by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
America loves guns. From Daniel Boone and Jesse James to the NRA and Seal Team 6, gun culture has colored the lore, shaped the law, and protected the market that arms the nation. In Loaded, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz peels away the myths of gun culture to expose the true historical origins of the Second Amendment, revealing the racial undercurrents connecting the earliest Anglo settlers with contemporary gun proliferation, modern-day policing, and the consolidation of influence of armed white nationalists. From the enslavement of Blacks and the conquest of Native America, to the arsenal of institutions that constitute the "gun lobby," Loaded presents a people's history of the Second Amendment, as seen through the lens of those who have been most targeted by guns: people of color. Meticulously researched and thought-provoking throughout, this is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the historical connections between racism and gun violence in the United States.
"Just what did the founding fathers intend the Second Amendment to do? Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's answer to that question will unsettle liberal gun control advocates and open-carry aficionados alike. She follows the bloodstains of today's mass shootings back to the slave patrols and Indian Wars. There are no easy answers here, just the tough reckoning with history needed to navigate ourselves away from a future filled with more tragedies." --James Tracy, co-author of Hillbilly Nationalists, Urban Race Rebels and Black Power: Community Organizing in Radical Times
"Trigger warning! This is a superb and subtle book, not an intellectual safe space for confirming your preconceptions--whatever those might be--but rather a deeply necessary provocation. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz has done it again, giving us a fluid and sweeping history of the many painful contradictions that are the deep history of America's love-hate relationship with firearms. In understanding that history, Loaded also unpacks the contemporary pathologies of both fanatical gun culture and quixotic liberal moralizing against guns. As Dunbar-Ortiz shows us, the key connection between these antagonistic positions is their shared silence on that most pressing and persistent of American problems: economic exploitation and inequality." --Christian Parenti, author of Lockdown America: Police and Prisons in the Age of Crisis and Tropic of Chaos
"Her analysis, erudite and unrelenting, exposes blind spots not just among conservatives, but, crucially, among liberals as well. . . . As a portrait of the deepest structures of American violence, Loaded is an indispensable book."--Patrick Blanchfield, The New Republic
About the Author:
Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz grew up in rural Oklahoma, the daughter of a tenant farmer and part-Indian mother. She is the author of many books, including Outlaw Woman, a memoir of the 1960s and her time in an armed underground group, and the acclaimed An Indigenous Peoples' History of the United States. She lives in San Francisco.