What Could Go Wrong?

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Florida Governor Rick Scott has just made it easier for Floridians to legally murder each other.

Governor Gollum signed a bill that bolsters "stand your ground" defense, shifting the burden of proof to prosecutors.

Florida Governor Rick Scott signed amended "stand your ground" legislation on Friday, making it easier for defendants in the state to successfully claim they were protecting themselves when they commit violence.

Previously, the law required defendants to prove that they were using force in self-defense. The new law shifts the burden of proof in pretrial hearings to prosecutors, rather than defendants, to prove whether force was used lawfully.

Whereas defendants were previously required to prove that they acted in self-defense and out of fear for their own life, they will no longer have to prove anything. The onus will be placed exclusively on prosecutors to convince a judge or jury that defendants did not act in self-defense which, obviously, could be extremely difficult or even impossible in some cases. I imagine it would be especially difficult to prove otherwise when there are no witnesses.

I wonder just how far conservative lawmakers are willing to take this. What would it take for them to back down? I would ask if a lawmaker being gunned down under a "stand your ground" defense would make any difference, but I really don't think it would; especially not if it's a Democratic lawmaker.

Unlike average people, cowardly politicians can always rely on law enforcement to protect them from the lunatics they enable with this kind of legislation.

  • Georgie

    “making it easier for defendants in the state to successfully claim they were protecting themselves when they commit violence.” Unless you are a person of color.

  • David Greenberg

    I’m 74yo and live in Florida for the warm weather and that’s the ONLY reason. It’s mortifyingly embarrassing to be mentioned in the same breath as Alabama, N&S Carolina, Kansas, Texas and Mississippi. I know I’ve left out several more.

    • Aynwrong


    • ninjaf

      Hey, we’re trying to get NC back on track and keep us out of Florida territory. 😛

  • Aynwrong

    • Nefercat

      “I’m wondering how long it will be before some R proposes a law that demands a shooting victim prove he or she didn’t deserve it.”
      It sounds like that’s what this law will in effect do. The assumption will be that the shooter had a right to shoot the other person (i.e., they “deserved it). The prosecutor has to prove otherwise.

      And if the prosecutor does not and the shooter is acquitted, is the shooting victim then charged with endangering/threatening the legally innocent shooter’s life?

  • muselet

    I fail to see what possible social good is served by “stand your ground” laws (or this “go ahead and hunt someone down” variant).

    Which, I suddenly realize, may be where I’m making a mistake: the people proposing and supporting these laws seem not to believe they’re living within a larger society which imposes some restrictions on individual behavior in exchange for mutual benefits.

    And I’ll bet anyone a cookie that there is significant overlap between these folks and the ones who think “rolling coal” is simply hilarious, and for the same reason.

    I will be surprised if, within five years, some legislator somewhere doesn’t propose bringing back dueling to resolve disputes.


    • Scopedog

      I’ve got a more cynical take on “stand your ground”–it gives these idiots cover when they shoot Black people and other minorities.

      I worry about my relatives in Florida, including my eldest brother–but then I remember that he’s in law enforcement and is a licensed firearms instructor and can carry a gun legally. Of course, he does it because he’s in law enforcement, not because he’s trying to overcompensate.

    • Aynwrong

      The GOP really is devolving that rapidly isn’t it?

      • They’re devolved past Neandertal to Cro Magnon….

        (I replied to wrong comment above–it’s one of those days)

        • Scopedog

          S’all right…

          (Although a bit of a correction–it should be past Cro Magnon to Neanderthal. And to be brutally honest, the Neanderthals were still more intelligent than anyone in the GOP.)

          • Darnit. I had a feeling that I had them backwards! LOL