A gun is to shoot, and in Florida, “the rules are different here”

Some devices send out mysterious compelling signals to our brains, demanding to be used.  A toothbrush and a vacuum cleaner, not so much. But as my friend Andy Lippman observed, a TV “needs watching”.  Frodo’s ring wanted to be worn, and a gun wants to be fired at something.  There are guns and guns, and I’ve played with a fair variety of them.  A few fairly specialized types are for punching holes in paper, and others are used to break up clay ashtrays in midair, but nearly all guns are for killing animals.  Among these, some are specialized for killing people-type animals, and almost all handguns are for killing people from fairly close up; they aren’t very accurate, and it doesn’t take a powerful cartridge to register on a target.

The psychology of people who own handguns and never get to use them as they are designed to function, which is nearly all people who own handguns, is sort of a mystery to me.  If I could only clean my kitchen stove but never cooked anything to eat on it, or endlessly fixed and fussed with my car but never drove it anywhere, I think I would be deeply frustrated, but go figure.

In Florida, and IIRC some other states, the law has recently been changed to ameliorate this frustration.  In Florida you may kill anyone who’s not in an iron lung machine, or comatose, at will, as long as you do it with no-one else around and you are willing to say you were scared of your victim at the time.  Really. You can probably shoot him in the back if you say you thought he was going for a piece tucked in his belt.  Trayvon Martin was armed with Skittles, (which, to be fair, can kill you from diabetes), and George Zimmerman, who apparently spent night after night out and about with his 9mm burning a hole in his pocket, finally got to use it for what it’s supposed to do.  I’m aware of no statement of regret from Zimmerman, and it appears that he’s in good shape legally, at least for now.

I wonder how long until his piece starts asking to be fired at someone again; he still has it, so his fellow citizens are obviously down with how he’s prone to use it.  It’s important to know your friends and neighbors have your back.

Or how many more Floridians, on his good example, will start letting their Glocks and Berettas off the leash when they get a little antsy on a deserted street.

 

 

Author: Michael O'Hare

Professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley, Michael O'Hare was raised in New York City and trained at Harvard as an architect and structural engineer. Diverted from an honest career designing buildings by the offer of a job in which he could think about anything he wanted to and spend his time with very smart and curious young people, he fell among economists and such like, and continues to benefit from their generosity with on-the-job social science training. He has followed the process and principles of design into "nonphysical environments" such as production processes in organizations, regulation, and information management and published a variety of research in environmental policy, government policy towards the arts, and management, with special interests in energy, facility siting, information and perceptions in public choice and work environments, and policy design. His current research is focused on transportation biofuels and their effects on global land use, food security, and international trade; regulatory policy in the face of scientific uncertainty; and, after a three-decade hiatus, on NIMBY conflicts afflicting high speed rail right-of-way and nuclear waste disposal sites. He is also a regular writer on pedagogy, especially teaching in professional education, and co-edited the "Curriculum and Case Notes" section of the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management. Between faculty appointments at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, he was director of policy analysis at the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He has had visiting appointments at Università Bocconi in Milan and the National University of Singapore and teaches regularly in the Goldman School's executive (mid-career) programs. At GSPP, O'Hare has taught a studio course in Program and Policy Design, Arts and Cultural Policy, Public Management, the pedagogy course for graduate student instructors, Quantitative Methods, Environmental Policy, and the introduction to public policy for its undergraduate minor, which he supervises. Generally, he considers himself the school's resident expert in any subject in which there is no such thing as real expertise (a recent project concerned the governance and design of California county fairs), but is secure in the distinction of being the only faculty member with a metal lathe in his basement and a 4×5 Ebony view camera. At the moment, he would rather be making something with his hands than writing this blurb.

109 thoughts on “A gun is to shoot, and in Florida, “the rules are different here””

    1. p.s. It is good to know that Zimmerman’s constitutional rights won’t be violated so he can still prowl around at night with his piece. He’s such a scared little man what would he do if he had to walk the streets without his gun.

  1. I can think of a number of psychologies of gun ownership offhand:

    1. Small penis disease (Anomalous’ point, I believe.)
    2. Horsies for boys. Much of the attraction of horses to girls is that they can control something very powerful, which many others cannot do. Guns have a similar role for some boys. Note that the NRA is quite serious about gun safety, which is not only a good thing in itself, but feeds into this psychology.
    3. Ordinary hobby psychology. The gun nerd is not an unknown type. (“The 1932 Lithuanian neutrino parabellum was used by the Ruritanian army from 1923-27.”)
    4. Competitive sports. Target shooting can be fun.

    I’m sure there are others, most but not all harmless. Unfortunately, the politics of gun ownership is dominated by small penis disease.

  2. You know, I’m a bit afraid of heights. Not outrageously so, but when I get near an unguarded fall, I can just feel it tugging on me, trying to send me hurtling to my doom. Fortunately, I’m objective enough to understand this is not about gravity, is not a property of falls without rails. It’s about me, and other people can walk down a trail alongside a cliff without feeling something trying to get them to jump.

    I urge a similar objectivity upon you. No, devices do not send out mysterious signals. The voices in your head are not receiving the diabolical mind control rays emanating from steel shaped just so. Other people, holding a gun, do not have to fight down this urge to find somebody to murder.

    In short, this piece doesn’t tell us anything about guns, or the population at large. It just tells us something about you.

