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The Miami Herald has been running a number of very good articles on the killing of Trayvon Martin.  In Marc Caputo's piece on the "stand your ground" legislation, he indicates that the bill's authors "said the law did not need to be clarified and said some are using Trayvon's death to attack gun rights."  [emphasis added]

NO!  We are attacking legislation that is so poorly written that it's Florida and this nation's version of what in the old James Bond movies was called "00" status -- a license to kill.  

The legislators who wrote the bill (Peadon and Baxley) say their law says nothing about "a right to pursue" or that Zimmerman lost his stand-your-ground defense when he ignored the dispatcher's request.

Both statements leak like sieves.

NO RIGHT TO PURSUE --  If a person is truly put in fear of the loss of his/her life, then they are supposed to allow their assailant to get away when the assailant fails in their mission to kill or gravely harm the intended victim?  HINT: There is not a defense attorney in the world who would fail to knock that one out of the park with testimony from the intended victim that she/he was afraid the assailant still constituted a threat, might be coming back, might be going to retrieve another weapon, or might be going to get others who might assist the assailant in making good the attack?

IGNORING THE DISPATCHER -- Failing to follow the orders of a law enforcement officer is a crime.  HINT: Failing to follow a dispatcher's "request' is just one killer's claim of "a misunderstanding or a bad cell connection"  away from an acquittal or a no-bill from a grand jury.

The humps who wrote the bill know this.  So, what do they do?  They play the right-wing trump card.  They scream at us that, "This is all about the second amendment and gun haters!" in an attempt to re-frame the issue so that their craven disregard of their responsibility to pass legislation for the "health and safety" of Floridians will not be the focus of attention.

But, these humps shouldn't feel too bad.  Numb-nuts in 24 or so other states are in the same boat (which unfortunately does not seem to be sinking).  

In another recent article in The Herald, David Simon was spot on. As he noted, we screen, then train and train law enforcement officers, so that they can make "shoot-don't shoot" decisions that are likely to be correct, with an emphasis on the "likely."  

These "00" laws give every armed citizen the right to make such decisions with absolutely no training and nothing other than their fears, their prejudices, or their fantasies to carry them through these highly-charged life or death decisions.

The scary reality is that Stand-Your-Ground legislation anywhere it is in effect translates far too easily in practice into the functional equivalent of "Double 0" status.  

I am not an enemy of gun rights.  I certainly am an enemy of legislation, citizens, or legislators who callously fail to acknowledge the responsibilities, as well as the rights, embedded in the Second Amendment.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    The folly of mistaking a paradox for a discovery, a metaphor for a proof, a torrent of verbiage for a spring of capital truths, and oneself for an oracle is inborn in us." Paul Valery, French poet, essayist, philosopher, and curmudgeon, 1895

    by ATexican on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 05:09:54 PM PDT

  •  Gun owners seem to have to many rights and (4+ / 0-)

    so few responsibilities.  

  •  I was in Miami recently (6+ / 0-)

    and was car jacked.  When police arrived the first question I was asked by the officer was 'was the guy black'?  There I stood like a complete moron with my mouth hanging open and wondering if it was a trick question.

    The lawmakers and law enforcement need to be moved into 2012.

  •  not true. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eyesoars, KVoimakas, VClib

    " Failing to follow the orders of a law enforcement officer is a crime"

    Dispatcher isn't an officer, and her directive wasn't an order.

  •  When I bought my car, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ngk01001, Wee Mama

    before I could drive it, I had to have a driver's license.

    In order to obtain that license, I had to pass a written test and a road test- to make sure I knew how to handle a car and understood the laws.

    Then I had to register the car with the Department of Motor Vehicles.  Before I could do that, I first had to get insurance on the car.

    Do gun owners go through this?

    There should be licenses- with written tests and marksmanship ability.  And all licenses should be tracked the way Motor Vehicle can track driver's licenses.

    There should be strict registration laws and every gun owner should have insurance.

    Failure to have any of these should result in the same penalties that failure to have any of the required paperwork for cars entail.

    And bullets should be taxed- a lot.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 05:54:47 PM PDT

  •  In other news from Forida (2+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    VClib, Carol in San Antonio
    Hidden by:
    Texas Lefty

    The trial is underway for Shawn Tyson, another 17 year old, who shot two British tourists last year after they had too much to drink while vacationing in Sarasota, and lost their way on the way back to their hotel.  They made the mistake of straying into a housing project in the Sarasota area, and were confronted by Tyson, brandishing a gun.  He demanded their money, but they claimed they had none.

