The recent shooting of teenager Trayvon Martin in Florida has shined a spotlight on Florida’s ‘Stand your ground’ law. While the shooter has not yet been arrested for the shooting, it is a very volatile issue right now and it is only getting more explosive as each day passes. One can expect a full investigation by the Justice Department and we await the findings with bated breath.
While the circumstances of the shooting will be revealed in the coming days or weeks, I am overcome with anger at the law itself and the willingness of the authorities to sign this monstrosity into law knowing that there will be many unintended consequences; obviously they would have to have known this legislation would give rise to many criminal shootings of innocents.
Florida is well-known as a prime Tourist destination and I am surprised that the large Theme Parks; Disney and Universal in particular, situated in that state, would not have put enough pressure on Jeb Bush’s administration to influence him to not sign this into law. I dare say we now have another Bush with innocent blood on his hands.
Mother Jones reports… ‘Florida also passed a law permitting residents to keep guns in their cars at work, against employers’ wishes. Florida also makes it easy to plead self-defense in a killing. Under then-Gov. Jeb Bush, the state in 2005 passed a broad “stand your ground” law, which allows Florida residents to use deadly force against a threat without attempting to back down from the situation.’
‘Many readers have asked whether, given the 911 recordings, a case against Zimmerman would be easier than most homicides in which “self-defense” is cited by a defendant. In Florida, the answer probably is no: The courts’ interpretation of the stand-your-ground law has been extremely broad—so broad that, to win an acquittal, a defendant doesn’t even have to prove self-defense, only argue for it, while to win a conviction the prosecution has to prove that self-defense was impossible.
Numerous cases have set the precedent in Florida, with the courts arguing that the law “does not require defendant to prove self-defense to any standard measuring assurance of truth, exigency, near certainty, or even mere probability; defendant’s only burden is to offer facts from which his resort to force could have been reasonable.” When a defendant claims self-defense, “the State has the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant did not act in self-defense.” In other words the burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt never shifts from the prosecution, so it’s surprisingly easy to evade prosecution by claiming self-defense.’
Unfortunately there are 17 more states with similar laws, including Alabama, Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Washington State, and New Hampshire.
Dominion of New York reports…Reports of justifiable homicides tripled after the law went into effect, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Last year, twice a week, on average, someone’s killing was considered warranted.
The self-defense law — known as “stand your ground” — has been invoked in at least 93 cases with 65 deaths, a St. Petersburg Times review found.
A 2010 study by theTampa Bay Times found that “justifiable homicides” had tripled in the state since the law went into effect.
I cannot stress enough the risk you face when visiting Florida and these other states who seem to think this law does more good than harm. It is important to remember that people have been shot by homeowners just for knocking on the door to ask directions… asking directions is something frequently done by tourists in Florida and if the person just thinks you are a threat, he can legally shoot you.
Were I to paint this issue with a broad brush, I would suggest that this is yet another foolish law enacted by Republicans, but for now I will just focus on Jeb Bush and the innocent blood he has on his hands… no surprise there…
Free download, 50% of “Shock and Awe on America” in different E-book formats at Smashwords.com, to get 40% discount, use this code CW92K.