    I find it a bit ironic, though, that this is about Florida. Florida, birthplace of modern concealed carry reform. Which, we were warned in the most dire terms, would cause blood to run in the streets. Fender benders would lead to shootouts. People would be shot for refusing to make right turns on red! There was, of course, no flood of blood down the streets.

    But the very same predictions were made in the next state to adopt concealed carry reform, and the next, and the next, in perfect unconcern about the predictions not having been realized previously. Now almost the entire country has adopted concealed carry reform, and no bloodbath. Opponents are reduced to raving, out of context, about a crime rate by permit holders significantly lower than that of the general public, and much lower than that of mayors who ally with Bloomberg…

    And was anything learned from this experience? Any understanding that they were not very good at predicting human behavior, that their insights into other people’s proclivity towards violence were, to say the least, flawed?

    Evidently not. Here we go again! Prepare the street cleaners, there’s going to be a gully washer of blood down them. Any. Minute. Now.

    1. “Florida, birthplace of modern concealed carry reform. Which, we were warned in the most dire terms, would cause blood to run in the streets….There was, of course, no flood of blood down the streets…..”

      Except, of course, that an innocent kid named Trayvon Martin was killed in cold blood and without reason by an overzealous gun-owner named George Zimmerman, who is still free. Blood has, and will, run in Florida’s streets. Even with obvious evidence slamming Brett in the head, he seems willfully blind. He starts with the bumper-sticker conclusion (guns don’t kill people, people kill people) and then builds an elaborate set of justifications around it–ignoring the fact that guns make it insanely easy and almost inevitable for people to kill people. A gun is to shoot. A gun exists to kill. It has no other purpose.

      Of course, in Brett’s world, George Zimmerman is written off as an anomaly: “Most guys who own 9mm don’t shoot innocent victims and then walk free. Sure, a few do. More gun owners in Florida shoot innocent victims and then walk free than in other states with stricter gun laws. But let’s erase those cases from our memory and overlook them in our reasoning. That way, we can still justify guns for all. Because the good citizens of Florida are *mostly* peaceable and don’t shoot people in the back.” Oh, aside from those who shoot the innocent and then walk free, due to Florida’s lax and ridiculous gun laws promoted by guys like Brett.

      1. You seek to argue from ancedote, rather than statistics. The brute fact is that CCW reform caused no statistically significant change in crime rates, while abolishing a significant exercise of arbitrary power on the part of the government. Do some people get shot? Sure, some people got shot before hand. Where’s the change? Opponents weren’t, after all, hysterically predicting that crime rates would go on unaltered.

        1. No statistically significant change in CRIME rates, cause it’s not longer a crime! The rate of “justifiable homicide” has tripled in Florida!

          1. The rate of “justifiable homicide” has tripled in Florida!

            [Citation Needed]

          2. Can’t seem to find “Reply” button for Prof. Glass House, but the google pulls up stories like this from a local CBS affiliate in Miami:

            ‘According to state crime stats, Florida averaged 12 “justifiable homicide” deaths a year from 2000-2004. After “Stand your Ground” was passed in 2005, the number of “justifiable” deaths has almost tripled to an average of 35 a year, an increase of 283% from 2005-2010.

            “The Legislature needs to take a look at Stand Your Ground,” Florida Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami Gardens told CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald, “This is a perfect case of where it goes awry. This could only be the beginning of more problems down the road. It has unintended consequences.”

            “When the Legislature passed this in 2005, I don’t think they planned for people who would go out and become vigilantes or be like some weird Batman who would go out and kill little kids like Trayvon.”

            Gov. Rick Scott, speaking with reporters following a Cabinet meeting, agreed, though without committing to supporting any particular legislation. “When you see any violence it’s always positive to … go back and look at existing law and see the impact and the consequences of it,” Scott said.

            “If there’s something that we need to adjust I’m hopeful that the Legislature would be interested in taking that up.” ‘

            http://miami.cbslocal.com/2012/03/20/deaths-nearly-triple-since-stand-your-ground-enacted/

          3. Brett can’t seem to distinguish between “justified” in a moral sense and justified in a legal sense. No, Brett, if you change the definition of “justified” to something that is immoral, it does not mean that they are a good thing.

          4. @JMichael–No, I don’t like loosening control of handguns, but I can’t agree with you about Brett’s “justified” point. If B uses his gun to shoot A, and thus prevents A from stabbing him, there has been one “justified homicide.” If, OTOH, B had no gun, then there would have been an equal number of homicides, but one less “justified homicide.” This event involving a “justified homicide” did not, prima facie, result in a rise in total homicides, but merely transferred a murder victim count into the count of “justified homicides.”

        2. your whole point here is one of the most foolish i’ve seen you produce since i’ve been reading this blog and that’s saying something. is there nothing about this case that you find troubling? is there nothing about this case that would make you think that the underlying law that allows a situation like this to occur might be flawed? instead of trying to demolish what you regard as fallacies in mr. o’hare’s way of talking about the case, how about responding to the case itself?

          or would you like to go on record as supporting the killing of unarmed black teen walking down a public street?

    2. Well, we all knew Brett was coming to this party!

      What I find interesting is that shooting a kid armed with Skittles isn’t bloody enough for him. He talks as if it somehow disproves the notion that we ought to be at least as cautious about issuing concealed-carry permits as we are about issuing driving permits (which is to say, hardly cautious at all).

