by Sean Gangol
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
For those who haven’t heard of it, Adam Ruins Everything is a show on truTV hosted by Adam Conover that challenges some of our most cherished myths in the United States — or so he claims. I have yet to see one of his shows all the way through, partially because it is heavily slanted to the left and partially because I find Conover to be extremely annoying and cringy. On top of that the show is downright misleading.
He did have an episode on Gun Control, which wasn’t the usual anti-gun propaganda that we have come to expect from the left. They had two representatives of the debate, one for the NRA side and the other for the anti-gun side. They said that there was one side that was under represented in this whole debate. If you guessed people of color, you would be right. At first, I was somewhat hopeful that they would not only acknowledge the racist history of America’s gun laws, but would finally admit that these very laws are nothing more than vehicles of oppression. Apparently, I had my hopes up just a little too high.
They did make a brief mention about how the first gun laws in America were aimed at controlling black people, but I didn’t much care for the example that they used. They made reference to the law that was passed against the open carry of firearms in California, which was aimed at the Black Panthers. It’s not to say that this isn’t true, however the Black Panthers weren’t exactly what you would call the Boy Scouts. They may have started off with the best intentions, but many engaged in tactics that were similar to that of The Weather Underground. Not to mention that they were heavily involved in the drug trade and numerous activities that you would at best call shady. I can name much better examples of racism when it comes to America’s gun laws, such as the banning of affordable handguns or Saturday Night Specials as many like to call them. Even the word “Saturday Night Special” is racist in origin. Of course, I don’t think they would be able to take pot shots at Ronald Reagan if they used any other example, since he signed the open carry ban into law while he served as governor in California.
Later a black woman was introduced in this episode to represent the black side of the gun control debate. We are then told that gun laws are enforced against black people in the inner cities more than white people living in the suburbs. While that may be true, the reason behind this may have to do with there being much more crime in the inner cities rather than the police deciding to cut white people some extra slack. I also find it telling that in this same episode the woman representing the black side of the argument complained about how local gun laws in the inner cities are being used against black people, yet she doesn’t acknowledge that these same laws are passed by Democratic leaders, the very people that the black communities continue to vote into office. I guess it’s easier to pick on dead Republicans like Reagan than any Democrat who is currently in office.
One point that I sort of agreed with, though for different reasons was the Stop and Frisk Policy that had been in place in New York during the reigns of mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. The problem was the dishonest way that they made this into a racial issue, by falsely claiming that the policy was designed to do nothing more than harass black people. If one were to look at the actual statistics, you would see that the black people were actually under represented in the whole Stop and Frisk Policy. It’s not to say that there weren’t any actual problems with the policy. I know conservatives love to boast about how this policy helped reduce crime in New York City, but my problem with the idea of random searches is that they become dangerously close to encroaching on Fourth Amendment territory. Supposedly the Stop and Frisk policy had to follow some form of probable cause when it was first implemented, but during The Bloomberg administration these stops and frisks become much too common, while arrests were decreasing. This led many to believe that the police were simply bypassing the Probable Cause component to the policy.
The most misleading aspect of this episode was the claim of black people not having the same Second Amendment rights as white people. First, they used Marissa Alexander as an example of how Stand Your Ground Laws don’t apply to black people. They said that she was sentenced to twenty-years in prison for firing a warning shot to defend herself from an abusive husband. Apparently, Adam thinks we are too stupid to do an internet search on Marissa Alexander because he leaves out the part about how Alexander went to her estranged husband’s house, got into an argument with him and came back with a gun. She then preceded to shoot through his windows. It’s not to say that her husband wasn’t an abusive man, but I can see why the Stand Your Ground defense didn’t fly in this case. Also, she appealed her sentence and it was reduced to house arrest.
The next person they mentioned was Philando Castile, a black man who had been killed by a police officer during a routine traffic stop after Castile made it known that he was carrying a firearm. Basically, the NRA was criticized in this segment because they allegedly refused to condemn the officer who shot a black man who was legally carrying a firearm. What they don’t seem to realize is that the NRA usually gives law enforcement the benefit of the doubt. One of the few times when the NRA did call out law enforcement was when they referred to the BATF as Jackbooted Stormtroopers after the Ruby Ridge and Waco fiascoes. Considering the amount of backlash that they received for it, I can certainly understand why the NRA isn’t all that anxious to weigh-in on shootings involving law enforcement. The show’s creators also want us to believe that these tragic shootings only happen to black people, but the actual data shows this to be complete bunk. There have even been incidents where white males were shot in the same type of traffic stops when they reached for their wallets. I believe the problem lies more in the way that cops are trained to react in any given situation, than actual racism.
The biggest problem with this episode of Adam Ruins Everything is that it attempts to hijack an issue that actually affects everybody, in the same way that Black Lives Matter did with police brutality. They want to make it all about race, when it clearly isn’t. Another problem is that the producers of the show insult the intelligence of their audience by putting out false information, as if their audience is either too stupid or lazy to fact-check it on the internet. All I can say is that in this particular episode the only thing that was ruined was the credibility of those who produced it.
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