In the midst of what seems to be a never-ending wave of unarmed Black citizens being killed by police, Black leaders are now pushing for the community to take action by arming themselves with guns and video cameras.
The Black community’s attitude towards gun control has seen a major shift in recent years as the cruelty of police brutality has garnered national attention.
While many still remain unsure about whether or not it is best to bring more guns into their communities, local leaders in Arkansas are very clear about their stance on the matter.
“We’re asking that Black people around the country arm themselves and join in established gun clubs,” Hubert Bass, CEO of the Crittenden County Justice Commission, told Memphis station WREG.
Shabaka Afrika, the president of the Crittenden County NAACP, mirrored those sentiments.
Both of these local leaders insisted it isn’t a call for more violence but rather a precautionary action to make sure the Black community has its own line of defense when the police fail to serve and protect them.
These two certainly aren’t the first to make this push in the very community that once strongly advocated for more gun control.
Just a few weeks ago, Samuel Mosteller, longtime president of the Georgia chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, also urged the Black community to “exercise their Second Amendment rights.”
Mosteller expressed a clear frustration with the fact that so many Black citizens were being fatally attacked by police regardless of their actions leading up to the tragic encounter.
“ You stand there, [police] shoot,” Mosteller told reporters back in March. “You run, they shoot. We’re going to have to take a different track.”
Data released by the Pew Research Center found that many members of the Black community are also having a change of heart about concealed carry laws.
Researchers found that more than 50 percent of Black people were now in favor of using firearms to “protect people from being victims of crimes.”
The call for Black people to carry their own firearms and use them responsibly has been growing rapidly along with the call for citizens to remain armed with video cameras and cell phones.
It is very likely that without the cell phone footage of Walter Scott’s death, the former North Charleston officer who shot him multiple times may have never been charged in his death.
The video served as proof that the officer’s version of events wasn’t true and even captured former officer Michael Slager dropping a dark object, believed to be his own taser, near Scott’s body.
This part of the video is crucial as Slager insisted Scott posed a threat to others because he wrestled Slager’s taser away from him.
“The first thing that went through my mind was, ‘I’m not surprised, but I’m glad they have it on tape,’” Bass added.
As he continues his mission to get the Black community to arm itself, he also plans on hosting training sessions to show people the right way to go about recording their every interaction with police.