      Hey Brett — this guy still has his gun and the freedom to carry it and abuse it (the gun and the freedom) again. That’s the whole point of the blog post, don’t you see? Does that mean nothing to you just because you think you’ll never be a victim since you’re not a Skittle-armed black kid? What if it were a black stranger with the gun and your white boy walking down the road with the Skittles — would you still be accusing others of “raving, out of context, about a crime rate by permit holders significantly lower than that of the general public” when someone criticized the fact that the shooter still has his gun and freedom?

      And talk about “raving, out of context, about a crime rate by permit holders”. Permits were not mentioned once in the OP. Who is raving, out of context, about permits?

      1. If I were black, simply knowing that Mr. Zimmerman existed would cause me to feel threatened. And should I actually see him anywhere, I would probably be so terrified that I could not help but shoot him on sight.

  3. Needless to say, my remarks to the effect that, “You’re telling us about yourself, not us.” apply just as well to Mr. Scrooge.

    1. Go ahead and make this about Brett. Real smart. I thought this thread was supposed to be about why Trayvon Martin is not alive and whether or not extremely bad public policy had something to do with it.

  4. Ultimately, those who side with George Zimmerman, either implicitly or explicitly, are morally underdeveloped people. They lack basic human empathy, which makes it difficult or impossible to have a reasonable conversation. Many in the pro-gun lobby likely see nothing wrong with Zimmerman’s actions or at least implicitly side with him–he “defended” himself according to a Florida law that the gun lobby has supported. “Do some people get shot? Sure….” In this case it was a nice, innocent kid named Trayvon Martin.

    1. Nice, innocent kid named Trayvon Martin… Damn, you must know a lot about this kid, how long were you friends? Oh wait, you’re just another dumbass with an opinion based purely on what you’ve seen on tv or read online. Instead of making accusations of which you have no factual knowledge, you should probably just let the legal teams do their jobs and uncover more information before you condemn a man or a piece of legislation. Carry on Arm-Chair General Matt, carry on.

      1. Oh, and making a generalization like “…those who side with George Zimmerman, either implicitly or explicitly, are morally underdeveloped people. They lack basic human empathy, which makes it difficult or impossible to have a reasonable conversation” is pure immaturity. It’s that same kind of rhetoric that keeps the stereotypes of the world alive and well…

  5. Seems to me that if I was walking down the street and saw Mr. Zimmerman coming my way I would immediately feel very threatened. On good evidence of past behavior. Good thing I am allowed to carry a gun and “defend” myself.

  6. Brett is right about more liberal concealed carry laws. I think the facts have spoken that, by themselves, concealed carry laws have not made blood run in the streets.

    Unfortunately, it appears that those same laws in conjunction with “stand your ground” revisions to permissible self-defense may have begun to have exactly that effect. The current statistics that have been reported for places with those relatively new laws are quite alarming. Most Americans alive today have grown up understanding, at least to some degree, the necessity of choosing other alternatives to deadly force when available in order to credibly claim self defense. I’m quite concerned about what is already happening in states with “stand your ground” laws but what might happen over time as “stand your ground” is embedded in the American psyche is downright terrifying.

    I think anyone who is concerned about gun rights should seriously consider opposing “stand your ground” laws. The more people take the George Zimmerman approach, the more pressure there will be for restrictions on gun rights.

  7. The thing is, that wasn’t Zimmerman’s ground. “Stand your ground” ought to mean just the inside of your own home — everywhere else, if you’re scared, the smart and legal thing to do is *leave.* Being on a self-appointed neighborhood watch committee should make absolutely no difference.

    I think this guy will go to jail, even in Florida. He was way outside the bounds of anything reasonable, and the LAT said this morning that even the dispatcher told him not to engage. (Of course, it could be wrong.)

      1. Well, I like the traditional approach much better, but I guess Floridians are free to make that change. Though it raises some very interesting legal questions. And I’m sorry to see an innocent person murdered, and a foolish person ensnared into murdering him (allegedly). People who make laws need to remember that a lot of people aren’t necessarily very bright. It’s very, very sad.

        1. “ensnared”? In what sense was Zimmerman “ensnared”? If the media reports are anything like correct, the kid was murdered.

      2. That’s a distortion of the Law.

        “….outside of one’s own home and property.” but, with the expectation of privacy, such as within one’s own car, or in a rented motel room. It most definitely did not mean walking down a public sidewalk.

  8. And don’t get me started on “gated communities.” The dumbest idea ever. Being safe and feeling safe are not at all the same thing. The only safety you can ever have is being a part of a healthy community.

    1. For the punchline, ask Brett where he lives. (I already know the answer, because he’s talked about it elsewhere.)

      1. Well, technically I guess I live in one too, since there is a auto door on the garage of my MFH building. But it doesn’t make me feel any safer than an ordinary locked door would, and maybe less — what makes me feel a little better about life is that I like my neighbors. They’re a sensible lot, mostly. And you can’t put a price on that, and it was totally luck.

      2. I live in a gated community because it was the closest apartment to work when I arrived here in SC with an 8 month pregnant wife, and no local relations. Personally, I despise it here, and plan on moving to a house in a community with no HOA as soon as my credit recovers enough from the short sale. Do you know, they actually made somebody take down his humming bird feeder??? Anal hardly even begins to describe the management here.

        I do occasionally make an analogy between governments and gated communities. Have you noticed that I don’t like governments, either?

