Oh, Look, More Terrible People With Terrible Defenses Of 'Stand Your Ground'
We are now officially in the "Stupid people make us want to scream" portion of the Michael Dunn trial, when every moron possible will try to outdo the last. For starters, how about Florida state Rep. Matt Gaetz, who disagreed with the verdict and believes Dunn should have been found guilty of murder, but couldn't just stop there, of course. He had to add that the state's"Stand Your Ground" law is pretty excellent, all in all:
“I don’t think anyone is going to nominate George Zimmerman or Michael Dunn for person of the year,” Gaetz explained to CNN host Carol Costello. “But I think, overall, the Stand Your Ground law has worked for the state of Florida. If you look at the five years preceding Stand Your Ground’s passage, the murder rate was on the rise Florida every year. Since we passed Stand Your Ground, the murder rate had declined every year.”
Causation: how does it work? Murder rates have been declining nationwide, regardless of whether states have SYG. But then Gaetz had to top himself and claim that Stand Your Ground is also Good For The Blacks:
Gaetz added that African-Americans were benefiting from the law because they “have asserted the Stand Your Ground defense more than any other racial or ethnic group. And, by volume, African-Americans have been more successful at asserting the Stand Your Ground defense than any other group. I’m of the belief that if someone’s attacked, they shouldn’t have the duty to retreat.”
Well of course, you special snowflake. Guns always make everything better, and why retreat peacefully when you could blow someone away?
Of course, there are one or two teensy problems with Gaetz's theory -- yes indeed, blacks may make more use of a SYG defense than whites; which probably has something to do with blacks being more likely to be charged with murder. And then there's the inconvenient reality that a lot of the people -- regardless of race -- who invoke SYG are already violent criminals, not ordinary Michael-Douglas-In-Falling-Down schmoes who are protecting themselves from feral bad guys. And then for laughs, RawStory links to a 2012 study that found whites shooting blacks in SYG states were much more likely to have their homicides deemed "justified" than similar cases in non-SYG states. (Not mentioned in the RawStory piece: another study found that across states that passed SYG laws, "rates of murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased by 8 percent" for an additional 800 homicides -- and the ones deemed "justified" would not have counted as "murders," of course.) So, hey, SYG is quite the rousing success.
And then there's Michael Dunn's lawyer, Cory Strolla, who laughed at the idea that if Dunn was afraid of scary black teenager Jordan Davis, he could have fired a couple of warning shots instead of aiming straight into the SUV and unloading ten shots.
In an interview with MSNBC's Craig Melvin Monday, Strolla compared his client's case with that of George Zimmerman, and claimed Dunn was far more justified in using deadly force than Zimmerman had been:
“In Zimmerman, they were trying to show that George Zimmerman was the aggressor, he got out of the car, approached Trayvon Martin, he created that conflict, that physical confrontation,” Strolla told Melvin, while explaining that in Dunn’s case, “he didn’t start a confrontation. Everyone keeps talking about this as a loud argument over music. Every guy in the car admitted Mr. Dunn didn’t raise his voice, didn’t curse.”
See, Dunn was just super-polite, until it became necessary to let his 9mm friend do the talking, because Davis threatened him with an invisible gun that was not found at the scene. Melvin then asked Strolla,
“If he was concerned, if the goal was to try and keep this dangerous teenager at bay and to save his life, why not a warning shot, one in the air?”
As Strolla let out an audible laugh, Melvin continued, “Two shots, maybe even three shots?”
“And I don’t mean to laugh,” Strolla said, “but by saying why not a warning shot, there is a black African-American female in jail right now in Duval County, where my client was prosecuted, she is sitting there, guess what? She got her conviction overturned on the jury instructions, and on stand your ground.”
Well, except that is not it, that is not it at all. Strolla was talking about the Marissa Alexander case; she was sentenced to 20 years in prison after firing a warning shot into a wall to scare aware her (allegedly) abusive husband, but the judge in that case rejected a Stand Your Ground defense, and her conviction was overturned because of problems with the jury instructions -- again, not so much because of SYG.
No idea what Strolla found so hilarious, though -- was it the idea of firing a warning shot in general, or was it the notion that Michael Dunn would have been a fool to fire a warning shot since he would then be accused of assault with a deadly weapon without actually getting to kill a teenager at all?
More idiocy on Stand Your Ground is expected in the coming days; we have laid in a supply of kitten photos just in case.
Follow Doktor Zoom on Twitter. He would be happy to explain to Mr. Gaetz the difference between causality and handgun casualties.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.