Stand Your Ground

There's been a lot of talk about the shooting of Trayvon Martin in Florida.  I haven't joined in on that issue, and don't mean to do so yet because so far there hasn't even been a decision made about prosecution.  It sounds as if there ought to be adequate reason to go before a grand jury, but so far no decision on that has been made.

What I do find objectionable is the use of this tragedy to raise a general claim against the principle of the "Stand Your Ground" law that Florida has.  An extension of the Castle doctrine to all places where one may lawfully be, it simply holds that you cannot be legally forced to flee from criminal violence:  you have a right to defend yourself from it.

Our friends on the left have raised this case as an example of the law allowing for the killing of innocents by bullies.  Since no decisions have come down on prosecution, that's at best premature:  but it is when they try to show this is part of a trend that they go most astray.
The Florida courts have upheld the law and issued some truly shocking findings.
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. 
That's almost a complete misreading of the actual events.  What actually happened in Tallahassee is documented here.  You'll notice a few small differences in the judge's account vice Mother Jones' account.

1)  The "15-year-old African American male" was a rival gang member.

2)  He was not "killed in the crossfire," but was in fact the target of the bullets that killed him.

3)  He was armed, having come to that place with the express intention of engaging in a gunfight, and,

4)  He shot first.

That's a little bit different picture, isn't it?

How about a different picture of the statistics in Florida, thanks to the CATO institute?
Between 2004 (the year before the law’s enactment) and 2010 violent crime in Florida dropped sharply, and homicides per capita also dropped, though not sharply.
We ought all to hope for justice for Mr. Martin; and it is very early in the process for anyone to despair about such justice being achieved.  As for the wider argument that some wish to make out of this case, it does not hold water.


bthun said...

I believe I heard on the squawk box that the incident will be presented to the Grand Jury on or about 10-ish April.

Second, I believe I heard during the same squawk box listening session, the Florida legislator who drafted the SYG legislation said that this was not a stand your ground matter.

The legislator said that based upon what he has heard of the circumstances leading up to the shooting, specifically as heard on the 911 tapes, the 911 dispatcher advising the self-appointed neighborhood watch captain to NOT follow the young fellow, the SA NW Capt. did follow the young man.

No ground was stood, the SA NW Captain followed the young fellow <insert sequence of events that I do not know here> and the rest is... history.

All in all, I too am amazed at how anyone can assign guilt or innocence on either party, living or dead, at this point unless they were there.

Finally, The Brady Bunch, HCI, et al., and kindred spirits want everyone disarmed, save their bodyguards.

I've got to get back outside. Too much to do and too little velocity in the old carcass to gitЯdone in a timely fashion.

Which BTW, reminds me. I need to take Walkin' Boss to the range to practice with her new Taurus 850 .38 SPL in titanium. She injured her wrist a while back and now has difficulty racking the slide on autos aka pistols so I picked up the Taurus at a great price, had a trigger job performed, filled it with snap-caps for practice, and as is often exclaimed - Voilà! Walkin' Boss is ready to abuse some paper.

Grim said...

Let us know how she does. The .38 Special is a great little gun, but many women I've taught on one found it to be too harsh in terms of recoil. I'm sure you know your wife's tolerance, but if she's having wrist trouble already, it may be something to look out for. The spring and slide on an auto absorbs a certain amount of the recoil, and you're losing more recoil absorption when you go with lightweight materials like titanium.

Of course, she may love it, in which case great! If she does decide that she'd want something lighter-weight, you might look for something in a .22 Magnum. It's still got enough power on the sharp end if you load it with hollow points, but it's a much gentler cartridge.

E Hines said...

The opinion piece also was on Fox News, written by Florida Congressman Dennis Baxley.

There is an area of self defense that is easily recognizable, and there is an area of criminal aggressiveness that also is easily recognizable. They do not abut each other though; there is a very wide gray area between them. That is the area where juries, large and small, are far better suited to pass judgment than can any government, even though juries are not perfect.

As bthun notes, this case is going to a grand jury next month, and properly so. The published accounts don't make things look very good for the shooter, but the published accounts do not at all provide all, or even necessarily relevant, facts.

Eric Hines

bthun said...

"Of course, she may love it"...

Walkin' Boss had a Det SPL in .38 way back when. I also bought her a hammerless Taurus 82 in stainless way back when and had a trigger job done on the 82. Trigger jobs seem to be a necessary SOP for Taurii, at least their revolvers, otherwise they are fine little pieces. Anyway, both were nice little pocket pieces and I kick myself for letting them go. C'est la vie, or as we sometimes say around here, Awwww $Ч!+

WB likes the .38 alright enough but draws the line with .357 =:^}

Icing on the cake: Now I get to watch over and exercise her iddy biddy auto! Win win.

*stares out window at tractor waiting... glances at beer-rator, then watch, then tractor...*
Awwww $Ч!+

bthun said...

P.S. It's not her strong side that was injured. Her strong side grip is still good, she just has too much pain/difficulty grasping and racking the slide. She'd need to carry her auto in Condition 1-0 (Glock), but even so, a tap-rack situation would be darned near impossible for her at this time.

*stares out window at tractor waiting...

Grim said...

I had a great little Taurus myself once, one of their .357 pocket pistols. You could literally drop it in your front pocket and carry it around, without it presenting a suggestion that you had more than just a bunch of keys.

I can't remember why I sold it. Perhaps it was when we went to China; I think we sold or gave away almost everything we owned at that time.

Anonymous said...

My "social carry" piece is a Taurus .38. And yes, the bite and trigger pull are a little hard. That said, it puts rounds where I want them and it is less sensitive to pocket lint than some of the semi autos that I've looked at.

As to Florida, I don't think anyone can say anything useful until after the grand jury meets, at this point. Too much ink and indignation have been spilled. Especially the indignation.