Published On: Sat, Jul 28th, 2018

Florida Stand Your Ground Law Could Be Unconstitutional

Florida was the first of 24 states to enact Stand Your Ground. We the people have to decide if the law is “shoot to kill” or “how-to-get-away-with-murder.

Pinellas County - a fatal shooting in a parking log dispute fell within the bookends of stand your ground, meaning the use of force was justified. (Image source New York Post video)
Can we expect an executive order shortly?

John D’Esterre was a former Royal marine and a “crack shot” who had an amazing reputation.

A famous duel took place in Bishops’ Court in County Kildare in Ireland in 1815.

There is no good reason to be biased about our elected officials and their opponents. Let the truth speak.

John Lennon, not to be confused with Vladimir Lenin, said that we should judge people in the following way. Imagine (nice title for a song, no?) that there is a person covered by a big brown paper bag and in listening to his or her words you conclude if you agree with that person or not.

Another way to decide is through the news media. There are two opinions side by side on the internet (or in physical newspapers) and you read both ideas and decide which one suits you.

This type of methodology was recently employed by a high school graduate who gave the valedictory address in his school. He quoted something important and gave credit to Donald Trump for the comment. There was great applause (probably much of our nation would have applauded), but then he shocked the audience by telling them that the quote was by Barack Obama. The student is Ben Bowling of Bell County High School in Kentucky.

Now there is the killing of a Black man in Florida in a Stand Your Ground type of case. I followed some of the news about Trayvon Martin and now we must deal with the death of Markeis McGlockton and the pain inflicted on his family and friends. Stand Your Ground is Florida state law.

Chris Mancini, a very close associate, has written about discrimination against African-Americans who risk their lives in Florida merely for Jay Walking or not crossing at the traffic light. Then he showed me just how Southerners in Broward County found a way to legally lynch Black people many decades ago by a trial and quick execution. This confrontation by two men (Mike Drejka is the other man) somehow reminded me of a past that is very alive because of the immensely popular Broadway musical, Hamilton.

Hamilton, you will recall, was killed in a duel by Aaron Burr, the latter feeling that Hamilton had dishonored him. Duels were banished in the United States a long time ago and this Stand Your Ground law appears to me to be half of a duel. The same thing applies to the Trayvon Martin (during the Obama administration) killing by George Zimmerman.

There are arguments all the time which do not result in shooting deaths as people walk away from the altercation. The severity of this law is clear. Markeis McGlockton (during the Trump administration) is not walking away.

I am sure that Americans are more aware of a case that went to court over Obama Care, to the Supreme Court. There we waited for the decision and Justice Roberts (conservative) cast the deciding vote for Obama Care, deciding that it was constitutional and that what the Obama Administration called a “fine” when people did not sign up for Obama Care now became a “tax” by the Supreme Court. That made it constitutional because Congress has the power to tax.

Dueling is unconstitutional and half-a-duel should be unconstitutional as well. The Nuremberg Laws that discriminated against Jews in Germany should have been declared “unconstitutional” in Germany. It was Martin Dannenberg who found those laws after World War II. We need veterans of war and police to stand up and find out more about the Stand Your Ground Law. Repeal is urgent and that could be done quickly by the Florida State Legislature.

I may be right or wrong about the unconstitutionality of the law, but I believe in justice now. In learning about duels, I also went back to Irish history where I learned that one of the greatest Irishmen in its history fought a duel and killed a man whose death occurred two days later from bleeding. Daniel O’Connell was the Great Liberator of Ireland. O’Connell paid the daughter of John D’Esterre an allowance for the rest of his life.

Daniel O’Connell, throughout the remainder of his life (about 30 years), wore a glove on that hand or a handkerchief in church or as he passed the home of D’Esterre’s widow. He was that distraught for killing the man. The men and women in the Florida State Legislature should be equally distraught.

The ABA or American Bar Association National Task Force on Stand Your Ground did an extensive review of Stand Your Ground involving fifty states and the states that have passed Stand Your Ground laws. There were six recommendations that included repeal of those laws. When repeal was not attempted, the recommendation was modification, for example, related to removal of civil immunity provisions related to families seeking compensation. Two of the recommendations were made so that violent crime could be reduced. Another recommendation was to eliminate or improve the laws due to the disparity in “implicit racial bias” in the application of Stand Your Ground.

The Florida Stand Your Ground went into effect in 2005. Florida was the first of 24 states to enact Stand Your Ground. We the people have to decide if the law is “shoot to kill” or “how-to-get-away-with-murder. We the people have to decide if Congress should kill bills to repeal the Stand Your Ground Laws. Imagine (Imagine again) that your own child pushes someone at a mall and gets killed quickly. There is no race attached to this act, but race can easily play a part. How would you vote then? Would you give up your individual rights to support public safety in your state through Stand Your Ground or would you admit that you cannot stand Stand Your Ground after all?

Investigations have been called for in this new case. What is really needed now, this coming week, is an executive order calling for a national moratorium against Stand Your Ground signed by Donald Trump. Why? You have just read that perhaps the most major study of Stand Your Ground reveals an increase in violence and killing. Attorney General Jeff Sessions can publicly release the latest statistics that will be compiled by the same sources. A president elected on a platform to be “tough” on crime must reduce crime, not increase it. I have already suggested to someone in Washington, D.C. to check the statistics for the last year and a half of the Obama Administration and the year and a half of the Trump Administration to find out what has happened.

I am not biased against our elected officials, but we really need much better people in office.

And we must join a movement to stop this madness that is taking place. People in Stand Your Ground states know that they can kill anyone at any time and have an excellent chance of going free.

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