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Heather White

Life Story Recorder, Family Echoes

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Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law is unconstitutional and thus illegal

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

To protect the right to venture out of your home (liberty) to purchase sweets for your kid brother (pursuit of happiness) and to expect to return home alive (life).

Discuss...

This is not a debate about US Gun Law in general.

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    Mar 24 2012: Heather,

    Your conversation strikes a chord after discussing "Stand Your Ground" with a police officer today.

    What so few American's are getting is the difference between police determining when to use deadly force and gun-toting citizens deciding when to shoot.

    Cops are professionally TRAINED over and over again on when to pull their weapon and how NOT to. Citizens are NOT trained as professional protectors. Except that one gun-safety video shown at the local bar, sponsored by NRA.

    Can cops make mistakes? Yes. But so can doctors. Does anyone do surgery on themselves? Not so much.

    Andrea
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      Mar 24 2012: Yes, I think the "Zimmerman is a racist" issue is only part of the story - he was acting as a vigilante. His comments, recorded by the police 911 operator "They’re always getting away with it" could be construed as his feelings about young people, males, hoodies, or black people - or young, black men who ware hoodies. In all probability he is racist - racism is not exclusive to the white population - there is no racist gene.

      The really disappointing issue is that the police didn't arrest Zimmerman immediately after the shooting. If the police had undertaken the shooting there would have been an automatic independent investigation (surely - in the US?). The police are the professional law enforces and protectors of the public. It was their duty to discover the facts of the case and act accordingly. We all expect the highest standards of police officers - where ever in the world - if they lose the public’s trust and confidence then society is doomed to a downward spiral of more vigilantes - blinded by their own world views and prejudices. Unfortunately, the police officers concerned appear to have accepted the SYG law as an automatic defence against arrest - which is why I suggested it is unconstitutional and thus illegal.

      On January 3rd 2012 the UK court convicted two killers of a young black teenager, Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered by a gang of white youths chanting racist slogans. The murder took place on the evening of April 22nd 1983! Thankfully, the case would not go away and was subject to a Public Enquiry in 1988 the conclusion of which heralded the Metropolitan Police Service as being institutionally racist and the reason why the case was not conducted properly or efficiently. Further the Crown Prosecution Service was found to have been affected by issues of race. So, the parallels are clear. The US MUST ACT TO UPHOLD THE LAW FOR ALL PEOPLE - be they US citizens or visitors.
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      Mar 24 2012: this is a very dangerous thinking. people for long have chosen to specialize. we don't bake our own bread, we don't make our own clothing, we don't do surgery ourselves. this is because we think others can do a better job. so we better stick to what we do, and pay for others to do the rest. but it is our choice. i can decide that the bread in the shopping mall is not good for me. i can (and in fact i do) bake my own bread. overall, it is more expensive. but it is my choice. if the supermarket wants my money, they have to come up with better breads.

      but it is different in the gun control / SYG case. in this case, we are not talking about people giving up their self defense, and hire someone better to do it. but rather, we discuss that it must be forbidden not to do so. the police does not work hard to provide the services i need. the service provider does not try to convince me. they try to make their services mandatory. and this is not right.

      how would you like if there were a law that you can't bake your own bread? you can't tinker in your garage. only professionals are allowed to do so. i don't think that is a good idea.

      you want people not having guns? provide them with a safe environment, so they don't want it.
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        Mar 24 2012: Krisztian --

        The bread baking corollary is quite weak.

        For example. The National Rifle Association, the group which has pushed for conceal and carry, Stand Your Ground, etc. is now lobbying the US Congress for the "Right" to bring concealed handguns into school buses and daycare centers.

        There have not been assaults on people walking into daycare centers or school buses, so the self-defense argument is a red herring in these cases. I'd say others, as well. But I want to address your talking point here.

        Getting back to your bread-baking argument. If there were an ingredient in bread that was known to kill when accidentally mishandled. And if handling the ingredient was so dangerous that training was required to handle it. I would expect my government to prohibit its use except by trained professionals.

        If its proliferation was creating more havoc in spite of governments efforts to stop its use, I wouldn't prefer that untrained professionals use it anyway. I would push for greater efforts to support and hold professional to better training, higher standards, more of them and fewer opportunities for citizens to access the deadly ingredient.

        Andrea
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          Mar 24 2012: i don't think that being dangerous makes too much of a difference. we don't make car driving a profession either. maybe this is a better example then. let gun ownership require a license. but let this license acquirable to anyone, as commonly as a driving license. but any more control is unjustified.
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          Mar 24 2012: Actually most states in the U.S. require a permit a to carry hand gun but not all require a person to register the a gun.

