Thursday, April 7, 2005

Street Justice

Well, they passed it.

Floridians will soon have the right to shoot or stab someone in a violent confrontation with fewer possibilities of being prosecuted, under a proposed law passed Tuesday by the Legislature. Gov. Jeb Bush has pledged his support.

The proposal to expand and clarify the “castle doctrine” — named after the philosophy that “a man’s home is his castle” — cleared its final hurdle in the Florida House with 94 votes. The 20 dissenters were all Democrats from urban areas.

Democrats primarily objected to language that will remove from current law the duty of citizens to retreat in confrontations in public settings.

The duty to retreat traditionally has not applied to a person facing a home invader.

“For a House that talks about the culture of life, it’s ironic that we would be devaluing life in this bill,” said Rep. Dan Gelber, a Miami Beach Democrat, referring to the rallying cry of conservatives during the recent Terri Schiavo debate.

But supporters of the legislation say the proposal protects innocent life and aims to reduce crime in Florida, one of the most violent states in the nation, because criminals will think twice before bothering someone on the street.

And it will also give anybody the right to shoot someone down in the street for whatever good reason their lawyer can come up with: “Oh, yes, Your Honor, my client felt very threatened by the little old lady waving her umbrella at him while he was scoring a rock of crack.”

PS: Notice the headline chose to use for this story:

Florida NRA Bill Would Allow People To Kill Others In Public

Pretty much sums it up right there, doesn’t it?