Wednesday, April 06, 2005

"Stand Your Ground"

Well, now in Texas we can say: "Thank God for Florida!"

A law letting people in Florida kill in self-defence on the street without first trying to flee an attacker has been passed by Florida politicians.
Florida law already allows people to shoot a potential attacker in their home, place of work or car.

But until now, courts insisted that anyone confronted in a public place should first try to run away.
Texas has a concealed handgun which does not automatically ban such weapons in churches (the church has to put up a sign to that effect, to keep them out). Now one might conclude that any congregation member who felt threatened by a sermon would have a defense in court to charges of manslaughter.

Not really, of course; but in practice just how many whites will be prosecuted or convicted for shooting someone, if they say they were fending off an attack, especially if they shoot a black or an Hispanic? And how many blacks and Hispanics will be afforded that defense, or have a jury which considers it exculpatory?

And, of course, there's the "Student's Bill of Rights" in Florida. I heard the sponsor of that bill on Democracy Now! this morning. Apparently he was treated rudely by an anthropology professor in college, so now he's going to legislate that all professors be polite to their most willfully ignorant students.

All I can say is: it takes a lot to make the Texas Legislature look calm and rational. Thank you, Florida, for showing the way.

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