Ice-T: The 2nd Amendment Gives Us The Right To Bear Arms So We Can Shoot Cops

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:

Ice-T Power

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.

Discuss. TC mark

image – Channel 4 (London)

Jim Goad

Stop worrying about good and bad...and start thinking about true and false.


More From Thought Catalog

  • Ben Goering

    This is a really misleading, sensationalist headline. He did not say that. I expect more from thoughtcatalog.

    • Jon

      Really? You expect more from this cesspool of bloated e-waste?

    • HEIN


      Ice-T says the right to bear arms is designed to “to protect yourself from the police.” The author even bolds this sentence so you can’t miss it. So he did say that. It’s an interesting, thought provoking article. Give it another read.

  • Only L<3Ve @

    […] Thought Catalog » Life Add a comment […]

  • michaelwg

    Countries with a Constitutional right to bear arms: USA, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti.
    such peaceful company we keep. I find it amusing that gangster rappers and bible thumpers are in agreement about guns and for the same reasons. The only difference being that gang-bangers are actually closer to a “well regulated militia.” Who am I to question the bloods and crips on their right to bear arms?

    • HEIN

      You forgot Switzerland. Almost everyone owns a gun in Switzerland.

      • michaelwg

        I didn’t forget switzerland. It doesn’t apply.
        Everyone that owns a gun is in a “well regulated militia,” went through basic training, keeps an unloaded weapon in their home that is checked on regularly by a superior officer. They used to even keep a sealed can of ammo in their homes, until BIG EVIL government forced them to hand it all in. Now it’s divvied out at rifle ranges. The whole thing is highly regulated by the government. I didn’t “forget” anything.
        Gun nuts REALLY need to stop using Switzerland as their cherry-picked example, it’s sad.

      • HEIN

        Well, Mexico then is somewhat like Switzerland in that they have massive government oversight and huge laws: No? I’m not a gun nut. I haven’t even touched a gun before. I’m just curious.

    • http://la carolina

      umm, mexican citizens does not have the right to bear arms. the cartels are getting the guns ILLEGALLY from the US, and the people in Mexico have complained about this law because they can’t protect themselves from the cartels because it is illegal to have firearms. and they actually do need them.

  • lazylauramaisey
  • watts

    what the hell was this?

    “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.”

    such a dumb thing to say that i think it completely nullifies the rest of the article. it makes me want to do to Jim Goad what Jim Goad apparently did to Jefferson: take everything he ever did or said as total and complete garbage.

    • Dan

      I read that quote as sarcasm. Jim Goad thinks that Jefferson, in fact, is NOT lying and it actually is 90 degrees outside.

    • A Beaver

      Agreeing with Dan, you’d have to have a log the size of a totem pole up your ass not to see what the author was saying.

  • raymondthimmes

    Both extreme hard left socialists and extreme hard right libertarians essentially make the same mistake: assuming that man is essentially good.

    Explanation –

    The progressive socialist believes that the central planners and the authorities have essentially the best interests of the people in mind when policing them. They assume that the cops are there to help and serve. They assume misplaced goodwill on the part of people in power.

    Libertarians make the same mistake. The right wing tea bagger believes that man is inherently good and can be trusted with weapons. The argument is “I have faith that man can live in harmony with each other.” The classic “I own 17 AR-17’s and 1938499203 rounds but ideally I would never have to use it.” the “deterrent” mindset.

    We need responsible gun laws and we need police and political reform. Rampant racial profiling and other ills on the part of the authorities and a complete lack of responsibility on the part of the citizenry only compounds the problem.

  • annonnn

    Wow dude, everybody who seeks a career in the government is “megalomaniacal?” WTF?

  • Brown Chick

    What on earth is wrong with the name “Krishnan Gurumurthy”? It’s clearly a south indian name steeped in Sanskrit and Hinduism – neither of which you’d know anything about and clearly have no respect for.

