A CCTV security system. Photo: Joshua Lott/Reuters
Posted on behalf of Theodore Grabiak.
A couple days ago I was scrolling down my Instagram feed when a thumbnail of a custom built AR-15 rifle caught my eye. I tapped on the video to find a tightly edited montage of the weapon set to ACDC’s “Back in Black”, complete with macro shots of the aftermarket modifications, and topped off with snippet of a waving American flag. Curious to see the visionary behind this detailed production, I tapped on the user’s profile expecting to see a retired serviceman or police officer. Much to my surprise, the user who had posted the montage was a teenage girl currently attending an expensive private school near my hometown. In my confusion I quickly backtracked and rewatched the video, this time with the understanding that it was posted by a 16 year old caucasian girl. Reading the caption, I found a passionate, and extensive defense of the Second Amendment.
Among the girl’s cited reasons for her support of firearm ownership was her claim that she needed the weapon to defend her household from potential burglars, rapists, and murderers. That’s when the thought hit me. This girl was speaking from a place of extreme privilege. She was from white suburbia, from a city with a crime rate 46% below the national average–an incredibly low rate considering that California’s average violent crime rate is 20.3% higher than the national median. Realistically speaking, it is unlikely that she’d ever have to use a gun for self defense. This, however, is not the reality for those living in high crime, and low income/minority communities.
With the average installation cost of a home security system ranging from $600 to $1200, and monthly dues of $30 or more per month, many minority communities find this amenity sorely out of their budget. Firearms provide a much cheaper and arguably far more effective alternative to these expensive systems, especially in areas with slower emergency response times. Legislation designed to restrict legal access to firearms is, almost without exception, written from a place of privilege by those who have not been afflicted with the palpable fear of having their homes ransacked or families hurt; it is absolutely vital to remember how privileged the most vocal defenders of the Second Amendment are, but it is even more important to understand that the real losers in its potential dissolution are the thousands of minority communities across the United States. Social justice advocates who support gun control must recognize their clashing objectives, and consider whom they are hurting the most before calling for further restrictions on the Second Amendment, or otherwise fall victim to the same hypocrisies that they have worked so hard to end. Berkeley students protest against gun rights following a school shooting. Photo: Reuters