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New proposed Florida law
April 6, 2005 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Don't pick up a ten dollar bill on the ground at Disney World You may be shot, legally, of course!
posted by lee (105 comments total)

 
That's fucking awesome.

Except for those poor people who actually live in Florida.
posted by bshort at 10:06 PM on April 6, 2005


wow....just wow....

"shoot to kill if their property, such as their home or car, is invaded by an unknown assailant."

No one likes their property broken into but just because someone does, do we really have the right to kill them?
posted by bluehermit at 10:07 PM on April 6, 2005


We have that right now, to shoot if someone invades your home, etc. This law proposes that you can shoot anyone, anywhere if you believe they are engaging in criminal activity (perceived as a threat).
posted by lee at 10:10 PM on April 6, 2005


Are you threatening me?
posted by ColdChef at 10:12 PM on April 6, 2005


.
posted by drezdn at 10:12 PM on April 6, 2005


With the terrorism fear in the air, mixed with this new law, life in Florida will be like a game of Paranoia without the clones.
posted by drezdn at 10:14 PM on April 6, 2005


Just think: now if we airdrop a crapload of weapons onto Florida and wait a few weeks, the Florida Problem will be solved once and for all.
posted by DaShiv at 10:18 PM on April 6, 2005


bluehermit: Of course. Why not?

regarding the news item: It seems like there are two big risks this law is taking; first, that people will intentionally shoot a seeming but not an actual threat (or someone who is obviously not a threat), which is a legitimate concern, since the perception of a (presumably lethal) threat is not a capacity which is guaranteed by the ability to purchase a gun, and second, that totally innocent standers-by (hehe) will be shot while some idiot is feeling threatened for whatever goddamned reason.
posted by clockzero at 10:18 PM on April 6, 2005


Fearmongers.
posted by HTuttle at 10:18 PM on April 6, 2005


And people wonder why I find it hard to respect the NRA.
posted by punishinglemur at 10:19 PM on April 6, 2005


I swear officer, she leaned towards me and started to say, "I waaaa[nt you dead]."
posted by rafter at 10:20 PM on April 6, 2005


Why wasn't this pushed through sooner?! The Schaivo case would've been a LOT more interesting.
posted by unsupervised at 10:25 PM on April 6, 2005


Would this law have legitimized this? It certainly seems that way.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:26 PM on April 6, 2005


This law proposes that you can shoot anyone, anywhere if you believe they are engaging in criminal activity (perceived as a threat).


No, it allows you to shoot them if you face threat of death or great bodily harm.


If someone comes at me with a gun and I am also armed, I will shoot them, I will not present my back as a good target, as was previously required under Florida law.


Not to mention that this type of law tends to prevent crimes from ever happening (home invasions resulting in bodily harm to the home owner in Britain as compared to America, for instance).
posted by BackwardsHatClub at 10:40 PM on April 6, 2005


I say we castrate Florida from this country, letting it float aimlessly into the Sargasso Sea. The paranoid survivors can shootvote each other off the island for our televisual amusement.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:41 PM on April 6, 2005


When it comes to anything firearm related I always see people get very irrational. Please, people, check your facts. This is just like the whole Assault Weapons Ban debacle where, once the ban expired, people and various news sources who, while "reputable", did very little research and started claiming that this in fact legalizes fully automatic weapons and that armed gangs will now be roaming our streets terrorizing the populace.

The moral? Don't trust any article that's a brief 3 paragraphs long, does not quote the new law at all, and doesn't even name the bill!

A much better article concerning this new law can be found here: http://www.sptimes.com/2005/04/06/State/Legislature_say_s_let.shtml

In brief, this new law, favored by both Democrats and Republicans, extends your right to use deadly force in self-defense to areas outside of your residence. This means that if, let us say for example purposes, you are being carjacked and the thief is threatening you with a deadly weapon (a knife, firearm, etc.) you now have the legal right to fight back. Under the old law you would have been committing a crime.
posted by enamon at 10:47 PM on April 6, 2005


Any newspaper that uses this law to promote the new Star Wars movie cannot be taken any more seriously than The Onion.
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:52 PM on April 6, 2005


Wait...let me get this straight...the same people who argue that assisted suicide will lead to callous bastards bumping off their relatives for gain are gung-ho for a law that allows you to off anyone who looks at you cross-eyed, as long as you can make an unsubstantiated claim that they were threatening you.

"I swear, grampa came at me with an enema tube and a wild look in his milky eye! Now, where's that will...."
posted by umberto at 10:54 PM on April 6, 2005


The bill also says a person has "the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so, to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another."

The bill gives police powers to the people. It is not irrational to not want every idiot in Florida to think he can pull out his gun whenever he sees a threat.
posted by lee at 10:57 PM on April 6, 2005


Dr. Darwin, please pick up the white courtesy phone.
posted by clevershark at 11:04 PM on April 6, 2005


enamon: I think you're missing an important aspect of the law. According to the article you linked, "under current law, a person acting in self-defense outside the home, workplace or car must use every reasonable means necessary to avoid danger before using deadly force." The "old" law did not forbid a person from defending himself, and it didn't even prohibit the use of deadly force. It simply required that a person make an attempt to retreat from the situation. While the NRA sees that as "absurd," it seems to me to be a rather practical requirement. Deadly force should be a last resort, not simply on legal par with retreat. If safe retreat is possible, it should be required.
posted by Doug at 11:04 PM on April 6, 2005


Doug: "Every means necessary" is extremely vague and puts you in harm's way. If someone is threatening you with a drawn weapon how do you know that sheer compliance will not cause you physical harm? This is all dependant on the attacker. What constitutes "every means necessary"? If one ventures out into a high crime area and is threatened can one act in self defense under the old law or does knowingly entering a high crime area mean that you did not take every means necessary to avoid conflict?

