[Southpark Bullet] Now, it's time for a brief history of the United States of America.
Hi, boys and girls. Ready to get started?
Once upon a time, there were these people in Europe called Pilgrims.
And they were afraid of being persecuted.
So they all got in a boat and sailed to the New World ...
where they wouldn't have to be scared, ever again.
[Pilgrim 1] Oh, I'm so relaxed.
[Pilgrim 2] I feel so much safer.
[Southpark Bullet] But as soon as they arrived, they were greeted by savages, and they got scared all over again.
[Pilgrim 1] Injuns!
[Southpark Bullet] So they killed them all.
Now, you'd think wiping out a race of people would calm them down, but no!
Instead, they started getting frightened of each other.
[Pilgrim 1] Witch!
[Pilgrim 2] Witch!
[Southpark Bullet] So they burned witches.
In 1775, they started killing the British so they could be free.
And it worked, but they still didn't feel safe.
Fellow Citizens: Pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits, and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?....
What to the American slave is your Fourth of July? I answer, a day that reveals to him more than all other days of the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling of vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciation of tyrants, brass-fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade and solemnity, are to him mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy -- a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages. There is not a nation of the earth guilty of practices more shocking and bloody than are the people of these United States at this very hour.
Go where you may, search where you will, roam through all the monarchies and despotisms of the Old World, travel through South America, search out every abuse and when you have found the last, lay your facts by the side of the everyday practices of this nation, and you will say with me that, for revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy, America reigns without a rival....
-- Frederick Douglass, from "People's History of the United States: 1492-Present," by Howard Zinn
So they passed a Second Amendment, which said every white man could keep his gun.
[Pilgrim 1] I loves my gun ...
loves my gun.
[Southpark Bullet] Which brings us to the genius idea of slavery!
[Pilgrim 1] You see, boys and girls, the White people back then were also afraid of doing any work.
So they went to Africa, kidnapped thousands of Black people ...
brought them back to America and forced them to work very hard for no money.
And I don't mean no money like ...
[Wal-Mart Employee] I work at Wal-Mart and make no money.
[Southpark Bullet] I mean zero dollars. Nothing! Nada! Zip!
Doing it that way made the USA the richest country in the world.
So, did having all that money and free help calm the white people down?
No way! They got even more afraid! That's because after 200 years of slavery ...
the Black people outnumbered the White people in many parts of the South.
While most slaves were concentrated on the plantations, there were many slaves living in urban areas or working in rural industry. Although over 90% of American slaves lived in rural areas, slaves made up at least 20% of the populations of most Southern cities. In Charleston, South Carolina, slaves and free blacks outnumbered whites.
-- Conditions of Antebellum Slavery, by PBS.org
Outnumbered by their slaves, South Carolina planters had lived for generations in fear of bloody revolt. In 1739, the Stono Rebellion may have involved as many as one hundred slaves....
General Butler had been a successful lawyer and politician in civilian life. A few months earlier, Secretary of War Stanton, another lawyer, had urged him to exercise his “accustomed skill and discretion” in dealing with the abolitionist General Phelps. Butler now set out to allay his subordinate’s lack of confidence in the Native Guards. He pointed out that Weitzel had not complained that the Native Guards were unable to protect the railroad, the duty to which he had assigned them; neither had Weitzel given them a chance to test his privately expressed belief “that colored men will not fight.” As for the Native Guards’ unsettling influence on local black residents, the regiments had arrived at the same time as the rest of Weitzel’s force. Was it the presence of the Native Guards, Butler asked, “or is it the arrival of United States troops, carrying, by the act of Congress, freedom to this servile race? . . . You are in a country where now the negroes outnumber the whites ten to one, and these whites are in rebellion against the Government or in terror seeking its protection.” The solution, Butler told Weitzel, was to tell white Louisianans to lay down their arms, take the oath of allegiance, and pursue their private affairs. Then, U.S. troops would offer them “the same protection against negro or other violence” that had been available without interruption in states that had not seceded. It was the same course of action Butler had taken in the spring of 1861 when he arrived in Maryland, where white residents feared a slave rebellion. These remarks apparently placated Weitzel, for he remained in command of the La Fourche District and the Native Guards continued to protect the railroad ....