    "Well then", Tyson said..."I have something for your asses."

    He shot one of them 4 times, and the other twice.  Both died.

    It didn't make much news here (on Kos), but it did in the UK.

    I just did a search and couldn't come up with more than two diaries written about the 15 year old white girl who was gang raped over a 2 1/2 hour period at her high school homecoming dance in Richmond, California.  Initial police reports suggested that as many as 20 men sexually violated her, while as many looked on and took pictures with their "smart phones."

    Only 6 of the perpetrators were arrested and arraigned...nobody would finger the other parties, it seems.  The fact that the victim was White and the perps were all either Latino or Black, I'm sure, has nothing to do with the relatively miniscule attention the story garnered on this Blog.  She wasn't just gang raped for 2 1/2 hours...she was sent to intensive care with wounds all over her body.  When they weren't raping her, they were pissing on her to get rid of the beer they were all drinking...and penetrating her with foreign objects.

    It was a disgusting story...with obvious racial overtones...but got little mention here.  What if the perps were here illegally?  Quite possible, given Richmond, Calif.  Wow...a serious crime like this might mean they get deported or separated from their family.  Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    Then there is the case a year and a half ago from Cleveland, Texas.  An 11 year old Latina...11 fucking years old!!!...Was repeated gang raped over a 2 month period by as many as 28 Black men and youths.  Her father only found out when one of the sick MF's asked a friend to snap a pic on his cell phone while she was servicing him, and send it to her father's cell phone number.  Ha Ha...what a laugh that must have been.

    But I did another search here on Kos...and it seems this crime must have slipped under the radar as well.  That's understandable.  Not everyone reads the Houston Chronicle.  Or the LA Tomes, OR USA Today, Or the NY Times, OR the Chicago Tribune, OR AP, REUTERS or, for that matter, the English language.

    Then again...maybe the fact that the perps looked like this:
    http://a.abcnews.com/...
    led many to just say to themselves...hell if I'm gonna touch THIS one...let somebody else diary about it.

    You see...there is a lot a racial ugliness out there.  And this Zimmerman case is just one of them.

    What's interesting to me is that so many check their moral outrage at the door...and wait until the coast is clear and the band wagon has started to leave the station before jumping onboard.

    Would that 15 year old in Richmond have been brutalized the way she was if she had been a minority student?  Who knows...and nobody here would ever dare ask that question.

    Would those 28 thugs in Cleveland, TX have raped an 11 year old girl that was related to one of their own families?  Or a friend of their families?  Or was it okay by them to force her to suck their dicks, because her parents were Latinos?
    Don't look for answers here...or even the question.  Too...queasy.  Too loaded.  Too real.  And the discussion it engenders leads in uncomfortable directions.

    Those two Brits?  Everyone knows you shouldn't stray into the wrong neighborhood after dark...bad things can happen.
    Nothing to see here.  Because...just as some people instantly become "suspects" when they find themselves in the wrong neighborhood...other people instantly become victims.

    That is race in this country.  And it is ugly.

    And think what you will about me, but I DO find this Martin case in Florida to be a travesty, and a tragedy...

    But I am equally offended by many other crimes that have every bit as much racial baggage as this story does, but never get talked about.  Because it's, you know...uncomfortable.  I think there were 3 diaries about the Cleveland Texas gang rapes...2 of which garnered less than 20 responses.

    Moral consistency, it seems, is the Hobgoblin of small minds.

    "By your late thirties the ground has begun to grow hard. It grows harder and harder until the day that it admits you.” Thomas McGuane, Nobody's Angel

    by Keith930 on Sat Mar 24, 2012 at 06:29:18 PM PDT

  •  Instead of calling it "Stand Your Ground," (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jan4insight

    Why don't we call it what it really is?  "The Child-Killer Loophole Law."  

    I understand the racial angle to all of this, but it's obscuring a more fundamental problem with this law.  The law doesn't speak about race.  It says that you can run wild through the streets and kill children and claim self-defense -- and go home with your own gun without being arrested.

    I suppose the authorities would have found some damn good reason to arrest Zimmerman if he were black and wearing a hoodie and he shot some blond-haired white kid.  But that's not an issue with the law itself, but with local Sanford law enforcement, and it's actually not even as interesting considering the scale of the other issues.

