Florida’s “stand your ground” law is absurd

According to Florida law, you can pick a fight with someone and then legally kill them if it looks like they’ll win:

Use of force by aggressor.—The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:
(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:
(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.

(Via Ta-Nehisi  Coates)

Reflections on the George Zimmerman verdict

Not guilty. That’s what the jury for this case decided.

Thoughts:

1. Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old, would not have died that night if George Zimmerman hadn’t followed him.

2. “Stand your ground” should not mean “chase and engage”.

3. As Glenn Fleishman notes, this verdict tells African-Americans living in or around white neighborhoods in Florida to go home before it gets dark out. 

4. I can’t say what I would have done if I had been among that jury. Besides Zimmerman, there were no eye-witnesses. That would give anyone reasonable doubt.

5. To those who state that that the verdict would be the same if the races of those involved were different: tell that to Marissa Alexander, the Florida woman who fired warning shots at her abusive husband back in 2010 and was sentenced to 20 years in jail.