The new law lets you use self defense when threatened with grave bodily harm. The old law was very vague since, if threatened, would you stand there trying to figure out all the possible ways you can try to avoid a conflict?
posted by enamon at 11:13 PM on April 6, 2005


You might be able to get away with shooting people in Disney World, if Disney is on your side. They literally are the government of their whole resort area. the Reedy Creek Improvement District. It is very democratically run by the residents and the landowners, but the residents are less than 50 Disney employees and the landowner is Disney. They go so in-depth on their sham bullshit though, so read Wikipedia or Rotten for what's really going on.

Best part: The map with no mention of Disney World, a Simcity 2000 building as the headquarters, and an arrow drawn in paint.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:14 PM on April 6, 2005


Changing a law that says you must first try to run and hide from an assailant before defending yourself is a far cry from making it legal to shoot anybody who looks at you sideways. But let's not let that keep us from mocking Floridians. They are such easy targets, so to speak.
posted by Buzz at 11:16 PM on April 6, 2005


Well, if we look at the law closely, it doesn't just say, "Shoot if a guy is stepping on your lawn." It's basically making a law out of the exemption from punishment people are given if they committed a violent act in self-defense. Doubtless any... ahem... "application" of this law will need to be justified by the person who took advantage of it - any use of deadly force will certainly be fully investigated and if the person was found to be at fault they would be charged with the crime as they should be.

Not quite an emergency but kind of a redundant law in my opinion. Provisions are already in place for this.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 11:22 PM on April 6, 2005


Just curious, but are there any legal people here who know of case-based precedent in Florida state law where self-defense-as-defense was set aside because the law says that you have to run away?

I just have to think that the media would have eaten up any DA who would have the courage to prosecute a crime victim for homicide on that basis.

On its surface, this law really does seem like Jeb doing a little marketing analysis, pandering to (or at least feeling out) the gun crowd for a 2008 presidential run.
posted by Rothko at 11:27 PM on April 6, 2005


What constitutes "every means necessary"?

Other human being would review your actions, and make that determination. These people would be prosecutors who work for an elected DA, who in turn has no incentive to prosecute rape victims (for example). If the case got to trial, Jurors would decide if you used every means necessary. Jurors are people like you.

Also remember: these people will now determine, under the new law, whether it's reasonable that you've "perceived a threat." If it's unlikely that they can accurately gauge one, it's equally unlikely (if not moreso) that they could gauge the other.
posted by Doug at 11:30 PM on April 6, 2005


It's a culture of life.
posted by NewBornHippy at 11:41 PM on April 6, 2005


Is this part of the 'culture of life' I've been hearing about lately?
posted by dwordle at 11:41 PM on April 6, 2005


NewBornHippy: Damn, you beat me to it...
posted by dwordle at 11:42 PM on April 6, 2005


The Florida legislators only care about their own self-defense. This is junk-law electioneering meant to appease voters who think gun ownership is a character issue.
posted by eatitlive at 12:13 AM on April 7, 2005


well...here in norway even the police don't have the right to carry a handgun......

Laws like this scares the shit out of me, given the power and responsibility it gives a single person...
posted by Groomz at 12:17 AM on April 7, 2005


enamon: the new law is just as vague. It hinges quite critically on what contstitues a reasonable threat. Just as the old law hinged upon what "all means necessary" meant. Each side will take the worst possible interpretation of that ambiguity.

The reality is this is a tempest in a teapot. The whole point of our system is that the judicial process would disambiguate the situation.

The new law is not needed unless the old law has been shown to fail. Has it?

The new law will likely change absolutely nothing. NRA fantasy the contrary, the situations in which people have armed shoot-outs, in which one side is not a criminal or a cop, are extremely fucking rare. This is typical NRA jerk-off-the-base wankery.
posted by teece at 12:27 AM on April 7, 2005


TheOnlyCoolTim: Read through both your links and they seem to be grasping at straws as to why Reedy Creek Improvement District is bad. It's all "What if this happened..." or "Imagine if...", which is all fine and dandy, but both note that Disney's self-regulation exceeds that which would be required if they weren't independent. I understand the interest that such a setup would generate, but there's not much dirt to go along with it, unless you've got something else to show me.
posted by unsupervised at 12:30 AM on April 7, 2005


paranoia without the clones

heh!
the computer is pleased, citizen!
posted by freebird at 12:32 AM on April 7, 2005


To Doug and Teece:

The new law is not vague at all. The AFP article that the MeFi post linked to was grossly biased and inaccurate. The new law does not allow you to use force if you "perceive" a threat. The new law says "A person does not have a duty to retreat if the person is in a place where he or she has a right to be." and "a person has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so, to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another." There is no mention of "perceiving a threat".
posted by enamon at 12:51 AM on April 7, 2005


Oh and Teece, this new law is supported by both Democrats, Republicans, and Law Enforcement - not just the NRA. How about doing a little research?
posted by enamon at 12:51 AM on April 7, 2005


No, it allows you to shoot them if you face threat of death or great bodily harm.

