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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Stand your ground ProtestingFlorida House of Representatives Speaker Will Weatherfold (R) announced on Friday that Florida legislators will hold hearings in the fall concerning the state’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law, which allows people to use deadly force in self-defense when they believe their life is at risk.

The announcement comes nearly a month after a not-guilty verdict was reached in the George Zimmerman trial. Two jurors stated that because of the Stand Your Ground law, they had no choice but to acquit Zimmerman, who fatally shot unarmed African-American teenager Trayvon Martin.

After the acquittal, Martin’s parents were joined by civic leaders, students, and political figures — including President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder — in urging Florida to review the law.

“Across Florida, representatives are receiving calls, letters, visits and emails from constituents with diverse opinions on ‘Stand Your Ground,’” Weatherfold said in his announcement.

He also asked: “Does the law keep the innocent safer? Is it being applied fairly? Are there ways we can make this law clearer and more understandable?”

These are the same questions being asked across Florida and the nation by those who fear that the law only protects a few privileged groups of people.

Critics argue that the law is not applied fairly across the board, and also allows anyone who deems another person threatening – even if only because of race or gender – to use lethal force against that person.

Race also plays a significant role in how a person is prosecuted in the context of the law.

A national Quinnipiac University poll released on Friday found that most voters support the Stand Your Ground laws, but that gender, race, and ideology divide Americans on the question of whether to retreat or use deadly force in self-defense. The poll also found that a majority of white voters and men support the laws, black voters generally oppose them, and women are more evenly divided.

  • Looks like a very specific law needs to be composed, let’s call it travons’ Law.
    In this Law it is forbidden to instigate a fight THEN use deadly force claiming there was a threat to ones safety.
    Apprently judges in Florida want to separate the circumstances leading up to a shotting from the very moment of the shooting itself.
    They don’t want to piss off the voters as Floridas’ judges are elected not appointed.
    Hell, they had to pay a Law in Florida forbidding sex with anaimals cause ‘people didn’t know’. Remember WOOF! means No!

  • sigrid28

    Hurray! Nepotism is alive and well in Florida! A father and son team, Chairman of the Criminal Justice Subcommittee Matt Gaetz (R) and his father Senate President Don Gaetz (R), argue as one for the Stand Your Ground law sponsored by Koch-backed ALEC (which designed the template for this law as passed in fifteen other states) and ALEC’S side-kick the NRA (always happy to back legislation that sells weapons). In a state where nepotism and cronyism seem to have established a sure foothold, why should it be surprising that a Republican governor and legislature would support voter suppression and other xenophobic impulses. Xenophobia, fear of the other, causes those who believe in nepotism and cronyism to run into the arms of their kinsmen and business partners, especially if any money is involved. Stand Your Ground laws allow bigots free expression of their xenophobic tendencies, as the Trayvon Martin case so will illustrates.

  • m8lsem

    The problem with ‘stand your ground’ if not very carefully written, is that it let’s someone pick a fight, and then pull out a gun when the fight is going badly for them.

    • FredAppell

      There is key word in that law that makes it a deeply flawed law. If a person “feels” their life is in danger they have the right to defend themselves with deadly force. The problem is with the word “feels” and the vagueness of the law.
      Like you said, it was poorly written which leaves it open to abuse and misinterpretation.

    • silence dogood

      Wrong — The person who initiates the action can not use “stand your ground” as a defense. Try learning the basics.

      • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

        So, you are saying that George Zimmerman did not initiate the action by accosting Trayvon Martin?

        • Dominick Vila

          I suspect the reason the defense did not invoke SYG during the George Zimmerman trial is because it would have backfired. The entire defense was centered on the premise of a poor defenseless vigilante being beaten by a vicious teenager. Had SYG been invoked, Trayvon Martin would have been the one Standing His Ground since he was the one who was singled out and followed by a creepy guy.

          • Jon Savage

            the prob is syg was brought up by the judge in jury directives

          • Dominick Vila

            Interestingly, it was brought up in the context of the aggressor having the right to defend himself, rather than the victim having the right to protect himself.