          While I agree with Andrea that I'd rather have professional people with standards carrying a gun and make judgement calls ,but I also think that if a person is in a dangerous area with a high crime rate and tons of unsolved cases; should be able to carry weapon if its registered and permitted.
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        Mar 24 2012: The fact that in both the Martin and Lawrence murder cases the police failed to act properly (conjecture, so far, in Martin case) is not an adequate case for the public at large to become vigilantes - or to carry guns as a matter of course in the expectation of Standing Your Ground. A free-for-all regarding the use of guns / lethal weapons would descend the US into a wild west hell. It is essential the police regain the trust and respect of the public. Understanding failings and establishing corrective measures is the only way forward. The finding of the Public Enquiry which found The Met to be institutionally racist was a bitter pill for the service to swallow - but swallow it they had too.

        The interpretation / understanding of the SYG law by police and prosecutors is an important factor in this case, which I understand is now going to be investigated.

        It is also important to understand how the SYG law is commonly understood by the population at large. Laws can be widely misunderstood, for example, in the UK, legislation was passed in 2000 that gave the public a right to access specific parts of the British countryside - mountain, moorland, heathland and downland - each category being legally defined, identified and mapped. However, the law became known in common terms as the “Right to Roam” - implying that the public could roam at will anywhere they wanted. Not the case at all! Did Zimmerman believe that the SYG law gave him greater powers when he was acting as a local vigilante? Did he interpret his patrol patch as being the same as his home ground?
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        Mar 24 2012: You miss the point Krisztian. The intention of a person driving a car is to get from A to B. The intention of someone who purchases a handgun, is at some time, in a set of special circumstances to shoot another person, possibly to death. Its this saturation of violent intent that makes a violent society. The level of violence increases in tandem with the degree of handgun ownership, criminal or non criminal. Thinking that guns can reduce crime or violence in society is like suggesting that alcohol can fuel abstinence.
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          Mar 24 2012: first: the goal of a weapon can be to to deter, not to kill.

          second: shooting someone is not necessarily violent intent. can be defense.

          and yet again, you try to skip the convince part, and you try to force your ethics and views on other people. if you believe a gun-less society is better, try to teach it to people. how would you like the following scenario? from now on, advocating strict gun control is forbidden. anyone attempting that is punishable by two years in jail. does that sound a good idea to you?
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          Mar 25 2012: Ken,

          There are only two reasons I can think anyone would lobby for concealed weapons to be brought into daycare centers and buses by citizens. Neither involve self defense. Both involve self-interests.

          1. Mass coercion and/or indoctrination
          2. To sell guns

          I've been wondering why people proudly associate themselves as "members" of such groups. I'd imagine again, two reasons:

          1. They've been indoctrinated and/or coerced and are afraid of the lobbying group.
          2. They have an anti-social personality.

          Andrea
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          Mar 25 2012: Krisztian, I note you're Hungarian - a country with strong gun control. American's are living daily with the knowledge that many citizens carry or have access to guns. Yes, a gun is an inanimate object, but its form and purpose is to inflict fear, wounding or death. The mindset of the person behind the trigger, be they criminally minded, a potential victim, or a vigilante is rarely in a rational state when in the act of pointing a gun at someone or using it - either they are fearful, angry or in shock. Thus, does providing a Stand Your Ground law conflict with the US constitution for life and liberty...? I'm using the current case because it should crystallize thought about this potential contradiction.
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          Mar 25 2012: Heather,

          Your thoughts remind me of something I wrote about guns, emotions and social contagious which serve as triggers:

          http://dynamicshift.org/archives/from-bipartisan-blame-to-civilized-change

          And this from today's NY Times Magazine:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/25/books/review/the-righteous-mind-by-jonathan-haidt.html

          Andrea
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          Mar 25 2012: Krisztian --

          Again, your hamburger correlation is weak.

          If I eat a hamburger and it gives me a heart attack, that is one thing. But my eating a hamburger cannot be reasoned away as "self-defense" if it gives you a heart attack. And, I'm not likely to eat a hamburger to protect myself from violence.

          And, I'm well aware that social behaviors are what incite trigger-pulling.

          With that in mind:

          Would you address the reason gun owners should have more freedom to carry a loaded gun into a daycare center and school bus than children in those places and all in relation to those children should have?

          And, related to that: what messages are children being taught when they see adults brandishing guns in places where there is no threat of violence?

          Andrea
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          Mar 25 2012: andrea, it is worrisome on a level that you disregard my arguments.

          first, it is the second time you come up with the "hamburger only hurts yourself" response, which i don't think is relevant. but i gave you the other example of cars. so you are free to substitute the car example for the hamburger example, and go with it. but no.

          second, you again disregard that owning a gun does not imply using it. the fact that i have a gun does not violate the rights of anyone.

          btw having a gun in buses has a very obvious benefit: if i want to leave home and get to point B, where i would like to have a gun with me, i can't do that without having the gun with me all the way there. what other reason do i need?
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          Mar 25 2012: Jaime --

          How, then, does a society remove fear?

          Andrea
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          Mar 25 2012: Krizstian,

          It is worrisome that you dodge my Qs with diversionary tactics. And/or don't read my responses before responding. I addressed both your car and your burger arguments in my responses.

          Again, my Q is:

          Why would someone need to bring a gun into a daycare center or a school bus? And/or why would someone need to transport guns through a daycare center and school bus?