    • Kate

      I was about to comment this exact thing. Krishnan Guru-Murthy is a well respected Journalist here in England, he’s of Indian heritage, not sure what’s so ridiculous about his name. No one here even thinks anything of his name because we’re so used to hearing it. The U.S has a ‘celebrity’ called Miley Cyrus. Miley. Seriously?

      • Sanjana

        So was I!!

        And also, “the Aurora Batman Midnight Massacre, or whatever it’s currently being called?” A little respect maybe?

        In the attempt to be funny, he sure let quite a bit of bigotry out of the bag.

      • SLAH

        It was funny because his name had guru in it.

      • Kate

        Which is only funny if you’re a hick who has never encountered other cultures before. Like I said, Indian heritage. Indian name.

    • Divya

      I am of South Indian origin, and was shocked and offended by that careless comment on the “ridiculousness” of the name Krishnan Gurumurthy as well. The fact that it is unfamiliar to him does not give the author the right to ridicule it.

      • DIVA

        No. Look the joke would be funny if his name was John Expert Smith. It’s a poke at journalists and their superficial glossing of topics. Get over it.

      • Kate

        No. What part of “Guru-Murthy”, i.e GURU, is a traditional (southern) Indian name do you not understand?

    • Stacie

      Woah, an American giggling at the expense of an entirely different culture, never seen that one before! Really, Thought Catalog?

  • TuraLura

    Ice’s argument makes sense in theory, but the fact is, how many private citizens have successfully defended themselves against government forces in recent memory? The answer is none. The easiest way to get yourself killed in a police confrontation is to brandish a firearm- and it’s completely legal for them to kill you, too.

    It’s romantic notion that an armed citizenry would be able to fight off a government that was bent on controlling them. And it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the tragedy n Colorado. As Roger Ebert pointed out, even in heavily armed, gun-loving Colorado, not a single person fired back at the gunman in the theater.

    I’m not for total gun control, but I do think it’s ridiculous that we don’t have a better system for identifying and treating people who may become dangerous, as well as a better system for regulating assault weapons and multi round ammunition. If anyone knows a truly good reason why these kinds of weapons should be in the hands of ordinary citizens, I’d love to hear it. But don’t kid yourself- no single person or even group in the US will ever be armed heavily enough to throw down against the government.

    • A Beaver

      “It’s romantic notion that an armed citizenry would be able to fight off a government that was bent on controlling them.”

      Except for, y’know, the American, Russian, and French Revolutions. Let’s do try to be accurate when we’re being absolutist.

      • TuraLura

        A hundred years ago or more it was possible. Today it isn’t. Is that accurate enough for you?

        If you can name a single armed insurrection in the US that accomplished anything substantial by taking up arms against government forces within the last 50 years, well then you’ve got me. But I think we all know how the Weather Underground, the Black Panthers, Branch Davidian, etc have all turned out.

        Unless you think it would be acceptable for private citizens to have their own rocket launchers, air defense squads and nuclear weapons. I certainly don’t.

  • Guns Are Awesome

    Wow, this might be the first article I’ve read on this site that wasn’t a complete waste of time and bandwidth. Usually there’s some Ryan O’Connell trash clogging up the site (Seriously, I get that it’s his site and all, but is it too much to ask that he at least write articles that fall within his stated ideals? Especially 1 and 9 –, but today I get this excellent and thought-provoking piece. Kudos, author!

  • jereich2

    I’m blown away by the flippant racism of this post. A few examples: “Injuns,” “shrieking Bantu tribes of sub-Saharan Africa” (which in itself is misleading — Bantu is a language, not an ethnicity, and a term coined by white colonists), the lampooning of Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s name, and the trivialization of the raping of black women. This cannot be explained away by the use of humor (or rather, “humor”). It’s disgraceful.

    • Divya

      Amen to this. I noticed the same things as I was reading the article and was about to comment on it. The trivialization of a tragic incident to “the Aurora Batman Midnight Massacre or whatever it’s being called these days” was pretty heartless too. The author attempted to make this article “funny” by making unrelated, unnecessary racially insensitive asides. I expected better from TC.

