Someone could do something

I saw mistermix’s post on the DOJ coming into Florida, but I don’t want to let Florida lawmakers and politicians off the hook. “Stand your ground” seems to be some radical new conservative legal interpretation of self-defense. Apparently the lock-step drones in the Florida legislature and governor’s office felt threatened by NRA lobbyists so rather than standing their ground they allowed NRA lobbyists to write yet another law:

You can’t say we weren’t warned.
Back in 2005, opponents of Florida’s first-of-its-kind “stand your ground” law said it wouldn’t be long before we’d see shootouts in the streets — all in the name of self-defense.
Prodded by their NRA masters, lawmakers waved off those predictions as exaggerations. Then they overwhelmingly passed a bill that took the “castle doctrine” to infinity and beyond. The “castle doctrine” used to mean you could use deadly force if someone attacked you in your home. “Stand your ground” not only absolved the homeowner of any obligation to retreat, it extended that concept outside the home
Gov. Jeb Bush couldn’t sign the bill fast enough.
Seven years later, those warnings so casually dismissed by Bush and the Legislature are taking shape.
Seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin is dead, and Central Florida is the focus of an international spectacle, quite possibly a result of Florida’s politicians deciding to become the 21st century’s Wild West.
Unfortunately, Trayvon may not be the only victim.
I haven’t heard of any fatal disputes over the grocery check-out line, but in 2010 an unarmed man was shot and killed at a park near Tampa in a dispute over skateboarding rules. The victim’s 10-year-old daughter watched her father die. A judge is currently considering whether the shooter merely stood his ground.
In 2008, a 15-year-old boy was killed during a shootout between two gangs in Tallahassee. Nobody was held accountable for the crime because a judge, citing the law, dismissed the charges.
And in January, a former Broward County sheriff’s deputy shot and wounded a homeless man inside a Häagen-Dazs ice cream shop in Miami Lakes. He said the man was threatening him and his family. Police said charges were unlikely in that case as well.
In fact, the number of justifiable homicides has significantly increased since the law went into effect, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
From 2000 to 2005, an average of 13 killings by private citizens were deemed justified each year. Between 2006 and 2010 that average increased to 36 killings per year. The highest was in 2009 at 45.
It makes the Brady Campaign’s ads against this law back in 2005 almost seem prophetic. The campaign handed out leaflets and posted billboards warning Florida tourists to avoid fights and to “keep their hands in plain sight” if they wind up in a disagreement.
Sound advice, given the number of cases where “stand your ground” prevails.
Not that any of this mattered to lawmakers seven years ago when I was covering this story in Tallahassee. At the behest of the all-powerful National Rifle Association, they decided law-abiding people were facing criminal prosecution for nothing more than defending themselves or their families.
Turns out the NRA’s best examples of these unjust cases were ones in which the charges were eventually dropped. I’d call those examples of the system working, not a chronic injustice that needed to be repaired through legislation.
NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer wouldn’t comment about the Trayvon Martin case when I talked to her Monday. I don’t blame her. There is no good way for gun proponents to spin the death of an unarmed teenager.
Rep. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican who sponsored the original bill, said the law is still “good public policy” but questioned whether it should apply to Zimmerman.
“I think the fact that he was in pursuit does greatly compromise his argument” of self-defense, Baxley said.

Baxley apparently doesn’t understand the law he promoted and voted for, and why would he? He didn’t draft it:

Florida Governor Jeb Bush recently signed Senate Bill 436, which expands and clarifies Floridians’ self-defense rights against violent attackers. The bill was the creation of former NRA President Marion Hammer, who is also head of Unified Sportsmen of Florida, the state’s major pro-gun group. The NRA has announced that it plans to take SB 436 national, and urge other states to adopt similar measures.

There’s going to be a lot of hand-wringing over Trayvon Martin’s killing, another fake-debate, but Florida lawmakers could buck the NRA tomorrow and repeal this law. Jeb Bush could come out against the law he signed. He’s a media darling. He’d get a huge platform. The truth is, “someone” outside the US Department of Justice could do “something”. The truth is, if they don’t do anything at all at the state level in Florida in response to this, it’s because they don’t want to.

204 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    ESP. Saw that article last night and just posted it on previous link.

    Also a consideration: per Orlando Sentinel, 1 in 5 Florida drivers is 65 or older.

    Think of it: a skewing elderly population, some of it inhaling Fox News all day, possibly with dementia settling in, and now this law, interpreted over broadly, that will let them shoot anyone they deem a threat to their life.

    Not elder-bashing, but I’d be interested in hearing about some of the other “justified” homicides.

    This shooter was a High Noon sheriff wanna be.

    What else is out there?

  2. 2
    Rick Massimo says:

    Turns out the NRA’s best examples of these unjust cases were ones in which the charges were eventually dropped. I’d call those examples of the system working, not a chronic injustice that needed to be repaired through legislation.

    You don’t understand – law-abiding WHITE PEOPLE were accused of a CRIME! They had to, like, take a day out of WORK and stand in court with – you know, THOSE people!

    If killing more brown people allows these law-abiding white people to avoid this unconscionable breach on their freedom to never be accused of a crime, it’s a small price for the brown people to pay.

    None of this is even the slightest bit racist, by the way.

  3. 3
    mistermix says:

    Glad someone who knows something about this is posting about it, since I was just pulling it out of my ass.

    Thanks, Kay.

  4. 4
    kay says:

    @Rick Massimo:

    Public policy is a complete disaster when it’s grounded in flat-out lies promoted by paid lobbyists?

    Who could have predicted that. No one, right? And no one can remedy it. Their hands are tied. Lawmakers are helpless. Victims, really, don’t you think?

  5. 5
    Face says:

    but Florida lawmakers could buck the NRA tomorrow

    In also just-as-likely news, dogs could stop eating poop, hot women could let me stare at their junk, and a chili dog could be a healthy meal.

  6. 6
    Elizabelle says:

    I love that the Trayvon Martin case shut the NRA’s lobbyist up.

  7. 7
    Scott says:

    Only a matter of time before someone kicks in his neighbor’s door, blows away the whole family, steals their jewelry and TV, and claims he did it because he felt threatened by their loud music. Hey, what are ya gonna do? He felt threatened.

  8. 8
    ant says:

    i spose this zimmerman guy needs to be careful, going forward.

    wouldn’t want anybody to “feel threatened” by him. i mean, it’s well known that he packs heat, and that he doesn’t like “fucking coons”…. right?

  9. 9
    kay says:

    @Scott:

    Conservatives like to throw around the word “amnesty”. I think we should counter with the word “immunity”:

    Section 4. Section 776.032, Florida Statutes, is created to read:
    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.–
    (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s.776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
    (2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
    (3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

  10. 10
    scav says:

    @Scott: Why did I instantly add in Peter King following with a videocamera? Well, after retirement, I guess all NYers head south.

  11. 11
    kay says:

    @mistermix:

    I listened to CNN in the car yesterday and the legal analysis was good. Jeffery Toobin did a great job explaining traditional state law and this radical new conservative interpretation.

  12. 12

    Republicans view life through a pretty strict ideological lens. It is largely contrived to be opposition to the world view of democrats, that has long since formed its base ideology from fundamental equations of fairness and pragmatism to benefit the most people. The wingnuts have to form an ideology with what is left. Usually, primal fears or all sorts. That gets manifested in onerous laws.

    The core of the GOP view on the world, what they value most are material in nature, and is centered on personal wealth, even the religious wingnuts, most of them, are the same way with personal possession a virtue that is gawdly. So they have a permanent heightened sense that people will try to take away that material wealth, or possession.

    So they do what they can to protect their valued possessions, in an almost religious way. It rules everything they do, and an exaggerated need for self defense gets played out with laws like FLorida’s ‘stand your ground’ law.

    I bet this is what motivated Zimmerman, and the fact that his lizard brain became more suspicious at the color of Trayvon’s skin. The “others” we see in near everything they do these days, must be watched out for stealing their stuff. It is a pervasive state of wingnut mind.

    I am theorizing here, thinking out loud to try an understand these folks, and am not certain the theory is true.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    If we’re going to wait for a Republican to commit an overt act of decency, we’re going to be waiting for a long, long time. Their hard-wiring is simply not compatible with moral behavior.

    How long before these white-supremacist Republicans start complaining that they are the victims in all this? It must be so terrifying for these delicate white flowers to exist on a planet that is mostly non-Aryan. Shame on us for not feeling their pain.

  14. 14
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    How does law this affect domestic violence? Can a woman shoot her abusive husband and claim she felt threatened? It seems this law could thin out the backlog at safe houses in Florida. Is the only legal hurdle the one where the person has to “claim” to feel threatened? If so….wow, what a low hurdle to clear.

    Wild West down in the Tourist State. I’m guessing that’s prolly not good for their image.

