There are several stories on the web today about a tragic shooting in Florida.

The bad news is that the beloved US president has sent in his attack dogs to manipulate the story for political gain.

There is some physical evidence to suggest that the Hispanic man shot in self defense, so jumping to the conclusion that this attack was a deliberate attack on another man from racial prejudice is not very likely.

The real story being ignored is the problem of guns and self defense.

Mother Jones has a lot of the background information on line, which discusses not the political manipulations of the president, but the political manipulations that resulted in a the law that allows a person to “hold his ground” and defend himself instead of fleeing (if possible).

JustOneMinutBlog quotes the law:

Section 3 extends the “A man’s home is his castle” doctrine such that a man’s castle is wherever he happens to be standing:

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

So legally, the case may be murky.

But psychologically, the idea that one is allowed to defend oneself will make such murders more common.

Of course you don’t need a “law” to encourage the idea: How many stories quote murderers who justify their actions by a previous insult?

That is why I am a bit leery about this study, which suggests carrying a gun makes you paranoid.

Perhaps a better way to look at it is: Being paranoid makes you more likely to carry a gun, and maybe even use it.

The key point: IF you perceive that you live in an area where you cannot rely on the police for your safety, you are more likely to carry a gun.

But just carrying a gun doesn’t help. Ordinary folks, when placed into an emergency, tend to freeze.

You need “self defense” training, so that you have the mindset that lets you be aware of the danger, and you have to be trained to respond to that danger so that you can respond almost automatically.

So we doctors have to practice “CPR” so we don’t get emotional and think: Oh my God, that nice Mrs. G. who has three young kids just stopped breathing. No, we approach it automatically: A-Airway, B-Breathing, C Cardiac… a similar automatic response for childbirth complications, bleeding emergencies, etc has to be done automatically, without strong emotions blocking what needs to  be done.

A similar training is done for the military, and the police.

But civilians?

That, my dear, is the problem.

Civilians don’t have the training or the discipline to police the streets with a gun. They either hesitate (and end up dead) or shoot too quickly (and sometimes someone else who is innocent ends up dead).

A famous example of an innocent man killed in “self defense” was one international incident where a Louisiana man killed a shouting Japanese student trying to enter his door…the student was merely shouting trick or treat…

Does a civilian have enough “street smarts” to sense if a person is dangerous, or just an innocent man? Profiling has more to do with body language than with race per se, but without knowledge of how different cultures respond you could easily misjudge the situation. Did that man make a face at you, or is he Filipino and pointing? That man isn’t making eye contact with me. Is he guilty, or traditional South American? That man just got out a suspicious looking box. Is he planning to bomb the plane, or is he Jewish?

That is the problem here: That an untrained “neighborhood watch” person responded to what he perceived as a threat: an unknown black youth he doesn’t recognize, in a neighborhood that had had eight robberies by black gangs in the last year. Is he a threat, a gang member scouting the neighborhood for another robbery,  or not?

And the youth, perceiving an attack by an obviously Hispanic looking man, responded to that threat as many would if approached by an aggressive Hispanic man.

So Mother Jones is right: What is needed is a conversation on gun use by civilians, and the mindset of those who feel so much in danger that they carry a gun for self defense.

But what else is needed is a conversation on WHY people feel that they need a gun to protect themselves.

Why is this “racial profiling” being trumpeted by the President, while ignoring the numerous murders of young people by gangs in some inner cities?

There were 37 shootings and 9 murders last weekend in Chicago, including a six year old girl killed on her front porch.  Mayor Emanuel had to rush back from his skiing vacation to promise to stop the killings.

Emanuel said Chicago has a “unique problem as it relates to gangs that’s different than other cities” and it requires a full-court press that includes heavy community involvement.

Yes, but President Obama doesn’t consider inner city gangs who kill a major problem because to mention that might upset his base.

Similarly, where was the Presidential outrage when a California Hispanic gang made repeated attacks on local blacks last year?


Over about 15 years, blacks were assaulted, chased and robbed, their property vandalized, in a “crime spree to drive African Americans out of the city of Azusa,” said U.S. Atty. Andre Birotte Jr.

No, no Presidential commission examining Hispanic gangs (might lose Hispanic votes).

What about when Asians in Philadelphia schools were targeted a few years back?

No. Asians don’t count.

And where was the President’s outrage when numerous tourists in Florida were targeted by gangs

No Presidential outrage there either. (Only the UK worries when there is a deliberate murder of two British tourists in Florida by a gang).

This man was a Hispanic, but because the victim was black, the president is getting involved.

Yet a closer look at the facts suggest that the crime was not a hate crime, but similar the panic murder of Yoshihiro Hattori: tragic case of self defense gone wrong.

What is needed is a national discussion of the problems of panicky civilians who own guns but have inadequate training to use them in times of danger.

President Bill Clinton used the Hattori death to push the Brady Bill; President Obama doesn’t seem to want anything constructive to come out of this tragedy: He is using it to promote his reelection.

President Obama himself is guilty of profiling and promoting racial hatred. He reads about a single incident, ignores the details, and then blows it up to demonize that strange creature, the southern white gun loving Republican (never mind Mr. Zimmerman is Hispanic and no one knows what party he belongs to).

Or is there a more machiavellian motive to the WhiteHouse promoting the story on a day when  thousands of Catholics are demonstrating for religious freedom, and a day when that a man linked with the administration, former Governor Corzine, did not tell the truth to Congress when he said he couldn’t remember where he lost 200 million dollars of other people’s money.

Sigh. I hate politics.

Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the Philippines, where a strict law against concealed carry probably led to the failure of her nephew being able to stop the murderers who killed him and his friends in a politically motivated hit job.

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