As decided... how? By snap judgment, by you!

Great. So much for due process.

This is awesome. Just circumvent the justice system. The only thing about it that's even more funny is the thought of Floridians with guns shooting at other Floridians who are in the act of assaulting someone.

Because, you know, the best thing you can do for a lady who's got a man pulling up her skirt and to rape her is to start shooting at the beast with two backs. That'll discourage him! Who wants to fuck a bloody, dead bitch?

I apologize in advance for choosing a gory way to make the point that shooting at criminals in the act places victims in danger. Frankly, I find this law more offensive.
posted by scarabic at 12:52 AM on April 7, 2005


Text of the bill:

http://www.flsenate.gov/cgi-bin/view_page.pl?File=sb0436.html&Directory=session/2005/Senate/bills/billtext/html&Tab=session&Submenu=1

Here is what it adds to the original law:

776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force;

30 presumption of fear of death or bodily injury.--

31

2

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.






Florida Senate - 2005 SB 436
2-361A-05




1 (1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable

2 fear of imminent peril of death or bodily injury to himself or

3 herself or another when using defensive force that is intended

4 or likely to cause death or bodily injury to another if:

5 (a) The person against whom the defensive force was

6 used had unlawfully or forcibly entered or attempted to enter

7 a dwelling, residence, or vehicle or if that person had

8 removed or attempted to remove another from the dwelling,

9 residence, or vehicle; and

10 (b) The person using defensive force knew or had

11 reason to believe that an unlawful or forcible entry or

12 unlawful or forcible act had occurred.

13

14 A person does not have a duty to retreat from a dwelling,

15 residence, vehicle, or place where the person has a right to

16 be.

17 (2) A person who unlawfully enters or attempts to

18 enter a person's dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is

19 presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful

20 act involving force or violence.

21 (3) As used in this section, the term:

22 (a) "Dwelling" means a building or conveyance of any

23 kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or

24 conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile,

25 which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to

26 be occupied by people lodging therein at night, together with

27 the curtilage thereof.

28 (b) "Residence" means a dwelling in which a person

29 resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an

30 invited guest.

31

3

CODING: Words stricken are deletions; words underlined are additions.






Florida Senate - 2005 SB 436
2-361A-05




1 (c) "Vehicle" means any conveyance of any kind,

2 whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport

3 people or property.

4 Section 2. Section 776.012, Florida Statutes, is

5 amended to read:


So, please people, read the damned thing before criticizing it!
posted by enamon at 12:56 AM on April 7, 2005


This should make the Miami Dolphins' defence much better.
posted by Mr Bismarck at 12:58 AM on April 7, 2005


scarabic:

No, it allows you to shoot them if you face threat of death or great bodily harm.

As decided... how? By snap judgment, by you!

Great. So much for due process.

This is awesome. Just circumvent the justice system.


So what you're saying is that if you're attacked by an assailant wielding a gun you should call up a lawyer and ask them if this may possibly constitute a threat of death or great bodily harm? Is that what you're advocating? Please, I want to be sure where you stand on this issue.
posted by enamon at 12:59 AM on April 7, 2005


No, it allows you to shoot them if you face threat of death or great bodily harm.

As decided... how? By snap judgment, by you!

Great. So much for due process.

This is awesome. Just circumvent the justice system.

Scarabic, huh? So without this law people have just been unable to shoot someone uneccessarily ("by snaps judment, by you!")? The end result will still be determined in court. If it turns out that the shooting wasn't justified then, well, the law takes over from there - like normal. How exactly is the "circumventing the justice system?"

I'm not sure if this is a great idea either, but all this hyperbole ("a law that allows you to off anyone who looks at you cross-eyed"!!!!) is ridiculous.

On preview: what enamon said
posted by Stauf at 2:07 AM on April 7, 2005


enamon: Oh and Teece, this new law is supported by both Democrats, Republicans, and Law Enforcement

I'm lazy. Tell me more about law enforcement support, because this kind of surprises me; I was pretty much under the impression that police aren't generally too fond of the idea of people with guns trying to handle things on their own. I did see one mention of a PD firearms instructor who has endorsed the bill, but beyond that has there actually been any public position expressed by law enforcement?
posted by taz at 2:40 AM on April 7, 2005


Never has there been a state so ready for zombie invasion.
posted by nthdegx at 2:42 AM on April 7, 2005


Destroy Florida now, before it's too late!

(By "too late", I am referring, of course, to November 2008.)
posted by Down10 at 2:53 AM on April 7, 2005


yeah, but South Beach is fun (if nobody legally busts a cap in your tan ass, of course)
posted by matteo at 2:55 AM on April 7, 2005


The streets of florida will no doubt be a paradise of civility and decorum from this point onward.
posted by shmegegge at 2:59 AM on April 7, 2005


No, it allows you to shoot them if you face threat of death or great bodily harm.

