As gun violence increases and pro-gun forces achieve new legislation, the gun control movement in the United States is rapidly unraveling. In the year since Sandy Hook, when you’d think there’d be the political and popular will for reasonable new gun regulations, gun sales have reached record highs and AR-15s, the firearm used at Aurora and Sandy Hook, are the trendiest, best-selling weapons in the industry.
And now, in Florida, it’s possible that you can lawfully shoot a man in the chest at point-blank range to defend yourself against the lethal use of a popcorn. If not popcorn, definitely Skittles.
The notorious Florida law known as “Stand Your Ground” is back in the news. This time, it’s very likely the statute that will be used in defense of the 71-year-old ex-cop, Curtis Reeves, who shot and killed a man, Chad Oulson, inside a Tampa movie theater. Oulson had been texting his daughter’s baby-sitter during the trailers to mention that he’d be turning off his cellphone during the movie. Reeves was annoyed by the texting and an argument broke out. No punches were thrown, but Oulson tossed a bag of popcorn at Reeves who responded by brandishing a .380 calibre handgun and shooting Oulson and his wife.
So Reeves told sheriff deputies after his arrest that he was “in fear of being attacked.” And Chris Nocco, the Pasco County sheriff, said that Stand Your Ground will surely be used in Reeves’ case, though he intends to fight it.
While it’s true that Florida state law qualifies the popcorn-throwing as, technically, an assault, there’s no logical justification whatsoever for lethal force to be used in response to it. But in Crazy Florida the Stand Your Ground law authorizes deadly force if a person “reasonably believes” he or she is threatened with “great bodily harm” or “death,” and it doesn’t matter if there’s an opportunity to walk away from the fracas.
However, Reeves was the one who started the ill-fated argument, one, and two, there was no indication that Oulson was going to inflict “great bodily harm” or “death.” But he can easily make a debatable case for it, given his age and the popcorn attack.
Needless to say, the law is absurd. It expands and indeed bastardizes self-defense, providing a handy-dandy excuse to shoot and kill someone with whom you’re having a heated argument. Even if the argument descends into fisticuffs (or aggressive popcorn hurling) there’s no logical or proportional need for a firearm to be involved in any way. Stand Your Ground is simply and transparently a catalyst for selling more guns and giving the buyers something to do with them — all in the ironical name of preventing gun violence.
But none of these details really matter. The very existence of this concealed-carry-Stand-Your-Ground Brundlefly has helped to breed a culture that encourages and even glorifies this inexcusable behavior as somehow dutiful and patriotic… [CONTINUE READING]