since the Rehnquist and Roberts courts have basically sent the 4th, 5th, and 6th Amendments through a shredder, it has very little problem getting convictions.

  • Sam Molloy

    Yes, the NRA has some people I disagree with. And some laws do need to be adjusted to keep our streets safer. But obviously from reading these posts the NRA is really all we have to prevent poorly educated airheads from totally removing one of our God given rights. The SPLC should stick to what it is for, reporting on hate and educating for tolerance. Apparently it is infested with whining liberals who, like sharks who smell blood in the water, think their gun grabbing opportunity has finally arrived. A few years ago it was “Saturday Night Specials” that were causing all the problems. no definition given. Now it is “Assault Rifles”, no definition given. The problems were, and are, actually caused by criminals run through a revolving door legal system. The SPLC has, and should have, the protection given by the American tradition of firearms. All good people deserve the same.

  • Erika

    No Paul, anyone with a true grasp of actual history knows that the only purpose of the Second Amendment was to protect the state militias which indeed in the South were primarily devoted to protecting slavery. Any doubt of that should be removed by the plain language of the Second Amendment and the fact that “bear arms” was in the 18th Century only used in referring to military service. The Constitution is a very short document, it simply did not include extraenous langauge – the original understanding is thus clear that the Second Amendment only protects militias.

    When for 200 plus years everyone agreed that the Second Amendment was only to protect the right to bear arms within a state militia and does not protect an individual right to bear arms it is pretty clear which side is promoting revisionist history for political gains. The fact that they have had considerable sucess in spreading their myth doesn’t make it any less of a myth.

  • aadila

    “The amendment was born primarily as a guarantee against tyranny, domestic or abroad.”

    Thirty thousand Americans die each year to gun violence.

    That death toll is on par with the deaths in the Bosnian war (100,000-110,000 in three years), which was the most devastating military conflict in Europe since WWII.

    I find it hard to accept the argument that we are defending ourselves against tyrants when we are killing as many civilians as tyrants.

  • aadila

    “The amendment was born primarily as a guarantee against tyranny, domestic or abroad.”

    Thirty thousand Americans die each year to gun violence.

    That death toll is on par with the deaths in the Bosnian war (100,000-110,000 in three years), which was the most devastating military conflict in Europe since WWII.

    I find it hard to accept the argument that we are defending ourselves against tyrants when we are killing as many civilians at tyrants.

  • aadila

    Donna Marie,

    Gun ownership makes you a target for crime. In 1994, more than a quarter-million households experienced the theft of one or more firearms; nearly 600,000 guns were stolen during these burglaries.

    Official studies also show that up to a third of convicted felons who used weapons got them through burglary. More guns in the home means more guns in the hands of criminals.

  • Aron

    Bill, you aren’t worth my time. You obviously have no idea what SNCC was really about.

    And a bucket of water to fight a petrol bomb? Are you crazy? Or just stupid?

  • aadila

    “Yes we should have some limits on guns, but how many more people are killed by drunk drivers and tobacco and even texting and not paying attention to the world around you.”

    Pete, not a gainsay, just some observations:

    The actual numbers of traffic deaths are very close to gun deaths in America. However, we don’t seem to have a problem with regulations that make our roads safer, including some signficant challenges to state authority such as occured decades ago in Colorado when federal highway funding was used to force the state legislature to raise the drinking age to 21.

    Another observation is that cars were not designed with the express purpose of taking lives. So if we can regulate transport in the interests of public safety, it stands to reason it is all the more urgent to regulate weapons. An analogy is that the right wing is screaming the government will confiscate cars through the mere existence of traffic laws.

  • Tobias A. Weissman

    Having true Gun Control, a citizen won’t need a gun to protect himself. What about countries in Europe? In population ratio comparable to the USA, private persons don’t have guns and there isn’t as much gun crime related incidents as there is in the USA. AGAIN! The 2nd Amendment only give permission to Militias to own guns, not to private citizens.

