it's like violent people like guns or something

Surprise! Lots Of People Invoking ‘Stand Your Ground’ Are Violent Criminals

Wish I had cable so I could watch the crap outta thisLet’s be slightly kind up front: when the stand-your-ground legislative movement was belched forth from the NRA’s lobbying shop, the people who backed it no doubht had visions of armed citizens heroically fighting off dastardly attackers when the police couldn’t. Probably they had spent a lot of time at the firing range, with their legally acquired, well-cared-for firearms, fantasizing about pumping lead into that guy who had mugged them and they had felt in fear of their lives, because they had been unarmed. But sometimes — and here we do not mean to shock your tender sensibilities — sometimes legislation does not produce the results its framers intend! For instance, Florida’s stand your ground law has resulted in not only any number of heroic rescues of innocents (we’re sure these are lovingly detailed on the NRA’s website, go Google it yourself) but also a bunch of dudes with shady pasts and criminal records and guns shooting other people, who themselves are pretty shady! Has stand-your-ground just legalized sketchy people shooting each other? Looks that way!

Your Comics Curmudgeon lives in Baltimore, home of Obama’s teevee drug buddies, and one important thing they tell you about the sky-high murder rate here is that the profile of the murder victims — in terms of demographics, economics, and arrest records — tends to match the profile of the murder suspects. In other words, while the NRA fantasy is that America is in the middle of a violent race war and “we” need guns to protect us from “them,” in fact a lot of murder in this country comes from “them” shooting each other … often in exactly the sort of “his life or mine” scenarios stand-your-ground was designed to cover!

The Communist liberals at the Tampa Bay Times have done an analysis of the 119 people who used the Florida stand-your-ground law to try to beat a murder rap. 60 percent of them had at least one “major” arrest. Nearly a third had four or more major arrests! Here, here are some fun instances of people who were just standing their ground, like heroes:

  • Jackson Fleurimon had been arrested for battery, aggravated assault and drug possession. Witnesses said he was in a beef over drug turf when he shot and killed a man in Orange County in 2009. A judge granted him immunity.
  • Tavarious China Smith was a drug dealer with multiple arrests who killed a man during an 2008 argument over drug territory in Manatee County. He claimed self-defense and went free. Less than three years later, he was back in front of prosecutors for a different homicide, this one the result of a shoot-out outside a nightclub. Smith once again went free by claiming “stand your ground.”
  • In Tallahassee, Dervaunta Vaughn had been accused of battery at least six times before police arrested him in a gangland shoot-out that left one person dead in March 2009. After Vaughn invoked “stand your ground,” prosecutors struck a plea deal that dropped murder charges and sent Vaughn to prison for eight years for illegally carrying a gun.
  • Alexander Lopez-Lima’s run-ins with the law began two days after his 15th birthday. His half-dozen arrests include battery, selling and possessing marijuana and strong arm robbery, court records show. In 2011 a judge decided the then-18-year-old Lopez-Lima was standing his ground when he wound up in an armed battle and killed another teen who had come to his house to smoke marijuana.

Also, there is the delightful story that frames the Times’ whole article, about a guy who repeatedly threatened his ex-wife with a gun, and ended up killing his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, who was unarmed but was probably going back to his car to get his gun, who can say?

The Times charitably notes that “In some cases examined by the Times, a defendant’s prior arrests occurred years before their fatal confrontation and therefore may reveal nothing about their propensity for trouble.” It does reveal that Florida is full of ex-cons, of course, not that we didn’t know that. [TBT]

About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

View all articles by Josh Fruhlinger
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132 comments

    1. Terry

      It sort of goes along with the GOP's fantasy about drug testing Welfare recipients. Turns out that the GOP just plain old invents "problems" that need legislative solutions. Kind of "big government" of them, isn't it?

  1. MLHencken

    Logic and common sense have no use whatsoever in discussion about gun owner's rights.

    Obama has actually scored worse than his predecessors on gun control issues, yet we're hearing still the wingtard drumbeat that the Kenyan Usurper is coming for their beloved guns.

    We need an idiot ban more than an assault weapons ban. Well, really we need both.

    1. Caelan Aegana

      So does this mean that things are already so far into the deep end that if Prez NObama did come out with a total ban on owning guns, hunting knives and safety scissors they would have nothing further to scream about?