        1. I sympathize. Moving is a pain and lots of times it’s impossible to know what you’re getting into, really, especially at short notice. I hope you find somewhere with people more on the same wavelength. I think there are always rules, even if they’re not written down. More research = better. Good luck!

  9. If you talk to prosecutors about how these laws are working out in practice, some substantial portion of these “justifiable” homicides are criminals killing each other. A gang member shooting another gang member now says “I was scared for my life” and that’s it, he can’t be prosecuted. Not what the authors of these laws had in mind and absolutely not a good thing.

  10. Michael– what you seem to forget is that the 2nd Amendment guarantees freedom of killing, just as the 1st guarantees freedom of obeying Catholic doctrine. Clearly your mind has been clouded by academic liberal indoctrination.

  11. I think you forgot a phrase in the italicized part of your post. I assume it was an editing error that droppped “who is black, arab, poor, politically unconnected, or otherwise looked down upon by cops” right after “you may kill anyone”. I know it’s not the main point of your post, but it does make a difference — it’s not rich white campaign donators who are going to be killed by stand-your-grounders.

  12. So what do we know from experience?

    We know – Brett is clearly right about this – that “shall-issue” laws (what he calls “concealed carry reform”) did not lead to deadly violence. It’s disgraceful that some gun controllers continue to deny the obvious.

    We know – the Florida “justified homicide” statistics demonstrate – that “stand-your-ground,” Florida-style, does create deadly violence, much of it legally “justified” but morally murder. In the Martin case, the only witness other than the killer is now dead. So the killer’s testimony will be the only valid testimony available about what happened that night. Even if he’s obviously lying, how could a responsible juror find him guilty beyond reasonable doubt?

    Now the question is whether Brett and his fellow gun-lovers will be as irrational in continuing to support “stand-your-ground” as the gun-haters who are still fighting “shall-issue.” My betting is on “yes.”

    1. I would think this claim needs to be refined in line with what Doretta wrote above. It’s not stand-your-ground laws by themselves that create violence, but stand-your-ground laws in conjunction with liberal gun laws and a culture that encourages and incentivizes gun use to deter and defend against threats (perceived or real). Stand-your-ground laws by themselves do not seem to cause any increased level of violence. (Racism likely also contributes to this deadly mix [1].)

      The classical example here is Germany: Germany has had stand-your-ground laws since forever (going back to a case in the early 19th century). But Germany also has among the most restrictive gun laws in the world and a culture that discourages the use of guns for self-defense (if you use a gun, even within your rights, to defend yourself in a situation where you could have avoided that, then most people will think you’re stupid to risk your life, not that you’re a hero). It’s a really strange setup where the law (or rather, the courts’ long-standing interpretation of the law) codifies different ethical norms than what people are expected to do in practice [2]. At the same time, this allows us to view the effect of a stand-your-ground law in isolation.

      [1] And does it ever feel strange linking to an LGF post in agreement. But, my own reaction when I saw an article with Trayvon Martin’s picture was, “what an adorable kid — how could any sane person feel threatened by him?”, and then I saw the comments on the Fox News site and wanted to throw up.
      [2] It’s another one of those cases (like healthcare and education) where German law is a weird amalgam of Bismarckian norms and modern social-democratic ideas.

  13. Yes, I would presume that a “stand your ground” law would increase justified homicides. It was intended to increase justifiable homicides. The law reflects a judgement as to the appropriateness of using lethal force in certain circumstances, a concern that legal ambiguity was preventing people from engaging in self defense when it was justified. Killing somebody when it’s justified is not a bad outcome. It’s a positive outcome to a bad situation.

    It’s understood that many people disagree with that legislative judgement as to when self-defense is justified. They lost the argument.

    Perhaps justified homicides will increase to such frequency that the public will demand that judgment be reversed. But an increase in justifiable homicides is not evidence the law isn’t working, because that increase was expected, intended.

    Might as well complain, after the speed limit is raised, that people are driving faster.

    The real question here, I would say, is whether there’s a significant increase in unjustified homicides due to this law. Just as, in the speed limit case, the question would be whether accidents, not speeds, had risen.

    Passage of the law increased justified homicides from about 30-40 a year, to 80-100 a year, starting in 2007. However, about the same time Florida’s rates of violent crimes dropped. Murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, all down. Even murder alone has dropped by several times the increase in justified homicides.

    Now, I’m not stupid enough to believe that correlation=causation. But that’s not what you want to see, if you’re trying to make a legitimate case that this law is bad. Because this law is intended to transform murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, of victims, into justified homicides of perpetrators.

    Justified homicides are supposed to go up if it works as intended.

    1. so do you regard the death of mr. martin as justified? what murder, rape, robbery, or assault was he perpetrating? does it truly give you no sense of trepidation that a twit like mr. zimmerman stands a good chance of avoiding state criminal penalties for his reckless act? have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? have you left no sense of decency?

      1. C’mon, Navarro, you’re being silly. Of course it gives us all pause that stalkers with guns roam the streets. But what Brett responded to was the incorrect assumption that a rise in “justified homicides” was a bad thing. Brett never stated or implied that Mr. Martin’s death was justified, or that Zimmerman was justified in his actions.

        If the doofus Sanford police do their job properly, we will discover that vigilante homicide based on “suspicion that the kid didn’t belong here” is not “justified homicide,” and vigilante Zimmerman will be properly prosecuted. But you can’t blame an unjustified vigilante killing on a law that allows me to protect myself from night-stalkers.

