Wednesday, July 17, 2013

What Florida Did Wrong

How is America going to move beyond the racism that lead to the murder of Trayvon Martin? Simple, it ain't. At least not until a whole lot of crackers die of old age, along with their children and their children's children... So yeah, racism is gonna keep killing young black men in hoodies for the forseable future.

But depending on where it happens, no one will be punished for it. Let me say up front I don't know and don't particularly care if George Zimmerman is racist. I'm more inclined to believe a gun owning buddy of mine who described the shlub thus - "I see him as that guy who just got his first  gun and couldn't wait to try it out." And then he threw in some Beavis laughs for emphasis. However, he would've just been another trigger happy moron if not for the State of Florida.

"Stand Your Ground" is the catch all for self-defense laws which could charitably be described as "pro-active" and more accurately described as "ludicrously paranoid." See, every state recognizes your right to defend yourself when attacked but that's not good enough for the dumbasses who think every brown person is planning to mug them. So they clamor for an expansion of existing law, saying they have no obligation to retreat first and may meet the threat as they deem appropriate. The idea is to put a stop to the imagined railroading of equally imaginary responsible gun owners who were just defending themselves. What it has actually lead to is encouraging escalation.

Let's have a quick legal aside - "escalation" is the fancy way of saying "he punched you so you stabbed him." Technically you were defending yourself but you did so in a disproportionate manner, which makes you the agressor. And guilty of assault.

Unless you're in a state with Stand Your Ground on the books! You can still be considered acting in self-defense if you shoot someone who's unarmed or retreating from you or even if you're a known drug dealer. Proponents of the law say they are shocked - shocked! - that such shenanigans could occur but that's what happens when you adopt broad legislation to appease a mouthy minority of screwheads. And you're statistically more likely to get off if you shoot a black person.

Now let's talk about Martin and Zimmerman. Like I said, Zimmerman's a clown but let's give him the benefit of the doubt for now: Supposing that Martin did indeed attack him first and battered him against the sidewalk so his shaved head looked all bloody, does that give Zimmerman cause to defend himself? Absolutely. Does being attacked by a bare-handed teenager give him the right to respond with lethal force? The proper legal answer used to be "Hell no, that's escalation!" but thanks to Stand Your Ground, it isn't possible to make that distinction anymore.

Trayvon Martin is dead because he crossed paths with a trigger happy idiot. No law would have prevented that - at least none this rotten country will consider. But his killer walked free because of a law dreamed up by paranoid hicks that encourages ordinary citizens to go beyond common self defense into outright murder. And this won't be the last case.

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