IF YOU COME TO FLORIDA.... Do not argue unnecessarily with local people (STAND YOUR GROUND LAW or SHOOT FIRST LAW went into effect October 1, 2005) ThinkingBlue
PS: Read a compassionate conservative's view on this law (at bottom)
Tell Governor Bush he made a mistake. The people of Florida deserve better than to be gunned down by the short-tempered and trigger-happy. They deserve better than to have the law put into the hands of private citizens.
Tell your governor that deadly force is not a game, and isn't something to be taken lightly and that taking a human life should never be our first choice.
On October 1, 2005, Florida becomes a more dangerous place. That's when the Shoot First Law goes into effect, giving the people of Florida the right to use deadly force as a first resort when they feel threatened, even in a public place. But the Shoot First doctrine isn't just staying in Florida — it's about to become a national disgrace.
Gun control group targets Florida's tourist industry
MIAMI (AP) — Clark Ramm sees shades of the Wild West in Florida's new law giving greater legal protections to people who shoot or use other deadly force when threatened or attacked.
"It seems like everybody ought to be packing a piece," said Ramm, a visitor from Ukiah, Calif., who found out about the law Monday from a gun control group handing out leaflets at Miami International Airport. "I don't know if that's the right thing to do."The leaflets begin with the words "An Important Notice to Florida Visitors" in bold red type by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence."Do not argue unnecessarily with local people," it says. "If someone appears to be angry with you, maintain to the best of your ability a positive attitude, and do not shout or make threatening gestures."Florida's "stand your ground" law, which took effect Saturday, means that people no longer must attempt to retreat or defuse a threatening situation before using violence in order to later claim they were acting in self-defense. People already had that right in their homes, but the law now allows them to meet "force with force" in any place they have a legal right to be.
The right to "stand your ground" does not apply if the person is confronted by a law enforcement officer.Proponents of the measure, pushed by the National Rifle Association, say it will make Florida a safer place, not more dangerous. Gov. Jeb Bush has repeatedly pointed to a 34-year low in state crime statistics to demonstrate that Florida is not a haven for violence.
"It's pure, unadulterated politics," Bush said last week of the Brady Campaign's tactics. "Shame on them."The Florida tourism industry, however, is taking the campaign seriously, with Visit Florida — the state's official tourism marketing arm — issuing a statement calling Florida "a very safe and secure destination that excels in caring for its visitors.""We believe that Americans and international visitors are smart enough to understand that the Brady Campaign is one group's political agenda and not a real safety issue," the statement said.
Florida hosts more than 1 million visitors on any given day, with nearly 80 million tourists visiting the state in 2004, according to Visit Florida.The Brady Campaign leaflets, which the group intends to hand out for about a month at the Miami and Orlando airports, call the measure the "Shoot First" law and urge people to "take sensible precautions" while visiting the state."There is no other state in the nation — and no other civilized nation on Earth — that has a law like this," said Brady Campaign spokesman Peter Hamm. "It could cause the most aggressive people in society to overreact."The group also has taken out ads in major Detroit, Chicago, Boston and London newspapers about the new Florida law.Several people who got the leaflets at the Miami airport on Monday appeared taken aback by the new law.
"It's a little scary," said Melissa Vosberg, on her way home to the Chicago area after a cruise in the Bahamas. "It's 'shoot first, ask about it later.'"
The Shoot First Law is an invitation to reckless use of guns in the streets of our cities and towns. Without the law, people carrying firearms in public places could use those guns against perceived threats only as a last resort. The new law eliminates a citizen's duty to avoid the threat, and allows the use of deadly force before other options. Below is some legal context to the new Shoot First statute. It is not a comprehensive analysis of all laws on this subject, or all the situations that may arise under the law.
The Duty to Retreat
According to a leading legal text, "It is a well-established rule that in order to justify or excuse a homicide on the ground of self defense, the slayer must have employed all means in his power, consistent with his own safety, to avoid danger and avert the necessity of taking another's life in order to protect himself." AmJur Homicide, Section 161. A person threatened other than in his own home or place of business is not justified in taking the life of the assailant, if a safe avenue of retreat is open to him. AmJur Homicide, Section 163.
The New Florida Law
The new Florida Shoot First law eliminates the duty to retreat and allows a person not engaged in unlawful activity who is attacked in a public place to "stand his or her ground" and use deadly force if "he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or to another person or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony." Thus, even if the shooter could have safely avoided the threat by walking away or seeking refuge elsewhere, the Shoot First law permits him to shoot the assailant and gives him immunity from criminal prosecution and civil suit if he does so.
The Florida statute was passed over the strong objections of law enforcement officials and prosecutors. Broward County Sheriff Ken Jenne opposed the law because "it's easy to say after the fact, I felt threatened." Willie Meggs, President of the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, said prosecutors are "concerned that it will provide a defense to someone who uses force that doesn't necessarily have to be done."
Seeking Out Danger
Under the "Shoot First" law, as long as the shooter "is not engaged in unlawful activity" and is "attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be" the shooter has the right to use deadly force. Therefore, if a fistfight escalates to lethal violence, the shooter could receive immunity under the law even if he initiated the confrontation, as long as he "reasonably believed" that firing the gun was necessary to prevent a "forcible felony" or "great bodily harm" to himself.
