People who have advocated for the almost unlimited right to own as many guns as they want, be able to carry them around everywhere openly or concealed, and free from any requirements for proper training or registration or insurance argue that having a heavily armed citizenry actually makes society safer, using slogans such as “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”. The catch is, of course, that when you have armed people wandering around with a vigilante mindset, how will they know who is a good guy and who is a bad guy?
Michael Foster, a customer at a Florida Walmart, seemed to have a simple rule: if you are black, you must be a bad guy.
According to the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office, 62-year-old Clarence Daniels was entering Walmart with his legally concealed firearm to buy coffee creamer on Tuesday when he was spotted by 43-year-old vigilante Michael Foster.
Foster, who is white, had observed Daniels conceal the weapon under his coat before he came into the store. When Daniels crossed the threshold, Foster tackled him and placed him in a chokehold, Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Larry McKinnon explained.
Following a struggle, the men were separated and now Foster is being charged with battery.
Fortunately no one died or seems to have been seriously hurt. While it was inevitable that this kind of thing would happen, what surprises me is that it does not happen more frequently and with more serious injuries or even death.
One can only speculate what might have ensued if the colors of the people had been reversed and a black vigilante had tackled an armed white person. Fortunately that is less likely to happen because black people do not tend to see themselves as auxiliary members of the police force.