Who will be your allies?

I was reading through some back content on SurvivalBlog when I came across this quote from Mike Williamson:

I have noticed, as have several others, that the last few weeks have had a huge upswing in black attendance at gun shows. I saw a significant increase in black families–middle class, respectable–coming into the local show and leaving with purchases. Most were buying AK and AR platform rifles, pump shotguns and Glock or Smith and Wesson handguns. These are all practical, reliable defensive tools.

Clearly, they’re aware of the threats they will face during civil unrest, and are insuring against it. Anti-gun rhetoric to the contrary, they were of course welcomed by the rest of the firearm community and the vendors.

It will be interesting to see if this presages any shift in the upcoming elections.

As I’ve noted in a number of my “gun show report” posts, I’ve been seeing a constant increase in the attendance of women and blacks at gun shows for several years. I view this as a welcome trend, since more gun owners is a good thing for the gun culture. Mike’s last sentence brings me around to something that I’ve discussed with folks in the real world, but not here. I want to toss it out and see if any of my 3 readers have thoughts on it.

I grew up during the time of the civil rights movement, school desegregation and the cultural upheavals that accompanied them. In my part of the South, it wasn’t that big a deal for us kids–it seems to me, at least in my memory, that the adults had most of the issues with the process. Middle and upper class whites picked up, packed up and moved when school districts were redrawn or when the urban renewal caused neighborhoods to, shall we say, change complexion in ways they didn’t approve of.

Poor folks just stayed put and figured out how to make it work as best we could.

Where I grew up wasn’t all that far from a black neighborhood. This was normal in the South; the rich folks didn’t care for poor people of any skin color in their neighborhoods. So I had already been going to school with some black kids, although it wasn’t that many. Desegregation saw to it that that changed.

Desegregation also saw an increase in the use of school buses, because almost no one went to the schools closest to them any longer. I couldn’t walk the third mile or so to my neighborhood school, I had to be bused halfway across town to a different school, and the kids who had went to that school were in turn bused to my old school. This was somehow going to make things better for all of us.

I don’t know how it worked out for them, but for me it wasn’t so great. The first couple of years weren’t too bad, but when junior high school came around, it became a dangerous and miserable experience. I was one of the smaller kids, had no muscles to speak of and was a nerd to top it off. I may as well had a target painted on my back. Every bully and wannabe bully in school seemed to gravitate toward me. My Dad tried to teach me how to fight so I could stand up for myself, but that simply got me hauled into the principle’s office for fighting (well, more like getting my ass kicked) and my parents’ called in as well. Not so good.

The school buses were even less pleasant, if such thing were possible. The only positive thing, I’m ashamed to say, is that there were a couple of girls on my bus who were even more popular targets than I was, so until their parents removed them, I caught a break. But once they were gone, I caught hell.

So I decided that the school  bus could go fuck itself. My Dad dropped me off in the morning, and I could just walk home in the afternoon, a distance of several miles. Through the black part of town. Not the nice black part of town, either. But none of the black kids ever had bullied me, so somehow I figured it would be OK. I didn’t tell my parents about my cunning plan.

So I walked home, occasionally accompanied by some of my black classmates who lived close enough that they had to walk. No bus service if you lived withing a mile, I believe it was, so some of them had to walk. You know what happened?

Nothing. Not when I had someone with me, and not when I didn’t. I made that walk for almost 2 years, rain or shine, warm or cold, with and without company, and I never, ever, was bothered by anyone on my way home. Me, this skinny white kid in the middle of one of the least “nice” neighborhoods in town.

At the time, I never really thought much of it. To me, people were people, and I didn’t make much out of race. Sure, I knew there were black people who were slovenly, criminal, “not nice”. I also knew a hell of a lot of white people who fit that description too. One lived next door and was a city cop. He also cheated on his wife and beat her and the kids. That’s life on the poor side of town.

But as I got older and accumulated “life experience”, I started to put some things together. As I’ve gotten older and seen even more, I’ve been able to boil it down to something of an essence. It goes like this.

By and large, the color of one’s skin doesn’t matter half as much as another color, the color green–as in money. Allow me to expand on the thinking behind this.

There’s an old saying from the 60s, “Life is like a shit sandwich–the more bread you have, the less shit you have to eat.” Having been poor and having been well off, I can tell you there is a large amount of truth in that.

Poor people, no matter the color of their skin, have more in common with other poor people than poor people and rich people with the same skin color. The concerns of the latter group have little in common with those of the poor. Poor people are very concerned about keeping a roof over their head and having something to eat. These aren’t concerns for rich people, other than what neighborhood they want to live in and what restaurant they want to eat in.

Poor people are concerned if they can get a cheap car and keep it running, and do they have $5 for gas. (Hey, 1970s.) Rich people are concerned what their next car will be and when they can buy it–and they always “fill ‘er up!”

Poor people have to be concerned about every interaction with the police, and with good reason. Poor people are far more often the victims of crime and far more often the perpetrators of it, so there is a certain amount of built-in suspicion in the cops when they deal with the poor. Rich people generally don’t deal with the police, and when they do, the attitude of the police is totally different. I’ve seen this first hand. I’ve went through police roadblocks on a weekend with a friend in an old truck, dressed for yard work and hauling trash, and I’ve went through them dressed for work in the office and driving my car. Trust me when I tell you they were very different experiences.

I could keep on, but hopefully those examples are enough to give you a feeling for the concept I’m espousing. To misquote F. Scott Fitzgerald, the rich and their concerns are very different from ours. I don’t say that this is good or bad, I merely recognize that it’s a fact.

So if things get tight, or should things go pear-shaped on us, who will be your allies? What groups will you look to when you reach out beyond your friends or your immediate neighborhood in order to create some sort of alliance of like-minded individuals so that everyone has a better chance of surviving?

This is a question that you may want to consider now. While you can look at the news and see all sorts of signs pointing toward future hard times, we aren’t there just yet. There is still time to build the friendships and acquaintances that prove important in future hard times. But you want to concentrate on those who are going to be the most compatible with you over the long run.

Be sure you pick the right folks.

Edit, 4/3/2018, 1217: Sorry about that unholy white background that was present in the first 24 hours this was up. I’m going to have to start reviewing every post from the blog view rather than trusting Blogger to get things right, I suppose. Effing Google.

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