Sweeping Immunity for Negligent Shooters
The Shoot First law provides for broad immunity from civil suits and criminal prosecution for shooters who reasonably believed the use of deadly force was necessary to prevent bodily harm or prevent a forcible felony. Nothing in the law would preserve the right of an innocent bystander who was shot in the incident to pursue a civil action against the shooter for negligence in the handling of a firearm. The shooter could receive immunity for shooting recklessly into a crowd, as long as he reasonably believed he was in serious danger.
By Doug Giles Oct 1, 2005 Talk show host and columnist
“. . . if you do that which is evil, be afraid.”
As of this Saturday, October 1, 2005, the law abiding citizens of Florida have been “given back” the already God-given, Constitution-given and no-duh-right to defend themselves, and if need be, use deadly force in so doing. That’s right . . . if you decide to rape, rob, car jack or accost a Floridian, you might want to think twice about that brain fart, as that may be the last thing you do before your soul wings its way to Hades.
If you’re the little weed contemplating these things, you should reflect a bit longer on the wisdom of this course of violent action, because we the people can now wale on you and be protected from criminal prosecution and/or an inane civil suit.
Here’s what Floridians are now afforded via The Castle Doctrine. This beautiful new law basically gives the average Joe who gets criminally assaulted while minding his own beeswax three essentials things:
1. It establishes, by law, the presumption that if a moron has the moxie to forcibly enter my home or vehicle that he is probably not there to borrow sugar, rather to cause death or bodily harm. Therefore, I can either impale said dipstick, on a sword, or dust him with 00 Buck, or unload my Sig in his surprised face, or double tap his center mass with my .450/400-3 ¼ Nitro Express double rifle I bought to hunt Africa’s most deadliest game. Yes, beginning this Saturday, good Floridian men can put down bad foolish men who violate the sanctity of our Castles.
2. It removes my duty to turn the other cheek and runaway when I’m being attacked. Look, if bloggers, columnists and radio show hosts want to have fun at my expense, I have no other recourse but to absorb their personal insults, laugh it off and not go postal, i.e., to turn the other cheek. However, if my family, or I or others in my vicinity are being physically assaulted in a place in which we have a perfect right to be, then I can stand my ground and drop the assailant to the pavement if I have reason to believe he intends to do us bodily harm. Matthew 5:39 does not apply to rapists, burglars, attempted murderers, gangbangers, terrorists or similar stooges.
3. In addition, after the deceased violent aggressor’s spirit is tooling its way to Dante’s slow roast BBQ and I’m comforting my family and friends as I wipe gun powder residue off my hands, thanks to The Castle Doctrine, I can rest assured that I am protected from a therapeutic culture and the soulless lawyers it has spawned. Imagine that . . . a law on the side of a law abiding person. It’s crazy!
You know, it’s not a cheerful thought, but think of the reverb that’ll shoot through criminal communities in the Sunshine State when one of their ilk gets killed by a good citizen for trying to be tough guy.
What do you think the still living idiot friends of the deceased punk are going to think when they learn that their 19-year old Darwinian-holdover buddy got Glocked by a young woman who refused to be raped by him? Think of the empowerment that this theoretical babe will give to other chicas minding their own business, as she leads the pack by not taking any crud from criminals—Castle Doctrine style!
Imagine the laughter of the cackling fools ceasing when instead of bringing home video footage of their friends beating and kicking an old man in the parking lot of a Target for fun, they have on their memory stick a 35 second blip of a retiree laying one of their multi-tattooed lads to rest with a Smith & Wesson 686. Oops! Now you little wannabe criminals didn’t plan on that happening this evening, did you?
In addition, won’t it be a relief to see bloodless lawyers no longer having a psychobabble, legalese, this-is-why-my-client-robbed-raped-burgled-or-murdered leg to stand on?
Won’t it be liberating to not hear on the local news that the perpetrator was actually the victim, and the one who defended himself is evil?
Aren’t you getting sick of hearing how the felon was not responsible for his crime because he had low blood sugar, abnormal peer pressure, societal oppression, or that he didn’t get enough attention during his delicate years, was off his meds and was not aware of the ramifications of such criminal mischief because George W. Bush under funded his education? Isn’t it freeing to now know that you can protect your person and property instead of helplessly running from bad people, bad judges and bad lawyers?
Yes, thanks to Sen. Durrell Peaden and Rep. Dennis Baxley, the law’s sponsors, and Gov. Jeb Bush, who signed the bill into law, The Castle Doctrine has now gone into effect, and I guarantee we will begin to see the sun set on those who would do harm in the Sunshine State.
Only those who do evil need to be afraid.
* Logon to ClashRadio.com and pick up a copy of Giles’ latest teaching DVD, Ruling in Babylon, filmed before a very live audience in Cape Town, South Africa. Also, check out Doug’s interview with the “father” of Compassionate Conservatism, Marvin Olasky.
Find this story at: http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/douggiles/2005/10/01/158897.html
War On Fairness
- John Steinbeck