Miami Herald’s Jim Morin rehashes old themes for today’s cartoon.
Let’s see how many prejudices can we catch in his cartoon: White Fat Guys (because there are no minorities in the NRA or the Florida Legislature, fat or otherwise,) check. Big bag of Cash, check. Cowboy-Style gun rig, check. Ammo bandoleer across the chest, check. Body of cop and justice subdue by the evil NRA and legislators, check.
And the message? Florida legislators accepted money (bribes? Gasp!) from the NRA for the passage of Stand Your Ground and both Justice and Law Enforcement are dying because of it.
The concept behind Stand Your Ground is simple: If you are in a location outside your home where you have the right to be, are not committing a crime or incited a confrontation, you have the right to use deadly force to prevent death or grave bodily harm to yourself or others. It expands the concept of self defense to its rightful place: The Individual.
As asinine as it sounds, before Stand Your Ground, the value of your life was akin to Real State: location, location, location. If you were at home and somebody broke in, your life according to the law, was very valuable and worth defending it. But if you stepped outside the house, just like a new car leaving the dealership your life experienced a sudden drop in value and might not be enough to use deadly force. So, if you were coming out of a restaurant, attacked, you parry that attack with any means, the District Attorney would check his Blue Book of Life Values and determine if you used excessive force against the aggressor and are the one who should be going to prison. DAs all over loved to point out that the law made a provision called Duty to Retreat which said that if you made a reasonable effort to avoid or flee but couldn’t, then you wouldn’t be charged with a crime but ruled as self defense. As Massad Ayoob explains, nobody yet has outran a bullet and they don’t tell you how you are supposed to do it. So, the whole concept of Duty to Retreat is stupid on face value; you simple do not turn your back on people intending to do you harm, specially if they are younger of fitter than you. Stand Your Ground then makes sense but , Oh God It Is Hated So Much! But why? Answer is simple: It takes power away from the District Attorneys and they do not like that.
You will never hear a Government Official say “Gosh darn it! I have too much power. I wish the Legislature/Congress would reduce it so my burden is less.” Oh hell no, once they get a taste of it, they want more. If you try to reduce their power, they will bite your head off … figuratively. DAs love the power to determine who goes to jail or who goes free. Plus let’s not forget that if the DA has any political dreams to move to higher office, there is nothing like a controversial yet easy case to win to boost votes in the ballots when the time comes.
I shoot with Law Enforcement Officers at our club quite regularly. Still I have not heard one cop disparaging Stand Your Ground. Contrary to some members of the Media, political pundits and other dumbasses, cops are pretty saavy and intuitive: if a crime scene might be suspicious, they will delve deeply into it and will reserve opinion. But they also figure out that if Jose Smith, father of four, mortgage, steady job and with no criminal record whatsoever was attacked outside Publix, used his gun to defend himself and the perp is now on his way to acquire room temperature, Mr. Smith should not be dragged through the Court System because a DA feels like he needs to “make an example.” Cops have no pity for violent career criminals, but they do hate having to go to a house and inform the family that the innocent head of the household or the young mother was killed. And they do hate to attend a trial of a citizen that was forced to defend himself and they know in their hearts he is innocent, but a greedy DA wants to do his BS show for personal profit.
I firmly believe that my life is very valuable and worth the same independently of the location I might be. Duty to Retreat creates a Gun Free Zone Light (Reduced calories, no caffeinne) where you may or may not get in trouble and dependent on what somebody else might decide. So you basically get screwed twice: Once by the criminal and once by the DA. Stand Your Ground simply states that if you are a good person and doing nothing wrong, you should not have to pay for defending yourself from the misdeeds of a criminal third party or suffer the abuses of a Legal System drunk on power.