' They say we can't shoot certain animals anymore, unless they're posing an immediate threat. Therefore, before we shoot somethin', we have to say 'It's coming right for us.'
posted by Space Coyote at 3:54 AM on April 7, 2005


clevershark wins!
posted by moonbird at 4:14 AM on April 7, 2005


Most cops never fire a gun because they're trained to know when it's right to do so.

Meanwhile, this is a country where a woman called 911 because Burger King didn't make her order right, so yeah, lets make the deputy badges they found in the Cornflakes box legal documents. Look forward to more Yoshihiro Hattoris in Florida.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:26 AM on April 7, 2005


a woman called 911 because Burger King didn't make her order right

Didn't she know that they fuck you at the drive-thru?
posted by debralee at 5:37 AM on April 7, 2005


Well, CSI:Miami is bound to get more interesting. Just think of the crime scene reconstructions they can start doing
posted by smcniven at 5:39 AM on April 7, 2005


Look on the bright side; fewer Floridians.
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 5:44 AM on April 7, 2005


BackwardsHatClub: Yeh, comparing Britain and the US on guns is a real good idea. Know how many gun murders there were in Scotland last year? Three.

Wasn't that last night's total in Florida?
posted by bonaldi at 5:57 AM on April 7, 2005


"Wasn't that last night's total in Florida?"

On a slow day....

Florida is the new Tombstone, you know.
posted by cows of industry at 6:05 AM on April 7, 2005


As a hijabi woman who lives in Central Florida, this law makes me uneasy. On our local news yesterday, one of the legislators who promoted this piece of obscenity said that he was thinking about his wife, and how she could now protect their children if they were out and someone tried to snatch them.

Nothing was said about the children having to be inside a car or domicile.

Because I'm Muslim, and don't dress in American fashions (for the most part -- I do like my jeans) and have loose-fitting long tunics, how long will it be before someone decides that I look like someone who may be smuggling explosives under my clothes? I study at one college, and work at another. Colleges have be indicated as targets of terrorism in the past.

I don't think it will matter that I'm an American citizen, born and raised.

Sigh.
posted by Beansidhe at 6:21 AM on April 7, 2005


No one likes their property broken into but just because someone does, do we really have the right to kill them?

Of course. Why not?


Insofar as I do hate certain American attitudes - rather than America itself - that statement of clockzero's (assuming it wasn't intended ironically) is a wonderful illustration of just why. The notion that taking someone's life is a perfectly fitiing response to damaging or stealing mere property is... well hell, it's even more brutal than "an eye for an eye", isn't it? It's "a life for a busted lock and your DVD player". Utterly chilling.
posted by Decani at 6:42 AM on April 7, 2005


Really. Lame. Article. How is this FPP worthy? Enomon is making sense, everyone else is just practicing clever comment making. (and doing a rather poor job at it.)

No one likes their property broken into but just because someone does, do we really have the right to kill them?
posted by bluehermit


Burglery is not a big deal. It's all just stuff anyway. But if there's someone in my house while me, my wife and child are there, I'm not giving an intruder the benefit of the doubt.
posted by recurve at 6:49 AM on April 7, 2005


Not to mention that this type of law tends to prevent crimes from ever happening (home invasions resulting in bodily harm to the home owner in Britain as compared to America, for instance)

BackwardsHat: would you have a citation for that, for instance? There are, in fact, more burglaries of occupied homes in Britain compared to the US, but prove the bodily harm part.
posted by beagle at 6:55 AM on April 7, 2005


So if I'm visiting Florida and some 88 year old nearsighted guy is careening straight toward me in his avocado-green Cadillac and he's about to cause me bodily harm or death, can I pull out my gat and fire six shots through the windshield and blow his fuckin' head off?

Or do I have to be a resident of Florida?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:57 AM on April 7, 2005


I think you would qualify as a temporary resident, since you were smart enough to bring your gun witj you on vacation.
posted by lee at 7:08 AM on April 7, 2005


Man, I am never going to Florida again if I can help it.
posted by agregoli at 7:10 AM on April 7, 2005


Bernard Getz was a nervous guy

He chewed on his shoes while the world walked by

Big chested women he could not get enough

He bought a leather jacket just to look tough

Well he went on the subway

Went on the "A"

With four young homeboys wanted to get paid

He pulled a gun

Out of the blue

He said, "I got a little something for each of you"

Blood and bodies all over the car

That's how Bernard Getz became a superstar

New York, New York

New York, New York
posted by OmieWise at 7:19 AM on April 7, 2005


lee: Don't Leave Home Without It!

agregoli: Seconded.

Serious Question: if this law (designed in part to protect families, it seems) had existed at the time, could Terri Schiavo's parents have legally shot Michael Schiavo for attempting to kill their daughter?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:24 AM on April 7, 2005


Insofar as I do hate certain American attitudes - rather than America itself - that statement of clockzero's (assuming it wasn't intended ironically) is a wonderful illustration of just why. The notion that taking someone's life is a perfectly fitiing response to damaging or stealing mere property is...

I could never pull the trigger on a thief (I'm too soft), but I have no problem with those who could. They value their justly acquired property more than they value the life of a larcenist.

Person minding his own business = good guy.

