While the intent of Stand Your Ground laws might be self defense, many in Stand Your Ground states are using it as a blanket defense for killing people. Here’s the latest case in point, from the Miami New Times blog:
Randall White, who is 49 years old, got angry when his vegetable thin crust pizza took longer than 10 minutes to prepare. A 51-year-old named Michael Jock was also in line and started arguing with White about his complaining.
The two exchanged harsh words and eventually got in a shoving match.
According to The Tampa Bay Times, Jock has a concealed carry weapons permit and pulled out his .38 Taurus Ultralight Special Revolver when White raised his fist. He fired once and hit White in the lower torso. The two continued to struggle, and another bullet fired, hitting White again in the lower torso.
Fortunately, no one was killed, but nonetheless, Jock tried justifying his shooting based on Stand Your Ground laws, saying that he thought White might have had something in his hands. The police disagreed and ultimately charged Jock with aggravated battery with a weapon and shooting inside a building. Jock was lucky. An African-American woman who shot a warning shot at, but didn’t kill her abusive husband, got 20 years.
After a tragedy like Sandy Hook, it’s easy to focus our gun debate on assault rifles and on mental health, but most gun deaths are not caused by assault rifles. Stand Your Ground laws have been every bit as deadly as mass killings, albeit on a smaller and less publicized basis. On average, five white men die every month as a result of Stand Your Ground laws. We don’t know how many minorities are being murdered in the name of “self defense.”
While it’s easy to address assault weapons as an unnecessary source of killings in our country, gun discussion needs to be comprehensive. Do people really need guns hidden on their bodies? Do we really want a culture where it’s acceptable to settle a dispute with a gun? Something makes me think Randall White might be willing to ask those questions.