Why a liberal bought a gun

There is an old joke, either created by Frank Rizzo or at least constantly repeated by him: A conservative is a liberal who got mugged.

Solomon Jones leads protest outside Roundhouse. (Photo: WHYY)

The joke came to mind as I read a recent column by Solomon Jones, who contributes columns to the Philadelphia Inquirer, which means he is not on staff, while his for-pay job is hosting a morning radio show on WURD/900AM. 

He’s got movie-star looks, a piercing journalistic style, as a talk show host he is smooth and articulate (am I allowed to compliment a Black man without being called racist?). He’s a community activist, a recovering addict who opposes so-called “safe” injection sites, he’s a family man, a novelist, but is totally obsessed with race. Why shouldn’t he be? It pays the bills.

I am not suggesting he is not sincere — he is, but he sees everything through a lens of his race, a lens that sometimes distorts.

His opinions are so extreme I sometimes can’t stomach the column. He probably feels the same about mine. (We know each other slightly, as he was first published in my paper, the Daily News.) 

Example: “We discuss the rise of white supremacy in the wake of the deadly shootings that killed 50 people in two New Zealand mosques. But the rise of black sellouts like Candace Owens is largely ignored.”

Very glad to hear “white supremacy” is not a wholly-owned subsidiary of Team USA, and any Black disagreeing with Liberation orthodoxy is automatically a “sellout.” Or is it simply sexism?

Example: “Some say a new video depicting a confrontation between a Native American elder and schoolboys wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats excuses the boys’ disrespectful behavior toward that elder, Nathan Phillips….

“However, I’m not buying it, because when those boys left their Kentucky Catholic School and came to Washington D.C., they came looking for trouble. Why else would they wear bright red hats and hoodies emblazoned with the words, ‘Make America Great Again’”?

For the same reason people wore Hope T-shirts. And we know the elder harassed the boys, not vice versa.

And: “I am the only Black male news columnist at The Inquirer, and I am not on staff. I am technically a freelancer…

“It is a byproduct of the blinding whiteness that characterizes the culture of The Inquirer in particular, and major media outlets in general.”

Actually, he is the ONLY male news columnist, while two of the three staff news columnists — all female — are African-American, and Latina. Is it sexism again that blinds him to everything but race?

So much for background. His latest column explains why he bought a handgun. In a sentence, he doesn’t feel safe.

“I still believe I’m fairly safe among Black people,” he erroneously writes through his damaged lens. He must know statistics show Blacks are 10 times more likely to be murdered by Blacks than by whites. Likewise, whites are more likely to be murdered by whites.

Jones continues, “In a time of economic and medical strife, with a president who regularly engages in racial rhetoric that paints Black and brown people as the other, I’m concerned about what the future may hold. To be blunt, President Donald Trump has emboldened America’s racists, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it would be irresponsible to leave my family defenseless.”

In past columns, Jones has condemned gun violence, the easy access to guns and other liberal shibboleths. But when he feels threatened, all that goes down the memory hole. We’re all gunslingers now.

I sent Jones a friendly email welcoming him to the fraternity of the armed, urged him to get firearms, safety, and legal training, and closed with an observation.

The reason you bought a gun is exactly the same reason everyone buys a gun. For protection. Do you get it now?

For Solomon, it is protection against the raging racist monsters released by Trump, while for other people it is for protection against the hordes that commandeer our streets, set fires and loot at will as Democratic mayors and governors call it a summer of love or a street festival. Do you get it now?

Jones did not respond to my email.

36 thoughts on “Why a liberal bought a gun”

  1. there is no reasoning with that mindset . Like the NY police commander who took a knee with them to make amends, then a couple days later was hit over the head with a bat . How did that work out .

  2. I am conservative that was a liberal whose Son was stabbed in the back and the killer is walking the streets. Yes, when being liberal meant we were no longer going to hold violent criminals responsible for their actions I had to take a hard look at my belief system. Yes, mass incarceration needs to be dealt with AND violent criminals need to be held accountable or we have anarchy. No consequences = no civility. We are living the outcomes……. and, I understand why Mr. Jones purchased a gun……fear😢💔

    1. Ms Schellenger,
      I am aware of your son’s encounter with a person that is less than honorable. Your son’s case before the D.A. is such a disgrace and should always be mentioned at every opportunity when speaking about our laws or lack thereof.
      My heart goes out to you and your family.

  3. This guy Jones is a rabble-rouser seemingly graduated, cum laude, from the Al Sharpton School of the Art of Starting a Race Riot. I’ve tried reading his “scribe” but have always come away with the feeling that he ain’t talking to me or my ilk, but to incite hatred into those of his own ilk toward anything Caucasian. Not unlike Spike Lee and his flicks. Just my opinion, with absolutely no intent, whatsoever, to hurt anyone’s feelings. Especially those of Stu Bykofsky, whom I’ve been enjoying for many years.