        • idamag

          Looks like, according to Florida, Trayvon Martin initiated the action by coming into Zimmerman’s line of vision.

      • idamag

        really?

  • idamag

    What has Florida and their license to kill laws done to the reputation of this country? I just read an article in the “Week” magazine. It is entitled “How do they see us: a racist nation of vigilantes.” It goes on to quote several foreign newspapers. The United Kingdom newspaper “The Independent”, says the facts are clear, Trayvon Martin was an unarmed juvenile who was killed by an armed vigilante. “The London Times”: “The United Kingdom rejoiced when Obama became president, but the but in the American South they spat out their chaw, cranked up their pickups and headed for town to get more ammo.” David Hesse of the Tages Anzeiger (Switzerland) “Everywhere you go you see Restaurants and even entire neighborhoods where everyone is the same race. Now, every young Black Male has been put on notice that they can be executed for walking down the street in any area where you aren’t known to every paranoic.” In Florida, the same state where Zimmerman walked free, a Black woman got 20 years for firing a gun to warn her husband to back off. If I go on to quote what German and Swedish newspapers say, this will get too long.

    • tdm3624

      I am curious if the “Week” magazine’s article outlined how other nation’s views of the U.S. will change their foreign and economic policies towards the U.S.

      • dpaano

        Yes it does…..the WEEK magazine is one of the really truly bi-partisan magazines being published today….it gives BOTH sides of each story and is quite good.

        • tdm3624

          Thanks! I will check it out.

  • Dominick Vila

    The essence of Stand Your Ground, take matters into your own hands and don’t hesitate to use lethal force if you deem appropriate Vs dialogue or avoiding confrontation, makes this “law”, which I prefer to characterize as a license to kill, something that only an individual consumed by hatred and prone to irrational behavior would endorse. Stand Your Ground is a sad commentary on our society and makes a mockery of our claim of being a Nation of laws. This is one “law” no sane person should even consider.

    • idamag

      It is just that: a license to kill. There are so many out there who should not be carrying a gun and the nra advocates more guns. In order to sell guns, they want to make our streets and schools a war zone. I will never go to Florida again.

    • disqus_LcxpBv2uzz

      An attorney I know (not from Florida) researched the SYG law during the GZ trial. and concluded that the way the law is written, GZ could not be convicted. My attorney (politically liberal-thinks SYG is bad law) stated that you can get into an argument with someone in Florida, shoot and kill them, and be exonerated under SYG as long as there ARE NO WITNESSES, and you claim that you feared for your life. Talk about a license to kill!

  • disqus_9i6pUJ4xMT

    I don’t have an issue with the SYG law, but they have to reword it. Both person should have the right to walked away from confrontation with the other person. Carrying a gun is not illegal if you have a permit to do so, but they can say that their life was threaten and they had a right to shoot. But what constitute your life being threaten?I can see protecting you house, your property your family on your property, but walking down the street and if someone bumps into you, you have the right to shoot them, that is what I don’t like about the law.

    • RobertCHastings

      They should not have the “right”, it should be a responsibility of first choice. The Florida SYG law has made the most important responsibility carrying a gun.

  • Lovefacts

    The only reason Florida is reassessing the SYG law is because convictions are being challenged in court. Black women, inside their own homes, and have fired a weapon are being charged, found guilty, and sent to prison of years. One who have fired warning shot when her estranged husband violated a restraining order and broke into their house got 20 years. Another with a restraining order killed her ex-husband when he broke down the door and came at her was also found guilty. Both cases are being applied on civil rights violations. 20 years for firing a warning shot, and the man had a history of beating you and had, on the record, threatened to kill you, while GZ wouldn’t have been charged without public outcry? Really? As with most things, the institutional racial animus and lack of equality with Florida’s implementation of SYG will result in these two cases and others being overturned upon appeal.

  • idamag

    Boycott Florida. Seniors, spend your winters and retirement in Arizona. Less bugs and less violence.

  • Angel Perea

    THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH: So will ex- Gov. Jeb Bush show up since he signed the NRA legislation into law? He has been interestingly silent!