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GUNS, NRA & PRISONS: DESTROYING BLACK COMMUNITIES FOR PROFIT

I lay in bed at 12am next to my beautiful queen and I let my mind wonder.  After reading about the death of Darren Seals, a prominent Black Lives Matters activist, and the upsurge of gun violence in Chicago, I began to wonder.  I wondered why gun violence is still a thing?!?! Then I thought, perhaps there was someone profiting from the perpetual gun violence in America.  If money wasn’t in the equation it would cease to exist, right? At the very least, our government would do more to prevent it.  But the fact remains that there are organizations and corporations that are profiting off of this violence. Let me preface this by saying I am in no way advocating for the removal of our second amendment.  On the contrary, I am advocating for the reduction of purchases of guns.  Why is that? Because the Gun Industry and the Private Prison Corporations have concocted a brilliant plan that profits from more violence, death and destruction of generations through imprisonment. The NRA with its political lobbyists and the Private Prison system with its financial and political powers are playing us like a game of war. One where we are the fallen toy soldiers to be moved around and manipulated for profit.  But unlike toys their real-life games result in bloodshed, pain and suffering.  These two industries directly promote the destruction of the black community. The NRA helps promote the open sale of weapons, weapons that end up in our communities.  Weapons that are used in crime.  Weapons that are used as evidence against our black bodies.  Weapons that far too often land us in jail.  And weapons that give prison sentences that directly impact the profits of the Private Prison system.

Government is far from free of guilt. They have contracted with Private Prison companies like the CCA to house a large majority of black males.  Moreover, the NRA’s and Private Prison’s lobbyists persuaded and influenced the government to enact longer and harsher penalties for all types of crime, both petty and felony level offenses. The NRA promotes the notion that safety is achieved by more prisons and more guns. However, even though many sociologist believe that less guns equals less violence, the NRA has continually and successfully prevented our government and the Center for Disease and Control from researching gun violence. The NRA and the Private Prison system is able to persuade our government from helping our people by utilizing big money lobbyists. What are they afraid of? Are they afraid of the facts?  Perhaps losing profits? Or maybe they’re really scared of saving black lives?   We may never see less guns on our streets because less violence means less prisoners to profit from.  Moreover, the NRA has succeeded in making both the public and government believe that more prisons is the solution.  Check out the Crime Strike initiative in which the NRA successfully pitched congress during the 1990s.  

This was the ad the NRA ran in the 90s promoting Crime Strike.  Notice the Dog Whistle Politics and rhetoric.  This whole documented is laced with racial undertones. “Big City Criminals”=Black folks. “Help Victims”=help white America.  There’s so much propaganda here.

This initiative still has a profound effect on us today.  While the government wanted to use more community centers to help rehabilitate our offenders, the NRA successfully lobbied for the 3 strikes rule and the push for more prisons.  The backdrop of all of this is that if there weren’t so many guns in the first place we would NOT need so many prisons.  Prisons and public safety regulations that cost tax payers roughly $200 Billion a year.  The thing is, this money increasingly goes to the top of Private Prisons where it never trickles back down to the communities of people that pay for it.  This is where I think it gets crazy.  The government has contracted with Private Prisons to subsidize the need for more space for prisoners.  And that government responsibility, housing criminals, is now controlled by for-profit private businesses and massive corporations.  These Private Prison corporations work with the NRA to promote the sale of more guns, potentially increasing the chances of violence, thus creating more criminals to arrests and finally increasing the need for more private prisons so that private prisons can make more money off of all this misery. This is a perpetual loop that is self-serving to a few rich white folks and in no means is good for us black folks in America.  Especially damaging to black males and thus damaging to black families and communities when you consider that 59% of inmates are black and Hispanics but only make up 29% of the US population (2010).  

By refusing to buy guns, we can begin to take away the financial resources of the gun industry/NRA and the Private Prison system.  Take note of how important the money is, “The NRA dropped $130,000 in support of the Crime Strike and worked with the state's biggest prison guard lobby to collect signatures. The measure set off an avalanche. Within just a few years, 23 states had enacted variations of the three-strike statutes” which resulted in the largest prison boom in history. A boom that has become a $200 billion industry across the entire nation. Moreover, by boycotting the purchase of guns we may further reduce the amount of crime that lends itself to mass incarceration and the 3 strikes rule that is responsible for the lifetime housing of black senior citizens.  Senior citizens who are extremely less likely to recommit a crime and who are overly costly at, $68,000 a year.

But criminals are using illegal guns to commit their crimes, right?  Yes and no.  Even if illegal, the gun was produced in the first place because someone wanted to buy it.  However, if no one wanted to buy it, that gun would have stayed in the dark somewhere and the manufacturers of arms wouldn’t produce more to be sold until the previous patch has been purchased.  The bottom line here, as with much of what SUSU Movement is about, is that the power of our black dollars is not just significant purchasing power.  It is also significant voting power.  If we continue to support industries that gloom and doom our lives through political influence we are only feeding our enemies.  What about protection?  Well some studies show that the mere fact that one has a gun only escalates violence (See below for a comparative look at gun ownership and gun homicide for both Canada, The United Kingdom and The United States of America). If you don’t believe in the stats then just look at the recent open carry case in which Sterling Aldo was shot and killed by an officer.  Guns increase the violence in my opinion not decrease it. Moreover, with the countless other ways to financially support a consumer industry, couldn’t one use that money for a purchase that promotes entrepreneurialism and creations? Wouldn’t those dollars towards small businesses be more impactful than a handgun?  What are your thoughts?

See Below for more quotes from the NRA during the 1990s "war of drugs" period:

“Starting in 1992, as part of a now-defunct program called CrimeStrike, the NRA spent millions of dollars pushing a slate of supposedly anti-crime measures across the country that kept America’s prisons full—and built new ones to meet the demand. CrimeStrike’s legacy is everywhere these days”
“LaPierre launched CrimeStrike that spring with $2 million in seed money from the parent organization and a simple platform: mandatory minimums, harsher parole standards, adult sentences for juveniles, and, critically, more prisons. “Our prisons are overcrowded. Our bail laws are atrocious. We’ll be the bad guy,” he announced.”

See below for a comparative look at gun ownership and gun homicide for both Canada, The United Kingdom and The United States of America:

Number of privately owned firearms by country:

www.gunpolicy.org/

Rate of Gun Homicide per 100,000 People:

www.gunpolicy.org/

By: Peyton Craig

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