Person who breaks into homes and takes things that are not his = bad guy.
posted by trharlan at 7:40 AM on April 7, 2005


You know, I've been burglarized. It pissed me off and freaked me out. I lost some justly-acquired property that I really missed. But frankly, I can't fathom the idea that two mountain bikes and a guitar are worth more than a human life, even when the human in question sucks pretty badly.
posted by COBRA! at 7:50 AM on April 7, 2005


trharlan: So all "bad guys" deserve death, as long as you've got the stones to mete it out?
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 7:54 AM on April 7, 2005


Forget Mexico, can we send patrols along the Fla boarder and put up a big fence? I am so tired of the disproportionate amount of crap that comes out of that state in the last 5 or 6 years.
So if the freedom to teach, or whatever it's called passes can liberal professors shoot the students that sue them? After all it is a threat to their livelihood.
posted by edgeways at 7:55 AM on April 7, 2005


Person who breaks into homes and takes things that are not his = bad guy.

I think that the worst thing about this law is that it gives people the idea that gun violence is a wholesome, healthy thing.

Scenario: It's the middle of the night and you hear someone sneaking into your basement window. Instead of calling the cops or taking precautions to protect yourself, the legislature has told you that it's right to just blast them. So you do the right and lawful thing, which is to tiptoe into the basement and blast away at the intruder. Turns out it's your teenage son who has sneaked out for a liason with his girlfriend and is now sneaking back in the house so that daddy and mommy don't know.

Hard to tell the bad guys from the good guys in the dark sometimes, isn't it?
posted by leftcoastbob at 8:07 AM on April 7, 2005


COBRA!: I agree, yet if my apartment door opens in the middle of the night (locked and deadbolted), whoever steps in is going to be awfully, horrifyingly surprised.

I'm not saying they'd die, but they probably wouldn't be in a position to leave of their own volition.

It's not so much the stuff I have... that's replaceable.

I'm not.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:08 AM on April 7, 2005


You know, I've been burglarized. It pissed me off and freaked me out. I lost some justly-acquired property that I really missed. But frankly, I can't fathom the idea that two mountain bikes and a guitar are worth more than a human life, even when the human in question sucks pretty badly.
What does this have to do with the post? Why would you kill the person. If you watch some one rob you and run off with your shit; then you didn't feel threatened.

Don't pick up a ten dollar bill on the ground at Disney World You may be shot, legally, of course!
Would someone explain the above. Seems I can't find a threatening word in the sentence.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:09 AM on April 7, 2005


So all "bad guys" deserve death, as long as you've got the stones to mete it out?

I don't think that they "deserve" death, but if a few dead thieves is a consequence of letting honest people be more secure in their persons and their dwellings, it's a pretty good trade.

To put it another way, I don't know whether killing an intruder to protect one's possessions is moral, but it ought not be illegal.

Or, to put it yet another way, I don't think we ought to incarcerate anyone for using force, within his home or vehicle, to protect his property from a larcenist.
posted by trharlan at 8:12 AM on April 7, 2005


I think that the worst thing about this law is that it gives people the idea that gun violence is a wholesome, healthy thing.
leftcoastbob, Can you all read? Seriously. There were many follow up comments that explained the thread better.
This is not about your home. It's about being in public.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:13 AM on April 7, 2005


This is great news. Jails and the "threat" of jail and/or execution have done nothing in this country to deter violent crime. Violent criminals only fear the potential of violent/deadly resistance in the course of committing a crime- this law puts that fear in their minds.
posted by mrblondemang at 8:14 AM on April 7, 2005


What does this have to do with the post?

It was a response to trharlan's statement, about two centimeters above mine.

And exlotuseater, yeah, I'm definitely not saying that the proper response to home invasion is to just shit yourself and cower (I wasn't home the night I got burglarized, so it didn't come up). I agree you've got a right to defend yourself and your home. I was mainly reacting to the value of property > value of larcenist life statement.

(on preview, I don't think I really disagree that much with trharlan in practical terms; it's more the calculation behind it)
posted by COBRA! at 8:15 AM on April 7, 2005


Let's look at it this way: are there any cases people are pointing out where someone was prosecuted for shooting someone who was about to harm them instead of seeking a way to retreat? The intention of the former "retreat" clause is pretty obvious: if you can avoid the threat of violence, then do so. The new wording seems to imply that if there is a threat of violence, you're allowed to answer it with violence.

Look at what was removed:
However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another. There are another couple passages removed that state that you have to think you're in imminent danger. In other words, the only necessary danger is a reasonable appearance of a threat, which may just be trespassing!

The new wording encourages people to confront assumed criminals, with force. Kids on my porch after dark trying to retrieve a soccer ball? Might be an intruder, shoot first. If I thought I heard someone coming in the front door of my house at night, I'd try to flee to the neighbors and call the police. Which is easier, possibly making an insurance claim for some lost stuff because the police got there too late, or cleaning up all those blood stains and living with the fact that you shot someone?
posted by mikeh at 8:22 AM on April 7, 2005


Or, to put it yet another way, I don't think we ought to incarcerate anyone for using force, within his home or vehicle, to protect his property from a larcenist.

