“Chickens come home to roost.” said Malcolm X in 1963 when President Kennedy was killed. Chickens wander all over during the day, but they always come back to their pens at night. Malcolm implied that the bloodshed that America practices all around the world had returned to haunt her.
The same can be said about the plague of gun violence gripping the nation today. The gun has enabled America to become America by exterminating the Indians, bringing in the Africans, keeping them in chains for centuries and under police control for another 150 years. Overseas there has been an almost unbroken series of wars in which millions have been slain.
The widespread presence, and use, of guns has made all of this possible. However, there is an increasing spillover, that is, the use of guns on people that the authorities do not want them to be used upon. And so the establishment is moving to curb the prevalence of guns. Not surprisingl,y there is fierce resistance to such measures. Yes, ownership of guns is a right guaranteed in the Constitution. And, yes, the people have used guns to fight against what they saw as tyranny, for example, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the Black rebellions in the 1960s.
Malcolm X, himself, was destroyed by the growing violence he identified, as was Martin Luther King and the president’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy, and George Wallace. Congress, after these political shootings, instituted restrictions on the types of weapons citizens could own. Eventually, however, the National Rifle Association came on the scene as a powerful lobbying force and had these measures rolled back.
Today, though, sentiment is rising to try and curb gun violence. The NRA and others, though, claim that these are the first small steps to disarm the citizens and put the country under the grip of a fascist dictatorship. Some point as evidence to recent laws expanding the powers of government to detain, interrogate and even kill American citizens without due process. Another, unspoken factor, is doubtless the fear that some have of people of color, and the fact that they are slowly but surely becoming the majority in the country. Some are afraid of both, the power of the government and the growing numbers of people of color. This is compounded when they look at who heads the government is, a Black man, Barack Obama, and they hear his insistent calls to limit the right to bear arms.
How will it all end? It will not end for quite some time. As gun restriction legislation slowly winds through Congress, it will get bogged down again and again. However, each new massacre will jump start the process. Eventually some may actually take up arms to oppose these government measures, occasioning fierce crackdowns by the authorities. Thus, a classic example of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Meanwhile, the entertainment industry is given a pass as they turn out increasingly violent, disturbing images, void of any real artistic content, that only give encouragement to deranged people with access to horrific weapons. Hollywood hides behind the First Amendment, while actually enflaming the struggle over the Second Amendment. “Chickens come home to roost.” said Malcolm X long ago. “Chickens come home to shoot!” is still the order of the day.