      Such a wonder is progress!

  2. Ducksworthy

    I want to design a law that will encourage religious fundamentalists to shoot each other.

    1. ph7

      It's called "marriage". They like it so much, they want to keep to the law for themselves.

      1. Ducksworthy

        Actually, I was thinking we'd want to include everybody so the Mooslime, Hindoos, Joos etc. could participate. The Buddhists might not want to play, but I think a lot of Mormons would.

    2. HogeyeGrex

      Wasn't that called "The Crusades?"

      A cynical man might put W's Mideast Adventure into that class, but for not nearly enough fundies signing up for actual gettin' shot at duty.

  3. Maman

    So instead of getting one bad guy killed and one sent to jail, we get one killed and one that can go out and shoot more people. YEAH ALEC and the NRA!

  4. FakaktaSouth

    Nearly a third had four or more major arrests!

    So what exactly is up with the judicial system? I thought three strikes was weird, but hell, what is this? Like playground rules? Four fouls and you go sit back at the house? I thought prisons were ESPECIALLY for those who are violent and need to be kept out of society, not just a way for private-Cheney-prison-types to make even more money off fucking poor people.

    1. SorosBot

      No, prisons are especially for those who do drugs and have the wrong skin pigment at the same time. Violence short of murder is no big deal; but drugs are!

      1. FakaktaSouth

        The most proficient user of illegal drugs (stealing shit out of hospitals even) I have ever known ran the sentencing arm of Drug Court here, but he was a cracker, so it didn't count.

  5. Dr_Zoidberg

    Yes, but SECOND AMENDMENT/LIBRULS TRYIN' TO TAKE MAH GUNS/MEDIA/BLAHS/ARRGGHHHBLLARGGG!!!!!

  6. elburritodeluxe

    Super surprised that the caring people at NRA and ALEC would push legislation that didn't help regular folks like me!

  7. LastGasp

    So, Stand Your Ground laws are not meant for people trying to protect their drug stash? What's this country coming to if we can't protect free enterprise?

    1. Generation[redacted]

      Leftists don't understand how the giant, endlessly faceted private economy works.

    2. Lascauxcaveman

      Hey, that is so not true. Like that time when Shiv and Rinky the Rat came over to pick up that kilo of the good stuff they ordered? And like Rinky's all bitching "Uhm, it's light, Dude," like he always is, and then they pull out a stack of twenties that are like, I dunno, bad photocopies or something? And of course I'm all like "Guys… is this a joke?" And Shiv leans over and whispers something to Rinky, so I'm on the Glock and suddenly it's BAM BAM BAM BAM, and I've got hella mess to clean up.

      Anyway, I left out the bit about the kilo and the twenties when I was the featured speaker at the NRA luncheon, and it was cool.

      The chicken was a little dried out though.

  8. Generation[redacted]

    The best part is, when both parties are armed, both can fear for their lives, so … quickest draw wins!

    1. YasserArraFeck

      There has got to be a reality show in here somewhere – "Survivor: Miami"? "Stand Your Grounders of Dade County"?

    2. LastGasp

      There are "quick draw" classes taught at gun ranges. It's called Combat Shooting. The gunslingers are only shooting at targets, but if you get quick enough you can compete with other folks, because, yes, it's a sport.

      1. HistoriCat

        What we need for the real world are etiquette classes. Just pulling your gun and firing is so gauche. You need to meet at high noon on the main street – does no one have any standards these days?

    1. Generation[redacted]

      Am I the only one who noticed that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear arms, but says nothing about the right to use them?

  9. johnnyzhivago

    Stand Your Ground sounds like a great name for a white trash country music act with hits like "Outta My Cold Clamy Hands" and "Yeah I Shot Em (Coz He Was Askin' Fer It)" and "Why Don't Our Prezident Love America"

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        They could also do a cover version of GnR's "I Used to Love Her But I Had to Kill Her."

  10. BaldarTFlagass

    I think I'm going to move to Somalia or South Sudan. I'll probably be much safer there.

  11. Goonemeritus

    At the end of the day wasn’t Hitler just “Standing His Ground” against Poland?

      1. viennawoods13

        It was German ground, dammit! Hitler was just taking back what belonged to them.