I suppose what we're discussing here is a moot point, since, according to the article, Floridians already have the right to shoot to kill if someone invades their house or car. The frightening thing about this bill, for me, is the idea that Florida's citizens are empowered to shoot whenever they perceive a threat. That black guy in rags moving towards your car...is he going to try and rob you, or ask for change? Better get the gun out just in case. As leftcoastbob points out, there will be a lot of tragic outcomes to this shoot first, ask questions later mentality.
posted by The Dryyyyy Cracker at 8:23 AM on April 7, 2005


It was a response to trharlan's statement, about two centimeters above mine.

Which was a response to Decani's statement, a bit above mine.
posted by trharlan at 8:24 AM on April 7, 2005


Does this mean they can shoot Republicans? When I look at them I see a threat...
posted by Foosnark at 8:29 AM on April 7, 2005


Which is easier, possibly making an insurance claim for some lost stuff because the police got there too late, or cleaning up all those blood stains and living with the fact that you shot someone?

Depends on the extent to which your conscience and sense of humanity is intact. If you subscribe to the black/white view of reality that trharlan described above....I guess that you can just hire someone to clean up the mess.
posted by goethean at 8:37 AM on April 7, 2005


I don't think that they "deserve" death, but if a few dead thieves is a consequence of letting honest people be more secure in their persons and their dwellings, it's a pretty good trade.

You're "honest" or "good" based on your actions. If this new wording is talking about theft, then it's equating theft with force or violence in order to address the unpredictability of violence. In my opinion, the purpose of using violence against anyone who is conceivably committing a crime is to first to make sure they are no longer a threat, and second to ensure that they are subdued until the authorities can arrive.

It's really hard to determine exactly what needs to be done in order to "subdue" someone. If I knock them unconscious, can I do so again if they reawaken before the police arrive, or should I leave for somewhere safer? It's blurrier with guns, since it's a lot easier to critically wound someone. If I shoot someone in the head, they're pretty damn subdued. They're also never going to have the chance for rehabilitation, or the ability to explain their actions.
posted by mikeh at 8:42 AM on April 7, 2005


works for me. warning: embedded .wav or midi or something.
posted by exlotuseater at 8:45 AM on April 7, 2005


This is great news. Jails and the "threat" of jail and/or execution have done nothing in this country to deter violent crime. Violent criminals only fear the potential of violent/deadly resistance in the course of committing a crime- this law puts that fear in their minds.

Ummm, crime reached an all time low during the last 10 years, before this law was a twinkle in its creator's eye.
posted by drezdn at 8:54 AM on April 7, 2005


emamon, you obviously don't have a fucking clue what I'm trying to tell you, so how about you drop the bullshit lecturing about research?

Again, still a tempest in a teapot. Are there ANY instances of the old wording of the law being a problem?
posted by teece at 8:57 AM on April 7, 2005


I was mainly reacting to the value of property > value of larcenist life statement.
That's the ethical decision you have to make.
In Texas one of the oldest state laws is the ability of using deadly force at night to protect your property. Meaning if you toilet paper my home at night, I can shoot you on my property. Adding, you do not have to die there either. Would I? No, because as you have stated above.

Look at California's laws where the ability of just protecting yourself within your home may be a crime. So this may be the case in Florida’s public. A new law in Texas is the concealed handgun licenses. The license does not give you the ability to just shoot someone because you think they may rob you. There have been cases like that and they did not end in the favor of the person having the concealed handgun license, iirc.

I know in Texas there is a grand jury that convenes after these type of incidents and makes the final judicial decision over the matter. Will this be the case for Florida?
posted by thomcatspike at 8:58 AM on April 7, 2005


That black guy in rags moving towards your car...is he going to try and rob you, or ask for change? Better get the gun out just in case.
In Florida is it legal to have a concealed gun in your car? If not, it is not legal killing this person and bringing it up serves no point.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:01 AM on April 7, 2005


I swear officer, she leaned towards me and started to say, "I waaaa[nt you dead]."

Come on people, that's fucking funny.
posted by fungible at 9:02 AM on April 7, 2005


In Florida is it legal to have a concealed gun in your car?

But, if it's not legal to have a concealed gun in your car, you also can't use that gun to stop would-be carjackers or a large portion of the potential crimes mentioned above.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I'm fine with this law as long as it stays in Florida. It's my belief that if the Democrats stop pushing for stricter gun laws, that one issue voters will have to get over themselves.
posted by drezdn at 9:07 AM on April 7, 2005


Having said that, I think more time and energy should be invested in non-lethal self defense weapons.
posted by drezdn at 9:12 AM on April 7, 2005


Look forward to more Yoshihiro Hattoris in Florida.
Because of the previous laws to this one being passed? I'd be more concerned of the wrong information this thread contains and what it may cause by someone misunderstanding the new Florida law.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:22 AM on April 7, 2005


OK, I've read enamon's link, and this law still sucks. Regardless of what the current/old law might say, there is no way you would be convicted should you resort to deadly force to protect yourself from a criminal actively engaged in or attempting violence, so the supposed basis of the law is unnecessary. What this bill proposes is a codification of the already existing situation.

So what's wrong with that? It changes deadly force from "last resort" to "first impulse". You can safely ignore all other options and go straight for your gun every single time. In cases of actual criminal activity that difference doesn't actually bother me all that much.