  • Emma McGrath

    Wow. This is actually one of the dumbest things I’ve ever read on TC. Mocking Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s name? He’s a famous British journalist, do you even watch international news? Injuns and shrieking Bantu tribes? In what universe is this kind of idiocy publishable?

    The bit about Jefferson was stupid and irrelevant and not even remotely funny. And since when is EVERY government worker a megalomaniac? What the fuck? Not everyone who works in government is trying to feed some inflated ego. Do you have any idea how many government jobs there are, and how many of those jobs require a shit ton of humility and self-sacrifice, and provide no kind of “public” reward?

    This entire article sounds like it was written by some fourteen year old wannabe anarchist. Really sensationalist, and really unprofessional.

  • Stacie

    Oh, was there a point that you were trying to make somewhere in there? I was too distracted by all the racism interspersed throughout your paranoid rant.

  • nightshaye

    Totally with Turalura – and by the way, why do 2nd ammendment  supporters insist on speaking as if it were 1776?This is the 21st century.  The gov’t has access to nuclear weapons of all shapes and sizes, tools of biological warfare, could poison your drinking water before you next turn on the tap, smallpox could be spread like wildfire. Chemical weapons, technological warfare – you couldn’t even send an email-  it just goes on and on. So what is someone’s little stash of guns -or even a group of pples stash of guns- going to do against any of that? The 2nd amendment is an obsolete panacea. The only ones we are killing are each other. And don’t think our govt doesn’t know it.Let’s not forget the Aurora shooter had a glowing, just about perfect background where no background or any other kind of check would have weeded him out. NONE. The scary part is, there are a lot of crazy people out there- family and friends are often surprised that some of these folks were capable of what some of these shooters did. How could it be made sure the next semi automatic sale goes to a “law-abiding citizen” now with a gun? Any ideas? Don’t underestimate the number of unstable, dangerous people out there, would you like to find out the hard way just how many?Sorry, in my experience 2nd amendment supporters hide behind their arguments and rhetoric, flawed as it is, simply because they like guns, they like having guns, and believe in the gun mystique. Some of these folks would also welcome an opportunity to use them “legitimately”.Please don’t make the
    mistake of “well, she just hasn’t been in a situation where guns we’re involved, she can’t be speaking from experience”. I had a gun pointed at me for 4 hours by a well-respected “law abiding” citizen. Even if I had one myself, it wouldn’t have made a difference- unless of course, I had one glued to my hand ready to shoot, 24/7, which isn’t really how I want to live.  Miraculously, and I mean miraculously, I obviously escaped. What I learned was; the “law-abiding citizen with a gun” is an ideal which can’t ever be assured of in the real world and; barring any miracles, if they want to get you, they will. P.S. Using Ice-T as a reference point? Not impressed.


    Don’t know what people are talking about here in the comments. This is interesting and edgy. More like this please.

  • A Beaver

    Note to Thought Catalog readers, please look up and understand the word ‘racism’ before you use it. When you use it incorrectly it actually makes you sound racist instead. There is racism, there is prejudice and there are bad jokes based on something sounding silly to the ear. Rest assured, the Indians in Delhi laugh at funny sounding Western things as well and it’s not because they hate you.

    • Emma McGrath

      You don’t have to hate someone to be racist towards them.

  • chris thomas

    Ice-T is exactly right. The way he words it may get conservatives up in arms if all they see is his skin color and his use of the word “cops.” However, if you think about it honestly, then it is the same argument that conservatives (myself included) have made for a long time:

    The right to bear arms wasn’t crafted so we can protect ourselves from each other. The right to bear arms is important so we can protect ourselves against the government. The second amendment protects us from a corrupt government that wants to take away our rights.

    Inasmuch as police are representatives of government authority, they are the first line of defense by the government, or the first line of attack against a corrupt government. I don’t believe Ice-T is encouraging anyone to go out and shoot a cop now. All he is saying is to be prepared should our government no longer be of, by, or for the people.

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