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My Visit With My New Doctor & Compliments to Lake City, FL VA Hematology Clinic

I had an appointment at the Veterans Clinic in Lake City, Florida today. I was a bit apprehensive about this appointment because I have a new Primary Care doctor. Those who know me know that this is my 5th Primary Care Doctor in the past two years. I have never had so many doctors, in such a short time. What happened was the doctor assigned me when my old doctor got promoted quit because she did not like all the computer BS the VA makes the doctors do, and they had a hard time replacing her. Of all these doctors, I only saw one, back last year, for a whole 5 minutes. Needless to say, I felt like I was being put on the back burner, all the while my health kept declining from an already diminished state. I was in and out of a local private hospital because the pain of the pancreatitis, which they now say is chronic, was too much for me, and the medications I had would not touch the pain. The last time I was hospitalised, June of last year, on top of all the medications I take routinely, they were having to give me 1.5 mg of Diladud every 2 hours. I was very miserable until it cleared up. I could have taken care of things at home had I had something for the intense pain, other than what I already take for the myriad of problems I have. Moreover, I were in the middle of a dose adjustment when the doctor who was supposed to be my new doctor quit. I did okay, for a while, then I needed another adjustment, yet had no doctor who knew me to call on.

The Primary Care Doctor is very important in the VA system. They are the proverbial Quarterback of the team. When you have a severe health problem you do not want second string replacements, you want a real Doctor who is going to stay, get to know you, and you them, so as to develop that special relationship a severely ill patient needs with their doctor.

I am glad to report my new Primary Care Doctor seems to be a good one. It is going to take time for her to get to know me, and understand fully my problems, but we had a great start today. She did not pull any punches with me, and gave it to me straight. I respect that. Moreover, she discovered some medications I had been taking for a long time that are not exactly good for a man’s prostate, and discontinued them, lest I develop prostate problems. I appreciate that. I go back in 3 months. I will see how it goes, but thus far, all is good.

My blood has been tired for over six years now. I had a significant GI bleed back in 07 that created many problems for me. I want to take this time to tell whoever reads this how nice, compassionate, professional, and efficient the Hematology Clinic at Lake City has been to me. I truly appreciate them. Of note, is a nurse named Amy, and an NP named Ruth. They have bent over backwards to accommodate me, and I am truly grateful. Stacy deserves an honorable mention as she is another one who has helped me. Kudos to these front line troopers. The VA needs more like them, especially Amy, and Ruth.

As I have mentioned, my health has been giving me fits. I now have chronic pancreatitis, and it hurts like hell. Most of the time, about 70 percent of the time, my regular meds work, but the rest of the time I am in sheer agony. I had to go to the ER last month for a pain shot. I also am dealing with the crohns (from Accutane given me for my service connected disability), the effects of 11 abdominal surgeries, 5 surgeries to repair a broken bone in my face (Army injury), sacroilietis, fused disks in my neck, myofacial syndrome, osteoporosis, joint pain (severe in my hips), and neuropathy. I am dealing with more than this, but to list it all would take more space than I wish to use. Suffice it to say, I need your prayers, if you pray. Anyone wishing to send cash, that will help too, although it will not take the pain away. I have been in constant pain now for 25 years, 15 of those being severe up to now. I hope that together my new doctor, and the pain team can come up with a workable, practical, and EFFECTIVE treatment. I am grateful for what I have now, but I know they can do better.

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Filed under Crohns Disease, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Personal

Fungal Meningitis Outbreak in United States Tied to Injectable Methylprednisone



From Maine, to Florida, and points as far West as the Mississippi River, Health Officials have reported an outbreak of Fungal Meningitis. This outbreak of Fungal Meningitis has been traced back to an estimated 70,000 units of injectable Methylprednisone (corticosteroid), manually compounded, and used in pain clinics to treat back pain. Often, the physician administering this type of injection, mixes the steroid with Vitamin B-12.  The Vitamin B-12 is not the problem, the steroid, methylprednisone, a corticosteroid, has somehow been contaminated with a fungus.

