Ed Driscoll

Missed It By That Much

“Obama Complains It’s Easier to Buy a Gun Than a Book or Fresh Vegetable,” the Blaze reports:

President Barack Obama launched a rhetorical assault on guns in one of the most gun friendly states in the nation while speaking at a town hall event in Columbia, South Carolina, Friday.

“As long as you can go in some neighborhoods and it is easier for you to buy a firearm than it is for you to buy a book, there are neighborhoods where it is easier for you to buy a handgun and clips than it is for you to buy a fresh vegetable, as long as that’s the case, we’re going to continue to see unnecessary violence,” Obama said in a response to a question at the town hall meeting at Benedict College.

Actually, Mr. Obama may actually be right for a change, but I doubt he’s given much thought as to the root causes as to why. In his classic 1990 book Devil’s Night: And Other True Tales of Detroit, Zev Chafets of the New York Times describes an Arab-American-owned convenience store on the lower east side of Detroit, “one of the city’s toughest neighborhoods,” Chafets writes, that goes to staggering lengths to ensure that its employees simply survive their daily interactions with customers:

Today, roughly 70 percent of the neighborhood grocery stores in Detroit are owned by Arab-Americans and Chaldeans. These merchants, known locally as A-rabs, are enormously unpopular in the black community. Their control of the city’s petty commerce is a rebuke to blacks, who have been unable or unwilling to set up their own stores. It is generally believed that the Arabs came to America with large sums of money, but this isn’t true. Most of them arrived with very little, worked like demons to save money and, after the 1967 riot, bought businesses at fire sale rates.

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Since 1960, roughly one hundred Arab and Chaldean merchants have been murdered in their stores. Six of them were related to John Aboud….Aboud’s tolerance has not impaired his vigilance, however, and the Tailwind’s security system could be fairly characterized as forbidding. The front door has a permanent squeak, to let the brothers know when someone comes in. They work behind a thick shield of bullet-resistant glass (Aboud told me that when they come out from behind it, they wear bulletproof vests) and on the shelf behind the counter there was a small arsenal: a .44 Magnum , a 9-millimeter pistol, and a couple of AR 15 semiautomatic assault rifles — tools of the shopkeeper’s trade in Detroit.

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During the week, when things are quieter, they go downstairs into the basement and take target practice in a makeshift pistol range. Their current target was the face of Mike Ditka on a Lite Beer poster. They had nothing against the Chicago Bears coach; the targets change with the posters….The basement serves a less sporting purpose, too; it is where the brothers take shoplifters. “We handcuff them to this,” he said, pointing to a metal post.

How that store’s DMZ-level of security came to be is to understand the last 50 years of Detroit, and to see the future of cities like Ferguson; when the left uses goofy folk Marxist terms like “food deserts” to describe neighborhoods that lack conventional supermarkets, they rarely ponder why those businesses quietly departed, and their own role in creating that environment.

Related: “Holder: I’m Prepared to Dismantle the Ferguson Police Force.” Which seems fair, given that CNN and MSNBC have already dismantled the town they used to serve.