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Saturday 01 October 2005

Shoot To Kill, Men!

The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence has, it seems, started a campaign against Florida. It seems they don’t like what they’re calling Florida’s ‘shoot first’ law.

The so-called ‘shoot first’ law basically says that you do not have to wait for use of deadly force by a would-be criminal before shooting him. Let’s say that someone breaks into your house and you shoot and kill him. Pretty much anywhere in the United States, it would be almost impossible to be convicted for killing this guy, even if it turned out he was unarmed.

Less clear-cut cases bring less clear results. What if a guy is breaking into your car? What if someone is threatening you kill you with his bare hands? What if he says he has a gun, but doesn’t? Most of these cases would probably come down to a jury evaluating the personalities and histories of the two parties.

The only real difference with Florida’s new law is that you are not required to ‘retreat’ before shooting the criminal. In other words, where before you had to try to run away (thus potentially abandoning your property to the criminal in the process), it is perfectly legal to just shoot the guy now.

The Brady people, of course, don’t see it that way. They say:

Individuals who are unfamiliar with Florida’s roads, traffic regulations and customs, or who speak foreign languages, or look different than Florida residents, may face a higher risk of danger — because they may be more likely to be perceived as threatening by Floridians, and because they are unaware of Florida’s new law that says individual [sic] who feel their safety is threatened or their possessions are at risk are legally authorized to use deadly force.

Ha! Ha! Ha! Have any of these people ever been to Florida? They think that people who are not familiar with the roads are going to incur the wrath of locals? All the roads in Florida which are not full of lost tourists already are full of Q-Tips (i.e. old people, so called because all you can see of them is a puff of white hair sticking up above the steering wheel of the Buick) driving 25 mph in the left lane with their turn signal on. Floridians are already quite numb to traffic idiocy.

People who look different? Again, have these people ever been to Florida? Florida attracts people from all over the county, and all over the world. Millions come as tourists, and quite a few come to live there.

People who speak different languages? What? Again, I have to question whether these people have ever been to Florida. While it’s true that there are not really any German-speaking enclaves in Florida, nor any big concentrations of Thai people, most of Florida is effectively more multilingual than Québec because of all the state’s connections to Latin America.

So the Brady campaign are demagogues; big surprise there. Demagoguery is about all there is in American politics anymore. However, one of their ‘warning’ messages is good enough that is might be used, with only a little modification, on Move-To-Florida ads:


The Bradies over-simplify the law, of course: you can’t shoot people in Florida and get off by just saying that you ‘felt threatened’. The reality is more like: if you are being victimized by a criminal, the law is prejudiced in favor of you, the law-abiding citizen, rather than in favor of the criminal. What’s the matter with that?

Posted by tino at 13:52 1.10.05
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it’s a hot topic down here right now as well as the new law that will prevent employers from banning guns in locked cars in the parking lot.

I started this read as a poke at FL but it’s really not at all…

Posted by: bryon at October 3, 2005 10:58 AM