In the late sixties, a justifiably obscure SCOTUS’ “decision”, ”US v. Miller” (a depression-era case involving a robber who was murdered before his case made it to the court, and for whom no attorney argued before the high court) was dragged out of the legal ether by a series of liberal, activist judges, and installed into a misbegotten place as binding precedent that led, by a tortuous “logical” route, to the Second Amendment being interpreted for four decades as a “collective right”. Just the way the Ku Klux Klan interpreted it until the 14th Amendment came along.
The Heller case began the process of flushing this noxious bit of authoritarian posturing down the latrine of history.
But it fell to Otis McDonald – a seventy-something black man who just wanted to defend his life and property against the crime that had overrun the neighborhood where he’d lived since 1971, in which he’d raised three of his children – to deliver the coup de grace against Chicago’s racist, classist gun ban.
It was merely the latest of several fights for McDonald, who was 76 when the SCOTUS upheld his demand to be allowed to defend himself, his family and his property, and not be treated like the government’s livestock.
It was one of many battles he fought in his long, full, unsung-but-productive life.
McDonald started life as one of 12 children of a Louisiana sharecropper who’d left the land at 17, deep in the Jim Crow era. He worked for decades as a janitor at the University of Chicago, joined the union, earned a living, raised a family…
…and watched his neighborhood decay from a comfortable blue-collor area to a crime-ridden gang shooting gallery.
He sought “permission” to own a handgun – because as an older man, he couldn’t stand up in fight against one predatory teen, much less the whole pack. The city of Chicago, adhering to the gun control movement’s orthodoxy that black people must only be seen and heard at the polls, and shouldn’t be getting all uppity in between elections, shut him down with, as it were, prejudice.
And so he, along with three other co-plaintiffs, filed suit – which duly led to the Supreme Court and, in 2009, victory in the case that bore his name, and incorporated the Second Amendment as law binding all lesser jurisdictions; the right to keep and bear arms was, as it has always been, a Right of The People, not the National Guard, not to be frittered away by self-appointed racist elitists out of the fear of armed brown men that motivates all gun control.
McDonald, a humble man without even a high school education, accomplished more to secure freedom than many buildings full of Ivy-League-spawned pundits and lawyers ever will.
Otis McDonald passed away last week at age 79, after a long battle with cancer.
As a black man in America, he fought his way up from economic disadvantage to earning a good living for his family. He fought against violent crime in his adopted city of Chicago, and in so doing came to his most famous battle as the lead named plaintiff in McDonald, et. al. v. City of Chicago. In the plaintiffs’ landmark victory in that case in 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that neither the Windy City nor any other city could ban law-abiding citizens from owning handguns for defense of self and family. The McDonald decision helped pave the way for the concealed carry permits now being issued throughout Illinois
.And the wages of McDonald’s victory are being felt – despite the media’s attempt to suppress them – today. More at noon. Oh, yes – oh, so much more at noon.
And so rest in peace, Otis McDonald. Your legacy – leaving your world a freer place than the one you came into - is one that shames those of a whole lot of people who came into this world with advantages you never dreamed of.
At noon today: McDonald’s legacy is already saving lives.