If you have had ANY methylprednisone shots, anywhere, in your body, contact your physician immediately. Meningitis is a very bad thing to have, fungal meningitis is just as bad, if not worse,  on other levels. The reason I am writing, if you had one of these shots ANYWHERE IN YOUR BODY,  you should contact your doctor, is to err on the side of caution. Meningitis can be deadly. Additionally, I would go even one step further, and check with a physician, if you had one of these shots administered to you anywhere, in the United States.

This particular type of medication is compounded. Instead of being a product of mass production, these vials of injectable corticosteroid (methylprednisone) is compounded in a specialised compounding pharmacy. The chances of a compounded medication being sent cross-country is very real. The compounding pharmacy will say the chances of shipment, and use outside the warning area is small, but there is still a chance, nonetheless. Compounding pharmacies are not regulated, in the same way as other pharmacies, or medical supply companies. I would go so far as to say these types of pharmacies have been lucky to have not had larger problems prior to this. The FDA does not regulate these compounding pharmacies the same way mass production drug makers are regulated. Hopefully this will be the wake up call necessary to bring more scrutiny to these drug makers. They claim a policy of heightened internal surveillance will be the answer to preventing future problems, but I am not willing to risk my life, or the lives of others, on a self policing policy. Self policing is no more than the fox guarding the hen-house.

If I had one of these injections ANYWHERE in the United States, I would get checked out by my primary care doctor. This is solid, sound advice, so do not let any health care professional make you feel like an idiot for wanting, even demanding, to be checked out. I would rather have them make me out to be an idiot, than to be dead; furthermore, if they make you out to be some sort of idiot, find another doctor AFTER you are checked for Fungal Meningitis.

Take Care of Yourself, & Please Get Checked If You Had An Injection of Methylprednisone (corticosteroid),


P.S. I have a compounded medication infused into my bloodstream at least once a month. In the past, I had to have them once a night. Not all Compounding Pharmacies are bad, but they all should meet certain minimum standards, and not be allowed to self police only. There must be oversight from an outside entity, the FDA.




Filed under Health

Thank You!!

Thanks for the overwhelming positive response to my last post regarding the additions of a Page 2, and a Page 3, to my blog. I have never had 50 plus likes on any post I have made. I am ecstatic over the positive reception, to the descriptions, of  additions, I will soon be making to “armyveteran”.

As with so many undertakings, when one is trying to make something better, unexpected things happen.  Delays are the norm when one is waiting for another writer to submit their work. I am hoping to have the work from my wife within a week. Then I will be lining up other guest writers, and making a contribution, or three, of my own.

The “Page 3” material is in a state of flux. Part of this material will be photographs, from a really nice digital camera, I recently purchased. It is the most powerful camera I have ever used, and I have not even put the batteries in it, nor have I uploaded its disk, to my computer. I will just have to get over my fear of this powerful camera, and just use it. Another thing holding me back is the intensely hot weather here in Florida. The weather is the norm, for this time of year. I am just getting older, and the Crohns Disease is robbing me of ever more physical capacities, such as the ones needed to go out, in the heat, and capture summer photographs. The weather will be moderating, hopefully, in a couple of months. I can always go out early in the morning, or late at night, and take my photographs, at those times, until the weather cools down, as I am able. The rest of “Page 3” will be made up of jokes, and humorous essays written by me, and borrowed from other sources. Of course, I will give credit, where credit is due.

Once again, thanks for the great response, to the proposed changes, on my blog. I wanted to let you all know I am still implementing them, but have some issues, which I have outlined in the above paragraphs.

Once again, thanks for all the support.




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Filed under Blogging, Creative Writing, Crohns Disease, Humor, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Personal, Weather

Quality Medical Care Delivered At St. Vincent’s Medical Center – Jacksonville, Florida

St. Vincent’s Medical Center, Jacksonville, Florida

With some of the negative feedback/reviews of hospitals, and doctors I have posted, I find it only fair, to report, when  positive events happen, at these facilities.

Recently I was urgently admitted to Saint Vincents Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida. From the moment I arrived at the facility, to the day I was discharged I was treated in a very compassionate manner, by highly qualified health care workers.

In the emergency room the nurses, and physicians were attentive to my needs, and listened closely to what I told them had been going on prior to the episode, what was going on at that time, and what I thought it felt like, based on my lengthy history struggling against Crohns Disease. I told them it felt like I had pancreatitis, and I had the same pains I have when I have a bowel obstruction. They were thorough with their questions, and responded to my pain in a very fast manner, not making me go through tests before getting me some relief. I am grateful they did so because I was in extreme grievous pain.

