Let’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]