Ben Carson talks gun control, new book at National Press Club

Special to the NNPA News Wire from The Washington Informer

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson took an hour out of his campaign Friday afternoon to speak about his upbringing, gun control and cyber attacks from another country.

Carson spoke at a luncheon at the National Press Club in Northwest, which he took the time to promote his new book, “A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties.”

The retired neurosurgeon from John Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore spoke candidly about why America is the best country in the world, especially with his mother raising him in Detroit.

“America is such a great place and I am so glad that I was born here. I have traveled to 57 different countries. This remains the place that is the land of dreams,” Carson, 64, said. “I know a lot of people like to criticize and demonize and say it’s responsible for a lot of horrible things. A lot of people are trying to [come to America] and not a lot of people are trying to get out.”

According to a national Republican poll released Tuesday by Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina, Carson remains second behind businessman Donald Trump among the more than one dozen candidates.

During his chat at the National Press Club, Carson said he would go after countries that launched cyber attacks against America. The Obama administration accused the Chinese government this summer of hacking into the files of 22 million federal government employees. China has denied any wrongdoing.

“Under a Carson administration, if another country attacks us with a cyber attack, they would get hit so hard it’s going to take them a long time to recover,” he said. “We can’t sit around and let people do stuff and just say, ‘You’re bad. I don’t like you.’”

He blamed the media for taking out of context comments he made this week about how armed Jews in the Holocaust would have “greatly diminished” Hitler’s power and the mass shootings at a community college in Roseburg, Oregon.

“Basically, what I said is when tyranny occurs traditionally around the world they try to disarm the people first and that’s exactly what happened in Germany,” Carson said during a question and answer period. “With the mass shootings, [shooters] tend to go to places that are gun-free zones. Even though they may be mentally disturbed, they’re not so mentally disturbed as not to be able to realize that if you go somewhere where people can shoot you, you’re probably going to get shot.”

His comments stem on his support for gun rights, even to allow a retired police officer, military veteran, and teachers to carry guns in schools.

“My position is I would feel much safer if there are people in the schools who have access to arms and who are trained,” Carson said to reporters after the formal discussion. “There could be a host of possibilities. [Mass shooters] go to a gun-free zone for a reason.”

Maryland implements racial profiling guidelines

Special to the NNPA from The Washington Informer

Vanessa Fleeton recalled when a Black police officer became rude to her a few years ago while she parked near an illegal area in Bowie, Maryland.

After the officer gave her a verbal warning and left the scene, Fleeton immediately called the police department to make a complaint about the officer’s behavior.

“I know I was parking in the wrong spot, but you don’t have to treat me like a criminal. We all have bad days but his behavior was uncalled for,” said Fleeton, a Lanham, Maryland resident. “Anytime you get stopped, [policemen] have the power over you. Racial profiling should be against the law everywhere.”

Stories like Fleeton’s of negative interactions with police officers may have served as an impetus in Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh’s decision to issue new guidelines for law enforcement agencies. The guidelines will end the pursuit of alleged suspects based on characteristics that include ethnicity and sexual orientation.

Frosh announced these rules during a news conference Aug. 25 in Annapolis that made Maryland the first state in the nation to follow the new rules first presented in December by former Attorney General Eric Holder.

Profiling stems from an illegal practice when officers target alleged suspects for a crime based on individual characteristics such as race, gender, disability and religion. Although Maryland law enforcement agencies have laws against racial profiling, a nine-page memorandum looks to enhance the state’s current policies.

The new guidelines are outlined in two categories.

Officers aren’t allowed to judge personal characteristics such as religion and race “when conducting routine police work.” For example, officers aren’t allowed to investigate people with limited English proficiency to determine whether they are illegal immigrants. The second part explains that “investigations of specific crimes or criminal schemes, law enforcement may take those factors into account if they have credible evidence that those characteristics are directly relevant to the investigation.”

These regulations come amid national outcry about the treatment of Blacks either killed by police officers or those who later in their custody, including Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri; Tamir Rice, 12, in Cleveland; and Sandra Bland, 28, in Waller County, Texas.

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said she encountered a police officer’s rude behavior as a 14-year-old student after a high school dance at the now-defunct La Reine High School in Suitland.

Alsobrooks said Prince George’s County police officers have a good rapport with the community. She noted that the new state racial profiling guidelines are already implemented into the county’s police procedures and regulations.

“Prince George’s is on the cutting edge in so many of these reforms,” said Alsobrooks, 44, who attended the news conference in Annapolis last week. “We want the community to know that we are doing everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone. We have come a long way, but we still have some work to do.”

Alsobrooks said the county’s Human Relations Commission received only one formal complaint of racial profiling this year.