        1. You c’mon, Ken. Your “If” is looking less and less likely as time goes on. It’s been nearly a month, everybody from the FBI down has been claiming to be seriously “investigating” the incident, and Zimmerman is still free to roam the streets with his gun and stalk people like the kid he shot. He’s not free on bond — he hasn’t been charged. Why not?

          Could it be that “a law that allows me to protect myself from night-stalkers” is making it much more difficult to build a winnable case for the prosecution? No — according to you it all hinges on whether or not “the doofus Sanford police do their job properly”. And of course, by pre-emptively calling them doofuses you give yourself an easy out if Zimmerman is not successfully prosecuted.

          I’d be interested to know what, in your definition, is the difference between a “night-stalker” and someone who “doesn’t belong here”, and how you think any law allows you to “protect yourself” from one while simultaneously disallowing someone else from “protecting one’s self” from the other.

        2. “Night stalkers?”

          How do you distinguish a night stalker from someone walking in the same direction as you, some distance behind?

          I think it’s reasonable to say that for many the rule is “young and black = night stalker.”

          And even if you are nervous, is turning and firing really the only option?

    2. Brett: “Passage of the law increased justified homicides from about 30-40 a year, to 80-100 a year, starting in 2007. However, about the same time Florida’s rates of violent crimes dropped. Murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, all down. Even murder alone has dropped by several times the increase in justified homicides.”

      I consider this claim to be highly doubtful. First of all, the change in crime rate does not seem to be significantly different from the national changes in crime rate or changes in crime rate in states without a stand-your-ground law. Second, the relevant statute (sections 776.012 and 776.013) were enacted/amended in October 2005. We do not see a downward change in violent crime rate in Florida until 2008. Overall, the numbers alone do not seem to be sufficient to reject the null hypothesis.

      More importantly, it’s hard to imagine what that causal effect may be. This is not Hollywood; bullets and guns are only subject to the laws of physics, not laws of ethics, and, unlike movies, do not magically avoid innocents. When two guys with guns face off, the one more likely to survive is the one who’s the better shot, has the advantage of surprise, etc. That this would predominantly be the target of a crime, not the perpetrator, strikes me as a claim that requires more justification than vigorous handwaving. This is not counting the increased likelihood that a non-violent situation is needlessly escalated to become violent and/or that innocent bystanders get hurt.

      Brett: “Because this law is intended to transform murders, rapes, robberies, assaults, of victims, into justified homicides of perpetrators.”

      Even if that were, hypothetically, true, this would be a serious reason to question the law; while you, personally, may find it viscerally satisfying to become prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner all at once, for most of us that vision raises troubling due process concerns.

      Most worrying in this context is the amendment of section 776.012, which eliminated the common law duty to retreat. It now says:

      ” However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

      (1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony”

      This is an awfully low standard for taking the life of a human being and likely to lead to errors (the death of Trayvon Martin being the obvious example). Do you really think that trying to get back into your car after locking yourself out by accident should entitle an arbitrary stranger who mistakenly assumes you’re trying to steal the car to shoot you in the head? (Carjacking is a forcible felony under Florida law.)

    3. What if unjustified homicides go up faster? (Assuming, for the sake of argument, that killing of colored people can ever be unjustifiable, which seems to be counterfactual in Sanford)

    4. So I take it that you’d have no issue if Mr. Zimmerman ended up in a pool of blood with the only witness standing over him with a gun?

      I think it is basically incontestable that people of certain skin pigmentation are likely to feel very threatened if they should encounter him alone on the street. It would only be sensible to shoot him before he shoots, given the legal situation.

  14. Damn, I so want to say something impermissible to Mr. Bellmore. I’ll settle for, “Lo, the obtuse are always with us.” Anyway, just one question: Zimmerman was in an SUV. His victim was on foot. How is it that Zimmerman was the one standing his ground? Oh, right. He chased the innocent young man down, then got out of his penis-mobile, and then stood his ground.

  15. So, your argument is that he committed an unjustifiable homicide. I’m open to the argument that this law made unjustifiable homicide too difficult to prove under some circumstances. Perhaps it needs some tweaks. I am simply pointing out that an increase in justifiable homicides is not evidence of this law having bad effects. Such an increase was the intended effect.

    But you’ll need more than anecdotes, because unjustifiable homicides passed off as self-defense have always been with us. What’s needed to make the case is to actually look at those 100 or so cases of ‘justifiable’ homicide, and to demonstrate that they are predominantly unjustified. In the public’s view, mind you, not in the view of people dubious of the concept of justified self defense.

    Not just “Justified homicides went up! Eargh!”

    1. “perhaps it needs some tweaks.”

      that has to be the crappiest epitaph for a young man i ever saw written.

    2. Brett, FFS, the people against this law aren’t (expletive) kidding. As far as I can tell, under this law the only way you can be legally liable for shooting someone is if they are unaware of your presence or you are trespassing. And the former will only stick if there are witnesses to that effect. You can get yourself in any situation, no matter what, and if you’ve got a niggling suspicion someone else might say ‘boo’ to you you’re legally entitled to whip out your hand cannon and perforate the environs. We can disagree about the wisdom of people carrying around firearms, but if you kill another human being there really ought to be some burden of proving you had a reason to do so, a reason better than that you felt like it. Whether you had the option of not killing another human being seems like a valid question for society to pose, through the legal system. It’s a shame that you seem unable to grasp this.