The danger lies in all the non-criminal activity that could potentially appear to be criminal activity, the mindset that deadly force is a reasonable first response to any situation outside the battlefield, and the loophole it opens up whereby criminals can actually use this justification to defend otherwise illegal actions.

Currently you need to justify the use of deadly force ( stricken portion: However, the person is justified in the use of deadly force only if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another). This bill effectively reverses that, putting deadly force as the default and making the authorities have to justify why you shouldn't have been allowed to shoot to kill.

This bill will have zero effect on actual criminal activity, and zero effect on instances of actual use of deadly force in the face of imminent bodily harm. It will also have zero effect on the number of mistakes that take place, but will increase the number of fatalities arising from such mistakes. Not exactly a worthwhile result to me.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 9:25 AM on April 7, 2005



"No one likes their property broken into but just because someone does, do we really have the right to kill them?"

"Of course. Why not?"

Insofar as I do hate certain American attitudes - rather than America itself - that statement of clockzero's (assuming it wasn't intended ironically) is a wonderful illustration of just why.
posted by Decani


Exactly. And the mere fact that people can (as on this very page) debate when it's the correct circumstance to shoot someone is just so baffling to people who live in more, um, progressive countries.
posted by chococat at 9:30 AM on April 7, 2005


On its surface, this law really does seem like Jeb doing a little marketing analysis, pandering to (or at least feeling out) the gun crowd for a 2008 presidential run.

Well he does have to earn his NRA bri... er, political contributions. The gun lobby doesn't just give you money for nothing.
posted by clevershark at 9:33 AM on April 7, 2005


Damn, I'm off to Florida next week, do they have a gun shop in the airport so I can be fully and properly armed before heading out into the demilitarized zone.

Jeb, just because you're the ugly, fat Bush, please don't try to get headlines by also trying to out-dumb your brother.
posted by fenriq at 10:00 AM on April 7, 2005


teece: are there ANY instances of the old wording of the law being a problem?

Apparently not that many:
So I called Mike Edmondson, the spokesman for our state attorney's office. Edmondson is in Tallahassee right now. He says they didn't fight the bill "since it was obvious it was going to pass."

But he also said the office "rarely" charges someone with failure to retreat. "I can't remember the last case that was presented," he said.

posted by talos at 10:36 AM on April 7, 2005


Ummm, crime reached an all time low during the last 10 years, before this law was a twinkle in its creator's eye. - posted by drezdn

"Crime" is a little vague and, besides, the law aims at defending oneself from violent crime/death. Additionally, I don't think that linking to a blogger's mention of a DOJ site/study from 2003 qualifies as a argument against what ever it is you are against. In fact, that DOJ study states (and the random blogger guy even quotes) that "Eight percent of the 6.3 million violent crimes of rape and sexual assault, robbery, and assault involved a firearm." You do the math on that.

This law is to even the playing field for victims. Violent crime is committed by those willing to do violent acts with weapons- 8% report those to be (most likely illegally obtained) firearms. The old "don't bring a knife to a gunfight" addage applies in spades here. I am curious as to what weapons the other 98% brought to the transaction.


Having said that, I think more time and energy should be invested in non-lethal self defense weapons. -posted by drezdn

The afore mentioned violent criminals will appreciate your humane approach when they drop you with their LETHAL approach to crime.
posted by mrblondemang at 11:52 AM on April 7, 2005


I would really hate to be a young black man living in Florida and forced to rely on the wisdom of armed white citizens' judgements about anything I might do that could possibly be perceived as threatening, especially since the people who are likely to most warmly embrace this kind of legislation are the very people to compulsively clutch their bags, children, wallets as we pass each other on the street. The implications of this become much different when you consider it from the viewpoint of someone who suffers this kind of "presumption of guilt" as a daily occurrence.
posted by taz at 12:08 PM on April 7, 2005


the law aims at defending oneself from violent crime/death.

No, it doesn't, at least not this revision. It aims at scoring cheap political points. There was no need to "clarify" a clause in a law that was rarely, if ever, used. In practice, this probably amounts to absolutely nothing, either way.

But if it makes you feel safer, good for you.

Something tells me that the number of legal gun owner vs. criminal confrontations is pretty small. Will this law help you when your husband/wife/brother/friend/partner decides to ambush you? As that's the way your most likely gonna go in the unlikely event that you die a violent death by murder.
posted by teece at 12:47 PM on April 7, 2005


As teece says, the supossed 'clarifications' fiddle with a section of law that hasn't been a problem at all. The only case I can remember going to trial that this might have impacted was William Lozano, the police officer who, after walking into the path of a motorcyclist, shot and killed him before claiming self defense. Now with this new law you no longer are simply inviolate in your home, you just have to be somewhere you're allowed to be. You don't have to actually be in fear for your life before you pull that gun, just in... fear, apparently.

If there was some mad run of prosecution against victims who were defending themselves I might see the point in this. Instead it's just grandstanding with the added downside of tying the hands of prosecutors who might want to discourage people from opening fire willy-nilly because it's a horrid offense to their manhood to have to make a marginal effort to avoid gunfire.