  15. 15
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    It seems like common sense that people boycott Fla. Their economy is dependent on tourism but it seems like an unsafe place to vacation. Let them offshore drill for oil.

  16. 16
    SpotWeld says:

    I wonder how this sort of thing get’s recorded.
    If a shooting is determined to a “stand your ground case” (either by the police or a judge in later action), does it still go on the books as a fatal shooting?

    Are the FL stats for shooting deaths going to go down since these won’t be reported as criminal acts?

  17. 17
    Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937 says:

    @ant: Blah people are genetically incapable of feeling threatened ergo the law does not apply to them.

  18. 18
    rachel says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937: I know I’m never going there.

  19. 19
    Mark S. says:

    I read this yesterday:

    This has led to some stunning verdicts in the state. In Tallahassee in 2008, two rival gangs engaged in a neighborhood shootout, and a 15-year-old African American male was killed in the crossfire. The three defendants all either were acquitted or had their cases dismissed, because the defense successfully argued they were defending themselves under the “stand your ground” law.

    That’s unbelievable. It’s like they want to re-create Grand Theft Auto for their neighborhoods.

  20. 20
    beltane says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: Wouldn’t a woman seeking an abortion have the right to mow down the religious freaks harassing her outside her doctor’s office? How about the right of a liberal to exterminate a teabagger who tires to run her off the road on account of having an Obama sticker on her car? Or is this law merely a hunting licence granted to wingnuts so that they may “cull” undesirables from the population at their discretion?

  21. 21
    joeyess says:

    The truth is, “someone” outside the US Department of Justice could do “something”.

    That wouldn’t be productive towards the proliferation of the “Obama wants your guns” meme.

    The fact that the Feds are involved goes a long way in getting exactly what the Florida GOP wants. I can see the September/October attack ads now….. in fact, they’re probably already in the can waiting to be aired.

    Of course, being a spectator of American politics — and in particular, right wing politics for the last few decades — I’m a bit of a cynic when it comes to these issues.

  22. 22
    kay says:

    @beltane:

    If we’re going to wait for a Republican to commit an overt act of decency, we’re going to be waiting for a long, long time. Their hard-wiring is simply not compatible with moral behavior.

    I think they should still be asked, over and over and over. I’m subjected to the wit ‘n wisdom of Jeb Bush on all sorts of things. Apparently he’s an expert on “stand your ground”. He should be asked.

    Were the Brady folks right and the NRA and their politicians wrong? It’s their law. Let them defend it.

  23. 23
    Ash Can says:

    I am SO glad my mother no longer lives in Florida. I’m a little concerned about family and friends who do, though. Even though they’re white, it’s not a comforting thought that bullets could start flying with abandon and impunity if someone looks at someone else funny.

  24. 24
    mk3872 says:

    I get it that politicians benefit from aligning with the NRA. bit I don’t get what benefit the NRA has from going this far with freely allowing hand guns to be carried everywhere?

    That’s a lot more radical and dangerous than just protecting sportsmen and gun owner rights…

  25. 25
    Dork says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: That’s a good question. What if both people (a married couple) both have claims to the “castle” in a domestic dispute shooting?

    And how can a law be written so insanely subjectively that it puts the onus on law enforcement to prove that the shooter didn’t feel threatened? Is a “feeling” completely subjective w/r/t the person with the gun? Confused.

  26. 26
    Nemesis says:

    Well, if Trayvon was wearing his pants down around his knees, then extermination with extreme prejudice was fully warranted. That and the fact he was WWESADATWB.

    Thats Walking While Eating Skittles And Drinking Arizona Tea While Black.

    Next spin: “If Trayvon had been packing, then it woulda been a fair fight. All good citizens should be strapped, so as not to allow the bad guys to be the only ones with weapons” bullshit.

  27. 27
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    Oh, there’s more. Florida now allows you to set up a firing range in your back yard in the middle of town. I was visiting the grandkiddies this past weekend and the bullets were flying in the neighbor’s yard behind their house. When the daughter called the coppers, she was told that the leg and the gov just signed the new law allowing this. Nothing could be done about it. Lemme tell you, if just one stray shot lands in their yard there’s gonna be a whole lotta “I feel threatened” dead fkg neighbors up there.

  28. 28
    El Cid says:

    After all we’ve achieved, we need to move further. We don’t have to cower and hide any more from the thugs now that we’ve passed “Stand Your Ground” laws.

    But still, we still have to act like we have to tiptoe around, just passively waiting until some thug type comes into our neighborhoods and then and only then can you shoot one.

    How long are we going to wait around being people who look as though they might be victims?

    That’s why we have to get behind our move next to “Where They Sleep” laws.

    It’s time that we stop being passive, frightened citizens forced to continually be unsure of our manhoods. It’s time we civilized white males be able to go out and eliminate these thugs (and their spawn) where they sleep, before they end up in or near or somewhat nearby our neighborhoods.

    If good white men have no legal right to find the nesting grounds of these obvious threats to order and justice and take out the vermin where they sleep, what good is having the powerful weaponry we own in the first place?

    Why should we sit around waiting to provoke individual assaults with some random black boy on a neighborhood street when we clearly have the ability and armaments to take out these problems at the source?

  29. 29
    El Cid says:

    @Ronzoni Rigatoni: Just set up your own targets right next to the neighbors’ yard, and encourage the grandkids to practice firing from behind sandbags, just in case.

  30. 30
    joeyess says:

    Let’s not forget that one of the best kept secrets in American history is that Florida was one of the most virulent Jim Crow states in the nation back in the last century. Especially in the panhandle area. They quickly and quietly adopted the Civil Rights movement’s progress when it became clear that it was to be the law of the land to protect their tourism dollars.

    They are, after all, one of the states that needs to get permission from the Federal government to change it’s voting rights laws.

  31. 31
    MikeBoyScout says:

    Just an off-the-cuff point,
    Probable Cause is a very low bar that peace officers hurdle in a single bound at traffic stops every day.
    Anyone who has heard the 911 calls and listened to those who made them can find Probable Cause.

    We know why the killer has not been arrested in Florida.

  32. 32
    jenn says:

    @Ronzoni Rigatoni: You have GOT to be kidding me. That is certifiably insane.

  33. 33
    beltane says:

    @kay: The last Republican who dared to criticize the NRA to any degree was Bush Sr., and he was already out of politics with nothing to lose. Today’s Republicans would defend any act of violence rather than criticize the NRA or any other powerful RW lobby.

  34. 34
    Mattminus says:

    @mk3872:

    Umm, they’re a bunch of racist wingnuts. This is the benefit.

  35. 35
    Dork says:

    Florida now allows you to set up a firing range in your back yard in the middle of town

    Anyone got a link, b/c this seems to fuckin crazy to be true. Even for Florida.

  36. 36
    joeyess says:

    @mk3872:

    bit I don’t get what benefit the NRA has from going this far with freely allowing hand guns to be carried everywhere?

    Are you kidding? They get millions of dollars per quarter from gun manufacturers to lobby for exactly the kind of gun legislation that is born in the laboratories of democracy like Florida. Big corporate money.

  37. 37
    PeakVT says:

    @mk3872: Think of the NRA as the small arms lobby and what it’s done over the last 20 years makes more sense.

  38. 38
    Citizen Alan says:

    @General Stuck (Bravo Nope Zero):

    Personally, I think it’s 100% true. The deciding factor in my walking away from Christianity forever was my conclusion that the overwhelming number of self-identified Christians actually worshiped Mammon.

  39. 39
    beltane says:

    @mk3872: What’s so hard to understand about ‘White Supremacist Death Cult’? They are all closet paramilitary members waiting for their much-longed for opportunity to murder with impunity.

  40. 40
    Mary says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    How does law this affect domestic violence? Can a woman shoot her abusive husband and claim she felt threatened?

    I don’t know about the law in Florida specifically, but most states do allow a defense of “battered woman syndrome.”

  41. 41
    WyldPirate says:

    Gun laws can’t fail; they can only be failed.

  42. 42
    Trinity says:

    @El Cid: Brilliant.

    You really should write an extended satire piece.
    Just brilliant.

  43. 43
    liberal says:

    @joeyess:
    I thought it wasn’t clear that the NRA gets tons of money from gun makers, though IMHO it certainly seems like it would be true, given the positions they take.

  44. 44
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Elderly people who are nominally in control of automobiles that they have no business attempting to drive terrify me. One of those fuckers could run you right over without even realizing what happened. I can haz deadly force now, to defend myself with?

  45. 45
    Betty Cracker says:

    It’s a terrible law, but I predict it won’t change. People down here love that fucking law.

  46. 46
    El Cid says:

    @Trinity: The risk these days is that any imaginable liberal dystopian satire will instead be seized upon as inspiration and instructional guide for today’s conservative movement.

