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Black Man with a Gun: A Responsible Gun Manual for African Americans Paperback – July 5, 2000
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The hook of course, is the title, or rather the image conjured up in your mind by it. You almost would think you're about to read why we should increase gun control for all the armed black men (read: criminals) out there. But one quickly realizes that the term is a stereotype, and that Mr. Blanchard's mission is to make the term "black man with a gun" bring to mind instead the law abiding citizen who happens to be black, and is armed not to victimize, but to protect himself and others from being victimized.
I'm not sure the hardcore anti-gun nut will be convinced by this or any book, but I was something of a fence-sitter, with no real interest in guns (indeed feared them) until I read it, and it knocked me firmly onto the side of personal gun ownership. I am a white female. Though his book primarily addresses blacks - because many blacks carry the legacy from history that they should not arm themselves, and because an armed citizenry is so critical to freedom - everything Blanchard says is applicable to people of all races. It is more important, not less, for the weak and the underdogs of society to be armed. It is more important, not less, for those in communities of high crime, to be able to defend themselves and their homes, yet it is the righteous in these very communities who are likely to reject firearm ownership. This leaves them at the mercy of the criminal. Blanchard makes it crystal clear that he is addressing the law-abiding, not criminals, how important it is to be armed against the threat from those among us who would do us harm. It is a message the black community needs to hear, and a message anyone who through goodness shuns violence needs to hear, to counter those who prey on their very goodness.
This book made me confront the fact that as a woman, I am defacto weaker than any presumed assailant, and that only a firearm will give me the chance I need to defend myself. If Blanchard convincingly argues that gun ownership is necessary for minorities to hedge against oppression, it was a no-brainer for me to conclude that the entire female gender is at a physical disadvantage and must carry weapons to remain safe.
Mr. Blanchard happens to be a Christian preacher, and his motives are clear: The protection of the innocent. He acknowledges the unfortunate need to use violence toward that end, and provides in this book an excellent starting point for those new to firearms, as well as a thoughtful new perspective for those already familiar with guns. He'll not only give you the emotional, historical and philosophical rationale for gun ownership, he also gives you solid basic information on how to get started if you've never owned a gun before. For me, this was the starting point that led to my purchasing several firearms, acquiring training, and even entering shooting competitions. Now, guns are not only my protection, they are a fun hobby. I wish more good people of all races would exercise their Second Amendment right more fully in this way. I once feared guns. Now, knowing that good people all around me legally own and carry, I realize that it was never really the guns I feared, but rather the bad guys. I highly recommend this book for anyone.
Blanchard explains clearly his early trepidation, then later acceptance of the National Rifle Association, which he describes as the "Mecca for firearms' information," but is an association that suffers with ,"a bad image," because they are an 'old fashioned, non-negotiable group.
In addition, he cites the legislative underpinnings for the right of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves, and to bear arms. This right is not only guaranteed in the United States Constitution, but is also contained in the constitutions of forty-three states.
Blanchard takes on the anti-gun proponents' attempts to disarm responsible citizens. He points to the fact that a 1982 Institute of Justice report found that the 20,000 gun laws instituted across the United States, have not reduced criminal violence. He confirms what we all should know-restrictive gun laws will not stop criminals from garnering illegal guns, but they will restrict law-abiding citizens from their right to protect themselves by owning arms. The conundrum in all this, as Blanchard points out, is that the police are not responsible for safeguarding our lives, property or family! The police have a general duty to enforce the law, but we, ourselves are responsible for safeguarding our own lives, property and family. Blanchard gives some chilling examples of cases and court rulings that make it clear as to the limits of police responsibility.
The author does not limit this comprehensive book to the politics surrounding guns in our culture. The book also contains excellent technical information on guns, gun safety and the language of gun culture. From his opening salvo, "A Letter To My Sisters," to his "gun speak" glossary, Ken Blanchard has written a powerful "David" of a book, that goes to the heart of "Goliath."