Two weeks ago, a seventeen year old black youth, Shawn Tyson, was sent to prison for life, with no possibility of parole, for the brutal, cold-blooded, murder of two young men from the UK, James Cooper and James Kouzaris. Both men were in their mid-twenties.
The two men were on vacation in Florida and strayed into the rundown Newtown area of Sarasota late one night while looking for an all-night cafe. Tyson, released from prison only that day after a conviction for shooting at cars, gunned them down as they stood in the road, defenseless, pleading with him to spare their lives.
Just about the time Shawn Tyson was learning he’d spend the rest of his life behind bars, Florida neighborhood watch man, George Zimmerman, gunned down black teenager, Trayvon Martin, in an incident that sent the US media into a frenzy and provoked marches and protests throughout the state.
On March 6th this year, not long after the Trayvon Martin killing, a disgruntled ex-teacher at the Episcopal School of Jacksonville, in Florida, walked back into the school carrying an AK47 assault rifle and shot the head teacher, Dale Regan. Ms Regan had been at the school thirty-four years. The man, Shane Schumerth, a Spanish teacher at the school had been fired earlier that day. After shooting the principle, he killed himself.
James Cooper, James Kouzaris, Trayvon Martin and Dale Regan, were all in front of the bullet. They are dead. Shane Schumerth killed himself with his own gun. Shawn Tyson, George Zimmerman, may as well be dead. Their lives are over, destroyed by the same weapons used to inflict their deadly violence.
It may seem that Florida is especially gun-violent. It isn’t. Similar stories abound all over the United States. In every state similar incidents occur on an almost daily basis.
I received this document recently in the mail, together with an unsolicited membership form.
It came from the National Rifle Association, based in Florida. I sent it back, unsigned.
Guns kill – that’s all they do.
 “Shawn Tyson gets life sentence for murdering British tourists in Florida” Guardian, March 12th 2012
 George Zimmerman Innocent Of Racist Hate Crime” Sparrow Chat, March 20th 2012
 “Two dead in shooting at Florida high school” March 6th 2012