  47. 47
    dedc79 says:

    Sadly, the more likely result is that another ten states will rush to pass the same law.

  48. 48
    Bulworth says:

    @Mark S.: What need we of police departments? Every man, woman, and child to his or her gun. /

  49. 49
    kay says:

    @beltane:

    The last Republican who dared to criticize the NRA to any degree was Bush Sr., and he was already out of politics with nothing to lose. Today’s Republicans would defend any act of violence rather than criticize the NRA or any other powerful RW lobby.

    More and more I don’t care what they do. I’m looking at the other side, to Democrats. Forcing Republicans to defend their slavish adherence to the NRA puts those Democrats who prefer to write their own legislation rather than have lobbyists write it at an advantage.

    I watched Ted Strickland (Dem governor in Ohio) kiss the NRA’s ass and he got absolutely nothing from that. The NRA doesn’t help Democrats or liberals, period. Kowtowing to them is a sucker move.

  50. 50
    Roger Moore says:

    Baxley apparently doesn’t understand the law he promoted and voted for, and why would he? He didn’t draft it:

    But remember, the big problem with PPACA is that we only spent a year debating the bill, after spending the better part of a century talking about health care reform. It was all too soon.

  51. 51
    beergoggles says:

    Just wondering how legal it is to distribute posters of these shooters with a “Suspicious, armed and dangerous” slogan. I mean, if they want to go back to the days of the wild west, this should be just what’s needed.

  52. 52
    liberal says:

    @kay:

    Forcing Republicans to defend their slavish adherence to the NRA puts those Democrats who prefer to write their own legislation rather than have lobbyists write it at an advantage.

    How about some BJers slavish adherence to muddled interpretations of the 2nd Amendment? I recall this place as being pretty pro-gun.

  53. 53
    joeyess says:

    @liberal: Well, they supposedly have millions of members paying yearly dues and donating money, but I doubt that would cover the expense required to literally buy every fucking wingnut-run statehouse in the country, not to mention the entire Republican caucus in Congress……. and half of the Democrats.

  54. 54
    Bulworth says:

    @Roger Moore: True. That bill was rammed down our throats. And it was a total and complete gubmit takeover of our previously completely privatized health care system. /

  55. 55
    Roger Moore says:

    @beltane:

    Wouldn’t a woman seeking an abortion have the right to mow down the religious freaks harassing her outside her doctor’s office?

    I think she’d also have a perfect right to have an abortion at any stage of her pregnancy if she feels threatened by her fetus. So at least there’s some good that might come from the law.

  56. 56
    liberal says:

    @joeyess:
    Yeah, that’s what I think.

  57. 57
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Dork: Florida AG on that topic here.

  58. 58
    cmorenc says:

    @Scott:

    Only a matter of time before someone kicks in his neighbor’s door, blows away the whole family, steals their jewelry and TV, and claims he did it because he felt threatened by their loud music. Hey, what are ya gonna do? He felt threatened.

    Well, minus the steal stuff part, who among us hasn’t had stifled the urge to jump out of your car at a traffic light and defend yourself against the assaultively inconsiderate moron in the car a lane over or a car behind you with the zillion amp audio system blasting you with enough decibels and bass to vibrate loose the lugnuts on your tires and the fillings right out of your teeth?

  59. 59
    Satanicpanic says:

    @El Cid: The Bush Doctrine?

  60. 60
    El Cid says:

    @Roger Moore: It only counts if (a) she uses her own firearm to cut down the intruder, and (b) if the intruder is the wrong color.

  61. 61
    Jeff Boatright says:

    @beltane:

    Or is this law merely a hunting licence granted to wingnuts so that they may “cull” undesirables from the population at their discretion?

    Yes.

    SATSQ

  62. 62
    liberal says:

    @cmorenc:
    Seriously, though, that’s one reason I don’t like all this 2nd Amendment BS. I could easily see myself gunned down by some idiot with road rage.

    I wouldn’t mind all this crazy shit quite so much if people with guns suffered consequences when they used them when they didn’t really need to. But it seems not to be the case. Like that guy who shot dead the Japanese exchange student in LA (the student was knocking at his door holding a fake gun, was going to a halloween or whatever party and had the wrong address).

  63. 63
    Provider_UNE says:

    It’s a terrible law, but I predict it won’t change. People down here love that fucking law.

    Becaus a ford f250 dulie with TruckNutz, just didn’t cut it in the penis compensation department.
    .

  64. 64
    catclub says:

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937: I am already boycotting Arizona and Alabama.

    Even if they do not know it.

    I would really like to visit the Grand Canyon again.
    I miss the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
    Florida,… I got nothin.

  65. 65
    joeyess says:

    @beergoggles: I wouldn’t think it would violate their rights to privacy.

    Here in Kansas we have a weekly paper that is sold for $1 at gas stations and convenience stores that is called “Busted Paper” and it lists the mugshots of countless people that have merely been arrested for offenses that haven’t even gone to trial.

    I think that is not only offensive, but dubiously legal. Some of the people on the front pages of this weekly tabloid were merely arrested for simple misdemeanors or speeding…… it’s ridiculous.

    An obvious result of the “COPS” teevee show mentality.

    We’ve dangerously drifted into The Cops Can Do No Wrong waters in this country. Authoritarian and scary stuff.

    Don’t even get me started on the tasering of everyone and anyone that doesn’t immediately comply with a police officer’s commands, not to mention the manner in which this practice has become a national punchline.

  66. 66
    rlrr says:

    @mk3872:

    The NRA represents firearm and ammunition manufacturers and importers…

  67. 67
    Daaling says:

    Yawn…they, them, those guys, if only someone.

    Yawn. You people will never get it. These are all public people that were voted into their positions.

    The people who can do something about it are the voters. That would be YOU! Not the politicians. And guess what, the voters want this.

    You are blaming the wrong people. Until a politician can come out against the NRA and win elections because of that, you’re screwed!

  68. 68
    Comrade Dread says:

    I think you’ll find that as long as the violence doesn’t touch someone they care about that most people are perfectly fine with laws like this.

    I’ve said it before, but I think most folks really have embraced the whole 80’s cop show/movie view of Crime on the Legal system, where lawless gangs of urban youth rampage and prey on decent citizens at every turn and liberals coddle them and handcuff police and decent folks.

    Not withstanding that crime rates are down and police and prosecutors have more power than ever before, are as fallible as the rest of us, and do imprison and kill innocent citizens and lie about it to protect their careers and system.

    Myths are hard things to shake.

  69. 69
    Brachiator says:

    @kay:

    but Florida lawmakers could buck the NRA tomorrow and repeal this law.

    Unfortunately, this will never happen. Especially in an election year.

    @Elizabelle:

    Not elder-bashing, but I’d be interested in hearing about some of the other “justified” homicides.

    Yeah, you’re elder bashing. Just sayin’

  70. 70
    RSA says:

    I just had a thought: Can you imagine walking around in Florida wearing a bulletproof vest without being viewed with suspicion? Perhaps walking into a bank? And yet that’s no more paranoid than wearing a concealed weapon.

  71. 71
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    There’s going to be a lot of hand-wringing over Trayvon Martin’s killing

    Only by liberals. White Southerners overwhelmingly approve of this law and want to see more.

    Florida lawmakers could buck the NRA tomorrow and repeal this law.

    Only if they want to be “ex-lawmakers”. Get real. This will never happen.

    Jeb Bush could come out against the law he signed.

    And formally abandon any chance of him being president. Don’t think that’s going to happen either, unless he decides to run as a Dem.

  72. 72
    McJulie says:

    @liberal: Exactly. The problem isn’t whether you ought to be allowed to carry a gun, but the lack of consequences when people behave irresponsibly with deadly force is appalling.

    It’s the same deal with cars, though. The only way people ever seem to get in trouble for vehicular homicide/negligent manslaughter is when drugs or alcohol are involved, and then only barely.

    You’re more likely to get arrested for carrying a sign at an Occupy protest, than for killing somebody with a gun or your car. What does that say about our country?

  73. 73
    Roger Moore says:

    @RSA:
    I’d say that wearing a bullet proof vest is probably less paranoid, and certainly less threatening, than carrying a concealed weapon. After all a bullet proof vest is a lot less likely to kill somebody than a gun is.

  74. 74
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    I thought it wasn’t clear that the NRA gets tons of money from gun makers, though IMHO it certainly seems like it would be true, given the positions they take.

    @liberal: That’s how the fuckers got my address, from the manufacturer of my shotgun.

    I own guns. The NRA has never represented me and never will.

  75. 75
    liberal says:

    @McJulie:

    The only way people ever seem to get in trouble for vehicular homicide/negligent manslaughter is when drugs or alcohol are involved, and then only barely.

    My state (MD) seems pretty bad about this. I don’t know the details, but my vague impression is that it’s much easier on drunk driving than it used to be.

