Two people were killed during their Labor Day barbeque and another was seriously injured when their neighbor sneaked up behind them and opened fire.
In pretty much any other state, I’d be confident that their assailant would face justice for his actions. But this went down in Florida so who knows — who knows whether some nutjob jury down there will accept the various defenses his lawyers have offered to justify the slaying of two people.
Of course the shooter is asserting a “stand your ground” defense. I mean, that pretty much goes without saying at this point in Florida. A byproduct of the Zimmerman trial is that there will be a lot of additional death in Florida as crazy people think they’re allowed to shoot anybody who looks at them funny.
I don’t intend to post about every wacko who shoots first and stands his ground later. But this guy… this guy and his “sure, why not” lawyers are also asserting a defense under the Bush Doctrine.
Let me give Sarah Palin a moment to look that up before we continue…
The shooter, William T. Woodward, alleges that his neighbors called him names and threatened to “get him.” Even assuming that everything he says is true, I don’t think that “provocation” should be enough to legally justify shooting three people having a barbeque. But again, I live in New York City, where rights accrue to people instead of firearms. In Florida, well, let’s hear Woodward’s lawyer explain it. From The Raw Story:
“I think legally that term has sort of been evolving especially given changes of our government’s definition of ‘imminent,’” attorney Robert Berry, who is representing Woodward, told Florida Today. “It’s become more expansive than someone putting a gun right to your head. It’s things that could become, you know, an immediate threat.”
The court document filed by the defense also cited “The Bush Doctrine,” a foreign policy principle used by President George W. Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq. “The Bush Doctrine” embraces “preventive” or pre-emptive war.
Again, in New York where people respect the power of words, saying that something “could become, you know, an immediate threat” is a really stupid thing to say. If it needs to “become” immediate, THEN IT IS NOT YET AN IMMEDIATE THREAT. But applying “book learning” to things like words and their definitions is a dangerous game when dealing with the Florida system of jurisprudence.
But the Bush Doctrine thing is just great. Even if you don’t think that name-calling represents an imminent threat to one’s life, how do you know that the neighbors peaceably grilling in their backyard might not one day try to murder Woodward? You don’t. Anything is possible. Hence we can clearly see that Woodward had to invade his neighbors barbeque, kill them, and then search for evidence of their devious plans to do him harm. Even if he doesn’t find any evidence, it’s not like Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld or Powell have been retroactively punished for starting a war of choice based on evidence that did not exist… why should this guy?
Oh, you say that “the state” has powers above and beyond those that can be marshaled by individual citizens? That’s not how Florida thinks. In Florida, they want to act like everybody is a state unto themselves — an armed, sovereign state with the power to defend themselves from enemies, real or perceived, without having to call on or respect any community wider than themselves. In Florida, they do not think the government should enjoy a monopoly of force, they think that every individual retains the ability to be the judge, jury, and executioner without state interference.
That’s not society, that’s the state of nature folks. And in the state of nature, you can get shot in the back while cooking your food over an open flame. Duh.
How messed up is Florida? You watch how many people think that the solution to Woodward’s actions isn’t to disarm crazy people and reject the laws that made him feel justified in his actions. Instead, you’re going to get a lot of Floridians who think that this would have never happened had the Labor Day victims been better armed and well defended.
Florida: where laws are nasty, brutish, and stupid.