  12. BaldarTFlagass

    Reading this just makes me want to go and shoot those ALEC and NRA fucks. With votes of course.

  13. Nostrildamus

    I'm sure Florida juries will, somehow, be able to discern which Stand Your Ground appeals are made by those of dark character.

    1. HogeyeGrex

      Looking at the names in the blurb, it actually seems to work for the melanin enhanced as well. Surely that is not what the framers of such a law intended.

      It also looks like a judge makes the choice pre-trial in at least some cases. Damned activist judges.

      1. MosesInvests

        Guarantee you, those four didn't shoot anyone melanin-challenged. If they had, they'd be in Raiford on Death Row, "Stand Your Ground" be damned.

    2. HistoriCat

      I think there's a special hearing in front of the judge which happens before the case goes to trial. That's when these guys are getting a Stand Your Ground ruling.

  14. SorosBot

    But then, this is the NRA; they at best don't care about murders as long as it's "them" dying, as shown by their refusal to care about all the gun violence and death that they are directly responsible for, and most probably think more of "them" killing each other is a good thing. Fuck those dickshits.

  15. An_Outhouse

    So your point is that NRA members are drug dealing scum of the earth? I kinda knew that already.

  16. ph7

    I blame the founding fathers, who didn't find the whole gun thing important enough for the Constitution. They added it later by an afterthought amendment, and then fucked it up so bad that no one can agree what it says.

    1. GeorgiaBurning

      Be sure that the carpet in the hospitality suites is a dark color, those stains are tough to clean.

      1. Tundra Grifter

        Good thing the Hawaiian Choom Gang didn't see things that way. Sen. John McCain would be President.

        "Intercepted!"

  17. calliecallie

    Dervaunta and Tavarious are just being used to help trim the blahs from the voter rolls.

  18. BaldarTFlagass

    "killed another teen who had come to his house to smoke marijuana."

    I hate mooching bogarts, too.

  19. SayItWithWookies

    Well — in the interests of safety and decency, the stand-your-ground laws should be renamed to something like stand-your-corner or stand-your-turf. Or stand-wherever-and-shoot-someone. Also, "hail of gunfire" should now be called "freedom rain."

  20. ph7

    I say we all step out of our houses every morning with our guns cocked and loaded, and just stand there, eyeing each at the end of the barrel all day, until it's time for dinner and O'Reilly. Then, go to bed and get ready for the next day of Standing Yer Ground in America.

    1. KeepFnThatOwl

      The way Republicans want to prop up the defense industry, one would think they'd love to strap our kids in Kevlar school uniforms.

  21. OneYieldRegular

    Keeping guns out of the hands of convicted violent criminals is an infringement of our cherished, hallowed personal freedom to get shot by convicted violent criminals.

  22. weejee

    Here's hoping all the Rethuglican conventioneers downright rapture to the Florida Stand Your Ground law while they are in Tampa.

  23. proudgrampa

    I keep trying to explain this conundrum to my gun-loving sons. Stand your ground blurs the line between law abidance and criminality.

    1. KeepFnThatOwl

      Every other thing I buy, I use!! When can I squeeze a round off into a criminal, daddy?! WHEEEENNN

      Also, not making fun of your deal. Here's always hoping clearer heads prevail.

  24. Callyson

    More than 30 of those defendants, about one in three, had been accused of violent crimes, including assault, battery or robbery.

    And they are allowed to own a gun because…?

    FFS…

    1. SorosBot

      Well when it's legal and very, very easy for anyone except convicted criminals to buy guns, it's almost impossible for those convicted criminals to get access to guns, just like the national drinking age of 21 means that no one 20 or under can ever get any alcohol.

      1. Baconzgood

        Baconz buys at 2X the price + $5 bucks for each year you're under 21. If I did that sort of thing which I don't because it's against the law.

  25. BaldarTFlagass

    Re the alt-text: Josh, don't do it. You'll only end up in a roadside ditch, or attending your own funeral as a guy named Phil Shiffley, or selling your hair to a wig shop, or having a grandson with a dog collar. It's not worth it!!

  26. sezme

    Tavarious China Smith? You mean there's another one? I always thought I was the only one. Shit.