    Some very young woman, who wasn’t drunk but fell asleep at the wheel, caused a traffic incident on the Bay Bridge (IIRC) with at least one death. My recollection is that she got just a $250 ticket or something.

    About responsibility, same issue is the crux of the bankster problem. Those scum have amazing government-granted privileges and power, and when they f*ck up, they’re not hung out to dry.

  76. 76
    liberal says:

    @Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity:
    Just FYI, I’m not allergic to guns or anything. My dad (still alive) was a hunter. (I went with him when young, but I was a crappy shot and he was a good shot.) But the apparent position of the NRA is that everyone has the right to a tactical nuke, because the 2nd Amendment says so.

  77. 77
    Provider_UNE says:

    You know, the one thing these guys do care about is money, and while it is admittadly a long shot, this incident could have a real impact on the tourist economy.

    As someone on this or the previous Trayvon thread, the panhandle was all about Jim Crow before realizing the negative impact on the bottom line…
    .

  78. 78
    liberal says:

    @Daaling:

    Until a politician can come out against the NRA and win elections because of that, you’re screwed!

    Not so clear. Under this law, it might be possible to execute the entire NRA leadership in FL and claim self-defense.

  79. 79
    liberal says:

    @Provider_UNE:
    I agree, and I think a boycott should be organized, but I don’t quite get the tourism thing, or even the retirement thing. Place seems like a very humid shithole to me. The only interesting thing about it is environmental stuff (marsh habitats, mangroves, etc), and they’re rapidly destroying that AFAICT.

  80. 80
    gbear says:

    @Betty Cracker: I read through that AG’s statement before I saw her picture at the top and did a double take. She looks more like a Fox news bimbette than a state AG. Sorry for being lookist about this but, given that FL could elect Rick Scott, I’m wondering what Bondi’s back story is.

    And I’ll totally agree that it is fucking insane to allow a shooting range in a residential back yard.

  81. 81
    kay says:

    @Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity:

    Get real. This will never happen.

    I don’t care if it happens. They shouldn’t be permitted to “express regret” as if they’re passive, helpless bystanders. They’re not. They allowed lobbyists to write a law that grants immunity to the shooter. That happened. They can’t pander and moan and weep without addressing their role in this.

  82. 82
    kindness says:

    So what is to stop people from standing on the sidewalk outside the Republican Convention in Florida this year and just shooting people left & right because the people were threatening you? Might be an upside to this issue for deranged murder prone non-Republicans.

  83. 83
    liberal says:

    @catclub:

    Florida,… I got nothin.

    Well said.

  84. 84
    Trakker says:

    Want to know why Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested? Read the law, especially this part:

    776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.—
    (1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, … As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.

    Later,
    (3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

    It appears that if the Sanford PD detained Zimmerman and the courts found he was within his rights to kill Martin, the city of Sanford would have to pay out some big bucks. What city can afford to take that risk these days?

  85. 85
    Gex says:

    @Scott: This is my nightmare scenario.

    Neighbor is playing music too loud, too late. You can’t just walk over, because ringing the doorbell on his property could be signing your death warrant.

    So you call the cops. And eventually the neighbor gets sick of that and shoots you in “self defense” anyhow.

  86. 86
    RP says:

    I wouldn’t mind all this crazy shit quite so much if people with guns suffered consequences when they used them when they didn’t really need to. But it seems not to be the case. Like that guy who shot dead the Japanese exchange student in LA (the student was knocking at his door holding a fake gun, was going to a halloween or whatever party and had the wrong address).

    I don’t think he was holding a fake gun. IIRC, he was just gesturing vigorously with his hands because his english wasn’t very good.

  87. 87
    liberal says:

    @liberal:
    “…than it used to be” ==> “…than it should to be”

  88. 88
    Provider_UNE says:

    The only interesting thing about it is environmental stuff (marsh habitats, mangroves, etc), and they’re rapidly destroying that AFAICT.

    And aren’t all of those released Pythons eating everything else.

    I can see a visit to Florida for tourism during the middle of what we used to call winter, do some boating on the keys, fishing maybe, but yeah, there really is not a lot to reccomend about the place.

    apologies in advance to any Floridians in the house, Feel free to slag on my state (Northern Kentucky aka Indiana) if you feel the need. I’m ok with it.
    .

  89. 89
    liberal says:

    @RP: Just looked on Wikipedia, and you’re right. The description there (in terms of the victim’s movements location etc) makes it seem much worse than I remember it.

  90. 90
    jibeaux says:

    @Trakker: Well, I raised this in the last thread but #3 pertains to CIVIL actions. Even in wingnutopia, I’d like to think it would be unusual to so thoroughly waive sovereign immunity by statute.

  91. 91
    rea says:

    The law in most states is that there is no duty to retreat in your own home. Florida says there is no duty to retreat anywhere, The problem with this broader formulation of the “no duty to retreat” rule is that it creates situations in which neither party to an altercation has a duty to retreat–meaning that the law permits some altercations to be resolved by one party killing the other, and it doesn’t particularly matter which one gets killed.

    Zimmerman feels threatened by Martin, and he doesn’t have a duty to retreat, so he forces a confrontation. Martin also has no duty to retreat, so he knocks Zimmerman on his ass. Zimmerman has no duty to retreat, so he shoots Martin.

    Insanity.

  92. 92
    liberal says:

    @Provider_UNE:

    Feel free to slag on my state (Northern Kentucky aka Indiana) if you feel the need.

    Heh. I grew up in IA. At least it has one really liberal Democratic senator; otherwise not a place to visit unless you really really really like to look at corn and soybeans.

  93. 93
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    @jenn: Certifiably insane? Yup. Welcome to FL: http://flaglerlive.com/30651/l.....es-florida

    Check it out. Then duck.

  94. 94
    Brachiator says:

    @kay:

    From 2000 to 2005, an average of 13 killings by private citizens were deemed justified each year. Between 2006 and 2010 that average increased to 36 killings per year. The highest was in 2009 at 45.

    The sad thing is that despite the increase in deaths, this kind of thing hits the sweet spot of the fantasy of pseudo libertarian rugged individualist return to Real American values and also, too, defend yourself against the onslaught of Kenyan sozhul ist takeover of America.

    Rather than people re-assessing this law, you will likely see an intensification of why it is necessary to expand the law to other areas.

    @Commenting at Balloon Juice since 1937: It seems like common sense that people boycott Fla. Their economy is dependent on tourism but it seems like an unsafe place to vacation.

    Florida gets quite a number of foreign tourists. Tourists either don’t have or can’t bring their guns with them. Back in 2009 there was a fairly sensationalistic story about how some criminals were targeting tourists and endangering the $29 Billion tourism industry. Some crimes were happening near routes from airports, focusing on people with rental cars, etc.

    I’m sure some Florida lawmaker will soon suggest arming tourists at airports and cruise lines.

  95. 95
    liberal says:

    @rea:
    Having been burglarized, I’m not so opposed to castle doctrines re one’s actual home. But even then I could easily see there are things you have to be careful about; don’t want people staging murders.

    But this law is just amazingly stupid.

  96. 96
    scav says:

    @Provider_UNE: Only instance I’d consider going to Florida is if those were released Monty Pythons roaming about eating everything else. That could very well be something not to miss.

  97. 97
    Provider_UNE says:

    IIRC, he was just gesturing vigorously with his hands because his english wasn’t very good.

    That comports with my memory of the case as well.

    Hopefully they’ll develop gene therapy that addresses both the panicky white dude with a gun gene, and maybe as a side effect it would adress the recist gene as well.

    But then the plutocracy wouldn’t have a ready army of buffons to protect their flanks.
    .

  98. 98
    jenn says:

    @Betty Cracker: That is so crazy. I am absolutely dumfounded. Is there some way to sue? It just seems as though there would have to be some sort of “take” involved with that. I mean, if my next-door neighbor is firing shots in his backyard, I’m not going to allow my dogs or my neighbor kids to be back there playing (and depending on which way they’re firing, I might not feel protected being inside the house, either), so their behavior would have an adverse impact on my ability to use and feel safe in my home. And if I were to decide, I can’t take this anymore, and try to sell, surely having neighbors firing weapons willy-nilly is going to have an adverse impact on both the price I would be able to get for the house, and my ability to find a buyer. Surely there would be some sort of legal remedy for that kind of take. I mean, if the police can come in and tell my neighbors to tone down the loud music at their party, surely they’d be able to come in for disturbing the peace by somebody’s backyard shooting range.

  99. 99
    Gex says:

    @rachel: I’ve had a longstanding policy to avoid Florida for quite some time, I’m sort of sad I can’t boycott anew.

    But I’m o-fer on the things that matter to them. Pigment, Gender, Orientation, God. Me just existing is threatening in Florida.