[T]he four Florida and Alabama counties on the line of march produced less than half as much cotton, on average, as neighboring counties did. Consequently, whites outnumbered black slaves by more than 50 percent.....
Across the Mississippi River from Arkansas lay the states of Mississippi and Tennessee. Mississippi had followed South Carolina out of the Union on 9 January 1861. Some of its richest farmland, including the Yazoo River country, had belonged to the Choctaw Indians as recently as 1834 and was becoming one of the nation’s great cotton-producing regions. The so-called Yazoo Delta really consisted of soil deposited by the Mississippi River during its annual floods, which planters sought to mitigate by building levees. In the Yazoo country, black slaves outnumbered the region’s white population by more than four to one. Farther south along the Mississippi in Warren County, of which Vicksburg was the seat, the ratio was smaller, but still more than three to one. As the land rose away from the river, the soil became too poor to support cotton plantations.
-- Freedom By the Sword: The U.S. Colored Troops, 1862-1867, by William A. Dobak
Well, you can pretty much guess what came next. The slaves started rebelling ...
there were uprisings, and old masters' heads got chopped off.
Nat Turner (October 2, 1800 – November 11, 1831) was an African-American slave who led a slave rebellion of slaves and free blacks in Southampton County, Virginia on August 21, 1831 that resulted in 60 white deaths. He led a group of other slave followers carrying farm implements on a killing spree. As they went from Plantation to Plantation they gathered horses, guns, freed other slaves along the way, and recruited other blacks that wanted to join their revolt. At the end of their rebellion they were accused of the deaths of fifty white people. Virginia legislators also targeted free blacks with a colonization bill, which allocated new funding to remove them, and a police bill that denied free black’s trials by jury and made any free blacks convicted of a crime subject to sale and relocation. Whites organized militias and called out regular troops to suppress the rising. In addition, mobs attacked blacks in the area killing an estimated total of 100-200, many not involved at all with the revolt. ...
The rebellion was suppressed within two days, but Turner eluded capture by hiding in the woods until October 30, when he was discovered by a farmer named Benjamin Phipps, where he was hiding in a hole covered with fence rails. While awaiting his trial, Turner confessed his knowledge of the rebellion to attorney Thomas Ruffin Gray. On November 5, 1831, he was tried for "conspiring to rebel and making insurrection", convicted and sentenced to death. Turner was hanged on November 11 in Jerusalem, Virginia. His body was flayed, beheaded and quartered. Turner received no formal burial; his headless remains were either buried unmarked or kept for scientific use. His skull is said to have passed through many hands, last being reported in the collection of a planned civil rights museum for Gary, Indiana, despite calls for its burial.
-- Nat Turner, by Wikipedia
In a dramatic battle in the cane fields, the slave army faced off against the twin forces of the American military and a hastily assembled planter militia. “The blacks were not intimidated by this army and formed themselves in line and fired for as long as they had ammunition,” wrote one observer. But the slaves’ ammunition did not last long, and the battle was brief. Soon the planter militia broke the slave line and the slaughter began.
The planters, supported by the U.S. military, captured Charles Deslondes, chopped off his hands, broke his thighs, and then roasted him on a pile of straw. Over the next few days, they executed and beheaded more than 100 slaves, putting their heads on poles and dangling their dismembered corpses from the gates of New Orleans. “Their Heads, which decorate our Levee, all the way up the coast… look like crows sitting on long poles,” wrote one traveler. The rotting corpses were grim reminders of who owned who—and just where true power resided.
-- America's Forgotten Slave Revolt, by Daniel Rasmussen
Black men convicted of raping white women in the antebellum South could legally be treated with brutality. In 1801, for example, when a slave was sentenced to death in western North Carolina, the court ordered the man decapitated and his head displayed to deter "evil doers and all persons in like cases offending."
-- White Women, Black Men: Illicit Sex in the 19th Century South, by Martha Hodes
At least 21 insurgent black slaves executed (1811) after the German Coast Uprising near New Orleans, Louisiana. Their heads were displayed on pikes and gates as a warning.
-- List of People Who Were Beheaded, by Wikipedia
[B]eheading is as old as human civilization itself. So it also reminds us how close we remain to savagery, which is what makes decapitation so repulsive and alluring at the same time. We don't want to behold our own brutal natures. But we also can't look away, as the millions of YouTube hits illustrate.
