Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Mr. Dunn's Gun

Calhoun's Cannons for Feb 19, 2014

The country gets what it celebrates.
                          Dean Kamen

Pull out a gun and you've got murder on your mind.

Pull out a spoon, you're thinking, "soup."  Pull out a rake and it's "leaves."  Pull out a hammer, you'll think, "nails.  It's awfully hard to kill a man with a spoon, and you can't eat soup with a gun.  So when you pull a gun, you've got murder on your mind.

One of the basic requirements of being a citizen in a civilized country is a duty to keep the peace, uphold the law, and do no harm to your fellow citizens.  Even when threatened with violence, you still had a duty to retreat, if at all possible.  That duty was the bright line of a civil society, a society that put a premium on seeing that harm must be avoided as a first step. Only when that proved impossible was a citizen allowed to meet force with force.  And even then, any survivors of that encounter would still be taken to task and if the force was unwarranted or excessive, they would be held to account.   

 No more.  In many ALEC-driven, Republican-led states, that duty is nothing but a quaint anachronism.  Instead of  duty-to-retreat, we now have "stand-your-ground" laws, a complete reversal that replaces a responsibility to your fellow citizens with the absolute triumph of the self-contained individual.  No longer responsible for keeping the peace as a citizen among other citizens, in "stand-your-ground" states, the individual's singular perceptions, no matter how distorted or disconnected from reality they may be, are the new benchmark.

Both laws are a perfect demonstration of the difference between a civil state and a vigilante state.   

In Florida, for example, if you're white and think that all young black males are a thuggish menace, or you're upset, angry, are having a bad day and you pick a fight with one of your black fellow citizens for no reason other than you're in a foul mood, and suddenly you start to feel "frightened" because your bullying has now gotten  you into a tight spot and your quarrel is starting to go south on you, you no longer have a duty keep the peace and get the hell out of there. Instead, you can pull out a gun and start shooting and then claim you were "scared" and "in fear of your life" from all these "thugs."  And get away with it. 

That's certainly what happened to Michael Dunn.  Had he lived in a "duty-to-retreat" state, the prosecutor would have asked Mr. Dunn the following questions:  "Was your car in working order?  Did your car have wheels?  Why didn't you use the wheels to roll on over to another parking space farther away from the loud music and the annoying kids, before you started shooting?"  And he would have been convicted of murder.

Civil state, vigilante state.  That's where we are today, faced with a national question on what kind of country we want to turn into, with a special added wrinkle: Guns and Race.

 In a Feb. 2 story, New York Times reporter, Lizette Alvarez, observes, "It is also possible that Mr. Dunn assumed the teenagers were armed because so many Florida residents do own guns, including Mr. Dunn . . ."  Adds Mary Anne Franks, associate law professor at the University of Miami, "Once you have a situation that someone white and male feels threatened by a group of young black men, is it possible that he sees a gun where there was no gun?  That is one of the more disturbing questions."

Indeed it is.  In stand-your-ground states especially, there's a growing list of "Don'ts" for African Americans: Don't drive while black, don't walk while black, don't run while black, don't wear hoodies, don't play loud music, don't be an uppity, mouthy kid, don't smoke pot with your white friends; he'll get a fine, his record cleansed after a little community service, while you'll go to jail, end up with a record and a ruined future. And if you're injured in an accident in the middle of the night, for God's sake, don't go pound on a white man's front door begging for help.  If he's armed, you're finished.       

So many don'ts, so many deaths, so many disturbing questions. Guns and race, race and guns, guns and guns, civil state and vigilante state. Our choice: A country grounded in a citizen's duty to uphold the law, be responsible for keeping the peace in order to maximize the safety of their fellow citizens, or a fearful, racist, armed-to-the-teeth, angry country grounded in pure, celebrated self-interest:  My gun, my rules, MY country.  And for the ones with the most money and the biggest guns?  ALL the ground is THEIR ground and lesser Citizens need to step off the sidewalk.  



Anonymous said...

Willie Noble

Sandra Gore said...

Folks don't mess with the Marshall of Wichita,
Made every man lay his pistol down...

Could use some of that nation wide.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't have said it better myself....and it would have taken me a week to even try (or maybe a month). Thanks.

Churadogs said...

Yes, we do need more Marshall's of Wichita.Unfortunately, he's nowhere to be found in Florida.

The message of Stand Your Ground gave this guy tacit permission to behave the way he behaved. Entitled. Pre-justified. Immunity. Impunity.

And here's what this guy's entitled Assholeness got him: 60 years in jail, possible re-trial, one dead kid, two ruined families, and all for what?


Doesn't get stupider than that.

Bob from San Luis said...

Yes, we need more "Marshall's of Wichita"; unfortunately, when any do stand up and demand that scared, frightened armed citizens put down their weapons, the NRA will sic their slackies in the Republican Party to label the Marshall a dictatorial Marxist bent on "taking away" Constitutional rights. "Duty to retreat"? Quaint indeed; today's manly man (read: frightened, white male) measures their self worth in how many instruments of death they can buy, how many bullets those weapons can carry, and how no one should be able to tell them when and where they should be able to carry those weapons (totally disregarding businesses with signs prohibiting firearms on premises, federal buildings, airports, etc.). I am a member of that demographic with one very important distinction; I do not "fear" my fellow citizens, therefore I have no "need" to carry a weapon of lethal force.
And Mr. Dunn still feels he is a victim; that is the other difference between men like him and men like me, we don't have the "victimhood" mentality. I do hope he is retried for the murder charge and found guilty.