  100. 100
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Gex:

    Neighbor is playing music too loud, too late. You can’t just walk over, because ringing the doorbell on his property could be signing your death warrant.

    Who could have predicted that taking “A man’s home is his castle” too far would lead us back to the Middle Ages? It’s been a while since I’ve read much Medieval history, but my impression was that back in the day they didn’t like to build donjons all over the landscape because of the health benefits of the central heating and air-conditioning.

  101. 101
    GregB says:

    Look, it these people aren’t guilty then we simply have a posthumous trial and exonerate the corpse.

    Simple.

  102. 102
    Gex says:

    @mk3872: Institutions protect themselves. These people earn their living working for the NRA. If they don’t keep pushing legislation they have to get real jobs.

  103. 103
    rlrr says:

    @GregB:

    Sorry you lost your life, better luck next time!

  104. 104
    El Cid says:

    __

    A grand jury will investigate the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old shot to death in a gated community in Florida on Feb. 26, state attorney Norm Wolfinger announced Tuesday.
    __
    “I share in the desire of the family and the community to accurately collect and evaluate all the facts surrounding the tragic death of Trayvon Martin,” Wolfinger said in a news release. “The public is entitled to no less than a thorough, deliberate, and just review of the facts. We intend to honor that commitment.”
    __
    The Seminole County Grand Jury will be called to session on Tuesday, April 10, Wolfinger said.

    More libruls persecuting patriots instead of focusing on the real criminals, these black kids living in our neighborhoods who often look threatening.

    We must move to jury nullify any move to stop us from protecting ourselves in our homes, streets, malls, sidewalks, and any surrounding vicinities from people who make us feel like we could possibly at some point be threatened particularly if we follow and assault one of these could-be thugs.

  105. 105
    brantl says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Elderly people who are nominally in control of automobiles that they have no business attempting to drive terrify me. One of those fuckers could run you right over without even realising what happened. I can haz deadly force now, to defend myself with?

    Wait until this happens some white geezer veers from the road (intentionally or not) and a black guy with a concealed carry and his wife and kids with him holes this guy in the forehead. Do they check the geezer for a possible stroke? Or not?

  106. 106
    liberal says:

    @jenn:
    Why sue? Under the SYG law, it’s quite apparent that all you have to do is shoot the asshole in cold blood, and then claim it was in self-defense.

  107. 107
    Provider_UNE says:

    That could very well be something not to miss.

    If only it were so, that would be comedy Gold!
    :)
    .

  108. 108
    jenn says:

    @Ronzoni Rigatoni: I think I’m too scared to look at your link! I looked at the AG’s opinion, and about keeled over. Keep safe over there!

  109. 109
    scav says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Choose your middle period and place and there would have been need for official permission to build anything that defensible. Other periods, the mailed fist of big government came through and knocked all the existing donjons down.

  110. 110
    beltane says:

    Florida is a great state. My mother-in-law lives there and she is not allowed to have a clothesline in her backyard, but I see that she is allowed to have her own firing range. Is this a great country or what.

  111. 111
    gene108 says:

    @kay:

    More and more I don’t care what they do. I’m looking at the other side, to Democrats. Forcing Republicans to defend their slavish adherence to the NRA puts those Democrats who prefer to write their own legislation rather than have lobbyists write it at an advantage.

    The problem is gun-rights voters, like anti-abortion voters and a whole lot of right-wing voters are single issues voters. For them any law that further restricts their access to and usage of firearms is a violation of their Constitutional rights.

    You just aren’t going to get liberals as fired up to push for gun control, as you are gun lovers to fight any and every attempt to add new laws regarding guns to legal code.

    On a side note, I think Zimmerman should have his pants sued off in a civil suit and/or make the bar for claiming civil damages from misuse of firearms very low, so people have some accountability for the damage their guns do.

    For example, if two kids find daddy’s gun unlocked and lying about and one kid accidentally shoots the other, I think some sort of punitive reparations should be paid by the offending parent to the other family for leaving the gun lying around.

    At this rate, I run more of a risk of civil and criminal prosecution in a car accident, then I would if I got out and shot somebody. Seriously, “well officer, I felt threatened by the old lady crossing the street, which is why after I hit her with my car, I got out and shot her a couple of times. I wonder, if her insurance will pay to get her blood and brain bits off my hood?”

  112. 112
    Provider_UNE says:

    But I’m o-fer on the things that matter to them. Pigment, Gender, Orientation, God. Me just existing is threatening in Florida.

    And unfortunately Gex, the one you can’t hide is the big one.

    And I have a feeling that they can sniff out uppity as quickly as we can, racists.
    .

  113. 113
    El Cid says:

    @gene108:

    if two kids find daddy’s gun unlocked and lying about and one kid accidentally shoots the other, I think some sort of punitive reparations should be paid by the offending parent to the other family for leaving the gun lying around.

    What do you mean “accidentally”? The dead kid easily could have been threatening the shooter.

  114. 114
    Dork says:

    I’m wondering what Bondi’s back story is

    She’s hot and unqualified for the position. I’d say her back story is the story of her being on her back.

  115. 115
    The Golux says:

    Another improperly named law; it should be the “Tommy DeVito: Are You Lookin’ At Me? Act”.

  116. 116
    rikyrah says:

    keep on spreading the word.

  117. 117
    Schlemizel says:

    @Roger Moore:
    The problem would be she would have to have the abortion performed with a handgun

  118. 118
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    A grand jury will investigate the death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old shot to death in a gated community in Florida on Feb. 26, state attorney Norm Wolfinger announced Tuesday.

    “After a complete investigation, we’ve decided that since the law was never designed to apply to Messicans, we’re going to throw the libtards a bone and toss this wetback in jail while leaving the law totally untouched.”

  119. 119
    Culture of Truth says:

    @Trakker:

    That provision appears to refer not liability of a city for arresting a defendant, but to a civil action filed against a defendant by “a plaintiff”

    So, for example, it appears to award to court costs and other expenses to Zimmerman (as well as provide total immunity) if Martin’s parents tried to sue Zimmerman in civil court for killing their son, if the court found Zimmerman was justified in using force under the law.

    Remarkably, the law even prevents a person from being arrested or even charged, so yes, it is quite broad.

  120. 120
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Schlemizel:

    The problem would be she would have to have the abortion performed with a handgun

    The doctor who performs abortions on the other hand, would be fully justified in blowing away anybody who even looked at them cross-eyed. I don’t think it would be going too far to set out minefields and free-fire zones in the immediate vicinity of the clinic, just to be sure.

  121. 121
    Mark S. says:

    Fonzi of Freedom chimes in to tell us that the homicide rate is way down from its levels in the 1700’s.

  122. 122
    Schlemizel says:

    @RP:
    Better than that, the shooter had to follow the poor kid down his driveway as the kid left in order to shoot him.

  123. 123
    Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor says:

    When do we get to call the NRA a terrorist organization?

  124. 124
    Schlemizel says:

    @brantl:
    Well, if the bullet does go through his forehead evidence of a stroke will be about impossible to find anyway.

  125. 125
    liberal says:

    Funnily enough, douchebag “dave” doubles down in the previous thread.

  126. 126
    Schlemizel says:

    Back in the early 90s we lived in the toilet with palm trees and the level of paranoia about crime was phenomenal. Some of it justified most of it not, but fear causes cloudy thinking. There was a series of high profile shootings of vacationers (most from Europe) that had a huge impact in news coverage across the pond. Tourism actually did take a huge hit at that time and it derailed the career of the GOP asshole who wanted to be gov (it introduced us to what was then called the stupid Bush who got his ass handed to him in the general election).

    If this story gets a lot of play on the BBC etc. it could easily have the already squeamish about Crazy-Ass America overseas thinking Cuba has sun, sand and fruity rum drinks with about a 0% chance of being gunned down on the street.

  127. 127
    Jonathan says:

    Black people getting shot for nothing, gang shooting where 15 year old black people die, homeless people getting shot in Haagen-daas… To the people that support these laws, these are features, not bugs.

  128. 128
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mark S.:
    Hell, the murder rate is substantially down from where it was in the bad old days of GWB. One of the very unexpected aspects of the Great Recession is that crime continued to fall, even though many people thought the economic distress would lead to a big increase.

  129. 129
    scav says:

    @Schlemizel: It’s certainly at the Guard, higher up on the US front page than the UK, but it is competing with the shooter in Toulouse for foreigners with guns position. Also, a breaking notice about new evidence from girlfriend and cell phone is flashing.

  130. 130
    Jnc says:

    Viewing the facts most favorably to Zimmerman, he was on his back on the ground getting hit in the face and he was yelling “Help” again and again…

    Even if the law required retreat, where exactly was he supposes to retreat to?

