Governor DeSantis hopes to expand “Stand Your Ground” law to be “anti-mob,” setting a dangerous precedent
BY CHRIS GOMES
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has decided to push for an expansion of the notorious “Stand Your Ground” law that would allow for armed citizens to shoot suspected looters or anyone engaged in “criminal mischief” that disrupts a business.
On paper, this may sound good to those who seek to end violent protests, but it places a dangerous precedent. By allowing for any citizen to shoot at another person and have it be inconsequential in various circumstances, the citizen is being placed as judge, jury and executioner, which only the government should lawfully fulfill.
“It allows for vigilantes to justify their actions,” former Miami-Dade County prosecutor Denise Georges said. “It also allows for death to be the punishment for a property crime—and that is cruel and unusual punishment. We cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly.”
Putting this much power into the hands of a vigilante to take the life of another person and “justify” the action is something that should not be instilled in a modern society. The law is barbaric in the fact that it allows for the execution of a person by a citizen.
The law is barbaric in the fact that it allows for the execution of a person by a citizen.
Protests in opposition to police brutality and racial profiling exploded during the summer. Thousands took to the streets to protest government inaction to the many Black Americans who fell victim to police brutality at a seemingly continuous rate. George Floyd, Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor lost their lives during this time to police brutality, leading to an uproar of citizens who used their rights to protest the events.
A majority of these protests were not violent, with 93% of Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests being peaceful. Still, President Donald Trump and many others in the country echo the false pretense that these protests are violent. Instead of resolving the issue, they seek to limit what they see as “violent” protests.
The initial “Stand Your Ground” law was enacted as a form of “castle doctrine” in Florida. It sought to provide people with the right to use deadly force when they reasonably believe it to be necessary to defend against a threat of death, serious bodily harm, kidnapping, rape, robbery or other violent crimes. Even when it was passed in 2005, it had sharp criticism from people’s rights groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) among others as they deemed it to be a firm example of putting a citizen as judge, jury and executioner.
The ACLU has also commented on the expansion of the law to incorporate DeSantis’ “anti-mob” rules.
“Gov. DeSantis’ proposal is undemocratic and hostile to Americans’ shared values,” Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida Micah Kubic said. “This effort has one goal: silence, criminalize and penalize Floridians who want to see justice for Black lives lost to racialized violence and brutality at the hands of law enforcement.”
“Gov. DeSantis’ proposal is undemocratic and hostile to Americans’ shared values.”Executive Director of the ACLU of Florida Micah Kubic
The law is seen as a violation of a person’s right to free speech, by a series of civil rights groups like the ACLU.
“Under the guise of protecting public safety and residents, this proposal would deny fundamental due process to protesters by eliminating their right to bail,” Kubic said. “Instead of addressing the violence protesters in cities across the state have been subjected to at the hands of law enforcement, Governor DeSantis is doubling down on his disdain for dissent.”
By establishing a harmful precedent to an already contentious issue like “Stand Your Ground,” DeSantis’ measure could create more chaos in what is believed to be an already crazy situation. Giving the right to a person to forego the “castle doctrine” and shoot what they may deem to be as a looter or criminal would be creating more vigilantes and be causing more harm than good.
We live in a society, not the Wild West, and this law not only fundamentally violates a citizen’s First Amendment rights, but also adds onto a dangerous precedent that could result in unwanted chaos across the state.
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