While Russell had a carry permit for the loaded .38-caliber Smith and Wesson revolver, bringing it into a prohibited area resulted in the gun being confiscated, and Russell being issued a citation. The Transportation Security Administration also indicated he could be fined up to $7,500.
Russell represents a departure from the stereotype perpetuated by “progressive” anti-gun rhetoric, as represented by The Los Angeles Times citing the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“They are white, right-wing Americans, nearly all with an obsessive attachment to guns, who may represent a greater danger to the lives of American civilians than international terrorists,” The Times says of Americans who believe in the right to keep and bear arms and the restriction of government powers to those articulated in the Constitution.
Russell, on the other hand, “was active in the Black Power movement” during his career and his “public statements became increasingly militant, so far that he was quoted in a 1963 ‘Sports Illustrated’ interview saying ‘I dislike most white people because they are people ... I like most blacks because I am black.’”
Russell insists he was misquoted, and President Barack Obama, when awarding him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011 told ceremony attendees “Bill Russell is also an impassioned advocate of human rights. He marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has been a consistent advocate of equality.”
That Russell actively supports an administration hostile to private gun ownership may seem self-defeating, particularly since Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama answered “Yes” on a questionnaire asking “Do you support state legislation to … ban the manufacture and possession of handguns?”
It’s not, though, when considering that the elite and connected always seem to be taken care of as far as their personal security goes. Still, it’s ironic that maligned and stereotyped “white” gun rights activists (with notable and welcomed exceptions) champion the right of all peaceable people to keep and bear arms, regardless of anything other than common humanity, while those who support politicians infringing on that right are awarded "freedom" medals.
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