    (and, please note that I don’t know what actually happened here. And neither do you)

  131. 131
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gbear: Bondi was an Assistant State Attorney and sort of a fixture on local TV. I always figured she harbored Greta Van Susteren-style ambitions, but I think a lot of folks were surprised when she went full-metal wingnut in the last election.

  132. 132
    Roger Moore says:

    @Judas Escargot, Your Postmodern Neighbor:

    When do we get to call the NRA a terrorist organization?

    After Operation Rescue, but before the Tea Party. IOW, the 12th of Never. Didn’t you get the memo?

  133. 133
    Elizabelle says:

    NYTimes Lede blog has a post up on the castle law now.

    And they linked to a good St. Petersburg Times article from 2010 reviewing accounts of shootings since it was passed.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/p.....128317.ece

  134. 134
    Betty Cracker says:

    @jenn: You’d think so, huh? I haven’t heard about any lawsuits. Basically, the Scott Admin got the NRA to peruse FL law and submit a wish list. This was one of the items. We’re a real “laboratory of democracy” down here. Or perhaps an “insane asylum of democracy.”

  135. 135
    Elizabelle says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Hitting Florida in its pockets might be the only thing that gets this law overturned, or more carefully written.

  136. 136
    Culture of Truth says:

    omg – Hines Ward is retiring!

    Tunch is gonna be maaaaaaad

  137. 137
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    @Jnc: Fuck you too.

    The murderer could have retreated at any point before he decided to initiate a fistfight with a teenager – a fight that he would have lost, apparently, save that he decided to end it by pulling out his penis substitute and giving that useless ni**er kid what they all deserve, amirite?

    Go back to Alabama, you freak.

  138. 138
    Provider_UNE says:

    (and, please note that I don’t know what actually happened here. And neither do you)

    Dude followed the kid after the police told him not to. We do know that. We also know that he shot and killed an unarmed teenager who was about 100 lbs lighter and 9-11 years his Junior.

    So I feel perfectly free to jump to the following conclusion: If there was a fight Zimmerman started it by following the guy, who, it could be argued had perfectly legitimate self defense concerns of his own, just lucky for Zimmerman that the kid was unarmed.

    Bottom line, if there was a fight, the kid had every right to try and protect himself, so that issue should not even enter the discussion, other than an attempt to muddy the waters.

    Have you listened to the 911 call?
    .

  139. 139
    kay says:

    @gene108:

    You just aren’t going to get liberals as fired up to push for gun control, as you are gun lovers to fight any and every attempt to add new laws regarding guns to legal code.

    I don’t think pandering to the NRA works for Democrats. I have yet to see an NRA Seal of Approval help a Democrat. This whole theory seems to be based on kowtowing to them out of fear: “maybe they’ll leave us alone, if we just hunker down further!”

    Fat chance. They’re another well-funded Right wing lobby. The idea they’re going to support some Lefty if he or she parrots the robotic lobbyist-line on this issue is delusional.

    What’s the affirmative benefit to Democrats of kissing their ass? Or are we just talking panicked defensive posture?

  140. 140
    jonas says:

    @mk3872: just as the so-called “pro-life” movement has nothing to do with concern for unborn children and everything to do with controlling women, the NRAs mission in recent decades has had nothing to do with promoting firearm sporting or collection and everything to do with playing off the idea that gun ownership is essential to maintaining a large, manly penis — all with the ultimate goal of making a lot of money off rednecks convinced that Negroes and feminists are coming for their dicks, I mean guns.

    As usual, The Onion had their number a long time ago.

  141. 141
    Gex says:

    @jenn: This is why the NRA supports a persons right to have surface to air missiles in their back yard.

  142. 142
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Why oh why can’t Obama be more like that great liberal palladin LBJ, who as everyone knows[1] signed so much liberal legislation into law during 1967 (i.e. right after the GOP cleaned our clocks in the 1966 midterm elections)?

    [1]as everyone knows, aka what actually happened is the exact opposite of the stated premise.

  143. 143
    wrb says:

    Have any witness accounts of what happened come out?

  144. 144
    Gex says:

    @Provider_UNE: No. You see, hip contrarians don’t need to listen to audio or read articles. Just realized you are being schooled by a wiser more balanced mind on the issue.

    We can’t ever really be sure we know anything. Quit making statements or those wiser than thou dudes will need to keep pointing that fact out.

    @wrb: Witness evidence isn’t as reliable as the recorded audio we already have. Especially if you are asking white Floridians to report what happened when the black kid got shot by the white guy. Way, way more questions about that evidence.

  145. 145
    mk3872 says:

    @Mattminus: Just how exactly is that a benefit ??

  146. 146
    Emma says:

    @Dork: Actually, she’s been pretty good on some things, like the mortgage creeps here in Florida. But she’s also a full-bore wingnut in others. Again, it’s Florida, where Carl Hiaasen’s books are considered way too subdued to be history.

  147. 147
    Jnc says:

    Have you listened to the 911 call?

    I heard one of them, where a woman calls 911, says someone is screaming, you hear screaming which sounds like sometime yelling help, then you hear a shot.

    Zimmerman says he was the one screaming for help.

    I don’t know if that’s true.

    This the tape that soonergrunt posted about, claiming incorrectly that the woman was calling about a a shot fired which implied that Zimmerman shot him, let him scream, then shot him again.

  148. 148
    Emma says:

    @wrb: Yes. There have been several neighbors on tv here. At least one,a white woman (I didn’t get her name, because I only saw the news report in passing) was saying that the police “didn’t want to hear from her.” The young man was talking to his girlfriend at the time, saying he was being followed by a creepy dude and was trying to get away. There had been several complaints about this guy’s behavior before, in fact.

  149. 149
    cckids says:

    @wrb:

    Have any witness accounts of what happened come out?

    Yes, and more are still coming out (see girlfriend Treyvon was speaking to on his phone). The witnesses are starting to come forward & speak to the media because the cops have mischaracterized, ignored or downplayed what they (the witnesses) said.

  150. 150
    cmorenc says:

    HERE’S a fascinating factoid: over at the Redstate website, there’s NO mention whatsoever of the Treyvon Martin/Zimmerman controversy, not so much as the faintest whisper. You’d think this would at least spark a discussion from their perspective defending right-to-carry and self-defense laws, and arguing that even if Zimmerman possibly exceeded their proper scope, that doesn’t invalidate the underlying laws.

    It’s not as if some of them have gone ugly over there about the case, as you might expect and the rest have gone tsk tsk…it’s as if the case simply doesn’t exist as a noteworthy event in their universe.

  151. 151
    Provider_UNE says:

    We can’t ever really be sure we know anything.

    Was that Kant, or Hegel…It’s been awhile.

    I do love the canard that is based on the fact that only Zimmerman had a right to self defense though. These are usually the same people who think if everyone was packing we’d be much safer.

    I always attempt to disabuse them of that notion with a hypothetical: Picture an accidental discharge in a room filled with people packing heat…How many do you think will make it out of that room unscathed?
    .

  152. 152
    jnc says:

    Have you listened to the 911 call?

    I heard one of them, where a woman calls 911, says someone is screaming, you hear screaming which sounds like sometime yelling help, then you hear a shot.

    Zimmerman says he was the one screaming for help.

    I don’t know if that’s true.

    This the tape that soonergrunt posted about, claiming incorrectly that the woman was calling about a a shot fired which implied that Zimmerman shot him, let him scream, then shot him again.

  153. 153
    JGabriel says:

    @cmorenc:

    HERE’S a fascinating factoid: over at the Redstate website, there’s NO mention whatsoever of the Treyvon Martin/Zimmerman controversy, not so much as the faintest whisper. … It’s not as if some of them have gone ugly over there about the case, as you might expect and the rest have gone tsk tsk…it’s as if the case simply doesn’t exist as a noteworthy event in their universe.

    It’s hard to tell whether, in their world-view, that indicates “lack of noteworthiness” or “worthy of being buried”.

    .

  154. 154
    Ump902a says:

    At what point was Trayvon entitled to “stand his ground”?

  155. 155
    Provider_UNE says:

    I heard one of them, where a woman calls 911, says someone is screaming, you hear screaming which sounds like sometime yelling help, then you hear a shot.

    I haven’t heard that one yet, but did listen to Zimmerman’s call to 911, and the dispatcher asks if Z-man is following the guy, Z-man says yes, and the Dispatcher says “We don’t need you to do that”

    You can listen to that one here.

    The cops were on the scene within minutes and the kid was already dead. He stays in the truck waits for the cops, and we aren’t having this conversation.
    .

  156. 156
    jnc says:

    He stays in the truck waits for the cops, and we aren’t having this conversation.

    That’s probably true.

  157. 157
    Culture of Truth says:

    @jnc:

    Zimmerman says he was the one screaming for help.

