Friday, March 23, 2012

An Open Letter to the Proponents of Stand Your Ground Laws, Especially Legislators

When you expanded the laws to apply to other places than people's homes, these laws have NEVER worked.  There has never been a genuine NEED for these laws.  Even in the case that you used to justify the creation of this law, where a homeowner used deadly force, and then had to wait to have confirmed that he would not be prosecuted, the original law which covered home self-defense worked better than the NRA and ALEC written Stand Your Ground Law.
Have the sense, have the courage, to admit that your legislation not only does not work as you say it was intended, it is an unmitigated disaster.  It has racked up dead bodies and injured people who should never have been harmed.  What it has not done is to make anyone safer.
Every time you state that you did not INTEND for it to work the way it has, REMEMBER that law enforcement in your state warned you it would work exactly this way, and Prosecutors in your state warned you as well.
It is not true only of your state; it is true in the same way in every state that has emulated your legislative failure.  In every state where that imitation has occurred, the hand of special interests which profited were behind it.  That is corruption.
There is no surprise here for you other than people finally noticed on a large scale, at the same time, what has been perfectly clear.  Your special interest gun nut legislation is a clinker, a very deadly flop.
Repeal it.  Don't 'tinker' with it, don't try to make stupid cosmetic improvements.  Changing the color of the lipstick you put on the pig won't materially change the fundamental truth that it's still just lipstick and still the same old pig.
The gun nuts were wrong.  The ideologues were wrong.  Governor's like Minnesota's Mark Dayton were right not to go along with the right wing on this.
Man up, admit the failure, and fix the mistake; get rid of your Stand Your Ground Shoot First Make My Day law.  Your gun nuts aren't as safe as they told you they were going to be.  While you're revisiting the Shoot First debacle, your gun carry permit laws could use some work as well.  If you're not sure, take a look at the number of people who get shot in your state.  If you don't look for yourself, I can promise you people will be pointing it out to you for the foreseeable future and beyond.
If you don't get it NOW, you can be removed in November, and probably will be.
In Florida you won't be in legislative session again until March 2013, unless there is a special session, other than for your problems with redistricting.  Maybe it's time for one of those special sessions before November, to fix this problem by getting rid of your bad legislation.  Otherwise a lot of other people will be dead between now and March 2013 who would not be dead if it had not been for your bad law.
There are ghosts lined up; Trayvon Martin is just the newest one, that is going to haunt your conscience, if you have one.  He's the one in the Hoodie.


  1. "Trayvon Martin is just the newest one, that is going to haunt your conscience, if you have one."

    Really? Why would an act of self defense or a criminal act of violence (I don't know which one it was, the grand jury is still out) of a person we don't know haunt us?

    There is only one irrefutable fact in the shooting of Trayvon Martin: the Stand Your Ground law does NOT apply as a defense for Mr. Zimmerman. Not even close.

  2. Hi Patrick Henry - welcome to Penigma and thank you for your comment (even if we disagree).

    There is no act of shooting an unarmed person who Zimmerman appears to have stalked and harassed that is self defense. In FLorida, acts like Zimmerman's where a vigilante hunts down someone and kills them is allowed to go on all too often. A man who ran down another man for committing a burglary, and killed him by stabbing him in the head was just let off. Others have gotten away with murder, because of the way the Stand Someone Else's Ground was writtn.

    That is wrong, it is morlly and ethically wrong, and it darn well should be legally a crime as well. That it is not is solely at the door of the NRA, of ALEC, and of the right wing politicians that are paid off directly and indirectly by special interests to pass this.

    No one has been prosecuted for genuine self-defense shootings in their homes. When they take off after other people, taking on themselves the role of law enforcement they're nothing better than vigilantes.

    This kid did nothing wrong. Where someone has done something wrong, it has been minor, usually not a felony, but the killers get off scott free anyway, despite using what would be considered excessive and disproportional force if it were done by cops.

    There should not be a double standard, with ordinary citizens having greater leniency to use violence than police do. No one should have to worry about gun nuts run amuck.