The American Gun Culture: Standing Your Ground Against the Deadly Use of Popcorn

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]

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  • zirgar

    Zimmerman felt threatened by Skittles and Reeves felt threatened by popcorn, so who knows what grave threat the next really brave NRA hero will feel threatened by. Twizzlers? Potato chips? Ooooooh, scary!

    • http://www.livingenergy.abmp.com/ KanaW

      Therein lies the entire problem. They’re frightened by everything and everyone, from the moment they get up in the morning until they fall asleep at night. And even then I wouldn’t rule out nightmares.

      Someone who wouldn’t even consider leaving the house without being armed has definite issues and really needs help. And the easy availability of guns makes them so much easier to make them the first reaction.

      • LeShan Jones

        They are mortally terrified of crime, just listen to them talk about why they NEED their guns without any restriction. Any restrictions will somehow magically force them to give up all their weapons and then only criminals will have weapons because they never follow the law anyway, blaa, blaa, blaa.

        They really think there is a shadowy cabal of super-villains all looking to target THEM specifically and only held at bay by the threat of a gun, this is their thinking in a nutshell.

  • Christopher Foxx

    if a person “reasonably believes” he or she is threatened with “great bodily harm”

    There is now way one could reasonably believe assault with popcorn would cause great bodily harm.

    Anyone who thinks it does is, by definition, not being reasonable.

  • Zen Diesel

    If that policeman get off on SYG, then this guy should be screaming from his jail cell for a new trial: http://thegrio.com/2013/12/04/us-airman-stands-his-ground-in-florida-sentenced-to-25-years/

    • Shannon Combs

      That guy also got what he deserved; though 25 years seems harsh all things considered. He was definitely at fault the minute he grabbed a gun and jumped in the middle of a drunken college fist fight. Be a man and find your friends with your fists…not a firearm.