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.