OG “gangsta” rapper and famous actor of indeterminate ethnic origin (I think he’s part lion) Ice-T recently “dropped” some salty ‘n’ spicy “street knowledge” when asked about the Aurora Batman Midnight Massacre, or whatever it’s currently being called.
Flashback: About a month before big-beaked space alien Michael Dukakis lost the presidential election to the elder Bush, I interviewed Ice-T at his small Hollywood apartment which was only about three blocks from my small Hollywood apartment. This was shortly after he had released his album Power, whose front and back covers revealed him to be an enthusiastic supporter of the constitutional right to scare the living shit out of people with firearms:
Nice ass, Iceman! I was such a slobbering devotee of the late-80s hip-hop scene that I knew Ice-T owned a female pit bull named Felony, so I brought along some dog treats for the interview, which Ice dutifully fed to Felony throughout the Q&A.
Anyhizzles, he recently caused a kerfuffle in England when asked by some dude who goes by the ridiculous name of “Krishnan Guru-Murthy” (yeah, right) about American gun rights in the wake of the Colorado Dark Knight Rises Mass Murder:
Highlights from the exchange:
Ice-T: Well, I’ll give up my gun when everyone else does. Doesn’t that make sense? I mean, if there were guns here would you want to be the only person without one?
Krishnan Guru-Murthy: So, do you carry guns routinely?
Ice-T: Yeah, it’s legal in the United States. It’s part of our Constitution. You know, the right to bear arms is because that’s the last form of defense against tyranny. Not to hunt. It’s to protect yourself from the police.
Guru-Murthy: And do you see any link between that and this sort of instance?
Ice-T: No. Nah, not really. You know what I’m saying, if somebody wants to kill people well you know they don’t need a gun to do it.
Guru-Murthy: Makes it easier though, doesn’t it?
Ice-T: Not really. You can use, ah, you can strap explosives on your body. They do that all the time.
Guru-Murthy: So when there’s the inevitable backlash of the anti-gun lobby as a result of this incident as there always is…
Ice-T: Well, that’s not going to change anything in the United States, no. United States is based on guns. Like KRS says, you’ll never have justice on stolen land.
Out of all the rappers I ever interviewed, KRS-One definitely seemed the most intelligent, but I’d like him to clarify this idea of “stolen land,” since it seems to imply anyone, including the allegedly peaceful Injuns or even the shrieking Bantu tribes of sub-Saharan Africa, has ever staked a claim to land without the use of force.
But Ice-T brings up a point that often gets lost in the gun-rights debate. Here’s what Thomas Jefferson allegedly (the quote’s authenticity is disputed) said about what he intended the “right to bear arms” to mean:
The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.
So it’s not for duck-hunting or strictly to form a “well-regulated militia”—it’s for citizens to keep government in check. (Oh, but Jefferson raped his slave girls or something, so nothing he said counts. Even though the slave-raping might be a myth. But still, he owned slaves, so even if he was alive today and told you it was 90 degrees outside and it was actually 90 degrees outside, he’d be lying.)
Taking into account the fact that Jefferson may or may not have ever uttered or wrote that sentence, plus the fact that he may or may not have raped slave girls, does the quote make sense anyway?
I was actually against firearms ownership until the late 80s when I was visiting a female writer friend in the San Fernando Valley who, despite being a PC peacenik in all other conceivable senses, caused the scales to fall from my eyes when she expressed pretty much the same sentiment—if we don’t have guns, then the government can step on our throats as they point guns to our heads.
Made sense to me. If you don’t trust human nature, you don’t trust giving unlimited power to humans, so it’d be foolish to allow the megalomaniacal humans who seek careers in government the exclusive right to blow people’s heads off.