Bob Owens: “Black Lives Don’t Matter”

Usually we aren’t all that concerned with year-old blog postings by gun rights “journalists.” Sometimes though, one of our favorites, like Bearing Arms editor Bob Owens, rehashes an old post that is just too awful to ignore. This particular post has a bit of everything we’ve come to expect from “journalists” like Owens: paternalism, a rebuke of “hip-hop culture,” and a repeated claim that black lives don’t matter. Care to be disgusted with us?

Here’s a quick rundown of Owens’ worst thoughts, with some clarification as to why they are awful, horrible, and offensive (though it is generally pretty obvious):

If black lives did matter, they’d rebel against the toxins in their own culture . . .

Okay, look, we know it isn’t always clear when something is a horrific statement. Here’s why what Owen’s said is awful: it is a throwback to racist tropes about “inherent criminality,” phenology, junk racist science, and the like. In fact, inherent criminality is exactly what owns is trying to talk about. But he doesn’t seem to get that it isn’t a valid concept believed by anyone who isn’t also a racist.

Black-on-black violence . . .

We’re pretty sure the blowback after Donald Trump’s sharing of fake crime statistics covers why this is problematic. If not, the basic problem is two-fold: Owen’s is doing the “inherent criminality” thing again and, at the same time, is somehow pretending that “black-on-black” crime is a statistically different thing than any other sort of crime, or isn’t an arbitrary racial distinction that has no purpose and no real meaning (even if we believed Owens was trying to describe a problem in good faith and thought that racial distinctions had any real value in discussions of criminality, intraracial crime rates are fairly similar across racial groups).

[P]ut on a song and dance and say, “hands up, don’t shoot” . . .

Clearly Owen’s either has no idea what a minstrel show is or doesn’t know why it is racist to suggest that people protesting violence are taking part in one.

Black lives don’t matter.


We know that we say things about and point out the racism endemic in gun lobby rhetoric an awful lot. We’ve talked about AWR Hawkins’ xenophobia and Wayne LaPierre’s coded language more than once. We’ve come to expect that kind of language from the gun lobby. But what Owens said is on a totally different level. It is awful and deserves to be called something different; it’s blatant racism.

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