    I’ve been wondering what his version of events is. Do you have a link for that?

    claiming incorrectly that the woman was calling about a a shot fired which implied that Zimmerman shot him, let him scream, then shot him again.

    How do we know this is incorrect?

  158. 158
    Provider_UNE says:

    At what point was Trayvon entitled to “stand his ground”?

    A perfectly legitimate question, the answer would be, as soon as shouty crackers laid a finger on him.

    I don’t really think they thought this through very much. If the kid had been packing he would have had every right to put a cap in Zimmerman’s ass, he was visiting his Father and therefore had every right to stand his ground

    Also, this one is a doozy, I wonder if they have mercury running in the drinking fountains at the Florida House.

    That last story is a must read in the category that “I could not have believed it without seeing it with my own lying eyes” category.
    .

  159. 159
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    @dedc79:

    God, this is so possible that it depresses me. It’s like the fucking abortion bullshit: one state gets scrutiny and outrage for a law…other states decides, “FUCK THOSE LIBS, lets gets this shit done in OUR state NOW NOW NOW!”

    And god knows how many Trayvon Martins we’ve had under this fucking mindset that were unlucky enough to not get picked out of the batch for further scrutiny. That’s the real tragedy of this: Not just that a young black male got gunned down for no reason than suspicion and a family struggling for justice. Not just the fact that the law possibly lets fuckers like Zimmerman off the hook. It’s that it’s not even uncommon both in occurrence or support.

  160. 160
    jnc says:

    @Culture – if you scroll down to soonergunts post from a few days ago, link is there.

    About your last question, soonergunt claimed a woman called 911 about shots fired, then you could hear yelling, then “another shot.” If you listen to the tape, the woman is calling about people fighting. She doesn’t say anything at all about a shot being fired. There is over 40 seconds of conversation without mention of a shot, and then we hear a shot. So, __at least according to the tape __ it’s not true. At least the part about the caller calling because of a shot fired.

    It’s possible that Zimmerman did shoot him, Martin, yelled for help for 40 seconds, and then Zimmerman shot him again. Were that the case, you would think that the caller would start by saying “I saw a guy shoot someone” instead of two guys are fighting.

  161. 161
    Corpsicle says:

    Couple of years ago some asshole road raged on me, pulled up next to me at a light and started screaming that he would follow me home and kill me. In Florida I could have shot him in the head, with no legal repercussions. I wouldn’t spend my tourist dollars there for anything.

  162. 162
    Elizabelle says:

    @Provider_UNE:

    your link at 154 does not work

  163. 163
    JWL says:

    Thanks for this post, Kay. I had completely forgotten that law had taken effect in Florida, much less given any thought to how it might be panning out. Floridians must be crazy.

  164. 164
    Culture of Truth says:

    Has he given a full version of events, or just said he was screaming? I’m interested in Zimmerman’s version of events because, in my opinion, given what we do know — his 9/11 call, and his history of calls, and the fact that he apparently shot and killed an unarmed teen who was walking home — he’s got a whole of explaining to do.

  165. 165
    Rick Massimo says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: He changed lanes without signaling! What was I supposed to do?

  166. 166
    Provider_UNE says:

    Thankss, its the old doublee http:// delio i should have coded the link myself.

    Backyard Beirut That should be better.

    What happens when you let idiots set up shooting ranges in their own back yards. jawdroppingly stupid.
    .

  167. 167
    Provider_UNE says:

    Lets try this again, shall we.

    Backyard Beirut

    Having a tag fail day I guess.
    .

  168. 168
    wrb says:

    I wonder if this incident will popularize this kind of law, leading to more states adopting them.

    “Makes it safe to gun down black kids who enter your neighborhood (works for hippies too!)”

    Could be popular.

  169. 169
    kay says:

    @gene108:

    In some very real sense, though, it doesn’t matter what Democrats do.

    Obama hasn’t done a thing on gun control. Not one thing. The NRA wants dollars from donors, and the NRA wants conservatives elected, so the NRA makes shit up about him.

    At some point, we have to admit that the bullshit is exactly the same, politically, as reality.

  170. 170
    Provider_UNE says:

    Ok, I just found the reply button, so will not try link to the comment when attempting to reply.

    I think I just about have this place down…Whew.

    It’s 81 degrees here in Indiana, went ouside for a minute and am sweating a bit. I don’t know what you all are gonna do down south, it already feels like mid-June up here and Al Gore’s amazing girth doesn’t seem to be getting the job done

    It was 83 yesterday, the last day of winter.

    Let’s just say that this shit is creeping me out just a bit.
    .

  171. 171
    wrb says:

    @Provider_UNE:

    that article is amazing.

  172. 172
    jnc says:

    @culture – the only thing I have seen – and I’m sorry I didn’t save a link is an unverified story that Zimmerman told a cop at the scene that he was (zimmerman) was on his back and Martin was hitting him in the face and Zimmerman kept yelling for help but that nobody would help him.

    I also read – again an unverified account from a police officer – that Zimmerman was bleeding from the the back of his head and his face and that he had grass stains on the back of his shirt, which would be consistent with this.

    If I had to guess and demonstrating some of my prejudices, I’d say that Zimmerman is an asshole. (Who else drives around in a gated community doing community patrol?) He follows Martin around in his truck but at some point Martin sees him and cuts between some houses to get away from him (I read that somewhere.) Zimmerman gets out of his car and waddles after him (Zimmerman was a short guy weighing 250 lbs) There is a confrontation, probably escalated by wanna-be cop Zimmerman. It gets physical and at some point Martin starts wailing on Zimmerman and Zimmerman starts blubbering help, help. Then he shoots Martin.

    I don’t know then specifics of FL law re stand your ground but I’ll assume the key question will be 1) who started the physical fight and 2) did Zimmerman have a reasonable belief that he was about to suffer serious physical injury. We’ll see I guess.

    (I would be dollars to donuts, though, that Zimmerman is going to say that Martin call him a “fat Mexican” or something like that. Not that it is true, you understand, just that would be how he’ll attempt to neutralize the racial issue.

    @JWL – did you know that 15 states have stand your ground laws? Including backwater hickvilles like Ohio, IL, and NY?

  173. 173
    Ben Franklin says:

    From the Orlando Sentinel;

    “The “castle doctrine” used to mean you could use deadly force if someone attacked you in your home. “Stand your ground” not only absolved the homeowner of any obligation to retreat, it extended that concept outside the home.”

    Why stop at the property line? I would place a remotely fired 50 cal on my porch so I could maintain the safety of my domicile from my office. Works for me.

  174. 174
    kay says:

    @jnc:

    did you know that 15 states have stand your ground laws? Including backwater hickvilles like Ohio, IL, and NY?

    Can you provide a link, please? Many states have laws based on castle doctrine, but it was my understanding that the FL law vastly expands on this to include, well, everywhere.

    I’d like to look at the statutes you’re referring to.

  175. 175
    kay says:

    @jnc:

    Supporters refer to the bill as the “Castle Doctrine,” but it is not limited to in-home altercations. Anyone who claims self-defense anywhere — from personal cars to public venues — would be protected by the law.

    This is an important distinction. The castle doctrine refers to a person’s home, a dwelling. It was extended to a car or other “dwelling” with a roof, but conflating all those as “stand your ground”, anywhere, is too broad.

  176. 176
    Culture of Truth says:

    That could be more or less what happened, but I would add the confrontation was probably initiated by Zimmerman, who, if was following Martin, not only likely scared Martin but probably had it in mind to physically detain Martin, or use his gun to do (recall he said ‘they always get away’). It’s also possible that Zimmerman overestimated his own risk of injury, but maybe Martin did hit him (standing his own ground, as it were.) If both did have that right under the law, and Zimmerman feared bodily injury, then so did Martin, since Zimmerman had the gun, making SYG a kind of game of musical chairs where the winner is the person who kills first.

  177. 177
    jnc says:

    @Kay – wikipedia has good excerpts of various states laws re “castle doctrine.” Usually it involves defense of house, but not always. I don’t know whether the Fla law was a big expansion or not — but check out NY’s law, which seems pretty expansive, too.

    @Culture – I don’t know what counts as “the start of the confrontation” under Fla law and, in fact, whether that even matters. I mean if you follow some guy and then walk up to him and say “What are you doing?” have you started a confrontation making it justified for him to start wailing on you. (Not saying that is what happened here… I just don’t know how far back you get to go with “He started it …”

  178. 178
    Culture of Truth says:

    @jnc: I agree about 1) & 2)also adding, another issue is did Zimmerman exhaust “every reasonable means to escape such danger”

  179. 179
    wrb says:

    So in Florida it is legal to have real Hollywood, middle of main street, High Noon duels in which both shooters stand their ground (and spit, and squint, too)?

    Cool

  180. 180
    jnc says:

    @Culture – I think that is the problem that many people have with the FL law – apparently there is no requirement there that people have to attempt to retreat before opening fire.

