Document Type



Law and Race | Second Amendment


Kenosha was no aberration. Our history is filled with episodes of righteous protest boiling over into violence. Where violence is imminent, our traditions and laws allow innocents to use corresponding violence in self-defense. This arrangement is imperfect and demands hard thinking about how to refine and possibly improve it. One source of lessons toward this end is the experience of Black freedom fighters who navigated turmoil that dwarfs our current troubles. The principles that guided their struggle help frame a sphere of legitimate gun use during periods of civil unrest. These principles emerge from a considered philosophy and practice of arms developed by a people who have a long history of confronting violent threats that the state has been unable or unwilling to stop.