  • Paul Karren

    I am generally a great fan of SPLC but am enormously disappointed by certain elements of this article. First, there is the revisionist history positing the Second Amendment was ratified because of slavery. The amendment was born primarily as a guarantee against tyranny, domestic or abroad. Anyone with a fundamental grasp of constitutional history understands this.
    Secondly, this blog fails to show how many elements of modern gun control were motivated by racism and were in RESPONSE to the Civil Rights movement. The KKK was a big support of gun-control (sorry, but it’s true.) And the 2nd Amendment was never about ‘deer hunting’ (a simple-minded rhetorical trick.) Revisionist history in advance of a political agenda is propoganda, not truth. Have we already forgotten the genocides, democides, and brutalities of the last century? Does anyone really believe this cycle cannot repeat itself? I support civil rights – all of them, including the right of our citizenry to own state of the art weaponry. I will take my chances with an armed populace before I trust a police state. Vigilantism, no. Cautious hope that we may never need our firearms to defend our civil liberties, yes.

  • Donna Marie

    Mr. Carver,When I attend church or a mission, no one questions if I need it. It is my right to religious freedom.No one questions,”Do I need it?” should I choose to write to you. I may because I have a right to freedom of speech. Mrs. Parks did not need to sit in the front of the bus. It was her RIGHT to sit wherever she wanted.

    I agree with your thought, “I support the right to own guns,” We disagree on this however,
    “but we don’t need 30 rounds in a semi-automatic weapon — or a well-armed militia — to bag a deer.”

    No one has the right to determine how many rounds I need. Should I be competing, I may need 100 or more rounds. If I am plinking at the range, 50 might be enough for my old trigger finger. If there is an intruder, I need one more round than the threat.

    My personal experience is that the average individual has little idea what constitutes a “home armory.” Is that 5,000 rounds, 500, 50? One hand gun , ten? How many?

    My experience has been with legacy firearms collectors,those investing in firearms to pass along to the next generation, or those seeking the latest available technology. Some people collect books,jewelry, or coins. Others collect firearms.

    I’ve been on fellowship shoots, but thankfully, I’ve never known any individuals interested in forming a militia for treason!

  • Will

    @William McLaughlin

    “As for the police. You don’t have to be there when they arrive.”

    Because yes, being labelled an armed fugitive who flees from the scene of a homicide or a discharge of a weapon is the best outcome in this situation (racist police force, Mississippi, 1964).

  • CM


    “There are also Black people on the NRA’s Board of Directors.”

    Oh my, how open-minded of them. But to be exact, there are exactly four African Americans (all men) on the NRA’s 75-member board. That’s 5 percent, or less than one-fourth of what the number should be to reflect African Americans’ share of the U.S. population.

    One of the favored four is the egregious Ken Blackwell, who is also on the board of the National Taxpayers Union and a senior fellow at the Family Research Council. And when you consider that Ollie North and Grover Norquist, among many other far-right notables (not to mention Ted Nugent) are on the board, it’s clearly more about politics than public safety or the constitution.

  • Phoebe Henselpecker

    What a sad, pitiful group of people the racists, homophobes, misogynists and other hate-based people are. And how very, very sad it is what they’re doing to our beautiful country. I guess we never did stand for the basic principle that “all men [sic] are created equal.”

  • Bill

    Anon – what’s your point? Do you want the bad guys to win? You prefer potential victims to be helpless? Ok, I’ll see your fire bomb and raise you a bucket of water. Eventually we can get to Death Star and X-Wing fighter. I just happen to believe that letting Bad People do Bad Things to Good People is Bad, particularly when the technology exists to enable Good People to stop it from happening.

  • Gregory

    Young Sam is getting desperate.

  • Bill

    For being awash in guns, it’s noteworthy that violent crime in the US has been trending downward steadily for a number of years. I doubt that it has much to do with the number of guns we own, but it’s hard to logically presume that guns are all of a sudden “causing” mass violence.

    Stringent enforcement of child restraint and bike helmet laws would likely save more kid’s lives than 7 round magazines. And the smug moral superiority of “non-violence” looses its luster when it’s your friends getting lynched.

  • Bob

    Tis amazing, is it not. Those that preach peace and tolerance are only tolerant with those that share the same views as they do. This used to be a free nation, then we obtained political correctness.
    If the anti-freedom crowd REALLY wanted to resolve the issue of violence with guns, why have the FAILED to ask Mr Holder and Mr Obama why they continue to withhold evidence and records about the DOJ’s illegal international gun running to the Mexican Drug Cartels which is know to have resulted in the deaths of HUNDREDS of innocent Mexican citizens?
    What have then done rather than release these records? They simply nominated one of the guys that brain stormed that bloody diaster to run the ATF! What a joke!!!
    As Mr. Biden admitted, we have more gun laws on the books today than we can enforce. May I ask what one more proposed law would do for an individual who thought nothing of committing 26 cold blooded acts of murder? Our Government promised health care to those in need starting in the 60s, that goal has yet to be achieved – in fact its WORSE today. We used to at least respect our Vets, that too is a joke today.
    The more promises the Government makes, the more they fail at, and the cycle of doom continues. Will we awaken in time or will we go the route of the USSR and many other great Big Brother governments throughout history?