  27. AbandonHope

    Can we get them all to Stand their Ground at each other, until they've all killed each other? (With votes?)

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Maybe that's part of the hidden agenda. I mean, do you see any "white people" names in the list of examples up there?

  28. Boojum

    I think we should encourage NRA members to move to the same State and repeal all of its gun laws. So long as it is far from me.

  29. Weenus299

    Stand your ground is perfect, especially when you're running on ever-shifting ground shooting a hundred fucking bullets at an unarmed person who looks scary because he's reacting to a fat piece of shit shooting a gun at him.

  30. Tundra Grifter

    "…there is the delightful story that frames the Times’ whole article, about a guy who repeatedly threatened his ex-wife with a gun, and ended up killing his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, who was unarmed but was probably going back to his car to get his gun, who can say?"

    Well, the new boyfriend certainly can't.

  31. James Michael Curley

    Man! I thought the term was Stand your Gourd. All I got was a pile of messy fruit.

  32. Baconzgood

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

    "WELL REGULATED MILITIA"

    FU NRA!

    1. IncenseDebate

      You are actually reading the constitution. I ask you to step back away from the document. Step away from the document! Okay, I warned you.

      Pew!! pew!! pew!! pew!!

    2. Bezoar

      See, a real originalist interpretation of the Constitution would construe the second amendment as permitting keeping and bearing the arms of 1789. Then all the massacres would become one-shot affairs. I mean, otherwise, why not individual bazookas?

  33. Estproph

    This really should come as no surprise. "Florida" in actually an ancient Native American word, which means "trailer park."

    1. Veritas78

      Huh, I thought it meant "temporarily exposed sandbar."

      My dictionary's kinda old, though, and probably out-of-date.

  34. HogeyeGrex

    and sent Vaughn to prison for eight years for illegally carrying a gun.

    Wai-wai-wai-waiiiiiit

    There's a way for carrying a gun to be illegal in Florida????

    1. Biel_ze_Bubba

      After you kill somebody, it becomes illegal, retroactively. Up until then, you're good to go.

      Protip: A white victim makes it a felony.

  35. Guppy

    I didn't realize it was possible to illegally carry a gun in Florida.

    What was illegal about it? Had the safety on?

  36. GeorgiaBurning

    American Hollywood folklore holds vigilante justice to be an incorruptibly just and final solution to cowardice in the face of criminality. It's a nice story; the hero marries the rancher's pretty daughter in the end, and it sells lots of tickets. So, blame the Hays Office.

  37. Whale Chowder

    a bunch of dudes with shady pasts and criminal records and guns shooting other people, who themselves are pretty shady!

    To the NRA this is a feature, not a bug.

    1. YasserArraFeck

      I hear those old folks retirement homes are hotbeds of Viagra- and Metamucil-fueled "shooting"

  38. Generation[redacted]

    There's nothing to worry about if you're a law abiding citizens who takes proper precautions. That's why when I go to the beach, I carry an M4 carbine concealed under my full body armor with optional groin and neck protection, and sunscreen. Don't forget the sunscreen.

  39. Dashboard Buddha

    "And armed society is a polite society".

    I've often wondered what would happen if one walked up to an armed dude on public property, held the hands above the head and said something unspeakably rude, like "your mother is a syphilitic whore who fucked the entire 7th fleet and that's why we lost Vietnam"?

    Hardly polite, is it? Since the one is obviously unarmed, would the armed dude be justified in shooting him? Of course, the rude dude will most likely be shot, justification of not, so I'm going to leave this as a thought experiment.

  40. NYNYNYjr

    So the law was designed to keep young drug dealers out on the street until they have all shot each other. Rather clever, WHitey.

  41. Biel_ze_Bubba

    I wonder if the law would have been quite so popular if it had been called "Stand Your Drug Turf", which is what it is, most of the time.

  42. arihaya

    "And armed society is a polite society".

    yes the Pasthuns are very polite, but they also treating women like property and rather eager to shoot anyone they think disturbing their honors.

  43. ttommyunger

    "Stand Your Ground", "Patriot Act", "Homeland Security"……Orwell would be pleased.

  44. Puffperney

    "Has stand-your-ground just legalized sketchy people shooting each other?"

    Yes it has. …and the downside is?

Comments are closed.