Today, I introduce you to a guy who put guns in criminals' hands. I'll call him "Jerome," because now that he's served 41/2 years in federal prison, he's walking a straight line. I've reviewed his court file and talked with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives about his two-year, 160-gun trafficking spree.
It began in 1996 after Jerome lost his job and a friend said he could make fast cash selling his 9mm Lorcin.
"I drove to North Philadelphia and waited in the car," Jerome told me at a diner in Olney. "My buddy came out and gave me $300 in ones, fives, and tens."
Like any savvy entrepreneur, he reinvested his earnings. "That same day, I bought two more guns for $110 each. I called the same guy and sold them for $600."
Under Pennsylvania law, with a clean record, Jerome could buy as many guns as he could afford. The only snag? It was illegal.
"Almost from the beginning," he said, "they knew what I was up to
From this passage it is clear that despite the attempts to regulate "responsible" people there simply is no escaping one fact: The Street Pirates as "equal and intelligent human beings" who express the will to own a gun are going to obtain it by "any means necessary".
As I make note of the attempt to keep the gun out of the Street Pirate's hands by regulating the system around him I am forced to recall the words of South African Cardinal Wilferd Napier on the subject of government condom distribution. In yielding to the notion that a person cannot be responsible for his own behavior and thus needs an 'invisible hand' in the middle of his transactions that involve the CHOICE to engage in such behavior the state tacitly admits to the inferiority of that person. In the world of gun control it appears to me that the functional demand is "Please government keep these guns out of the hands of my young Black son so he doesn't kill someone else with it". This is not an empowering message made about an "equal human being".
After we scale away all claims of conspiracy theories about who is putting drugs in our communities; who is motivated by profit to keep the gun laws loose & free; who has underfunded the schools and thus rendered these Black males uneducated with the drug trade as a pathway for prison or death - one bottom line fact remains: The young Black male is to be ACTED UPON by the responsible figures in society and government lest he perform destructive behavior.
The key problem that I have with this disposition is that it is based upon the illicit and hateful thoughts and actions toward this 'victim' while never promoting his full humanity and thus DECISION MAKING capacity. There is no statement which say "Black man we need for you to lead your community where as now you are the primary terrorizing agent within". Instead the tone is to make note of the external agents who have derailed him in the past with oppression, is derailing him in the present with denied opportunities; and is aligning the stars so that his future and that of the Black family which he is apart of will not be much different as his Black children face a life sans the influence of a positive Black male role model who sits besides his Black queen.
Ironically only intense regulation upon the gun distributors (those with actual brick and mortar rather than carrying their stash around in their trunks) and gun manufacturers enjoys popular support among the people who are most victimized by this situation. If the police brigade focuses their efforts upon those who carry such illegal weapons as they deploy "aggressive policing" in a given community - it will be the police who come under attack for "locking too many Black males up".
Thus we are trapped in suspended animation as two magnetic forces of repulsion push against the situation in equal measure - causing the young Black male to levitate within the field of energy set upon him. Those who now have control over all of the key institutions that define the eco-system from which the gun toting Black male comes from are unwilling to 'circle the wagons' and take responsibility for all that occurs with their domain thus pressing upon this male and molding him into a form that is of benefit to the community. The opposing force is that of 'hard knocks' of having to eat everyday and thus needing monetary resources to do so. All of this while having no other skills accomplish this end. Thus no reform of this person will come organically from within his own person. His agreement to unilaterally disarm while continuing in the game is a death sentence. The threats from his peer group form the opposing force against him.
The Brick and Mortar Gun Dealer
The more Jerome bought, the more he wondered about sellers who accepted his small bills, knowing that he bought weapons favored by criminals, not collectors.
"There was no way I could be buying five, six, seven guns a week and not be reselling."
Mike & Kates owner Mike Panamarenko defended himself when I called. Selling guns, after all, is a legal business. "We're not law enforcement. We can't profile. To deny someone a purchase based on what-ifs or what might be could put you in a courtroom real fast."
After owning his gun shop for 40 years, Fred Delia still struggles to read customers' faces.
The above example proves to be another case of how the bifurcated interests and intentions of a broad population of people can have negative impact upon those who abuse their freedoms. Those who are gun collectors or who appreciate the features of the various guns as might a person with a prized automobile are inclined to have their access to these pieces regulated because of the actions of those with more malicious intent. The irony in the above passage is that some would ask the gun dealer to do "profiling" of the potential customer who stands before him.