Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)-Weekend Contributor
On February 7th, 2014, the sad reports were compiled from the deadly day before. On Thursday, February 6th, at least 24 people were shot and 14 of them were killed. Two of the dead were small children. The shootings and killings were from cities and towns all across the country. A 17 month old girl was accidentally shot by her 3 year old brother in North Carolina.
A 13-year-old was accidentally shot and killed while playing with a shotgun in the state of Washington. In Seattle, Washington, a man was shot and killed by a fellow tenant. A man in his 30’s was shot several times and critically wounded in Owasso, Oklahoma. A 18 year man was shot and killed at his uncle’s home in South Carolina. These and others were all wounded or killed by gunfire on February 6th, 2014. Just one sad day out of many.
We have written a few times before about the need to do something, anything that might be useful in reducing gun deaths and the reactions varied from agreement to claims that Americans have a Second Amendment right to carry guns and daring government officials to try to get their guns. There is no argument that we all have the right to own and carry guns. However, don’t citizens have a right to protect themselves from those who carry guns?
Amy Scott is fighting for her life in Alabama because she was shot at her grandparents home. A 24-year-old man was shot and killed in Nashville, Tennessee. A 37-year-old man in San Jacinto, California was shot to death. Some of these many killings were probably crime related. A large number appeared to be accidental and with some, the cause or motive of the shooting is unknown.
This past week, the trial commenced in Jacksonville, Florida, in the alleged murder of an unarmed black teenager by a another man at a gas station. The defendant, Michael Dunn, is attempting to use the Florida Stand Your Ground law to claim that he was in reasonable fear for his life when he fired up to 10 shots into the car next to him at a gas station. Three of the shots hit and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis while he was sitting in the back of the car.
This shooting allegedly started over a disagreement over the teenagers loud music which the defendant took exception to. I was particularly struck by this story, not just because of the Stand Your Ground defense, but because the defendant pulled his weapon out of his glove box after he claims a shotgun was pointed at him from the other car.
“The jury in the trial of Michael Dunn, which began in Jacksonville, Florida, on Thursday, will hear how a 47-year-old software developer — who is white — grabbed a 9mm pistol from his glove box and fired repeatedly at 17-year-old Jordan Davis, a black student, during a November 2012 altercation that started as an argument over loud music blaring from the car Davis was sitting in at a Florida gas station.
After shooting Davis, Dunn fled the scene with his girlfriend, drove to a hotel for the night, ordered pizza and watched movies. When he was arrested the following day, Dunn told investigators that he had fired in self-defence after seeing someone in the car point a shotgun at him. However, police found no weapon in the vehicle.” Guardian
The defense attorney pulled out all of the stops in attempting to persuade the jury that Mr. Dunn was justified in firing up to 10 shots into the teenager’s car, even as the teens attempted to drive away to evade the gunfire. ‘ “God didn’t make all men equal. Colt did. Colt is a firearm,” Strolla said. “(Dunn) had every right under the law to not be a victim, to be judged by 12 rather than carried by six.” ‘ CNN
That is an amazing statement by the defense attorney. Evidently, those with guns have the right to shoot and worry about it later. At least according to the defense attorney. While all of the courtroom fireworks were proceeding, even more people were being shot and killed due to gunfire. A 25-year-old man was shot and wounded in Omaha, Nebraska on February 6th.
A county employee near Boring, Washington was shot and killed. A 40-year-old man was shot in the leg in front of parents and school children in Brooklyn, New York. All in one day. One violent day, but one out of many violent days due to gun fire.
The shooter in the Jacksonville, Florida killing who is claiming it was a self-defense related shooting, also seems to have some very disgusting and racist ideas. The prosecution in that case produced copies of letters written by Mr. Dunn that were racially incendiary, to say the least. I am not attempting to make this a racial shooting, but the letters may convince some that if it was white teenagers playing their music loudly, there would not have been a shooting tragedy that day.
Adrian Maynard was shot twice while he was departing church with his grandparents in West Virginia. Again, on February 6th, 2014. Why do Americans have this apparent addiction to guns? I believe that reasonable measures can be taken to reduce some of the shootings and deaths, but unless Congress gets an earful from citizens across the country fill up their email in boxes and voice message systems with demands to pass background checks on all weapons sales and transfers or other reasonable ideas, the shootings and the killings will continue unabated.
How can we as Americans look ourselves in the mirror when the gun violence continues? Do we act only when the violence strikes our families or our friends? If the killing of innocents in schools cannot bring meaningful action, what will it take to bring that action? The shootings and deaths that we highlighted are all from February 6th, 2014 and reported on February 7th, 2014. The latest Stand Your Ground case in Florida just happened to be on trial on that same sad February 6th.
One sad day out of 365 sad days. When will it end?
Lawrence E. Rafferty–Weekend Contributor
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