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Welcome To Florida, Where The NRA Rules And We Proudly Stand Our Ground

Memo Pad National News

Welcome To Florida, Where The NRA Rules And We Proudly Stand Our Ground

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Don’t hold your breath waiting for the state legislature to fix Florida’s cockeyed Stand Your Ground law. The National Rifle Association owns too many of the Republican lawmakers who could end the madness.

Nothing will get done in Tallahassee as long as black kids are the ones getting shot by white guys claiming they acted in self-defense. What might eventually pressure politicians to change the law is when white guys start getting shot.

The jaw-dropping verdict in the Michael Dunn case in Jacksonville brought not a peep of outrage from GOP leaders in the House or Senate. The outcome shamefully underscored the lunacy of Stand Your Ground, and once again put Florida in the national spotlight as a gun-nut mecca.

Dunn, who is white, got into an argument over loud music with some black teenagers who were parked beside him at a gas-station convenience store. He pulled a handgun and fired into the teens’ SUV, then crouched and continued shooting as it sped away.

In all, Dunn fired 10 times. Jordan Davis, age 17, was killed.

Oddly, Dunn didn’t call the police. He checked into a motel with his girlfriend and ordered pizza. The next day he was arrested in Brevard County, where he lives.

At the trial, Dunn said he saw a shotgun being pointed at him from the SUV, and that he fired in self-defense. He also said Davis got out of the vehicle and threatened him.

No weapon was found in the SUV. Dunn’s own girlfriend testified that, contrary to his account, he never once mentioned to her that he’d seen a shotgun. Moreover, a medical examiner said Davis’ wounds indicated he’d been seated inside the vehicle, leaning back, when he was fatally struck by Dunn’s bullets.

The jury voted unanimously to convict Dunn on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for continuing to blast away at the SUV as it raced off.

However, the panel deadlocked 10-2 on the first-degree murder charge, the majority favoring conviction. Then it was 9-3.

The sticking point was Florida’s spongy self-defense law that essentially allows the use of lethal force if a person feels threatened.

True or not, practically anybody who shoots another person can say they feared for their lives, whether it’s a barroom fight, a domestic brawl or a traffic altercation. Self-defense claims in homicides have skyrocketed since 2005, when Stand Your Ground was passed.

Gang members, in particular, are big fans of the law.

No verdict was reached on the killing of Jordan Davis, so Michael Dunn is going to prison for attempting to murder the three other occupants of the car. Try to figure that one out, especially if you’re the parents of that dead teenager.

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Carl Hiaasen

Carl Hiaasen is an award-winning journalist, commentator, and novelist. Hiaasen has worked for the Miami Herald since 1976, and his writing focuses on environmental and corruption issues in his home state of Florida.

His latest book is Skink—No Surrender (2014).

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45 Comments

  1. aldisiij367 February 25, 2014

    My Uncle Zachary
    recently got a 9 month old Mercedes-Benz CL-Class CL63 AMG only from working
    off a home pc… go now C­a­s­h­D­u­t­i­e­s­.­ℂ­o­m

    Reply
    1. Daniel Jones February 25, 2014

      I have flagged your *blatant* spam as being inappropriate, as it has *nothing* to do with the article or any previous comment!

      Have a nice day (preferably in court)

      1. daniel bostdorf February 25, 2014

        they be gone….moderators got em! Disqus corporate has also banned them!

      2. daniel bostdorf February 25, 2014

        nte from disqus–Hi Daniel,

        Thanks for bringing this user to our attention. We have banned them and removed their account.

        Best,

        -Ryan Greaves

        Product Support

    2. jmprint February 25, 2014

      Person like you is why the republicans think they have to speak for all Women.

      1. daniel bostdorf February 25, 2014

        they be banned…

  2. daniel bostdorf February 25, 2014

    The NRA has brainwashed gun totting Floridians (and America) in believing that they have a right to own handguns or assault rifles based on the second amendment. They are stretching the truth, and at times telling blatant lies. Gun manufacturing propaganda…Read the text of the 2nd Amendment… Consider the times when it was drafted. Understand how it doesn’t apply to the weapons and conditions we have today.

    Especially when the loons of Florida have a legal right to murder called “stand your ground.”

