The Washington Post has a history of the “Stand Your Ground” law: the law that let George Zimmerman murder Trayvon Martin and walk away.
The focus of the Martin case has been race, and race is a major factor here. But people seem to be forgetting that this law, which has spread throughout the country since 2005 when Florida first introduced it, is allowing the shooting of people of all races throughout the country.
The story focuses on a drunk 23-year-old who was shot when he knocked on the wrong door. He survived, but get this. Before he took the bullet to the chest, he supported the law. But that’s the way it usually goes, right?
In the seven years since it was enacted, the Florida law and others like it have become an effective defense for an increasing number of people who have shot others, according to state records and media reports.
Justifiable homicides in Florida have tripled, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement data. Other states have seen similar increases, FBI statistics show.
In the five years before the law’s passage, Florida prosecutors declared “justifiable” an average of 12 killings by private citizens each year. (Most justifiable killings are committed by police officers; those cases, which have also tripled, are not included in these statistics.) But in the five years after the law passed, that number spiked to an average of 36 justifiable killings per year.
Neither the state nor Florida’s association of prosecutors declares the jump in justifiable homicides to be a direct result of the new law, but the state public defender’s association does draw that connection, as have advocacy groups opposed to Stand Your Ground laws.
So the state and the state’s prosecutors are pretending not to see that the law is murder. But Jeb Bush, who signed the bill as governor and is expected to run for president in 2016 knows defending the law in the Martin case is losing issue:
Asked about the Martin case last week, former governor Jeb Bush, initially an enthusiastic backer of the legislation, said, “Stand your ground means stand your ground. It doesn’t mean chase after somebody who’s turned their back.”
Would be nice if he thought of that when he signed it into law.
FOOTNOTE: The story also refers to a case where a 69-year-old black guy shot and killed a 41-year-old white guy after an argument about kids skateboarding in a park. The black guy was arrested two days after the shooting and a judge will decide this month if the case goes to trial. The shooter should be convicted and jailed, but two things. 1) We’ll see if “Stand Your Ground” is allowed here. 2) Of course the black guy was going to be arrested. That’s how it works in Florida.