Florida shooting has nothing to do with gun culture

Florida shooting has nothing to do with gun culture
Brett_Hondow / Pixabay

For those of us who are a part of gun culture, we tend to be much more careful than the average person. We know that any screw-ups we make will paint gun owners in a negative light in general. That doesn’t mean mistakes can’t be made, of course, only that we’re less likely to do so.


Yet a shooting in Florida is being blamed on the state’s own gun culture, and I have a huge issue with that.

The proliferation of guns in Florida, where about 2.5 million people are licensed to carry concealed handguns, put lethal firepower in the hands of an apparent dog-poop vigilante at Kings Point.

Dog walk turns to running from bullets

Kings Pointer Robert Levine, 74, fired five shots at an unfamiliar fellow condo resident, Herbert Merritt, 64, while he was walking his dog near the 15th hole of the golf course at Kings Point early one evening last month, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Levine, driving a golf cart, pulled up to Merritt, and confronted him about walking his dog too close to the golf course, according to the arrest report.

The verbal confrontation took a potentially life-and-death turn when Levine pointed a handgun at Merritt, who then ran, as Levine pursued him around a tree in the cart while shooting at the fleeing dog owner, the arrest report said.

Open carry in Florida glorifies guns

Gov. Ron DeSantis, a man who rarely fails to embrace a bad idea, recently said he will push Florida to be an open-carry state, meaning that legal gun owners will be able to openly display their firearms, without training, registration or government licensing.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not looking forward to the sight of retirees going around as if they’re characters in some “High Noon” remake when they can barely back their cars out of the Publix parking space in less than five tries.


It’s a long piece, but the blame is clear. People just can’t be trusted with firearms.

The problem is that anecdote and data aren’t synonymous. What the author does is present an anecdote–and based on the limited yet biased information contained in it, it’s an extreme anecdote, too–and use that to paint the gun culture as a whole as untrustworthy.

What he ignores, however, are the millions of other stories that happen each and every year where a gun is used to save a life.

Besides, the author wants to make the case that this illustrates the need for training before one can carry a gun? Well, it doesn’t illustrate any such thing.

Florida has a training requirement. It still didn’t stop this from happening.

Yet it hasn’t happened in dozens of constitutional carry states. Funny that, ain’t it? It’s almost like the training requirement is less than pointless.

All in all, what we have here is someone trying to blame guns and gun culture, once again, for the misdeeds of another. Ironically, I’m sure if we blamed inner-city culture or hip-hop culture for violent crime in Chicago, he’d be the first to scream racism.

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