BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA In a bold move, Black Minutemen are openly carrying long-guns on the streets of America.
Has the Black community finally become fed up with the slaughter of unarmed young Black men and women in the United States of America?
If the action of a group of Black militia in Brunswick, Georgia, is any indication, the collective Black community may have reached the tipping point. No longer will murderers of Black people go unanswered without consequences.
Four days after, two white men, Gregory McMichael and Travis McMichael received assault, and felony murder charges for the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, the Black Minutemen patrolled in front of McMichael’s home. The Black men carried long guns in plain view.
The Black militia showed up to protect a group that demonstrated on Gregory McMichael’s street. The demonstrators called for law enforcement authorities to leave no stones unturned in their investigation of the murder of the 25-year-old Black man. The demonstrators urged investigators to take McMichael’s truck into custody and examine it for evidence.
Arbery was jogging in a predominately white neighborhood on February 23, 2020, when McMichael and his son Travis hunted Arbery down in their pick-up truck, and according to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, without legal cause assaulted Arbery by pointing a loaded shotgun at him. When Arbery defended himself against the unlawful assault, Gregory McMichael discharged the gun, which led to Arbery’s death.
When Black men with guns showed up outside of McMichael’s house, Glynn County law enforcement officers were called to the scene by his neighbors. Gregory Michael was not home; he is housed in the Glynn County jail, awaiting a grand jury presentment in June (See: https://www.instagram.com/p/CADPimJlcZo/?igshid=kk7pfvxrikkl).
The officers did not engage with the armed Black men. They stayed a safe distance away and allowed the peaceful demonstration to proceed without intervening.
Two weeks ago, a group of Black Second Amendment enthusiasts escorted a Michigan State Representative into work at the state capital. The action followed a loud protest from gun-toting white survivalists who demanded the legislature vote to reopen the state to business.
The lawmaker, a Black woman, said she was afraid for her safety in the state capital. And Black men toting guns came to her defense.
Is this the new norm in race relations in America?
Now that gun-toting Black men have come together to protect Black people in traditionally white spaces, it is anybody’s guess if this will escalate violence perpetrated against the Black community in America. Perhaps the presence of armed Blacks will act as a countervailing force to that violence.
We will watch and report.
Harold Michael Harvey is the author of Freaknik Lawyer: A Memoir on the Craft of Resistance. He is a Past President of the Gate City Bar Association. He is the recipient of Gate City’s R. E. Thomas Civil Rights Award, which he received for his pro bono representation of Black college students arrested during Freaknik celebrations in the mid to late 1990s. An avid public speaker, contact him at email@example.com.