When I was admitted they told me the CT confirmed pancreatitis, and they needed to do an additional lab test on me to exclude something. After a couple of days I was able to give them what they wanted to perform the lab test, and within a day, and a half had the results. They discovered I had an infection that had released spores into my colon causing my colon to become inflamed. I had colitis from this infectious spore problem, and that is what was making me feel as if I had a bowel obstruction.

My Hospitalist was Doctor Sanchez, and she was the best Hospitalist I have ever had. She was very patient with me, and responsive to the problems I was having, including the severe pain caused by the Pancreatitis, and infectious Colitis. Moreover, she fully explained everything  that was wrong with me, and did not push me to leave the hospital early. The Physician Assistant, Dawn, who covers rounds for Dr. Abassi was  very thorough, with the questions she asked, and the exams she gave. Dr. Abbassi, of Digestive Disease Consultants, Jacksonville, Florida, (904) 388 – 9696, watched over my case closely, and understood when I declined a probe of my pancreas because it still hurt too bad. Dr. Abassi, and Dr. Sanchez supervised a brilliant diagnosis, and miraculous treatment. To sum up the medical care I received, “They saved my life!”. 

The entire Nursing, and Associate Care Provider staff was respectful, considerate, compassionate, competent, responsive in a timely manner, and all the other great qualities a person wants from these professionals who have constant contact, and interaction with patients while they are in the hospital.  I am very grateful for all they did for me. From getting my pain shots to me quickly, keeping up with my voluminous medications, getting my routine medications to me on schedule, and watching out for changes in my health, the nurses did an outstanding job. Christa, Jessica, Jose, Gracie, and Denise are some of the nurses who took great care of me. The ACPs did a great job keeping up with my vitals, changing my bed sheets, giving me new hospital gowns, keeping my ice water filled, bringing me juices, talking to me in a compassionate way that helped keep my spirits up, telling the nurses when things were not right, assisting me into the shower,  and bunches of other stuff. The Nurses, and ACPs did an exceptional job delivering top-notch, compassionate care, to me, at a time I could not advocate for myself. I am grateful for all they did for me.

Had they not checked me for that specific infection it would have killed me. People are dying around the world from it.  Even my Gastroenterologist’s Mother in Law passed away from it. The weird part of it all is I did not fit into any of the predisposing scenarios, nor did I have any of the risk factors for it, yet somehow I got it. I thank the Good Lord he inspired someone to test me for it.  After being on antibiotics for just 2 days I started feeling better, and after the full course, I must say I have not felt this well in a very long time, years even. I still have problems from all the surgeries, and the wasting from the Crohns disease, but the problems from the infectious Colitis were weighing heavy on me, unbeknownst to me, and after receiving the treatment for it, I feel so much better!

Here is a significant indicator things have improved. I have been seeing a Hematologist for 5 years due to long-term blood loss, from inflammation, due to Crohns disease. Over these five years, no matter how much iron was infused into my veins, nor how frequent, my Iron Saturation has stubbornly refused to go into the normal range. Single digit iron saturation values, and a few low double-digit values were the best that could be realised for me, in spite of a very hands on, and highly qualified Hematologist Team, led by Dr. Mary Aplin, and over the past few years, carried out by Ruth Davis, ARNP, at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Lake City, Florida. Guess what happened? Sixteen days after I got out of the hospital, I went to the VA, and had my blood pulled. When the results came back from the lab, not only did I not need an iron treatment, my Iron Saturation Value was 22, in the NORMAL range! Obviously this other problem with the Colitis was causing problems with my blood, over, and above the problems I was having cased by the blood loss from recurring bouts of Crohns Disease.

I thank Almighty God for placing the people at Saint Vincents Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida, in my life, as well as giving them the knowledge, and the skills, to care for the sick. They are His tools for helping people. They use the knowledge God gave them, and He does the healing.  The Hand of God is in all of it.  I am very grateful.

Thanks for stopping by!