  4. Despite the hatred being spewed against white people, I suspect Solomon Jones is safer walking down the street of an all-white area of a city than I would be, walking down the street of all black area of a city. So why does he need a gun?

    I remember when Solomon Jones first hit the ink. I read his work and naturally, we had discussion on the sincerity and honesty of any and all columns.
    Because we have this thing called freedom of speech, his words and others that are similar, continue to overtake the media, internet and air waves. This is mostly because most people most of the time “don’t want to get involved”.
    We can only counter Jones or anyone like him, if we take a stand against them. Not diminishing freedom of speech, but using it in all of the glory that it was meant to be used !

  6. I read Solomon as well as other racist and sexist writers in attempt to grasp their take on Philadelphia. Solomon is a great writer who has shared some interesting stories, I enjoy reading about him and his family. However, his point of reference is extremely biased, as you have clearly documented.

    That said, the real reason Solomon purchased a gun was for protection of his family. Statistically, if he ever has to use it, it will most likely be against a person of color, which is an unfortunate fact.

    1. Phillyborn,
      Statistically, I would bet, most people that buy a gun should not own one . They are not trained nor do they seek the training necessary to make their reaction to a situation automatic. “If you have to think about it, you are already dead” is a very true statement. Never mind the mere fact that when you encounter a person with a gun, they already have theirs out and more than like, have already used it. I made this same argument before in this blog, and probably more than once. Obviously, someone breaking into your house puts you at an advantage. On the street. not so much.

      1. Anthony,
        I am not sure if your statement is factual, but seems plausible.

        However, the gun owners I know are generally well versed on gun safety, trained and enjoy the sports of hunting and shooting. They also enjoy the added protection a gun provides for the safety of their family. That is the reason most of them own guns and I suspect that is why Solomon purchased his gun. However, he was able to somehow give it a racial angle.

  7. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Stu & readers,

    Mr. Solomon’s columns are among those which I can hardly read, though I did read the column you discuss. Its much like my aversion of Fox news and CNN. It all seems so doubtful and contentious. The country lacks for self-restraint in supporting politicized positions of every sort. That encourages herd mentalities of every persuasion.

    Emphasizing “difference” and “diversity,” I suppose, the Inquirer simply must have a distinctive, Black-American view of things? Or, are they encouraging views of that sort? I am pretty sure there must be many a Black Philadelphian who is as shocked by Mr. Solomon as any who have spoken up here. These are people who have seen much too much of gun violence on our streets. My experience is, in any case, that Philadelphians generally know the more dangerous neighborhoods, where you can safely go and where not after dark, say.

    We neglect, too often, the opinions, attitudes and interests shared across the over-emphasized differences among citizens, who, after all, often share common problems and situations. That is good evidence of over-emphasis on “diversity” in the neo-liberal media. It makes little room for the political center. No percentage in it?

    H.G. Callaway

    1. You can say all you want about Fox but at least they have had a great deal of coverage about the rioting and looting..

      CNN and BSNBC have shown practically nothing about the rioting and looting.I don’t think they have shown anything about the very young black children who have been murdered.

  8. You can praise him all you want.He is just another bigot employed by your former newspaper.Which I consider an anarchist, anti-Italian rag. And the female staff writers there are clearly bigoted morons worse than him.Especially Urbinas.I still miss the Bulletin.

  9. If it is wrong to say ‘colored person’ and one must say instead ‘person of color,’ then it is wrong to say ‘white person.’ I prefer ‘person of whiteness.’ Just sayin’…

  10. The Second Amendment is important and a black liberal is entitled to those rights. The 2nd Amendment is not more important than the 1st Amendment. My right to carry doesn’t take away my 1st Amendment right to advocate gun safety laws like 3 day waiting period and background checks for gun show sales. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

  11. I disagree with what I think is the premise of your article, Stu, that guns keep us safe. (or is it just that people think they do? Or is it about hypocrisy?) I am not familiar with Jones and do not read his columns. Sounds like he is somewhat of a hypocrite, or did he just change his views? The fact that one person with a platform changed his views on guns does not, in my opinion make for a strong argument. People do sometimes change their views, especially when it affects them personally. (Like for example, Trump was a Democrat before he was a Republican.) Lately the big transformation comes from those who had previously called Coronavirus a Hoax, suffered through the virus themselves, or lost family to it, and now proclaim “This is no hoax”. Back to guns. Guns do not keep us safe. The proliferation of guns and our “gun culture” make us LESS safe. THOUSANDS are killed needlessly. Mass shootings, domestic violence, accidents, suicides, arguments such as road rage incidents, vendettas. An obviously disturbed lawyer poses as a Fed Ex driver, rings the doorbell at the home of Judge Esther Salas and murders her son. (He’s also suspected in another killing.) And then there is street violence. Drug dealers, amoral thugs, teenagers whose only sense of self-worth comes from their gun. I’m aware that these people possess these guns illegally, but the guns are there for the taking. It is easier to purchase a gun than a can of Lysol. There are other factors, of course, but the common denominator is guns. Gun sales surged early on in the Pandemic, and now gun violence is surging. No surprise. Fear may have been the motivatior, but the result has been more gun violence and injury. No one is safe. Gun ownership should be a privilege, not a right. My opinion is not popular on the left or the right, but I believe the Second Amendment needs to be repealed.