  • Pete McNesbitt

    I really can’t help but think that all the furor over the Sandy Hook, shootings, wouldn’t so virulent if the school had been full of black kids. That said, I own some guns. but I have no use for the NRA and the hate mongers they embrace and whip up on a daily basis. Yes we should have some limits on guns, but how many more people are killed by drunk drivers and tobacco and even texting and not paying attention to the world around you.

  • Mitch Beales

    I’m sure you can provide a reference to back up your claim right Sam?

  • Aron

    Once again, Sam is wrong. The Army and Navy Act was passed to keep guns out of the hands of the poor black AND white people. It stated that citizens could only carry large Army or Navy revolvers, which most folks simply couldn’t afford.

    It has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with class. Except now there are plenty of poor folks with access to very inexpensive guns, so that argument is largely moot.

    But as usual, nice try.

  • Michael Parker

    Great article. Too bad Congress and the Justice Dept. has allowed these groups to thrive. If this was Black groups arming yelling 2nd amendment rights, government would have destroyed them by now.

  • Sam Molloy

    First class malarky. Not only were most “gun control” laws passed after the Civil War to keep guns out of the hands of newly freed Blacks, the NRA went to court to ensure the rights of project dwellers in New Jersey to keep a gun for defense in their home. The State had argued that it was not their home, it was owned by the Government. There are also Black people on the NRA’s Board of Directors.

  • Erika

    i guess this means that Jason/Ezra/Annie/Jessica/Eugene/Eric/etc. was not the junior Nazi arrested in Alabama after all. Or maybe he was able to get bail.

  • Mitch Beales

    Nineteen guns and more than a thousand rounds of ammunition weren’t much help to Fred Hampton and the Black Panther Party when the CPD came calling.

  • Gregory

    Maybe the Resurrection Committee took the holidays off. They certainly didn’t spend the time developing new material. I wonder if “Eric” is a real scientist as well.

  • Reynardine

    Well, well, Jason/Eugene/Annie/Eric, welcome back.

  • CM

    Eric in Ohio, you need to brush up on your reading comprehension skills. The article is not anonymous, the author’s name is stated right up front. In addition, you seem to have missed the part about how the events described took place in 1964, probably long before you were born. Anyone who was alive and aware at the time, as I was, knows that Mr. Carver (the “anonymous” author) is quite accurate in his description of the atmosphere that prevailed in the Deep South.

    But recognizing that would prevent you from trotting out the current racist enabling myth, that “Hundreds of white people are attacked by blacks everyday in America” and “The media just never publishes the stories.” A word of advice: If you read something on vdare or stormfront or wndaily, it’s probably not true.

  • Stephen D. Calhoun

    The problem here in New Jersey is the ill-advised words of Governor Christie. He likes to single out persons and target him for his personal wrath. He inspires others to negative action. He is floundering over his position on the issue of gun control to retain conservative support.

    I had a run-in with two of Humpty Dumpty’s good old boy supporters a few nights ago when I was walking. I heard a male voice say: “where’s my money?” I turned and observed two white males in a large black pickup truck. The pickup truck was very clean and shiny. The words of the passenger caused me serious alarm. I turned around again to see if they were gone. He repeated his question. I said in a loud and clear voice “up your rectum”. The instigator replied: “do you mean up my ass?”. I turned around and returned to walking towards home. Both passenger and driver continued their verbal assault on me. They drove away after about saying three more insults to me. I reported them to the police. Hopefully, they will disenfranchise themselves on election day by spending their time in a bar.

    I am for ballots rather than bullets. I am directing my energies to replace the proto-fascist schoolyard bully with Barbara Buono, the Democratic candidate for governor.

  • Douglas

    Someone needs to go to Hawaii and experience hate at its finest. Spent two years in that place. All is not what you see. One does not a gun to hate or kill.

