Sunday 25 Sep 2016

Wary in Florida
AJ Robinson

I often walk my dog late at night. I make this statement in the hope that my neighbors will read it, and not feel threatened the next time they see Juliet and me out for a walk. You see, Juliet tends to bark at people, if they surprise her, and I know some people can feel intimidated or scared by a dog, even one as small as is Juliet. Her bark is definitely worse than her bite; she’s a big old pussycat!

If I’m out walking Juliet, it’s late and someone is worried about us, she or he might follow us to see what’s what. If they appeared, out of the darkness, Juliet might get scared and bark at them. What if we meet armed who is armed?

Well, under Florida law, they would have the right to stand their ground. The result would be messy. They could shoot Juliet and turn their gun on me. The next thing anyone would hear about would be a police report: man or woman attacked by savage dog and big hulking brute, as I’m over six feet tall, can be a little intimidating. This might force our tracker into self-defence mode, gruesome film at eleven.

It’s not a pretty picture. Now, I make a point now of watching for people over my shoulder. I don’t want any unpleasant incidents taking place.

Then there’s my daughter. She’s twenty-one and in college. I worry about her. A stalker might follow her, at night.

There was a time when a woman could defend herself against such men. These days, that might not be such a good idea. If a stalker confronts her, what should she do?

If she fights back, using a pepper spray or a well-placed knee to the crotch, and he’s armed. Fearing for his life, he’d shoot her. My daughter could end up dead on the pavement; what will her stalker tell the police?

“Oh, I was following this woman who looked suspicious. When I confronted her to find out what she was up to, she attacked me, forcing me to stand my ground. I’m sorry she’s dead, but it’s her fault.”

It’s not a pretty picture. Yet, if she doesn’t fight back, what might happen to her? Seems she is stuck in a difficult situation.

Many years ago, I participated in some military training. I was undergoing instruction to become a sniper and I was quite the good shot, cutting a bull’s eye at 800 yards. There came a time when I chose to turn away from such things and took a vow of non-violence, with one exception. I would use whatever means necessary to defend my family. These words go out to any man who might consider troubling my daughter, “Do not do it.”

The day any man does such a thing will be the sorriest day of his life. The reason is very simple. After that, he’ll need to be looking over his shoulder for the rest of his brief life.

Huh, guess this stand your ground thing has its pluses.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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