Guns & Race: A Fatal Attraction

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Molly Stazzone, Staff Writer

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If you watched or read the news recently you know that once again a white man in Florida shot and killed a black teenage boy/man. Michael Dunn allegedly got into a verbal argument with four teenagers who allegedly were in a car playing loud music. Dunn then took out his gun and shot several shots into the car killing Jordan Davis.

Dunn was arrested and convicted of attempted murder. He was found guilty of four charges, three charges of attempted second-degree murder. This could land him in jail for a decade or more.

However, this horrible act of violence is not the first of it’s kind. Violence with guns is not a foreign act. But if someone told me that Florida was a segregated state, I wouldn’t believe them.

Florida, the “Sunshine State,” is perceived as a diverse, warm, and vacation stop for tourists. However, Florida is still a divided state. 43 percent of Latinos & 38 percent of blacks attend schools where fewer than 10 percent of their white classmates. http://thinkprogress.org/education/2012/09/20/879011/american-schools-segregation/ The sunshine state is now dealing with overcast weather.

Was segregation played out in the Zimmerman case? Just a couple of years ago George Zimmerman was accused of fatally shooting Trayvon Martin in Florida. He was proven not guilty. But my head-scratching question is why are so many people (usually white men…sorry) shooting other people (usually African-Americans or minorities?) Also why did the state of Florida pass their “Stand Your Ground Law” in the first place?

Let’s start where at of these acts of violence start, when Zimmerman and Dunn said, “I stood my ground.” The Florida Law went into effect Oct. 1, 2005, according to an article by www.politifact.com. “>
The law is a type of self-defense that gives individuals the right to use deadly force to defend themselves without any requirement to evade or to retreat from a dangerous situation. The article continues to say, “In 2006 and 2007 violence rates were just slightly up compared to 2005. In 2008 the violence rate began to decline…”

The law was meant to be used if a citizen feared for their life. I think main reason why the Zimmerman vs. Martin case and the recent Dunn vs. Davis case got so much attention was Martin and Davis didn’t have a chance to stand their ground. That is why people felt an injustice within these two cases, especially with Zimmerman vs. Martin.

So why didn’t Martin and or Davis fight back or stand their own ground? Because they didn’t have time to do so.

In the Zimmerman case he was the neighbor watchman in the Florida area where the shooting happened. He watched and followed Martin, who was 17-years-old at the time and he was unarmed. The two men got into an argument and then into a physical argument where at this time Zimmerman shoots Martin in the chest. This story made me sick, because A. the police at the scene did a criminal background check on Martin not Zimmerman, and B. Zimmerman was not arrested on the stop. Nope he was arrested 44 days later. Shake my head, such an injustice for Martin’s parents and friends.

A different scene but similar outcome for the Dunn vs. Davis case. Dunn went from yelling “I hate thug music,” at Davis and three other teens in the car, to shooting multiple gun shots through the car. Did I mention no gun nor weapon was found in the car. How is this stand your ground when clearly Dunn was not afraid or threatened for his life.

If Martin and Davis lived in Florida also, should they have stood their ground also, they are Florida citizens, right?

In a 2011 gun owner report by Statistic Brain, the percentage of owning a gun was 36 percent. In 1973 the gun ownership was 47 percent. In 2010 the sex & gender that owned guns were males (43 percent) and they were white (44 percent.) Their ages ranged from 50-64 (45 percent.)
http://www.statisticbrain.com/gun-ownership-statistics-demographics/

Is racism still alive and well in this country? I think so.

In a Pew Research report they found that 7 out of 10 black respondents and about a third of white respondents (37 percent) say blacks are treated less fairly in their dealings with the police. Similarly, about two-thrids of black respondents (68 percent) and a quarter of White respondents (27 percent) say when it comes to court, blacks are not being treated the same or fairly as whites.

Pew’s report also found that large majorities of blacks (73 percent) and 81 percent of whites say the races do get along pretty well or very well.
SDT-racial-relations-08-2013-02

However, 35 percent of blacks have said they had been discriminated against because of their race in the past year.

Is racism a never-ending issue or as Martin Luther King Jr. put it, will there be a day where all races will join hands in peace and finally be free at last.

I hope so.