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Filed under Crohns Disease, Florida, Health, Jacksonville, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Local, Personal, Spiritual, Veterans Issues

Florida Mayor Proposes Drastic Cuts To Police Force In Troubled Times

Jacksonville, Florida – Mayor Alvin Brown, (D), Jacksonville, pledged when he became Mayor, to not raise taxes, go over the city budget with a fine tooth comb, and reduce waste. These pledges, along with other promises, such as the one he took, and followed through on, to not take a City retirement, are admirable promises, on which he has mostly delivered.

I believe in reducing government waste,  that our politicians need to remember they are stewards of the people’s business,  and our government needs to get the most it can out of every penny, of the people’s money. Mayor Brown has not only talked the talk, he has walked the walk; however, there does come a time to bend like the willow, rather than stand like the mighty oak. Recent developments between the Mayor’s office, and the Sheriff’s  office, over how best to spend the people’s money, is a good example of an irresistible force meeting an immovable object, and the need to bend like the willow, to save a valuable public institution. 

Last budget year, the Mayor submitted a budget in which the Sheriff’s office was to make cuts. Sheriff John Rutherford (R), Jacksonville, did his part, and convinced the police officers of Duval County to do the same, and even more, for the same pay. It was hard, but ways were found to meet the cuts the Mayor wanted, and the public safety, apparently has not suffered. I say apparently because sometimes we do not know how things are going on the street for some time, because statisticians, and the like must go over records, and look for the empirical data needed to issue factual studies as to how things have actually worked out.

This budget year the Mayor has submitted a budget calling on the Sheriff’s office to cut almost $30,000,000.00 from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office (JSO) budget, in addition to the cuts made last year. As if this were not enough, another $7,000,000.00, in cuts, to the JSO budget, were hidden in the Mayors budget proposal, and Sheriff John Rutherford was unaware of this, having not been informed by Mayor Alvin Brown, or his staff. Thankfully Sheriff Rutherford discovered these additional cuts before the budget went before the City Council.

The bottom line on these cuts, to the Sheriff’s office budget, will be the elimination of Duval County’s entire force of Public Service Officers, and the elimination of nearly 100 sworn Police Officers, including Guards, at the jail. A brief example of how this will impact the citizens of Duval County is when a person has an automobile accident, they will now have to call the Florida Highway Patrol, to have an accident report made. I am sure traffic control issues surrounding an accident will endanger motorists unfortunate enough to be near an automobile accident. Public safety at major events will also be compromised because there will not be enough Sworn Officers, and Public Service Officers to post, at these events, in case of a problem. Cuts in patrols will encourage drug dealers to expand their operations, murderers to murder, and other various types of criminals to commit crimes. I do not like this picture. It is insane to cut public safety to this point.

Sherriff John Rutherford, to his credit, is asking the people of Jacksonville to not accept these cuts. He firmly believes public safety will be compromised. He submits to the taxpayers that they pay the same amount of property tax they paid last year, and this single act will allow the Jacksonville Sheriffs Office to avoid the draconian cuts the Mayor is proposing. This means, if a citizen paid $1,000.00 in property taxes last year, they would pay the same this year. I see nothing wrong with this. It is not a tax increase, and it will save the current makeup of a very valuable asset of Jacksonville, it’s Police Force. I would even agree to a half cent increase to the sales tax, in order to avoid drastic cuts, to the protection of the citizens of Jacksonville, provided by our Police Officers, in these troubled times.

Mayor Alvin Brown, and the City Council are playing with fire. If these cuts go through, and Jacksonville once again becomes the murder capital of Florida, none of these politicians calling for these cuts to our Police Force will be re-elected. Worse than not being re-elected will be having the citizens of Jacksonville being preyed on by criminals, and children getting shot in the cross fire of gang wars. Even worse crimes could be around the corner, if the Mayor, and City Council do not back down, on the cuts, to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Someone has not thought this through, and that someone is Mayor Alvin Brown (D), Jacksonville.


PS: News is City Council rejected Sheriff’s proposal to save the Police Department

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Filed under Crime, Economy, Florida, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Florida, Local, Political

Coping With Crohns – Pancreatitis – Bad Treatment At St. Vincents, Jacksonville, Florida

Coping with Crohns; I often ponder these words, thinking about a book, in which I could describe how I cope with Crohns, then I snap back to reality, and remember someone has already written a book using that title. I then consider what those words mean to me, especially when I am having difficulties. Right now, I am having problems with my crohns disease, and the totality, of the toll, it is, and has, taken on my body. A toll which continues to add up.