  16. Brett, how would you feel if the dead 17-year-old boy were your child, maybe a goth who, with his black duster, body piercings, black eye makeup, and ugly neck tattoo, sacred witless a pistol-packin’ denizen of a suburban cul-de-sac. Just askin’.

  17. We should stop attempting to reason with Brett. He’s succumbed to the moral obtuseness of most of the gun lobby, trying to dilute the death of a nice, innocent young man using some twisted calculus based on legal definitions of the word “justified.”

  18. Unless I’m missing something, nowhere did Brett say he thinks this particular instance represents a case of justified homicide. He’s defending the basis for a law, not the actions of Zimmerman.

    1. Brett constantly sees dark purposes in seemingly innocent laws, and warns against the dire consequences they will bring to life. Given that this law is threatening to prevent justice for the death of Mr. Martin, he can hardly be permitted to get away with “defending the basis for [this] law” without facing up to the predictable – and predicted – awful consequences of this law.

  19. Let’s make Brett’s position clear. It’s not that people forced to use deadly force in self-defense should be protected from prosecution: it’s that we should encourage ordinary citizens to kill people they think are criminals, and that those killings are a benefit rather than a cost. That may not be exactly the same as personally having an itchy trigger finger – unlike the killers he wants to empower, Brett isn’t risking anything personally – but it’s hardly more admirable.

    And note his willingness to dismiss David Kennedy’s report that law enforcement officials say that can’t prosecute gang murders because they can’t prove, beyond reasonable doubt, the absence of “justification” as mere anecdote.

    But I repeat: Brett’s unreasonableness, which I predicted, is not more unreasonable than the unreasonableness of those who refuse to accept the evidence that “shall-issue” doesn’t lead to violence. Like drug policy, gun policy is mostly a clash of rival fanaticisms.

  20. Let’s be clear about my position: This is a law intended to transform situations where A commits a crime of violence against B, into situations where B justifiably homicides A. My point, my solitary point from the beginning, has been that an increase in justifiable homicides is not evidence this law isn’t working.

    As I said, you might as sensibly complain that a law increasing the speed limit has caused people to drive faster.

    If you want to attack this law, (And I understand you do, it represents your losing a very important argument about self defense.) you have to demonstrate that the additional ‘justified’ homicides weren’t really justified.

    I’m willing to concede the Zimmerman case, which is the anecdote I was talking about. But unjustifiable homicides defended as self defense were happening all along, so one case doesn’t demonstrate anything. To actually make a legitimate argument, you’d need to look at the 100 or so ‘justifiable homicides’ under the law, in detail, and demonstrate that they were predominantly unjustified. To demonstrate that the law has caused a undesired change.

    Prosecutors? Of course they’re going to complain about a law like this. They are the target of this law. It is a response to the perception that some prosecutors are hostile to self defense, and are prosecuting cases they never should have. That, in some jurisdictions, the legal system has taken the view that, “Maybe we can’t stop you from carrying that gun, but we can damned well make your life hell if you ever use it for more than a paperweight!”

    The legislature enacted concealed carry reform with the expectation those guns would occasionally be used. They don’t like their aims being deliberately thwarted like that.

    So, no, I don’t care what prosecutors say about this law, unless they can meet the burden of demonstrating that the nominally ‘justified’ homicides are actually unjustified. Not unjustified in their judgment, this law is an indictment of their judgement. Unjustified in the judgment of the average person.

    You want a legal system designed to make prosecutors happy? Sorry, that’s not what this law was intended to do.

    1. And note his willingness to dismiss David Kennedy’s report that law enforcement officials say that can’t prosecute gang murders because they can’t prove, beyond reasonable doubt, the absence of “justification” as mere anecdote.

      Your response that this wasn’t the anecdote you were referring to, avoids answering the charge that you completely ignore evidence to the contrary of your arguments.

      So, no, I don’t care what prosecutors say about this law, unless they can meet the burden of demonstrating that the nominally ‘justified’ homicides are actually unjustified. Not unjustified in their judgment, this law is an indictment of their judgement. Unjustified in the judgment of the average person.

      So, are you of the opinion that gang murders are “justified in the judgment of the average person”? From everything you’ve said so far, I wouldn’t fault anybody for assuming you are.

  21. I am of the opinion that, yes, even gang members can occasionally act in self-defense, even if denying that would make the work of prosecutors easier. If a gang member attempts to murder another gang member, his own death can indeed be a case of justifiable homicide, even if the prosecutor would rather just prosecute them all without concerning himself with the individual circumstances.

    Making the prosecutor’s job easier might be the prosecutor’s bottom line criteria for evaluating a law, it’s not mine.

    1. Can’t say this response surprises me in any way.

      You didn’t answer the question I asked, you answered the question you wanted to answer. I didn’t ask if you thought gang members were capable of occasionally acting in self-defense, I asked you if you thought “gang murders are ‘justified in the judgment of the average person'”. But then, that happens a lot when people try to converse with you, especially when the question challenges an argument you have made, so that doesn’t surprise me.

      Again, with the paranoid rants about the motives of prosecutors. But then you’re almost always paranoid about the motives of those you disagree with, so I can’t say that surprises me either.

      There’s more to liberty than the freedom to ingest whatever we want or the freedom to carry around whatever weapons we want and shoot anybody who scares us. Unrestricted liberty cannot work because that means we’re all free to infringe the liberties of each other. There is always a line to be drawn. Reasonable people can disagree on where the line should fall, but sometimes I get the feeling you don’t think there should be any line at all.