The ancient Celts hung enemies' severed heads from horses' necks or nailed them to the front of their homes. The heads of important rival leaders were preserved in cedar oil and displayed to admiring guests.
To the conquering Romans, such rituals marked the Celts as uncivilized. But that gave the Romans license to behead Celts, who allegedly lay so far outside of human decency that its norms did not apply to them.
With the rise of nation-states, meanwhile, beheading became a force of political repression as well as revolution. As Scottish nationalists reminded voters in the recent failed referendum for independence, English monarchs routinely beheaded Irish and Scottish challengers to their rule. But in 1649, King Charles I was himself beheaded. By decapitating the sovereign head of state, the people proclaimed their own sovereignty.
That's also what happened in the French Revolution, of course, when Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette were both executed by a new beheading machine: the guillotine. Named after the French doctor who suggested it, the guillotine promised a more "humane" and efficient method of decapitation than the ax.
To horrified observers like England's Edmund Burke, however, the guillotine symbolized the brutality and instability that popular revolt unleashed. Marching in parades with their victims' heads on spikes, the French crowds reminded Burke of nothing so much as "a procession of American savages" — that is, of Native Americans — displaying enemy scalps.
By the late 1800s, as empires spread their reach, white Europeans and North Americans came to associate beheading almost exclusively with the racial or cultural "other." Never mind that Indians were themselves beheaded by whites, or that the French didn't outlaw the guillotine until 1977.
Americans continued to decapitate its foes too, using the same rationale as the Romans did: Some people are so savage that the rules of civilization don't apply to them. American troops decapitated a Japanese soldier in 1945 and propped his head on their tank for a picture. Troops did the same thing to an Iraqi soldier in 1991. But this time, Life magazine — which had declined to publish the World War II photo — put the new picture on its cover.
And the victim's eyes were pointed at us. Condemning Islamic State on Wednesday, President Obama said it "forces us to look into the heart of darkness." The allusion was to Joseph Conrad's classic 1899 novel, in which a deranged white colonist in Africa erects human heads on the fence around his house.
To Conrad, writing at the height of imperialism, the heads showed how whites could regress into the barbarism of the lesser races. Today, we know better — or we should. The savagery that you see on those YouTube videos isn't just in Islamic State, or in some other enemy that you fear and despise. It's in you too.
-- Practice of Beheading Not Limited to Islamic State, by Jonathan Zimmerman
[Note: No beheadings of White Masters by their slaves was found in a Google search on 3/6/15]
And when white people heard of this, they were freaking out.
And going: I want to live! Don't kill me, big Black man!
Well, just in the nick of time came Samuel Colt ...
who, in 1836, invented the first weapon ever ...
that could be fired over and over without having to reload.
And all the Southern Whites were like, "Yee-haw!"
But it was too late. The North soon won the Civil War ...
and the slaves were freed. Yep, they were free now to go chop all the old masters' heads off.
And everybody was like ...
Oh, no. We're gonna die!
But the freed slaves took no revenge. They just wanted to live in peace.
But you couldn't convince the White people of this.
So they formed the Ku Klux Klan. And in 1871 ...
the same year the Klan became an illegal terrorist organization ...
another group was founded, the National Rifle Association.
Soon, politicians passed one of the first gun laws ...
making it illegal for any Black person to own one.
It was a great year for America, the KKK and the NRA!
Of course, they had nothing to do with each other, and this was a coincidence.
One group legally promoted responsible gun ownership ...
and the other group shot and lynched Black people.
And that's the way it was all the way to 1955 ...
when a Black woman broke the law by refusing to move to the back of the bus.
White people just couldn't believe it.
[White Man 1] Huh? Why won't she move?
[White Man 2] What's going on?
[Southpark Bullet] Man, all hell broke loose!
Black people everywhere started demanding their rights.
And White people had a major-freaky fear meltdown.
And they were all like ...
[White Man 3] Run away!
[Southpark Bullet] And they did. They all ran fleeing to the suburbs where it was all White and safe and clean.
And they went out and bought a quarter-of-a-billion guns ...
and put locks on their doors, alarms in their houses, and gates around the neighbourhoods.
And finally, they were all safe and secure and snug as a bug.
And everyone lived happily ever after.