A few years ago I started having problems with my pancreas. If anyone reading this has ever had pancreatitis you know it is a very painful ordeal. I would venture to say it is as painful as an intestinal blockage, of which I have had my share. The best way to describe the pain is it feels like I swallowed a basketball. My gut is tender on the left side, and I cannot take deep breaths because it hurts too much. I was having flares of it every 2-3 mos, then it went to every 6 mos, then to once a year, and now I have went 15 months without having a severe flare of pancreatitis, until yesterday. 

I am having an attack of pancreatitis right now, and am weighing my options to check into the hospital, or stay home, and suffer. The only thing holding me back, from the hospital, is I was treated like garbage the last time I went into the LOCAL hospital – Saint Vincents Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida. It is too painful for me to travel the 60 miles to the Veterans Hospital, so I have to go local, if I go at all. The only reason I even go to the hospital, for the pancreatitis, is to have the pain treated. There is nothing they can do for me, at the hospital, I cannot do here at home, except they can give me something stronger, for pain. The type of pancreatitis I have is called “idiopathic” pancreatitis. It is not cancer, or anything else they can nail down. It just up, and flares up, for no reason. I take enzymes to aid my digestion, but these only go so far. Anyway, back to the crappy treatment I received at Saint Vincents Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida. The second day I was there, during my last hospitalization, I was still having horrible pain. The doctor sent one of his minions into my room, to tell me they found a cyst, on my pancreas. No details as to the nature of it, just that they found it. I had been ringing the nurses station for pain meds, and asked this person (NP) the doc sent in, if my pain meds were to stay the same. She said yes, and immediately left the room, before I could tell her they were not working, so I hit the call button again, and asked the nurses station, for my pain meds. The next thing that happened was the Hospitalists over my case, Dr. Todd Scott, MD, barged into my room ranting, and raving “You are addicted to Dilada!!! If my partner were here, and saw how much pain medication you were on he would discharge you!!”. I got really upset over this unprofessional behaivior. First of all, I never asked for the darn stuff, they picked it, for my pain treatment. Second of all, they were giving it me in my IV, and it did not last no more than 45 mins, and they know this. The Third most important thing for me is I DO NOT take dilada at home, and even my Veterans Administration Doctor said, since I did not take it at home, there is no way I could be addicted to it. I challenged the doctor right then, and there that since his partner felt I did not need to be, in the hospital, to discharge me right then. Well, the chicken shit did not discharge me, and he finally asked me what I thought would work best for my pain. I told him the course of treatment they used the last time. He went with that, and changed my IV pain med to a shot, but only ordered ONE shot. The regimen I was being put on would take 24-36 hrs to start working (pain patch), and that asshole left me to lay, in bed, writhing in pain, when the ONE pain shot he ordered wore off. I asked for something to treat my pain until the patch kicked in, and was not only told no, but the doctor would not even come into my room. Dr. Todd Scott knew the darn patch would not have any effect for a day, or two, but he wanted to show me who the big man was, who was in charge.

I could have understood all of this better, if the hospital was not familiar with my case, and the problem I was having was one of those gray areas. They knew me well, knew for a fact I have been sick for 25 years, and have a high tolerance to pain meds; furthermore, I am allergic, to many types of medications, including an entire class of pain meds, so my options are limited. This is how it is for me, and nothing can be done to change it. Ask any doctor if pancreatitis is painful, and they will give you a definite yes. Dr. Todd Scott, at Saint Vincents Hospital failed to get to know my case. Dr. Todd Scott, at St. Vincents Hospital took advantage of his position, and let a personality difference cause him to allow a patient to suffer needlessly. Dr. Todd Scott, AND Saint Vincents Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida failed all the way around, in my treatment. They knowingly, and willingly let me suffer, and this is why I will stay home, and die before I ever go back to Saint  Vincents Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida.

