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Monday, May 27, 2024
HomePolicyWhy Gov. Rick Scott Did Not Change ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

Why Gov. Rick Scott Did Not Change ‘Stand Your Ground’ Law

An all-women jury of George Zimmerman’s peers rendered a just “not guilty” verdict, and it had nothing to do with the ‘stand your ground’ provision in the Florida statute. Nevertheless, continuing with the false theme throughout the circus trial, the Attorney General Eric Holder, and the race-mongers have now taken aim at Florida’s stand your ground law.

Many of us knew that the tragic death of one deeply troubled black youth never had anything to do with the manufactured outrage. However, what is equally unknown is that stand your ground is responsible for saving lives, not taking them, and that’s why Florida Gov. Rick Scott did not change the law.

Commissioned by Gov. Rick Scott in the wake of the manufactured uproar over Trayvon Martin’s death, the Citizen Safety and Protection Task Force, a 19-member bi-partisan task force spent six-months traveling the state and taking public testimony about the provision from the people of Florida.

In a report to the Legislature, the group offered up only minor tweaks to the law — including changes that could actually make it easier to claim self-defense after killing someone.

“We reaffirm the validity of the legislation that was enacted in 2005 and the importance of the ability of a truly innocent victim to be able to stand his or her ground” if they are attacked, said Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, who helped draft the law.

The report sparked immediate criticism from gun control advocates and some lawmakers.

“I didn’t expect anything. I really truly didn’t expect anything,” said Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens. “It was a Republican-dominated commission, and it was full of people who supported ‘stand your ground’ to begin with.” Of course, that is a complete lie. The truth is that many of the Democrats on the commissioner are not anti-Second Amendment as the mainstream of the party platform has become.

Ultimately, the task force’s final report asks the Legislature, the courts system and the law enforcement community to review the law further to make sure it is applied equally and fairly.

Enacted in 2005 and backed by the National Rifle Association, the ‘stand your ground’ law grants legal immunity to people who use deadly force if they reasonably believe their life is in danger. The codification of the state law is truly a reenforcement of common law tradition in America, not a revelation as Eric Holder claimed during his speech at the NAACP. The Attorney General might want to take a look at the Federal law of self defense, specifically Federal Jury instruction Section 8-8, which doesn’t require or reflect a legal norm to retreat as Holder claimed. As Greta Van Susteren wrote and reported, and Greta happens to be a lawyer, there is no duty in the federal statute either:

You are allowed to defend yourself (if the person honestly and reasonably believes he is in apparent imminent danger that is life is about to be taken.) You are not required to run. You can defend yourself.

Two dozen states have passed similar laws since 2005, and several so-called studies show that “justifiable homicides” have increased significantly in the places that have enacted “stand your ground” laws. Reports have also shown that the law has had disparate impacts on racial minorities, and many liberals have attacked the law because the people who have successfully used it are felons. Do felons, if need be, no longer have a right to defend themselves? I didn’t realize that a felony means you have to let someone else beat you to death, does it?

More than 10,000 people wrote letters and emails to the task force, either defending the law or condemning it.

Tabbatha Nussbaummer, a Pensacola woman who shot and killed an attacker last year, said the law was necessary, though – just as every other law – it has been misapplied at times. She said:

I was not thinking about the ‘stand your ground’ law. I was thinking about protecting myself and my family.

The task force recommended changing the law to discourage neighborhood watch volunteers from engaging in vigilantism, which is a shame, because it will not be able to draw a clear line between vigilantism and protecting your own. There are some who would like to send the message that gang-bangers do not have to take responsibility for their actions, yet those who assemble to protect their neighborhood against criminals are discouraged from doing so.

stand your ground

Since the verdict came down, anti-Second Amendment critics have cited arbitrary statistics surrounding the law. As we can see from this image, the vast majority of states have expanded the “castle doctrine” making it a heavy lift for anti-stand your ground critics, but the interpretations of the statistics have been just as incorrect as the facts of the George Zimmerman case. Of course, we should expect to see the number of justifiable homicides increase with the clarification of the law, but it is the statistics over the disproportionate application among minorities that is truly dishonest.

Twitter lit up with false stories and facts – by both whites and blacks – immediately following the verdict. Not surprisingly, they are either misleading or completely case, such as:

Here is a perfect example of ignorant whites not doing the black community any favors by allowing them to dodge responsibility, again. Marissa Alexander had an abusive man in her life, which she had filed several complaints against, including domestic violence. However, during the last domestic dispute, he allowed her to leave the residence without harm. Instead of being happy that the abusive man had not physically harmed her during the exchange and counting her blessings that she was out of the toxic relationship, she acquired a gun from another residence and returned – later in the day – to the home where he had been minding his business. That’s not unfair treatment under the self-defense law, that’s pre-meditated crime.

stand your ground

Source: FBI

The inconvenient truth is that cross-racial violence is exceedingly rare in our country, despite what the Rev. Al Sharpton and other racists say. However, black on white crime is roughly double the total crime committed by white on a black victim. Many of the so-called civil rights activists have also taken aim at the criminal justice system completely disregarding real statistics. Are they really suggesting that our criminal justice system is filled with young innocent black men?

The reason that states had enacted stand your ground laws in the first place, is that people were being prosecuted for classic self-defense cases, many times a result of political pressure as we have seen in the Zimmerman trial.

In New Jersey, which thus far has not clarified our English common law tradition of self-defense, I had a friend who was a plumber. Jim returned home from work one night to find someone who he had thought was a friend on top of wife – Peggy – while his three young children – all girls – were helplessly cowering in the corner crying. When Jim attempted to stop the assault, the man clubbed him on the top of his head with a piece of firewood he had taken from the side of Jim’s house. He proceeded to mount Jim – much like Trayvon Martin had done to Zimmerman – and viciously beat him in the face with the wood log. Desperately reaching into his trade belt, Jim grabbed the handle of his carpenter knife and sliced the attacker from his belly button to mid chest.

Jim was arrested for manslaughter and his wife Peggy committed suicide in the basement of their home while he lay on a bunk in liberal-New Jersey State jail. She thought the sexual assault was somehow her fault, and of course, that had the incident never happened her husband would not have been arrested. Events like this happen frequently in New Jersey as well as other blue states, even though the media doesn’t report these tragedies, and just to add to the lunacy – the attackers always sue – and always win.

My wife still misses Peggy deeply, and our prayers always mention my friend Jim.

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Written by

Rich, the People's Pundit, is the Data Journalism Editor at PPD and Director of the PPD Election Projection Model. He is also the Director of Big Data Poll, and author of "Our Virtuous Republic: The Forgotten Clause in the American Social Contract."

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