  • aadila

    Thanks to the author for a brilliant article.

    A civil rights activist friend was in Mississippi in 1964 and talks about the vigilantees. He was white so he slipped “undercover” into Natchez from Jackson, which was deep in KKK country.

    Locals told him the civil rights people were planning to “invade” and that they didn’t like the Klan and their lynchings much but they would be there with a shotgun on their porch when the “outsiders” came.

  • David McIntyre

    With all due respect, the word “hunting” is not in the Second Amendment, and any argument that uses hunting (pro- or anti- gun rights) is not well founded. Secondly, the paper cited which equates gun ownership with the promotion with slavery has been largely disproven. The advent of gun control, especially in the South, was largely to prevent the African American population from owning guns; the rallying cry for gun control was long “No Guns For Negroes” (but they used a different N-word). The goal of disarming the population is not based on safety or civil rights. If that were the goal, we’d have to pay attention to the fact that every single study comparing gun ownership has shown that ALL crime statistics fall in proportion to increasing gun ownership by civilians.

  • Roger B.

    The problem is nothing is black and white. There are no simple answers. This country is absolutely drowning in guns. We are worse than any 3rd world war mongering country on earth when it comes to the insane amount of guns people own. When you listen to many gun rights fanatics they sound pretty similar to the KKK, Skin heads or any other number of groups that thrive on their perceived power by using intimidation. Their arguments are all based on a feeling of power derived from paranoia and has very little to do with reality. Much of their thinking is absolute, black and white, lacking rationality, very little common sense and arrogance IE; We are right you’re wrong and that’s just the way it is and if you refuse to agree with us then we will just shoot you because guns are the only true way to settle this.

  • glpjr

    I wonder, when the Founding Fathers placed the right to bear arms via the 2nd Amendment, in the Bill of rights of the Constitution, what they hoped to achieve, as pertains to our rights? I can’t believe they were hoping their posterity would always be able to hunt, since it never occurred to any of them then that they’d ever not be able to, 2nd Amendment or not.

    Reading the writings of the various Founders, they seemed to think that all government by its very nature is corrupt and tends towards tyranny and despotism over time. They also seemed to think that the people of the US needed to retain the ability to resist the government by force, should that effort become necessary, and that a people without adequate arms would be unable to offer a credible resistance. If the right to bear arms is ceded to the government, should that government become even more tyrannical than it presently is, would they accede to the people’s right to defend themselves by armed resistance? Somehow I don’t think so.

    I wonder if the Jews who Hitler was able to disarm would have been better off to fight to retain the arms they had, rather than just accede? Would more of them be alive today if they had resisted a tyrannical government? Should our government become such a government or worse, would it be to our advantage to have arms adequate to resist?

  • T.E. Barnes Jr.

    But let’s not forget the Deacons for Defense and Justice here in my hometown of Bogalusa, LA during those very turbulent years. This parish, Washington Parish, was labeled as the Klan capital of America at the time; Bogalusa was called “Bloody Bogalusa.” But guess what, those armed Deacons sure made those Klansmen think twice about entering black neighborhoods. And ultimately, because of the armed Deacons, Bogalusa integrated and assimilated, for the most part, with the rest of modern society instead of remaining stuck in the “good ‘ol days.”

  • Brian

    Maybe if 1 billion people all had guns they would all shoot each other and we can move on as a society. There never seems to be enough guns for those that argue in defense of them.

  • Eric in Ohio

    This story is a fairy tale. Note the author is anonymous. We’re supposed to believe that evil white racists are attacking innocent blacks all over the South. The truth is the exact opposite. Hundreds of white people are attacked by blacks everyday in America. They have been for many decades. The media just never publishes the stories. Then they write about some church burning that happened 50 years ago. At the same time Communists were murdering millions and millions worldwide, but of course this isn’t mentioned. What a load of crapola this story is! And then we’re supposed to believe there are “hate group”, and these evil white devils are all hateful racists. What crap!

  • CM

    Some of the commenters above seem to have overlooked the fact that Mr. Carver was a member of the Student *Nonviolent* Coordinating Committee. That group’s commitment to nonviolent resistance to injustice along Gandhian lines, a principle embraced by the Civil Rights Movement as a whole, obviously ruled out going around heavily armed.