  22. The tragedy of Trayvon Martin – still the main point – reminds me of lines by Heinrich Heine:

    Da hauset ein Zimmerman, schlimm und arg,
    Der zimmert mir einen Totensarg.

    (A carpenter dwells there, evil and bitter,
    he is nailing me a coffin.)
    Set to music by Schumann.

  23. The essence of the Stand Your Ground law: “All you have to say is that you reasonably believed you were threatened, and the only person who can dispute that is the person you have just killed.” Insanity. It leaves it up to the discretion of the murderer was the meaning of “reasonably” and “threatened” are.

    And I guarantee that anyone who would murder another person easily and with a light conscience probably has very lax definitions for these two terms.

  24. mobiusklein called it correctly. this is brett bait. and brett has shown off all those qualities for which he is so renowned.

    i have taken no stand on any aspect of this law other than to suggest that a law which results in an outcome like the, to date, unpunished death of mr. martin is not actually working the way it’s supposed to and has some serious flaws. after much discussion back and forth brett mentioned as an aside that the law might need tweaking. i don’t know whether to laugh or cry but i do feel a sense of disgust at his apparent indifference to mr. martin’s death and how this law he is so proud to defend led to his unjustified death.

    1. Brett depresses me.

      More concern over laws limiting the size of ammo clips than laws allowing killing in dubious situations. It’s in the history of this blog.

    2. Of course, if anyone wants to know Brett’s opinion on something it’s probably easiest just to google the subject with the results limited to limbaugh.com.

  25. I guess you have no respect for the Miranda rule, either, or all that other stuff that comes of “better 10 men go free” style reasoning. Because this is of a piece with all that.

    1. Dude, the police didn’t gather evidence, partly because the SYG law puts self defense above all.
      The entire case against Mr Zimmerman may be compromised because of that, yet this becomes a Miranda rule analogy?

      How about this: The police should treat every homicide alike, whether the participants may have been justified in self defense or not. No exceptions, no special treatment of folks.
      But beyond this, even criminals (and suspected criminals) have a right to life. A minimum of force should be used. A law that gives advantage to someone who slays rather than maims is crazed – a living victim can dispute testimony after all.

  26. “How about this: The police should treat every homicide alike, whether the participants may have been justified in self defense or not. No exceptions, no special treatment of folks.”

    How about this: That’s exactly the position the legislature rejected.

    1. how about this: that’s exactly the problem brett!

      are you so absorbed with your attempted intellectual triumphs that you can’t/won’t/don’t get that overarching point?

      do you have the minimal decency to admit that this case is deplorable/regrettable/unfortunate or whatever euphemism you choose to use for the cowardly murder of mr. martin or the courage to say that’s exactly what the florida legislature wanrted to have happen when they passed the law. take a stand and let us know exactly how you feel on that!

    2. I said ‘police’ rather than ‘courts’. Police get the evidence, courts rule on the evidence. Police don’t pick winners and losers based on hunches, bias, or actual racism.

  27. Does anybody know what James Q Wilson thought about the Florida “stand your ground” law? My guess is that he favored it, but I can’t find an opinion piece where he discusses that legislation.

    Little known fact: The Florida law also allows a person to collect attorney fees and damages for being “wrongfully accused”.

  28. The ten or twelve of us here arguing with Brett are, I think, hoping that he’ll express some shred of sympathy with the victim and his family in this case, so that we can move forward with a reasonable discussion of policy–having acknowledged that this is a tragic case.

    But he seems unlikely to express sympathy in any way….not surprising, I suppose.

  29. Yes, this is a tragedy. Even with good laws tragedies happen. They don’t make good laws into bad laws.

    The law’s author has expressed the opinion should not apply in this sort of case, because Zimmerman followed the boy, initiated the altercation. Maybe he screwed up, and wrote the law wrong, that happens. If so, if the guy goes unprosecuted, the law will doubtless be “tweaked” to keep it from happening again.

    But that’s not what rankles about this law, is it? If this law does exactly what it’s intended to do, you’ll dislike it, because it represents the legislature enacting a view of when violence is justified that you disagree with. It represents a democratic victory for people who disagree with you about something fundamental.

    I return to where I started: The increase in justified homicides is not evidence the law is bad, it is what the law was intended to accomplish. If you’re going to attack this law, attack it on grounds that make some kind of sense.

    1. thank you for at last showing a shred of humanity.

      now let me ask a question i’ve been waiting to ask, do you have any evidence that the increase in “justified homicides” consist largely of cases unlike the zimmerman case or are you making the same mistake as you have been attributing to those of us arguing that the “stand your ground” variant of traditional self-defense laws is quite possibly a mistake?

      1. Honestly? I’ve got no idea. For all I know, since “Stand your ground” was enacted, essentially every ‘justified homicide’ under it has been a cold blooded murder. I rather doubt that, given the relative shortage of bloody shirts being waved about, but I’ve expressed no opinion on the matter.

        Really, all I’ve been doing here is pointing out how faulty the case against this law has been, in terms of basic reasoning. To say it a final time, an increase in the number of justified homicides does not indicate something going wrong with this law, it was supposed to lead to such an increase.

        I could easily imagine that, in the effort to deal with prosecutors hostile to self defense, or attempting to defeat concealed carry reform by punishing any use of those guns, no matter how justified, the proper balance has been over-shot.

