It is becoming increasingly evident that more and more blood is staining the hands of those who promulgated the Castle Doctrine or “stand your ground” law and those who enacted legislation to make it part of the Florida’s statutes.
The latest example of the grievous harm which this repugnant measure is causing is almost certain to be the case in which a white man annoyed by the loud music coming from a vehicle containing four black teenagers fired eight or nine shots at them, killing one of the youths, Jordan Davis, 17.
The killer, Michael Dunn, has been charged with murder and attempted murder in the Nov. 23 incident at a Jacksonville gas station and, as of this writing, he has not sought refuge in the “stand your ground” law that allows anyone who feels his or her life is in danger to use deadly force. But his attorney is claiming that he saw a gun in the teenagers’ SUV and fired in self-defense. Police found no gun.
Though the circumstances are very different, this latest killing once again calls into question the whole idea of the state’s empowering Floridians to take the law into their own hands, coupled with a very liberal gun possession law.
Following the shooting of Miami Gardens resident Trayvon Martin, another 17-year-old black youth, in Sanford by a white Hispanic man, George Zimmerman, who is seeking the shelter of the Castle Doctrine, the national outcry was so great that Gov. Rick Scott was forced to appoint a Citizen Safety and Protection Task Force to examine the “stand your ground” law and how it is being applied.
After six months of taking testimony around the state, the task force proved a big joke, as many predicted, coming up with no proposal for substantial change in the law. That was to be expected from a body comprising mostly Republicans – who control the Legislature – and including two state lawmakers who helped draft the measure, two who voted for it and a staunch supporter of the National Rifle Association.
To its lasting shame, the task force ignored all suggestions from those who oppose the law, at least in its current form.
How many more people have to die before this reprehensible law is repealed?