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FL – SELF-PROTECTION – ‘Their first instinct was to face the crisis by buying a gun”: Charlotte, N.C., deals with life after the Republican National Convention — and ahead of November’s election

FL – SELF-PROTECTION – ‘I am a raging pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-everything social liberal, as far left you can get in this country. But I am also a proud pro-Second Amendment supporter,’ says Jonathan Lee, 46, an Uber driver.

Every morning, a small aircraft flies over the sky, waking up Charlotte, N.C. It drags a flag with two images: on the left, the image of an aborted fetus, on the right, a Black Lives Matter sign. It is a stark reminder of some issues that both united and divide people here. The streets are mostly soundless.

The noise of a few cars and commuters waiting for the bus break the deafening silence. The sidewalks that were full of delegates and staffers at the Republican National Convention’s first day, held at the Spectrum Center on Aug. 24 in Uptown Charlotte, are now empty again. As a few people have breakfast at diners that are shyly reopening after businesses shut down due to the pandemic, the consequences of coronavirus are still profoundly influencing the daily life of residents in the city, which has a population of over 800,000 and is known as the banking center of the south. The city is 35% Black, but has a significant gap in earnings between Caucasians and Black households. ‘The pandemic combined with the economic crisis, and the upcoming elections, is the perfect storm for self-defense.’

Larry Hyatt, 72, the owner of Hyatt Gun Shop in Charlotte, N.C. This scene is a long way from recent violence in the city. In June, two people died of gunshots and 12 were injured after an hours-long Juneteenth gathering turned violent. Juneteenth is a celebration marking the end of slavery in the U.S. Several shooters fired over 100 rounds at a busy intersection in the northwest part of the city, police said. Seven people were hospitalized with gunshot wounds and five were injured when hit by cars.  [full article]

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