Florida Man Legally Carrying Handgun Attacked by Vigilante
A Florida man was arrested and also placed on a mental health hold under Florida’s Baker Actafter he attacked a man legally carrying a concealed weapon. The attack occurred at a Hillsborough, Florida, Wal-Mart. Michael Foster, 43, saw that 62-year old Clarence Daniels, shopping for coffee creamer, was carrying a concealed handgun. Foster apparently saw Daniels take his weapon from his vehicle and holster it under his clothing before entering the store.
Security camera footage shows Foster approach Daniels from behind, grab Daniels’ head, and knock Daniels to the ground. After a brief struggle, Foster subdues Daniels. Passersby assisted in restraining and disarming Daniels. During the struggles, Foster was yelling “He has a gun!”. Daniels replied “I have a permit! [to carry the weapon]. Someone also called 911. Later, the two parties were separated. Video footage is included in this source article.
On arrival, police quickly sorted out the situation and arrested Foster for battery. Though hisofficial arrest record no longer reflects it, he was subjected to the Baker Act’s 72 hour mental health hold. Foster was released from the Hillsborough County jail on 1/25/2015 on $500 bail.
Foster had no reason to attack Daniels. Nothing has be released regarding Foster's choice to attack a man who was doing nothing wrong. One could reasonably presume it was either because of race out of Foster's fear/hate of guns.
The other shoppers presumably became aware of the disturbance and saw two men grappling on the ground, one shouting that the other had a gun. It would be reasonable for someone who had no knowledge of why Foster attacked to assume that Daniels was the aggressor, and therefore not unreasonable, to disarm him. Having been subjected to an assault and then suffering the humiliation of being restrained and disarmed would be an infuriating thing for Daniels to undergo.
One has to wonder why someone, like Foster, who would be afraid (or concerned) of a man carrying a gun would assault a person with gun, especially when that person is behaving lawfully. In America, the presumption is innocent until proven guilty, and in place where concealed weapon permits are issued regularly, the presumption ought to be that there is no crime or ill-intent being committed—at least until proven otherwise.
Could racism been at work here? Foster, the aggressor, is white, while the victim, Daniels, is black. In fact, Florida’s concealed carry law was passed mostly as a way to prevent blacks from carrying weapons.
Shannon Watts, of one of hydra-headed Bloomberg supported groups, posted on Twitterapparently supporting the attack. Such anti-gun groups, through their supporters, are known foradvocating such attacks or false reporting to police, known as ‘SWATing’, to harass law abiding guns owners. Irrational fear of guns and vigilantism (the latter ironically what those who are anti-carry accuse gun owners to be) could be inspired by the vitriol, hatred, and outright shown by those opposed to guns and concealed/open carry. Perhaps this attitude of fear and distain lead to the killing of West Point graduate and licensed concealed carrier Erik Scott in Las Vegas.
The fact remains that Foster was a hot-headed fool, who engaged in violence because of his own personal fears and beliefs without a shred of evidence that Daniels was engaged or about to commit any crime. The specter of racism raises its ugly head high in this case as well. The desire to protect oneself is righteous and the desire to deprive someone of that right is evil. And evil is always irrational.
All who carry guns, openly or concealed, should be very aware of their surroundings and maintain control over their weapon at all times. Daniels acquitted himself well during this frightening, embarrassing, and ultimately outrageous attack against his person and his natural and constitutional right. Thankfully, by arresting Michael Foster, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputies got the right man and helped show what the anti-gun/anti-carry crowd is all about.