    Reply
    1. latebloomingrandma February 25, 2014

      I can see how he feared for his life after being hit by flying popcorn. One needs to carry a gun at all times in preparation for airborne food.

      1. Vincent J. Venturini February 25, 2014

        Well Daniel, as Wayne LaPierre pointed out. The best defense against bad people with popcorn is good people with guns. The bumper sticker is right: Beam me up Scottie, there is no intelligent life down here.”

        1. Sand_Cat February 25, 2014

          Better to get “beamed up” than blown up;-)

        2. daniel bostdorf February 25, 2014

          And as the Lord thy God said: “Thou shall not kill.”

      2. daniel bostdorf February 25, 2014

        I love the humor….the guy below vincent is a bit weird eh?

      3. progressiveandproud February 26, 2014

        LOL!!

    2. Annemb February 25, 2014

      Well, hallelujah! Finally, someone else who interprets the true meaning of the Second Amendment.

      Blessings, Daniel bostdorf!

    3. neeceoooo February 25, 2014

      I appreciate your thoughts and I agree wholeheartedly but I hate labeling these people as crazy or lunatics because they probably are neither. The world is filled with bad people and to give them an excuse by indicating that they are lunatics or crazy somehow makes it feel like they are not responsible for their actions.

      1. daniel bostdorf February 25, 2014

        Point well taken…the labeling is inappropriate and I apologize. I have a relative with a brain chemistry imbalance, I should know better…I have corrected it…

        1. neeceoooo February 25, 2014

          Oh I understand, I have used the expression myself but I try to catch it and change the wording. We have the tendency to explain a bad deed as crazy and I think that gives the bad deed a way out or an excuse for doing it.

    4. howa4x February 25, 2014

      I don’t think the tea party ever read or understood our constitution

      1. Kim Serrahn February 25, 2014

        I didn’t think they could read. I know they can’t spell worth a damn when they’re pissed.

  3. ps0rjl February 25, 2014

    I was in the marines doing Vietnam. If you carried a weapon in the compound with a chambered round you could be written up. Stateside you goat a rifle assigned to you when you arrived at your duty station but it stayed in the armory until an officer authorized you to have it such as requalifying

    Reply
    1. idamag February 25, 2014

      The NRA wants to turn our streets, malls, theaters, and schools into war zones. When people no longer feel comfortable going outside, the business will suffer.

      1. BDC_57 February 25, 2014

        The NRA is for the big gun company they don’t care about the owners of the guns all they care about is the money the big gun company is making.

  4. Independent1 February 25, 2014

    Hiaasen does a nice job of describing the real world – Florida is just another GOP-run state that’s run amok. At the meeting Monday with Obama, Bobby Jindal ranted about how great GOP-run states have done with their supposed governing, totally ignoring the fact that America’s red states are by far the worst in almost every measurable social, safety, education and political category in America, other than being “cheapskate states”.

    And not only that, but loose gun laws and barebones budgets that state legislators are more than willing to cut to deprive their state’s residents of not only monetary dependent services but also their actual safety, is just one reason that Florida along with all red states in general are not only bad for your health but will also almost guarantee that its residents live a shorter than average lifespan (people living in red states live on average of 2 years shorter lives than people in blue states and as much as 5 years shorter). And as Hiaasen pointed out, lax gun laws and idiotic gun related regulations are one reason for that.

    And for those who haven’t seen a replay of Jindal’s idiotic outburst on the White House lawn yesterday, here’s the link to an article covering that outburst:

    http://news.yahoo.com/governors-erupt-partisan-dispute-white-house-184420111–politics.html?vp=1

    Reply
    1. plc97477 February 25, 2014

      Maybe jindal was pointing out that as a rule red states spend more of out taxes than they send to DC.

  5. howa4x February 25, 2014

    I don’t know what makes people so afraid that they would go out and buy and assault rifle, On one hand the right wing are for stronger police, and on the other want to take the law into their own hands. When people leave the house armed they are just waiting for the right moment to use their weapon. It is in the back of their mind otherwise they would leave it home. They see danger everywhere and have paranoid delusions about this group and that group. The right wing wants to create a state where you are allowed to kill an adult or teen for limited provocation, but doesn’t want you to kill a fetus which they feel is sacrosanct. Why?

    Reply
    1. Annemb February 25, 2014

      Exactly!!!