  181. 181
    kay says:

    @jnc:

    @Kay – wikipedia has good excerpts of various states laws re “castle doctrine.” Usually it involves defense of house, but not always. I don’t know whether the Fla law was a big expansion or not—but check out NY’s law, which seems pretty expansive, too.

    Again, though, “castle doctrine” refers to a home or other dwelling. This is different. This is a grant of immunity for a perception of threat that happens anywhere.

    Saying NY and IL and OH have the Florida law because they have a castle doctrine law is not accurate.

    My whole objection to the FL law is that no one is safe from another’s (possible) perception of a threat, anywhere. That’s a VAST expansion of the castle doctrine.

    I looked it up. A law like Florida’s was introduced in Ohio in 2006 but it failed.

  182. 182
    trollhattan says:

    Must give a hat-tip to BJ commenters, who were my first source for this story, which took days to get national attention after reading about it here. Even then we figured out it would take the feds getting involved for the asshat shooter to have any consequences.

    Right now, it’s the lead story on the BBC News website.

  183. 183
    Culture of Truth says:

    Who started it matters because SYG immunity does not apply to a person who “Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself” **

    ** subject to further exceptions

  184. 184
    kay says:

    @jnc:

    I keep wondering if he’s a confidential informant. They get special treatment here, although everyone involved vigorously denies that they get special treatment, and will continue to deny it, forever.

    I’m wondering about this:

    Mr. Zimmerman, who is studying criminal justice, was arrested once in 2005 on felony charges of battery on a police officer and resisting arrest with violence. Prosecutors chose not to pursue the case.

  185. 185
    wrb says:

    @kay:

    I keep wondering if he’s a confidential informant. They get special treatment here, although everyone involved vigorously denies that they get special treatment, and will continue to deny it, forever.

    There is a guy in our neighborhood who acts a lot like Zimmerma.

    When some of us got together it turned out that each couple had speculated about whether he was in a witness protection program.

    Paranoia strikes deep…

  186. 186
    jnc says:

    @Kay – you’re correct that castle doctrine, stand your ground, right to self defense are all different things and it’s very sloppy of me to lump them together.

    You’re wondering if Zimmerman is a confidential informant? Maybe, I read that he had made something like 50 plus phone calls to 911 during the course of his “neighborhood watching.” So even if he wasn’t a CI, I bet he was well known to the police.

  187. 187
    liberal says:

    @kay:
    The Wikipedia article is here. While it defines “castle doctrine” more or less as you do (in the house or maybe a car), it also discussing broader laws, presumably like FL’s. But the devil is really in the details. E.g. if a law says that you can use deadly force to ward off a rapist, it’s not quite like FL’s, right? So it’s hard to tell w/o reading that Wikipedia article and the links in detail, with more time than I have on my hands…

  188. 188
    kay says:

    @jnc:

    I thought of it immediately, as did a lot of other people, I’ll bet. It happens. In my experience, they protect their source. I don’t mean to imply that they specifically protected him from this charge, but they do it for lesser charges, here. It’s always denied, but it’s obvious. It’s a partnership.

  189. 189
    Nora says:

    Let’s hear the state of facts which required Zimmerman to get OUT OF HIS CAR and have an altercation with Martin. Remember, Zimmerman was (there is no dispute about this) DRIVING A CAR in the neighborhood when he called 911 about Martin.

    Any way you look at it, Zimmerman got OUT OF HIS CAR to have an altercation with Martin. I cannot imagine how this could make Martin the aggressor. More, I cannot imagine how this could justify Zimmerman’s claiming self-defense under any “reasonable man” doctrine.

  190. 190
    Culture of Truth says:

    The other reason it matters is that Martin, under the SYG law, was permitted to “meet force with force.”

    This is other unusual aspect of the law. Most states do not encourage “force with force”

  191. 191
    Culture of Truth says:

    Zimmerman seems like a guy who calls 911 and says “It’s me”

  192. 192
    kay says:

    @liberal:

    Well, right. I’m objecting to this law. This would be a completely different discussion if the kid was in the shooters car, or his home, or his tent.

    The whole point of the castle doctrine is “your home is your castle”. The intruder has invaded.

    Unless the whole complex is the shooter’s castle, I don’t think using “castle doctrine” applies.

  193. 193
    pattonbt says:

    My issue is the police told him not to do anything and back off. He did not and he escalated the confrontation. Those are the facts. And an innocent kid is dead because of it. It was premeditated as far as I am concerened – he was looking for trouble and went after it when told not to. If Florida is a death penalty state he deserves to die. If not, rot in jail for the rest of his life.

    Anything less is a travesty.

  194. 194
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @kay: Exactly this issue. What the FL stand-your-ground expansion of the castle doctrine does is turn the entire OK corral into your castle. Thus feeling invaded and threatened wherethefuckever becomes an affirmative defense to the use of deadly force, formerly known as homicide except when in defense of your home or in response to actual force or serious (actual, not perceived) danger of bodily harm.

  195. 195

    […] someone can explain to me why anyone still listens to the NRA, I would really appreciate […]

  196. 196
    Gus diZerega says:

    Little Green Footballs shares with us the insight and compassion among Fox Bews listeners. http://littlegreenfootballs.co.....Shot_Zimmy

  197. 197
    j says:

    Thom Hartmann said this morning that there are 16 other states with the same law.

  198. 198
    gvg says:

    I’ll defend Florida, my home.

    joeyess – March 20, 2012 | 10:48 am · Link

    Let’s not forget that one of the best kept secrets in American history is that Florida was one of the most virulent Jim Crow states in the nation back in the last century. Especially in the panhandle area. They quickly and quietly adopted the Civil Rights movement’s progress when it became clear that it was to be the law of the land to protect their tourism dollars.

    They are, after all, one of the states that needs to get permission from the Federal government to change it’s voting rights laws.

    Read up on Gov. LeRoy Collins and gov.Ruben Askew. They are the reason Florida didn’t explode like the rest of the south in the Civil rights era. We got lucky really. My dad think LeRoy Collins was Florida’s greatest politician ever. He says LeRoy was just extreamly persuasive and talked the most extream people into being reasonable and nicer. We still have racism mixed in with the rest, but it’s not the whole or even the major part of us. Currently we have a large crop of jerk politicians, look at all the rest of the country-they’re all over.

    The gun range thing looks to be stupid legislature intending something else and lazy police departments. I did a little googleing and the stories are all over the place with wildly different versions of what happened but it seems that a long time ago (80’s I think it said) the state made a law that stated all firearms laws had to be states, no local meddling at all-then didn’t enforce that so it got sort of forgotten. Personally I think regulations need to be sort of local because what is smart and fair in a crowded city is unnecesary in wide open spaces.However the state passed something that made it possible to sue individually any government official (cop) or politician who tried to do a local rule…so the locals suddenly repealed all kinds of local rules and the effect has been both progun in some issues and antigun in others and made people both safer and more endangered randomly. OK the reason I think the cops department who thinks a gun range with bullets over the property lines is now allowed are wrong is that there are in fact state statues also that say no way and also against reckless endangerment etc. In addition there are state noise ordenances. However it appears the locals haven’t got everything figured out yet. I still think they need local rules but I don’t think the next door neighbor gun range with no bullet stops is actually legal.

    We Floridians do have some clean up work to do, but most of us aren’t more nuts or racists than any other area and I do resent stupid broad brush painting.

  199. 199
    Ivan Ivanovich Renko says:

    @gvg:

    We Floridians do have some clean up work to do, but most of us aren’t more nuts or racists than any other area and I do resent stupid broad brush painting.

    Most black men aren’t violent criminals, either, but that doesn’t stop most white people from assuming we are.

  200. 200
    kay says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    Thus feeling invaded and threatened wherethefuckever becomes an affirmative defense to the use of deadly force

    It’s broader than an affirmative defense. The statute says “immune”. It doesn’t say “probable cause, charge and then offer affirmative defense to the charge”.

    I think the NRA sold this as not a big deal, an expansion of the castle doctrine, and “duty to retreat”, but it’s actually a big change, the way I read it anyway.

  201. 201
    kay says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):

    In other words, they are using it to say they don’t have probable cause to charge him, although he shot and killed someone, because of this law. That’s not an affirmative defense. It’s more like immunity from charges.

    The people who promoted this law say exactly that. They say “don’t leave the affirmative defense of self defense up to a jury! Too risky!”

  202. 202
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @pattonbt:

    If Florida is a death penalty state

    Okay, that was funny.

  203. 203
    Lex says:

    Liberals: Being Bashed for Being Right Since 1933.

  204. 204
    BTME says:

    Where is your research in to how the violent crime rate in Florida has decreased since the law? If 20 more lives are lost, but hundreds saved, would that help ease your fear of guns?

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