          Andrea
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          Mar 25 2012: andrea, you are the one trying to derail the conversation. why the guy wants a gun in daycare center? because he likes the smell of it. the touch of it. or he is simply a weirdo. who cares? it is not the point at all.

          and to make the case even worse, i already gave you a reason why do i want a gun on the bus. but you asked one more time. are we going anywhere with this?
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          Mar 27 2012: Krisztian--

          I, for one, care if, as you say "a weirdo" whose only justification for bringing a gun into a daycare center is that he "likes the smell of it."

          And, no, you did not answer why anyone needs a gun on a school bus. You only answered why you want to carry one onto a bus.

          And, no, I don't perceive that you and I are going anywhere with this.

          Then again, I can only speak for myself. I have no idea what your motives regards where this is going are.

          Andrea
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        Mar 24 2012: Krisztian,

        Your liberty to self-protection does not cancel my liberty to not be shot.

        Now, were I a gun-owner (which I'm not) and a gun advocate (which I'm not) and were I holding a handgun (which I wouldn't) to your head (which I'd never do) and coercing you to agree with my ethics (not my style), then one might conclude I was forcing my beliefs on you. But, I'm not.

        Conversely, if a hunter or a gun-retailer (neither of which I am) was lobbying a politician or political group that needed the hunters vote told the politician they would not get their financial support or their votes unless he passed legislation that allows people to carry a concealed pistol into, say daycare centers and school buses, one could conclude that the hunter and gun-sellers were forcing their ethics on the politician and citizens he represents.

        More ominous are potential outcomes, like :

        If a child is killed at a daycare center by someone who believes they need to defend themselves in one, I'd say others ethics are being forced, in deadly fashion, on the child, other children who witnessed the killing, teachers, parents, his community and, perhaps, it's entire society.

        All for the right to "self defense" in places where biggest threat is poop and boogers. Really? Really.

        Regards your argument that driving and handgun ownership qualifying as equally correlated rights. I'd again disagree. Though, agreed: it is far better than the bread-making = gun toting argument.

        Driving is not a liberty that permits people to use a deadly weapon in what they alone judge as self-defense. If driver's decided to defend themselves by driving their car into another person and killing them, imagine the causalities of road-rage.

        Imagine the defenses: "He cut me off! Didn't even bother to stop! Could have killed me! In fact, I think he did try to kill me! So, I drove my car into his."

        Andrea
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          Mar 24 2012: Why do you need a gun in a daycare? or even in a school bus? that's the most silliest thing i've ever heard of,are they actually lobbying for this?
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          Mar 25 2012: "Your liberty to self-protection does not cancel my liberty to not be shot."

          your liberty to not be shot (which does not exists, by the way, but skip that part now) does not cancel my right to carry a gun.

          "were I a gun-owner [...] one might conclude I was forcing my beliefs on you"

          surely. but also if you had a knife. also if you asked another guy to put a gun at my head. also if you appointed an organization called "state" to do so. and you want that latter. your example of a gun-nut lobbying is exactly the same. the government should not have the power to control gun ownership. lobbying is nothing else then trying to be friends with the bully.

          "More ominous are potential outcomes"

          potential outcomes does not validate gun control. similarly, potential outcome (heart attack) does not validate hamburger control. the law should not be preemptive. especially not in such invasive and pervasive way.

          i believe you escape in that thought. you don't want to see that not the guns, but something else cause such irresponsible, aggressive and unbelievably inhumane actions like shooting a kid on the street or such. you want to blame these things on guns. it might ease the mind, and give us a focus. but this is not a good, and not a responsible way of dealing with things.
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          Mar 25 2012: Andrea...the same as usual from old times....FEAR, FEAR AND FEAR.

          When fear appear, weapons appear....Then the equation is clear...stop fear.

          Fear is human . The "legal or not legal" issue is another thing.
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          Mar 25 2012: I think the question is does a persons right takes carry away form a persons right to feel safe in their environment?
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        Mar 25 2012: Krisztian. where are your reply buttons?....yet again you did not reply to my point. Or are you saying that the saturation of violent intent which I argue breeds violence, is an acceptable price you are prepared to pay in order to fulfill your concept of 'freedom' ( a simple yes or no answer will suffice).
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          Mar 25 2012: my answer is: i don't know, because i don't understand the question. please simplify this sentence for me:

          "the saturation of violent intent which I argue breeds violence, is an acceptable price you are prepared to pay in order to fulfill your concept of 'freedom' "
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      Mar 25 2012: Also we have to review the Maquiavelo "Prince" to see and read clearly about fear and love. The point is how a "democratic governement" (this is a cultural cheat and a political hoax) justify the perversity with words.

      In the Reinassance, Italy suffer the worst time in bloody crimes in all his history. More, much more than today, but also was an enlightment era for all the world. The contrast is just an example. An oximoron if you want. Any "law" is no more than a joke. The fair men doesnt need laws.

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