      It’s fear that is being marketed by the NRA and the gun industry.

      However, could one answer to your first sentence be that perhaps these people should be drafted to serve their country in the military? At least they could learn more than “just” owning a gun.

      Great post!

      1. howa4x February 25, 2014

        I don’t think Zimmerman could pass a military physical. He couldn’t even pass the local police tests. Sometimes toting a gun around makes little people feel like big powerful ones. These are people who are not comfortable with who they are.

        1. Annemb February 25, 2014

          Excellent post! I believe you hit the nail on the head regarding Zimmerman and why some carry a gun.

          Blessings and thanks.

    2. idamag February 25, 2014

      Remember when we sang, “…land of the free and home of the brave?” It is no longer home of the brave and some people are not free to drive their cars with loud music on, or to go to the store for skittles and ice tea. Boycott Florida. If it is made there, don’t buy it. If you are thinking about retiring down there, choose a safer state.When they run out of minorities to shoot, they might start on the elderly.

      1. neeceoooo February 25, 2014

        These people going around screaming “stand your ground” are not brave it is the cowards way out.

        1. BDC_57 February 25, 2014

          You got that right I heard the George Zimmerman interview and he is coward.

      2. howa4x February 25, 2014

        The gun shine state is getting to look like south Chicago

    3. Sand_Cat February 25, 2014

      Want to know what makes me afraid enough to at least consider buying an assault rifle? The “responsible, law-abiding” members of the NRA and similar groups.

  6. moelarryandjesus February 25, 2014

    Just change the state’s name to Moronida.

    Reply
  7. Sand_Cat February 25, 2014

    Well that settles it: Oulson said he was scared “sh_tless”; how can one hold someone responsible for his actions when he has no brain?

    Reply
  8. neeceoooo February 25, 2014

    We can say what we want about the 2nd amendment and stand your ground or any other policy that allows people to shoot at will but the fact of the matter is, mothers and fathers have lost their children to something as senseless as “stand your ground”. These are not just thugs or black people but they are sons and daughters, brothers and sisters. It is a sad day in this country when we think less of the life for another human being as to our “rights”.

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 25, 2014

      well stated!

  9. Angel Perea February 25, 2014

    THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH: Why has one on the National Pressed ask Jeb Bush to comment on Stand Your Ground Law? Has everyone forgot its his bill that he signed to put into law as Governor? Well Jeb, what do you think of your bill now that legalizes Whites to kill black youth? Why have you been so silent? Hum.

    Reply
  10. stcroixcarp February 25, 2014

    AMENDMENT II
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    The second is about the right of the STATE to protect itself with a well regulated militia (National Guard) not about individuals running around with guns shooting other citizens (or even aliens) if they FEEL unsafe.

    Reply
    1. Independent1 February 25, 2014

      We can all thank the right-wing biased SCOTUS for interpreting what you just stated as suggesting that it applied to individual ownership of guns back in 2008. It has been since SCOTUS made that decision on a 5-4 vote that gun sales have skyrocketed.

  11. Kim Serrahn February 25, 2014

    Having sort of the same discussion over on another site about the new law in CT., http://wearechange.org/connecticut-sends-first-confiscation-letters/#comment-1260553304

    Reply
    1. daniel bostdorf February 25, 2014

      Thank you for your right wing troll view…

  12. charles king February 25, 2014

    I am at a lost for words that is needed for these mis-understanding of eachothers presence . (Critical Thinking) is a good place too start. What? the hell is going on in our beloved country. Why? cant we get help from our representives in Congress they should offer some kind of solutions to solve these misinderstandings of our society. Who?is in charge of our welfare. Why? does the NRA has so much say-so in these situations. Where? and When? are we going to start getting somethings done to help the people Who? are involve in these situations. You Do NOT DO NOTHING ! Thank You are the magic words in my book. I Love Ya All. Check-out Webster’s Dict. Democracy VS Plutocracy..Who ? and Why? and What? are these smalltowns USA Commissioners. Mr. C. E. KING

    Reply
  13. highpckts February 25, 2014

    Legal murder!!

    Reply
  14. BiggerFatterPolitics November 11, 2014

    Click to see why Stand Your Ground is Jesus approved Killing an’t murder when you do it for the lord!

    Reply

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