Thanks for stopping by. This is one of the ways I cope with crohns, writing about bad doctors, and bad hospitals, so that others can be warned before going there. The reason I have called out the hospital, and doctor is they are currently running commercials on TV about how compassionate their employees are, and how great of a hospital they are. This blog entry is a contrasting point of view, of St. Vincent’s Hospital, Jacksonville, Florida current television commercials.

Take Care,


P.S. Here is the unbelievable part. I can find NO liscense for this doctor in the state of Florida. Moreover, when I got the bill, I saw where he charged my insurance extra for our little exchange. I called my insurance company, and reported it as fraud. He quit billing me. I am going to look deeper into this when I start feeling better.



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Filed under Florida, Health, Jacksonville, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Local, Personal

Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman – Stand Your Ground Law – A Personal Experience

The shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman, in Central Florida, is a tragedy, no matter how one looks at it. I say it is a tragedy because someone so young was shot, and killed. I do not know the facts of the case. I was not there that fatal day. I have heard the 911 audio tapes, but with the way network television news outlets have tampered with them, I do not know which version is the real version. Furthermore, an audio tape only gives us the sounds, not a visual as to what truly happened. The only people who really know what happened, on that day, are the ones who were there.

Having people come from out of state, to protest the way the Sanford Police Department handled this kind of bugs me. It bugs me when the Al Sharpton types come in, and try to tell us how to handle these matters. We are a long ways from the Civil Rights protests of the 1960s. Groups within the state, including the New Black Panthers were picketing already, and this was applying pressure to the appointed State Attorney, Angela Corey, to do something. There was also an online petition with over 2 million signatures on it, asking the State of Florida to do something. Do not get me wrong. I am not against folks from out of state coming in, and helping us resolve an issue, but I am against the Al Sharpton types. Isn’t it time to let the younger generation have their own voice? Sharpton, Jackson, and others have led the Civil Rights movement boldly, and honorably. It is time for them to step aside, and let this generation speak. Let this generation find one, or more who can express the collective viewpoint of the many. So many people turn the television off, or to another channel when these “old heads” show up. The message gets lost in the personality, and history of the individual; moreover, the message gets skewed. Let groups like the New Black Panthers, and others speak up for a change, and stay in the background Mr. Sharpton, and all the other “old heads”. It is not that your wisdom is not wanted, it is the fact that time has come for new leadership, in my humble opinion.

As for Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law“, if it allows someone to follow a person, bully them, then shoot that person, it needs to be amended. It does not need to be thrown out. Personally speaking, I have had a situation in which “Stand Your Ground” would have saved me, and my daughter. One afternoon, her school bus took a little bit too much time at the bus stop. All of the drivers behind the bus were upset. One in particular cursed at me as he drove by. Well, like any other red blooded American, I exercised my right of free speech, and gave as good as I got. Just a few words, nothing substantial. This guy did a U-turn, and pulled into my driveway. When I saw the truck make the U-turn I went inside, and grabbed my gun. I put it in my pocket, then went into my yard, just a few feet from my front porch. The guy flew out of his truck in a rage cursing, and carrying on about what he was going to do to me, my home, and my child. I told him he has a right to free speech, but beyond that driveway was private property, and to not come any further. He went on, and on. Circling his truck, beating on the hood. I stood my ground, in my yard, with my gun in my pocket. I knew if he came on the property he would come after me, then possibly after my daughter. I had a legitimate reason to fear for my life, and my child’s life. I would have shot him had he ran toward me because of his state of mind. The guy was a lunatic! When he realised I was not backing down, he left. I believe he left because the entire time he was carrying on, I had my hand in my pocket, the same pocket the gun was in. He figured out he would get shot had he pursued his rampage onto my property. Believe me when I say, I felt severely threatened, and there was no time to call the cops. The only thing between that man, and my home was me, and my gun. I did not pull the gun, but I would have had he came toward me, and I would have shot him dead. Now tell me, should I have been arrested for protecting myself, and my child from a mad man? Take into account my weakened physical state due to my illness, and there should be no problem seeing how I had no recourse but to shoot the man. This is why the “Stand Your Ground” law should not be thrown out. It may need to be amended, but definitely does not need to be thrown out.

Thanks for stopping by!



Filed under Black History, Crime, Florida, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Florida, Life as a Disabled Veteran, Local, Personal