Anonymous said...

Willie Noble

Please read the story of how this 'individual' defended his home.

Anonymous said...

Ann does not seem to believe in guns, white men or the justice system. Seems she would pull the trap lever and hang all white men caught with a gun. No wonder she wasn't selected for a recent jury trial!

Bob from San Luis said...

Anon @ 10:42 - Um, dood, you really seem to have a very twisted sense of perception; there can be no real argument about the impact of the "Stand Your Ground" laws, versus the implicit previous standard of avoiding conflict by retreating, if necessary. The canard about "white men with guns" is pretty pathetic; the sad reality is though, that most gun violence that does get reported is the white male with a firearm who feels "threatened" so they pull out their "manhood enhancer" and shoot the offending "other". The retired LEO shooting the movie goer because he threw popcorn at him, the Zimmerman debacle, the event this column was based on with Mr. Dunn, and just about every mass shooting in the US has been done by a W H I T E M A L E . That, is a fact, period. The problem isn't white men with guns, it is white men who use guns instead of walking away, or in Mr. Dunn's case, driving away.
Speaking of going away, since you seem to hold Ms. Calhoun in such low regard, why do you bother coming here and taking the time to make inane comments?

Anonymous said...

OMG Did any of you read about poor Willie Noble? Of course not, a black man shooting a black teen does not make news in Lost Osos.

You might read a little news from L.A. and Oakland. There really are black men and women carrying and shooting each other.

Anonymous said...

Hey "Bob", if you don't want to read opposing views, then shut down this "blog" and just e-mail your small group. As long as it's open and Calhoun puts her polarizing views out there, then it's fair game for all points of view. You don't like that "Bob", then maybe you should join a little social poetry group that won't twist your panties so tightly! Meantime, I'm locked and loaded, don't even think about pounding on my door.

Bob from San Luis said...

OMG! I'm soooo scared ...

While I'm absolutely positive that you are "locked and loaded", I have no desire to "pound on your door", nor anyone else's. I'm glad that you apparently have enough firepower to make up for your apparent lack of manhood, I just hope you don't get so upset that you feel that the only way to express your frustration is to shoot someone.

Fondle your lethal weapon all you want, shoot as much ammo as you can afford (hopefully at a range or on a large private ranch somewhere) and try not to get so upset at someone suggesting that maybe your use of time criticizing a blogger making a comment about the insanity of a culture of gun-worship combined with laws giving people a legal means to shoot other human beings with out so much as a trial in some cases.

I can read opposing views, I can dialog with others who feel differently than I do about a large number of issues, and I don't have to threaten those with opposing viewpoints - can you honestly say the same?

I do hope that you do have some measure of happiness in your life, that there are moments that allow you to find the joy of living.

Anonymous said...

Can't trust them damn Indians either! Even Indian women! Better to disarm all Indians, all guns knives, bows and arrows too!

"An eviction hearing at a tiny Indian tribe's headquarters building in Northern California turned deadly as a woman who once served as a leader for the band of Northern Paiute Indians allegedly opened fire, killing four people and critically wounding two others, authorities said.

Cherie Lash Rhoades, former chairwoman of the Cedarville Rancheria tribe, was taken into custody after the bloody attack Thursday afternoon, Alturas Police Chief Ken Barnes said.

Barnes told KRCR-TV that the four dead include a 19-year-old woman, a 30-year-old man, a 45-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man. He said one victim is the tribe's current leader. No names were released.

Police said tribal members were meeting about evicting Rhoades and her son from her home on Rancheria land.

Rhoades allegedly pulled out a gun and shot four people in the Cedarville Rancheria Tribal Office and a fifth person who tried to flee. After running out of bullets, authorities said, Rhoades grabbed a butcher knife and stabbed a woman."

Churadogs said...

Anon 10:42 sez:nn does not seem to believe in guns, white men or the justice system. Seems she would pull the trap lever and hang all white men caught with a gun. No wonder she wasn't selected for a recent jury trial!"

It never ceases to amaze me how profoundly Anon 10:42 misreads things. Goes directly from quasi-reasonable to jumping the shark with nothing inbetween. Oh, and I wasn't selected for a recent jury trial because the jury was selected and sworn BEFORE my name was even called for voir dire, so you apparently didn't read or understand my posting on that interesting experience either.

And Anon's 7:28 posting is a prefect example -- right over the shark.

bunchadogs said...

I'm confused. is anon showing us that ms rhoades' massacre illustrates the right to carry a gun?

she was, btw, known by the tribe as a bully.

Churadogs said...

Bunchadogs, I suspect Anon was trying the old "false equivalency" argument, but he picked the wrong subject. Ms. Rhoades was the poster child for requiring background checks before issuing gun permits.