Guns 'N Roses

The thought of 60 white people carrying guns was enough to keep my black ass out of Northside last Sunday (see

The thought of 60 white people carrying guns was enough to keep my black ass out of Northside last Sunday (see Fed-up Northside business owners have repeatedly told me they've called on Cincinnati cops to stem the drug- and sex-dealing tide there. The cops rarely, if ever, show up.

And evidently 60 gun-strapped white people weren't enough to immediately rouse cops across the viaduct to Northside either.

I bet my blackness that if 60 black, predominantly male "protesters" visibly carrying guns cut a swath down any Cincinnati neighborhood the streets would transform to a SWAT training video. I can see it now: cops on horseback, plain-clothed detectives moving through the gathered crowd, Simon Leis' ghetto bird hovering overhead and rubber bullets at the ready.

Instead, Cincinnati cops followed along as Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich and Harold "Hal" McKinney, my long-ago Friday night date, showed their support for carrying concealed weapons.

Politicians behave irresponsibly under the guise of political protection. But McKinney, the source of racial debate when he got away with shooting a black man in a Northside bar, continues to baffle me.

I've seen up close the way he oscillates between concerned Joe Citizen and seething gun freak. He told CityBeat News Editor Gregory Flannery he fell in with the concealed carry advocates because they needed "responsible adults."

"Quality of life issues have to come before flowers," McKinney said.

Northside, he said, is not a safe and thriving place to live. Pissed-off gun owners and drug dealers will see to that.

Hear Kathy's commentaries on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

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