    Mr. Carver’s words are a timely reminder that he and hundreds of others chose to walk into the lion’s den of violent bigotry armed with nothing more than their moral courage. Many of them died as a result, and everyone saw that it was their oppressors who were in the wrong.

    We should keep that in mind when we hear self-styled patriots claim that they’re entitled to take up arms against their own country over unsubstantiated allegations that their rights are somehow being infringed. There’s an ugly undertone of intimidation in that kind of talk, which is an important reason why it fails to persuade anyone that there’s any real injustice taking place.

  • William A. McLaughlin

    For those who disregard self- defense. Bigots are bullies. When you run there is not guarantee you survive. When you have the ability to defend yourself and the will there is only one guarantee. They will think twice before doing it again. As for the police. You don’t have to be there when they arrive. As for choice of weapons. one round of 00 bock is 12 .36 cal balls x 5 rounds is 60 balls at 3 targets. do the math. It is better to die standing up then running. Been there.

  • Aron

    Bill, two words for you:


  • Bill

    Running was the ONLY response. And it only works if the victim is a faster runner than the attacker. Colt revolvers were called “equalizers” for a reason.

    Would the town have formed a posse & lynched him? They might have. Or they might have decided it wasn’t worth getting shot by someone who didn’t really want to be lynched that day. Never underestimate the cowardice of large groups when facing someone who just won’t back down.

    Actually, there is a simple answer to self-defense: do it.

  • Will

    @William McLaughlin:

    That’s assuming, of course, that the local authorities would’ve recognized Mr. Carver’s right to appropriate self-defense. A black voting rights activist drawing a gun on a Klansman in Mississippi circa 1964 would only have escalated the situation and resulted in the sheriff issuing a police report blaming the terrifying black man for the entire incident. That’s exactly the kind of discriminatory response faced by the Black Panther Party for Self Defense when its members did patrols of neighborhoods openly carrying legally possessed and registered long arms.

    There are two basic reasons why you don’t see black and Latino civil rights activists rushing to defend an absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment that says there can be no controls on individuals owning weapons. The first is that they see the damage done by the huge oversupply of firearms in their communities, many of them purchased and registered legally at some point and then resold under the table. The second is that they recognize that, under a corrupt and racialized law enforcement system, the rights of all citizens to defend themselves are equal in theory, but the right of a white citizen to defend himself is more equal in practice.

  • Bill

    Pretty much the same: “gun control” usually involves keeping guns out of the hands of the poor and disenfranchised. Who knows how many blacks would have been lynched if they had free access to firearms with which to defend themselves? Just a wild guess, but after the first 2 or 3 Klansmen got shot, the rest would probably go elsewhere and drink heavily, or find someone not so inclined to defend themselves, their family and their home.

    Would you have rather had a stick of furniture to defend yourself with, or an AR15 with a 30 round magazine? Yes, they existed in the mid-60s. The fact that you considered means of defense negates any argument that your actions were truly non-violent, or proscribed the use of force in self-defense. You just found out, as many people do, that needing a gun and not having it can suck.

    I’d never consider joining the NRA, because of the bellicosity and intolerance of some of it’s more strident members, but I also wouldn’t dare impose what I thought was “reasonable” in weapon design or magazine capacity on the lawful owners and users of firearms. Neither you nor I get to tell people what they need or don’t need or can or cannot keep or do in their home unless and until it has been legislated. And legislation based on spectacularly horrific but statistically insignificant, in the mathematical sense of the word, is a major league Bad Idea.

  • Aron

    William, say he wounded — or killed — one of his assailants. The town would have simply formed a posse and lynched him.

    Just like there’s no simple — or even RIGHT — answer to gun control, there is no simple answer to self defense.

    In this case, running was the correct response.

  • Finn

    And I can’t help but feel that one man with one gun is not “appropriate self-defense” against 3 men with 3 guns. So he blasts one and then what? There’s no guarantee that they’re going risk an open shot at their backs by running instead of both blasting him with their own guns. Result: 2 dead instead of 0 dead.

  • William A. McLaughlin

    I can’t help but feel that having a 12 gauge pump shotgun loaded with 00 buck shot might have deterred your attackers. Bobby Sears on said (Paraphrased) ” Nothing Racist fear more then a Black man (sic) with a gun.” Peaceful non-violent protest is one thing but Appropriate self-defense can save your life. You were lucky.