Monday, August 29, 2011

The subtle racism of... well, really it's not too subtle.

In a slow-on-the-draw (get it?) editorial from the Orlando Sentinel, all the usual cliches get trotted out to bemoan Florida's "firearms-preemption-with-teeth" law, deriding all those buckaroos and buckarettes who are jest itchin' to turn the parking lot of the local Publix into the O-K Corral. (Were this editorial cliché anthropomorphized, it would be on wife #2 and shopping for a Corvette, yet journalists can no more help repeating it than one of those talking dolls when you jerk its string.)

I'm going to pass up on the chance to mock them for being only 150 news cycles behind the internets, which might explain why it's a safer bet to book Steve Jobs for a speaking engagement in 2013 than it is to buy stock in a newspaper company, and focus on this part instead:
Like many of Florida's local governments, we actually don't like the state-knows-best, locals-haven't-a-clue bias in the '87 law. It's intended to keep urban areas like South and Central Florida suffering gun violence from enacting tougher firearms rules than some rural communities.
Oh, I see how it is. You can trust folks in rural communities to behave themselves with guns, but you need to crack down on... you know... Those People in the cities with some harsh gun laws to keep them from getting up to mischief.

Hasn't that always been what gun control's about? From the Sullivan Act in New York City, meant to keep the swarthy wops from killing each other in wine-sotted papist rages, to Southern states passing laws to keep them uppity darkies disarmed and down on the plantation, that's what gun control is, all the way down to the bone: It's not about guns at all, it's about control.


Tango Juliet said...

It's not about guns at all; it's about control.


Joseph said...

More like it is about making criminals out of people you disagree with.

Weer'd Beard said...

Oddly enough while Massachusetts is a fairly diverse state (than say the Northern New England stats I hail from where it's 98% White, 1% native American, 1% everything else)

But oddly enugh the "Progressive" Massachusetts seems to sort their towns by race. My town is like 98% white, yet two towns over are 90+% Hispanic, and there are the towns that are mostly black etc.

Oddly enough the Mostly-white towns tend not to fuck with the residents much when it comes to gun permits, while the mostly-other towns will only give you a carry permit if you bribe the right person.

Funny how that works.

Anonymous said...

Even the terminology is racist.*
"Saturday Night Special" refers to cheap, small-caliber handguns which were carried to "Niggertown Saturday Night" parties and used to shoot whoever cheated at dice.
(Apologies: I really hate that word, but there is no other way to get the true meaning across.)

*Racist in that it actually denigrates people of a particular ethnic identity. Not racist in that "You don't support liberal policies, so you must be racist."

SiGraybeard said...

Speaking as a Florida guy, this is one of the best things our state legislature has done. The original (1987) law granted state pre-emption of local laws - it's just that they didn't assign penalties. I assume they figured that the counties and other localities would just comply with the state. The local politicians instead decided that they would just regulate anyway, and make the hapless, innocent gun owners pay out of pocket to sue the government - where the taxpayers pay for both sides.

The new law makes the local politicians personally responsible. The city/county government guy has to pay out of his own pocket for this, and if they keep trying to block the gun rights of Floridians, the guy can be kicked out of office and not allowed to run again. That's why they're rushing to comply.

Stuart the Viking said...

Yep, that's the good ol' Orlando Sentinel for you. Day late, dollar short.

HOWEVER, it IS nice to see a newspaper FINALLY get it (mostly) correct as to what this law actually does. You wouldn't believe the CRAP that some of the newspapers were saying that this law did.


Bob said...

Um Tam, the article you linked to was the SUN-Sentinel, not the Orlando Sentinel. South Fla vs Central Fla...... I didn't see a by-line ref to the O-S.

Anonymous said...

Like many of Florida's local governments, we actually don't like the state-knows-best, locals-haven't-a-clue bias in the '87 law...

HMPH! I'm guessing that these folks haven't got a single problem with such other "state-knows-best" laws like like the assault weapons ban, the '68 GCA, etc., etc.

As for the racist angle, it's only racism when "some" people talk about "those" people (IYKWIMAITYD).

Stuart the Viking said...


Look at the end of the article. I was going to point out the same thing, but it says "Copyright © 2011, Orlando Sentinel" right there at the bottom.


Ed Foster said...

Actually, keeping the Papist Wops and presumably the Darkies and Wobblies from snapping caps on each other was secondary, at least originally, to making sure that only Tim Sullivan's Irish Catholic Tammany Hall Democrat poll watchers were armed.

That way, when they beat hell out of the Republican poll watchers, said fascists couldn't fight back without getting shot dead in "self defense". Not hypothetical, it happened.

Full disclosure. I was born in the Brooklyn Navy Yard on Sand Street, and my mother's folks are right off the boat from Galway Ireland. The old man's folks hail from Perth by way of Tipperary.

