Earlier this summer in a Walmart parking lot in Florida, a 20-year-old man named Colt Thriemer shot to death 21-year-old Thomas Brown. The two had gotten into a fist fight just moments before, but Brown had, according to witnesses, walked away from the fight. Nevertheless, Thriemer pulled out a gun and shot Brown 10 times. Thriemer, citing Florida’s nefarious “Stand Your Ground Defense,” will face no charges. That’s right, local authorities refuse to prosecute Thriemer. So now it’s official, murder is legal in Florida. If you live there or travel there, beware. If someone does not like the way you look, or you make an off-hand comment to your neighbor, or you flip someone off in traffic, or someone objects to your politics, you may be legally shot to death. Hell, there doesn’t really have to be any reason at all…it’s a shoot-first-and-alibi-later state.
The dangerous precedent set in the George Zimmerman case now has prosecutors everywhere declining to put murderers on trial. In the Brown case, litigators openly admit they have no recourse under the law. “The Stand Your Ground statute makes no exception from the immunity because Brown may have been walking away from Thriemer at the time the deadly force was used,” a memo from the State Attorney’s office states. Think about that for a moment. If you get into a dispute with someone, and then you do the mature thing and simply walk away when it appears the other party might turn the dispute deadly, YOU ARE NOT PROTECTED BY THE LAW IN FLORIDA. Brown was shot in the back by Thriemer.
Here’s a scenario which once seemed like a Nazi Germany nightmare, but which can now actually legally occur in Florida: Your neighbor objects to the political sign (supporting a Democratic candidate) you’ve placed in your yard; he accosts you and destroys the sign. If you threaten to kick his ass for his outrageous actions, he can legally gun you down. In Florida even the provocateur can rightfully hide behind the “Stand Your Ground” statute.
I am writing a letter to Rick Scott, Florida’s Republican governor, to tell him I am never vacationing in his state again. The Sunshine State is now the Shotgun State; I’ll never visit Disney World again because Mickey might blast me for cutting in line.