Apr. 15th, 2014

fengi: (Mr. Fengi)
UPDATE: My original was callously dismissive and factually inaccurate about Marissa Alexander's situation and the injustice done to her. That was wrong and just as bad as those who hijack her case to advocate lax self-defense laws.

From [livejournal.com profile] theweaselking and [livejournal.com profile] james_nicoll comes this bit of dubious chart making.

It's unclear if this was bias or incompetence. The correction comes from an article which points out gun deaths have skyrocketed in Florida since "stand your ground" has passed and this is the trend in most, but not all, places where such laws have passed.

Meanwhile, Florida is shaping up as the place to be a gun toting psycho. A new law legalizes warning shots and threatening people with guns with exceedingly vague standards written by the NRA.

This was done in the name of a black woman who got 20 years for shooting an warning shot at her abusive ex. Which is a compelling argument for changes to the legal system, but not the ones the gun lobby claims. She got away from the confrontation, got her gun then fired it, which created technical problems for the "stand your ground" defense. [Note: my initial take on what happened was oversimplified, inaccurate and dismissive, there are various accounts of what happened, but all indicate this wasn't a felony.]

The judge said the problem was Florida's mandatory minimum sentencing laws. In addition, the prosecutor chose to charge her with a felony in what seems like an overly broad application of the law (even her husband argued against the charge). Something needs to be done about selective prosecution and mandatory minimums, but gun nuts were able to hijack the story to expand stand your ground.

Michael Dunn also left to get a gun and so far he's been able to avoid a murder conviction. Increasing preemptive immunity for such situations will not help Marissa Alexander, but will further encourage those who assume vigilante behavior is condoned by the state.

Alas the increase in gun threats this may inspire will be hard to measure since the law will essentially make it harder for victims to report such intimidation. It could even enable abusive husbands to justify firing warning shots on the claim they were concerned their wives might do it first.