    Why is it that Republicans are defending a law that gives child murderers a free Get out of Jail card?

    If they want to argue, "Oh, well, he was black, so somebody could have REASONABLY thought he was armed and dangerous," well, let them try to make that argument.  Put the onus on them to volunteer something like that on their own dime.  We don't HAVE to accuse them of being bigots.  They will PROVE it in their own words by defending the right of crazy thugs to shoot unarmed children.

  •  the biggest problem mr. zimmerman faces, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happy camper

    with respect to using the "Stand Your Ground" law as a defense, is that the law requires that you have ground to stand on first. he didn't. "Stand Your Ground" means exactly that, stay right where you are, not go chasing after someone who's going in the opposite direction, which is exactly what mr. zimmerman did.

    the "Stand Your Ground" law assumes that you have legal grounds to be where you are, and the other party doesn't. in this case, both parties had every legal right to be where they were, and mr. zimmerman had no legal authority to confront mr. martin.

    mr. zimmerman's use of the "Stand Your Ground" law, as justification for murdering the unarmed mr. martin (assuming this is mr. zimmerman's attorney's plan) may well blow up in his face, as he doesn't seem to qualify (a reading of the plain text of the law) under its provisions.

    of the two, mr. martin would seem to have a better argument than would mr. zimmerman, since it was mr. zimmerman who was (admittedly) doing the pursuing, not mr. martin.

  •  Nothing rational (3+ / 0-)

    in your post whatsoever.

    First, there's nothing illegal about following someone in most instances. You can't connect the confrontation and shooting that followed with the initial surveillance. They're not connected, except in that it might be enough to allow the victim to claim they were in fear and were using force in self defense...except that they're dead and therefore can't make that claim.

    I don't know Florida law very well, but in almost no state do dispatchers speak with the force of law. You are almost never under ANY requirement to follow their suggestions. Not sure where you're getting this from, but if you have direct citation of a statute I'd LOVE to see it.

    Actually most officers are hired specifically because they WONT make judgements about following orders and training. America hires A-type, non-creative, average or lower intelligence, amoral, ego drones for law enforcement, and we do it purposefully. While they do receive shoot-don't-shoot training, so do a ton of other people.

    There is very little expansion of rights included in castle doctrine and stand your ground. Except when in a home which is forcibly entered, or when facing a forcible felony in the home, you must still show either that he was threatened with great bodily harm, death, or a forcible felony, or he tried to retreat before shooting and THEN reasonably felt he faced imminent great bodily harm. If he doesn't, he has no immunity and can be arrested and tried. This is in essence no different than the laws of most states for the last couple hundred years.

    The only real change here is that it removes the judicially applied (not through statute or popular mandate) duty to retreat, which is an incredibly dangerous requirement (never mind the legal/moral pitfalls).

    I understand people being irritated about Zimmerman remaining free while this investigation takes place, but think of the potential opposite in all the other cases that happen: that every person, even if absolutely justified in shooting, would be arrested and treated as if they were guilty, having to spend thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, face being ostracized, face ridicule and shame, face harassment, and in the end might still be wrongly convicted (as has OFTEN happened).

    Personally I'd rather one guilty man went free than countless innocents lose their rights and potentially their lives being wrongly accused.

    •  Evidence? (0+ / 0-)
      Actually most officers are hired specifically because they WONT make judgements about following orders and training. America hires A-type, non-creative, average or lower intelligence, amoral, ego drones for law enforcement, and we do it purposefully. While they do receive shoot-don't-shoot training, so do a ton of other people.
      Aren't nearly all employees expected to follow the policies and procedures of their employer?

      I'm curious what your evidence is for this statement.

      •  Many things. (0+ / 0-)

        This case:

        http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/...

        brought it to public light, but it's been known for thirty plus years. There was a fundamental shift in policing during the late sixties. To accomplish the new methodology required a certain type of officer. Basically they wanted marines, not peace officers. They've carefully tailored their testing procedures to give them just that.

        It's one thing to follow common sense rules, or to match missions with mentalities...but it's another to look for what amounts to soldiers of policy implementation.

        The big problem in researching it is how hard the force works at portraying themselves positively and discounting detractors as conspiracy theorists. There's a LOT of scholarly work out there on the subject...just double check that its not an internal piece, nor a compilation of net nuts.

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