    1. And I believe the death penalty should be resurrected immediately, and used with much gusto.

      1. I think the death penalty is already “resurrected” is some states. If you have a relative point as it relates to this topic, I missed it.

    2. I have advocated, several times, repealing the Second Amendment, to people like you. NOTHING else will work. (I do not support repeal.)
      All of your arguments come to naught.
      Nothing is impossible. Get busy, while I clean and oil my weapons.

    1. How does the number of lives “saved” by guns compare to the THOUSANDS of deaths and injuries resulting from guns? If one life is saved for every life lost, its a valid argument. But if one life is saved for every hundred, lost, or every 10 lives lost, not so much.

      1. There are millions of guns on the street.I choose not to be a sacrificial lamb for thhe criminal element.

        The people getting killed would have gotten killed. You are living in a real dream world. No guns.They are already out there.The law abiding should be allowed to defend themselves, There would have been at

        least 9 more dead people if they didn’t defend themselves.

        Under you only the government and the criminals would have guns.You need a reality check.

        I bet you are against stop and frisk, That policy took over 8000 illegal guns of the streets of NYC.How many people would have been shot and murdered if they weren’t confiscated.

        Look up the murder rate in NYC when Rudi took over and when he left.

        You don’t want a gun —-fine. But leave me alone. I don’t have a criminal record.

    1. I gave you 1 state and 1 month. If you want an answer stop being lazy and do the research. I don’t work for you.

      Disagreeing with a liberal is considered an insult ? What a joke !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    2. Ms. Brownstein: there are more than 300 million guns in the hands of Americans. If guns were a problem, you’d know it.

    3. Unfortunately Naomi you will find people such as Charles will not give true answers to questions they know will put them, or what they said, in a bad light.

  12. You didn’t just disagree with me… here are some of your words to me.. “YOU are living in a dream world”… “YOU need a reality check”…..”Under YOU only the Government and the criminals would have guns.”……These are not disagreements. These are insults . YOU seem to have an anger problem.

  13. I am not happy with Kenney Krasner and Outlaw.

    I am not happy with rioters and looters destroying businesses while cops under Outlaw did nothing.

    I am not happy with Krasner doing nothing.

    I guess that makes me angry in your eyes.

      1. tRUMP is very childish.You are very childish.

        How about the BS peace treaty they signed yesterday

        Why don’t you do Naomis research.

        If you like your doctor you can keep him.Your insurance will be going down.How about Benghazi?How about the HRC BO influenced coup against Ghadaffi. The Russian Hoax>

        You are so clueless.

    Apparently, I wasn’t clear enough. Most people buy guns for all the wrong reasons. As you said, the serious gun owner learns how to use it and actually practices. The smarter ones belong to gun clubs. There, they get the education and practice that they need. The rest, who don’t respect guns, get themselves in trouble.My point. Those untrained and uneducated become statistics.

    As usual, the topic took a turn. That’s okay as long as we are civil.
    If you were to ask ten people about the 2nd amendment, you’ld probably get ten different answers. I believe Naomi is the first to say”repeal”. OUCH ! says everybody. I think that the 2nd amendment could stand a serious review. I really think that the laws surrounding gun ownership need to be overhauled. It is too easy to buy a gun. As I said, most people should NOT own guns. The one point I missed in the comments above, is that if you’re carrying and you meet up with trouble. You can bet that the villain has his gun out, which means, you just became a statistic and there’s another gun on the street..

    1. I got the idea of repeal from an op-ed i read by former Associate Chief Justice John Paul Stevens, published in the New York Times, in March of 2018. Though i may be one among a very few, there are clearly other voices out there.

  16. Philadelphia, PA

    Dear Charles & readers,

    I recommend searching for the local broadcast news from the cities troubled with rioting and looting. That included, e.g., Portland, Seattle and more recently Chicago. I find them much more even handed in their reports; and they reflect the sentiments of ordinary citizens.

    What’s the old saying? “Those who wear the shoes know where they pinch.”

    Meanwhile, as it seems to me, too much of the national media output is devoted to an elaborate “blame game,” designed to elect their favorite candidates and win the ratings battles.

    H.G. Callaway
    —you wrote—
    You can say all you want about Fox but at least they have had a great deal of coverage about the rioting and looting..
    CNN and BSNBC have shown practically nothing about the rioting and looting.I don’t think they have shown anything about the very young black children who have been murdered.

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