Personally I wouldn't lose 2 seconds of sleep if some hotheaded jackass spoiling for a fight because someone scuffed his Pumas got himself dead. But I have little confidence that the wanna-be Bill Hickocks who will draw at the first sign of agression won't accidentally shoot me rather than the 'roid monster who's yelling at them.
posted by phearlez at 1:57 PM on April 7, 2005


The afore mentioned violent criminals will appreciate your humane approach when they drop you with their LETHAL approach to crime.

There's weapons available that can incapicate someone as easily as a gun, without the downside of normally being fatal. I didn't mention them in my post because there have been Taser fatalities, but you are far less likely to get killed by one then a gun.

And crime has been on the fall since the early 90s, including Violent Crime. From the people who keep records on that sort of thing.

From the link
Violent crime rates declined since 1994, reaching the lowest level ever recorded in 2003.

Many cities (New York, Baltimore, etc.) saw dramatic drops in violent crime without enacting concealed carry laws, instead there was improved policing (New York's introduction of Comstat for example) and the better economy may have helped as well.

From someone who's familar with this law change, wouldn't this make it easier for someone to attempt to create a situation which would allow them to pull off vigilante justice. For example, by hanging out in areas where you're likely to be the victim of a mugging, and then shooting a would be attacker.
posted by drezdn at 4:09 PM on April 7, 2005


They value their justly acquired property more than they value the life of a larcenist.

*shivers*


posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:21 PM on April 7, 2005


Decani;

Insofar as I do hate certain American attitudes - rather than America itself - that statement of clockzero's (assuming it wasn't intended ironically) is a wonderful illustration of just why. The notion that taking someone's life is a perfectly fitiing response to damaging or stealing mere property is... well hell, it's even more brutal than "an eye for an eye", isn't it? It's "a life for a busted lock and your DVD player". Utterly chilling.

When someone breaks into a home (at night, or at any time), it is probably difficult to determine why they're there and what they want; if someone was unarmed and just looking to get some things, shooting them (especially lethally) would be a gross overreaction, to me. But some people may come armed, and may have plans which involve other sorts of violent crime, and I'd rather not find out what their intent is before it's too late to stop them; if you break into someone's house, you're kind of asking for trouble. I don't think that burglars ought to be able to assume that homeowners won't stop them if they break in with malicious intent. I'd much rather use a taser or even a baseball bat than a gun, but it seems that the counter-argument to the use of potentially deadly force in a home invasion assumes that the responsibility for the intruder's life has been given to the resident, which I think is unreasonable; the intruder is risking their own life in unlawfully entering someone's home with the intention of harm or theft. So, in response to Decani, the situation I see is that the burglar is risking their life for whatever reason, and the phrase "taking life" makes it sound as though the resident went into the burglar's house and shot them.
posted by clockzero at 9:19 PM on April 7, 2005


All I can think of is my (now dead) grandfather. He lived in Florida for the last years of his life; he kept handguns throughout his life.
He nearly shot my mother and my uncle in different occassions when they were coming home late during high school. He kept a gun in his glove compartment (it is legal in Florida— to fire it lawfully, you have to make three motions before discharging). He kept a gun at home and, his hands trembling from Parkinsons, he fired the gun through the cabinets and the floor on separate occassions.
He was always complaining about the Cubans and the niggers, come to rob him and rape Gramma, and was ready to shoot a neighbor who he thought was robbing him when the neighbor was bringing him his mail.
He would have loved this law. I'd rather have a few more "larcenists" than a few more people like my grandfather, armed and doddering.
posted by klangklangston at 10:30 PM on April 7, 2005


Thanks, klangklangston; that was an excellent, real, and very sad example of the dangers of gun culture.

I just happened to see, for the first time last night, "Bowling for Columbine" (completely by accident), and it seems to me that the questions raised in the film perfectly resonate with those in this thread. In line with what was suggested in that film, it seems to me that — yes — Americans, compared to other first-world countries, are unusually terrified. All the time.

U.S. people really feel like they need guns, as well as special laws ensuring a general freedom of using those guns, whereas most other earthlings don't, and it mostly has to do with how threatened American citizens constantly feel. This has to do very much with U.S. media, and its "if it bleeds, it leads" approach to headlines. The U.S. is in some sort of awful cycle, wherein the media constantly assures them that they are always in danger, and the politicians must respond by constantly assuring them that they are being protected, and that, of course it's perfectly reasonable to carry around a loaded handgun, and perfectly reasonable to use it if somebody looks at you sideways.

My point, finally, is that even if government is not so crazy about everybody having guns, they really do seem to be very cool with the idea that everybody is at such a level of fear that they all feel that they need guns, and perfectly willing to work within the framework of that fiction, because, ultimately it benefits them.
posted by taz at 9:09 AM on April 8, 2005


Which is easier, possibly making an insurance claim for some lost stuff because the police got there too late, or cleaning up all those blood stains and living with the fact that you shot someone?

I don't know the about the the "living with it bit" but having cleaned up after a bear shot in a buddies kitchen and having had my main tool box got stolen along with my truck a couple years ago I can tell you that cleaning up blood is way easier than replacing a few thound dollars worth of tools aquired over years. Just last night I had a "damnit, I haven't replaced that specialized tool yet" moment.
posted by Mitheral at 2:17 PM on April 8, 2005


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