Florida’s Vigilante-Style Conflict Resolution System

Posted: July 17, 2013 in Courts, Law, Policing, Violence
Tags: , , , , ,

Unlike many people, I’m not angry with the jury in the Zimmerman case. I don’t agree with their decision, but I completely respect it. Being a juror is a tough gig: No matter the outcome, someone is going to be upset with whatever you decide. Making some type of universally “right” decision in that environment is not really a possibility.


Photo courtesy of TopSoft

The jury did exactly what they were supposed to do: They heard all the evidence, received information about  applicable laws, and then made a considered decision. That’s the way the jury system works. We need to get past that.

To my mind, the more concerning issue is the state of the law in Florida. Here’s where the Zimmerman case has left us:

If you live in Florida and you have a score to settle with someone, the justice system has given you a new tool to resolve your conflicts. All you need to do now is  buy a gun, stalk the target until they’re in an isolated area, confront them with whatever complaint you have, goad them into a fight, let them get the upper hand, then shoot them.

And then just walk away and call the cops. Oh, and make sure to say that you feared for your life. That’s an important detail.

The author of the so-called “Stand Your Ground” legislation that makes this possible, Rep. Dennis Baxley, has claimed that the law wasn’t intended for the type of situation that Zimmerman created, but that’s now the unintended reality. At least in Florida.

What do you think? Does the law need to change, or are you comfortable with Florida’s vigilante-style conflict resolution system?

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