Why is the NRA Silent on Breonna Taylor’s Murder?

Cameron C.
Dialogue & Discourse

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The silence from ‘America’s longest standing civil rights organization’ is deafening.

July 25, 2020 | Photo: Ira L. Black — Corbis | Getty Images

Last week, former Louisville, Kentucky officer Brett Hankison was charged with three counts of wanton endangerment in a raid on Breonna Taylor’s apartment which ended with her being fatally shot. The botched knock-and-announce raid happened because officers mistakenly thought drugs were being sold out of the apartment by Taylor’s ex-boyfriend despite her recently severing ties with him according to the families lawyer. Through all the botched procedures which the law enforcement officers ignored such as telling the ambulance to leave before the raid and witness testimonies claiming the officers did not announce themselves, the one thing that sticks out is the NRA’s silence on the tragedy.

Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, called 911 minutes after the shooting claiming “I don’t know what’s happening. Someone kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.” Kentucky is a castle doctrine state with a ‘stand your ground’ law. This seems like the perfect example exactly what the NRA and every strong advocate for 2A stands for — gun ownership in the name of self defense.

Without properly identifying themselves and wearing plain clothes with no body cameras, there’s no way Mr. Walker knew who was breaking into his apartment. Why is the NRA so silent on this? It’s the same reason why the NRA was silent on Philando Castile, a compliant African-American man who was murdered by police during a routine traffic stop after properly announcing he was carrying a firearm while licensed. Or in the event in which the NRA broke their silence on Botham Jean, a man who was murdered in his own home by a police officer, only to victim blame him. NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch claimed he would still be alive “if he was a law abiding gun owner.”

The NRA’s silence is because these events are not about home invasions nor safety and protection. It’s because these events are about race. This is the exact reason why the NRA fear mongers, claiming Black Lives Matter is blatantly racist and violent which will lead to the massacre of whites and why they’ve routinely denounced peacefully protesting against police violence. It was never about protection and safety or overthrowing a tyrannical government. This isn’t a new thing.

However, the NRA didn’t always have a firm support of law enforcement. In 1995, NRA head Wayne LaPierre wrote in a fundraising letter that a recently signed assault weapon ban would give “jack-booted government thugs more power to take away our constitutional rights, break in our doors, destroy our property, and even injure or kill us.” The NRA would later make misleading claims that the New Orleans mayor declared martial law in an attempt to crack down on law-abiding gun owners to end looting in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina — an event which faced heavy criticism for framing black people as ‘looters’ and white people as ‘survivors.’

The NRA pushed for the blockading of research done by Arthur Kellerman which showed the notion that guns reduce the amount of violence in the name of safety — a selling point for the NRA — was completely false. The Dickey Amendment came directly after Kellerman found that homicide rates increased if a firearm was within a home and owning a firearm increases your odds of death. The amendment noted that none of the funds from the 1996 spending bill could be used to promote gun control.

It was never about guns. The NRA has been acting on their racist intuitions for decades, spanning back to them calling for more gun restrictions when the Black Panthers started arming themselves. The Black Panthers arming themselves scared Ronald Reagan and the NRA into passing the Mulford Act, a bill prohibiting the open carry of loaded firearms.

For an organization that once stood for the everyday gun advocate and hunter who were passionate about guns and their safety, it’s quite astonishing how far they’ve fallen from their original message. Recent events have shown how morally bankrupt the NRA has become and what guides their decisions. What is most important to them is rearing their head again. These recent events have made it painstakingly clear the NRA is not operating on good faith or some principled foundation derived from the second amendment. They’re operating on what the very people they have aligned themselves with are operating on and have been operating on for decades — race.

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