White men with guns II

Published: 7/10/2020 2:10:32 PM
Modified: 7/10/2020 2:10:21 PM

I resubmit (with some revisions) my letter of July 2018 as its message is, I believe, still timely in the context of the permanence and legacy of white supremacy that Trump and his stooges embrace with every step they take. We can never heal as a nation or begin to actuate the American promise of equality until we know our past.

Below, after the quotation that inspired my 2018 note, are a few historical examples we should remember today.

“When you praise those who desire to create a better world, save some thanks for those Christian white men with guns who not only encouraged you to dream, but protected you as you slept.”

When I read that, I couldn’t help but think of what the author failed to mention. Some examples:

Emmett Till was asleep when white men with guns seized him, beat him to death and threw his body into a river.

White men with guns (the U.S. 7th Cavalry) slaughtered hundreds of Lakota elders, women, and children at Wounded Knee and received Medals of Honor for completing their mission.

White men with guns forced millions of west African people onto slave ships — these stolen people either died en route or became enslaved. Horror no matter what.

White men with guns guaranteed that the lynchings of thousands of African Americans went unchallenged and the ”law” protected the lynchers.

White men with guns shepherded Japanese Americans into internment camps at the start of WWII.

White men with guns, led by John Turner, attacked and killed hundreds of children, and older men and women, in 1676. Right here in Turners Falls.

Civil War Gen. Philip Sheridan developed the government policy towards Native people of the Plains by declaring: “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” White men with guns enforced this policy. Tens of millions of Native people were annihilated by white men with guns since they invaded in 1492.

White men with guns forced thousands of Cherokee people to walk the “Trail of Tears,” the plan of President Jackson. This forced march from the South to the Oklahoma Territories, claimed the lives of one quarter of those who marched.

White men with guns are regularly shooting unarmed Black boys and men in American streets.

White men with guns, for years now, have been randomly killing children in schools, concert goers and people praying in churches.

These are some of the brutal episodes of American history that come to me when I hear the phrase ” white men with guns” or see Confederate flags.

My father was a medic in the 10th Mountain Division in World War II and I would be remiss not to include my deep respect for the millions of Americans, including white men with guns, who fought bravely to defeat Nazi Germany, for example. All of us must know the full scope of our history, both evil and noble, and we must understand that the words, “white men with guns” is a loaded, frightening set of words. At any moment.

Bob Cooley if a resident of Greenfield.

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