Some people took issue with the way the Tampa Bay Times analyzed the application of "Stand Your Ground" cases in Florida last month. They've come out with another case study, however, and this one's way less ambiguous: They looked at more than 100 cases in which people got out of homicide charges by invoking the Stand Your Ground defense and found that well more than half had previous problems with the law.
Looks like all those politicians yelling about how they're protecting law-abiding, otherwise defenseless citizens didn't really have any idea how their slipshod law allowing people to just shoot each other in the road was going to pan out.
In addition to about 60 percent of defendants having at least one arrest before the day they killed somebody, the Times found more than a third "had previously been in trouble for threatening someone with a gun or illegally carrying a weapon. In dozens of cases, both the defendant and the victim had criminal records, sometimes related to long-running feuds or criminal enterprises."
That doesn't sound like what it's being sold as, does it? More than 32 percent of cases involved a defendant who had been arrested at least four times.
Some of the examples cited: an Orange County drug dealer who got off after killing in a man "in a beef over drug turf," a guy named Tavarious China Smith who stood his ground in two shootouts less than three years apart, and the case of Maurice Moorer, who killed his ex-wife's boyfriend in 2008 after "two years of violent behavior that had landed Moorer in jail multiple times and left his wife living in fear."
Sure, sometimes there are cases where old men kill robbers and, potentially, save a lot of people -- the problems with those scenarios are a whole other blog post. But the takeaway from the Times story is that in many, many cases, it's not old men in internet cafés with the guns -- it's the bad guys, and we're protecting them. For what?