So MacNamara, Dooley, and O'Higgins, mail your bombs to somebody else, I'm only talking tribal knowledge and family experience here.

My mother was on the Middletown Democratic committee for years, and I grew up with Dem politicians stopping by for picnics. I actually remember Congresswoman Barbra Kennelly when she was back in college, looking kind of hot in short-shorts (A very long time ago).

One night Ma came home laughing fit to beat the band, and I asked her what was so funny. She told to wait while she wrote it down verbatim while it was still fresh in her mind.

A quick bit of background. The Democratic Party in Connecticut is run by a dozen or so Irish families who live downstate around East Haddam. They even appointed their favorite bartender Governor a few cycles back. Nice guy too. He would buy me a double Jameson, straight up, every Friday night in the local pub.

The "Boss Tweed" of Connecticut Democrats was the very Irish John Bailey. Bailey was in very Sicilian Middletown one night, and found himself with a belly full of Jameson's (a common occurance)and surrounded by several Irish folks and no Italians at all.

He commented to his fellow Micks on how to run the Democratic Partry in Connecticut, and that's what Ma found so funny.

"You give the Jew lawyers their fair share, you buy off the Ginny contractors with road work and office jobs for their nieces, you throw a bone to whatever witchdoctor is running the ghetto this week, but you never let control out of the hands of the Irish".

Ruthless, cynical bastards, who still think and act like it's the 1850's.

One of the happier things I've noticed recently is the really large number of Irish-American politicians showing up in the Republican Party. Not to mention John Wayne (born Francis Morrison), Ronald Reagan, George Murphy, and Congres Critters Ryan, McClintock, Moran, Rooney, Sullivan, Thompson, Conaway, and Brady.

I think there is a possibility my parent's ethnic group is finally growing up. I always found it odd that a bunch of people so wildly overrepresented in both the military and police could vote like a bunch of wobblies.

I suppose the same thing could be said about the Jews, who vote 80% to 90% Democrat, very much against their own economic interest.

Basic sociology I guess. The stronger the social bonds in the old country, the more generations it takes to acclimate to the new one.

Around here, the Irish and Germans and Italians who moved to the small towns and countryside went native in a generation, intermarried and disappeared into the American soup in two or three.

The ones who stuck in "the old neighborhood" are still dancing between two continents, more European than native.

DaveFla said...

"...meant to keep the swarthy wops from killing each other in wine-sotted papist rages..."

It's not funny, dammit. Now I feel guilty for laughing. Thanks for that laugh, nonetheless.

Anonymous said...

"The new law makes the local politicians personally responsible."

Perhaps this concept ought to be applied to our congress & state legislatures, too? I can imagine California's Assembly & Senate scrambling to fill the $Billion hole in the budget really fast!

Ulises from CA

Tam said...


"Perhaps this concept ought to be applied to our congress & state legislatures, too?"

From your lips to God's ears...

NotClauswitz said...

The rampant rictus of racism rears its roiling rattle-trap!

Diogenes said...

"It's not about guns at all, it's about control. "

And that is all it is, nuff said.

Ferret said...

It looks like it's an editorial from the Orlando Sentinel, reprinted (cross-posted?) by the Sun Sentinel. Same company, same party line. Both are referred to by the name "Slantinel", for obvious reasons.

Honestly, I'm surprised that with the tired anti-gun hot buttons they pressed in this editorial, they didn't trot out "the children" this time.

Noah D said...

swarthy wops...killing each other in wine-sotted papist rages

Or, as we call it here in the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, Saturday night! ;)

WV: thermn - an underappreciated instrument, for very good reason.

Miguel said...

Sorry Tam, I had to leave a comment in the Sun Sentinel and used your racism POV. I owe you!

Leaddog said...

Illinos used to be a very open and firearm friendly state until in about 1964 or so a few of "them people" living on the south side of Mordor had the temerity to actually appear armed in public in an obvious case of uppitiness that could not be tolerated and very soon it all changed.

Mike Gallo said...

It's "WOPs;" it's is an acronym for "without papers." We dagos (or "D'Agos) were the original undocumented workers!

Funny thing, I finally got the whole "dago" thing when I was visiting some family graves in southern IN (Clinton, if you know the area). Maybe it was seeing like ten different names that started with "D'Ago" and it hit me that the slur was analagous to calling the Irish "Mc's" (or "micks," whatever).

Ironically, the word verification is "grapiney," which is what dago red wine tastes like.

Justthisguy said...

Oh, Ed, I am beminded of my favorite St. Paddy's Day t-shirt. It is of course green, and bears the legend:

"America, where the forces of order are Irish.

Be afraid. Be very afraid."