        But nobody has made, rather than assserted, that case.

  30. my apologies, i was on a computer i don’t normally use. the anonymous comment at 12:22 pm was me.

  31. Some people definitely shouldn’t own firearms–and this includes anyone who thinks that “a gun wants to be fired at something.”

    Not to be difficult, but it really is important to note that no one believes that guns want anything; so such a claim is an oblique way of saying “guns make me want to shoot them at something.”

    If they do, please, please, please do not purchase one.

    Anyone who feels the imp of the perverse whispering in his ear to kill, kill, kill…or even shoot, shoot, shoot…should stay away from firearms, for the love of God.

    That’s George Zimmerman territory right there.

    Of course what we see here are typical thinly-veiled efforts by liberals to suggest that firearms (sometimes restricted to: handguns) are always bad and firearm owners are always crazy/evil/fearful. (I’m about 80% liberal myself, so…I think I can speak with some objectivity here.) I wish we could discuss the issue without such nonsense flying around, because it is, I believe, difficult and important. I think that more restrictive gun-control is within the realm of reason. If I could keep guns out of the hands of crazy murderers like Zimmerman just by filling out more forms and having longer waiting periods, I’d jump at the chance.

    But the standard, urban-elite ick-I-didn’t-grow-up-with-those-and-they-scare-me reactions don’t help. And trying to intellectualize these aesthetic inclinations is counterproductive.

    Most people who own firearms do not hear them urging them to kill, and most such people do not want to shoot anyone. Many political claims are not easily testable–that one, fortunately, is false, and provably so.

    Though it does remind me of natural law arguments against non-procreative sex. In this case, there is supposed to be something unnatural about handguns not used for their allegedly natural purpose… Funny.

    I have come to expect better than this from the RBC.

    1. actually, i understood mr. o’hare to be speaking somewhat metaphorically, but regardless of that i’d like to puncture one myth–that of the liberal fear of guns. i’m to the left of pretty much anyone else i know and most of the politicians i know of but i have no fear of guns. i was raised around guns, used many different guns for a variety of purposes from target shooting to plinking to hunting. i also own several guns– 2 rifles, a shotgun, and a handgun. i don’t fear guns but i respect them enough not to use them in a fashion that is unsafe or careless. i do, however, fear people who use them in such a fasshion. does the extension of traditional self-defense laws into the realm of so-called “stand your ground” laws provide encouragement to the reckless? i believe that is the question mr. o’hare was asking in his somewhat literary way and i definitely believe it is a question worth discussing. my reading of the way things have been working out in florida over the past several years tends to make me believe the answer is yes. brett bellemore tends to believe the answer is no. further discussion and inquiry is certainly in order. now that you’ve finished knocking down your straw man, mr. smith, will you get down to the business of discussing the actual issues instead of the ones you’ve so easily demolished?

    2. Navarro beat me to it and, as always, said it better.

      Of course what we see here are typical thinly-veiled efforts by liberals to suggest that firearms (sometimes restricted to: handguns) are always bad and firearm owners are always crazy/evil/fearful.

      You mean liberals like Lynyrd Skynyrd? ‘Cause I haven’t seen any of that here. How ’bout we turn it around and say you’re trying to suggest that firearms, especially handguns, are always good and firearm owners are always righteous and justified any time they use one. That’s Brett Bellmore territory right there. (Sorry Brett, just kidding)

      But the standard, urban-elite ick-I-didn’t-grow-up-with-those-and-they-scare-me reactions don’t help. And trying to intellectualize these aesthetic inclinations is counterproductive.

      Don’t know how I missed all that. I’ll re-read the thread and see if I can find it.

      Most people who own firearms do not hear them urging them to kill, and most such people do not want to shoot anyone. Many political claims are not easily testable–that one, fortunately, is false, and provably so.

      Sure it’s false, but where did anybody say that? How about this — most countries that have nuclear weapons have never used one in warfare, and most such countries do not want to nuke anyone. Is that a good argument that destroys the position of those against nuclear proliferation? Does this clear things up for you?

  32. Missed this?

    “Some devices send out mysterious compelling signals to our brains, demanding to be used. A toothbrush and a vacuum cleaner, not so much. But as my friend Andy Lippman observed, a TV “needs watching”. Frodo’s ring wanted to be worn, and a gun wants to be fired at something.”

    It’s right up there at the top of the page, hard to miss.

    1. Yep, read that the first time. Apparently you and I read it differently, because I don’t see anything there that even remotely resembles “the standard, urban-elite ick-I-didn’t-grow-up-with-those-and-they-scare-me reactions”. Apparently in your reading, Michael is unfamiliar with and therefore afraid of TV’s, Frodo’s ring, and guns. Perhaps you missed the part where he said There are guns and guns, and I’ve played with a fair variety of them.

      It’s right up there at the top of the page, hard to miss.

    2. I will concede this: A TV doesn’t “need watching”. My wife has been out of town all week, and our TV hasn’t been on once since she left.

    3. so, mr. bellmore, you’ve decided to dust off mr. smith’s straw man so you can knock it over again. not surprised, actually, although your insistence on belaboring his tired inability to recognize metaphor does seem a bit puerile, even for you. but by all means, let’s avoid any substantive discussion of the underlying issues in favor of tedious deliberations over literary minutiae.

      anyway, you were saying . . .

    4. It’s our sense of the dramatic. Anton Chekhov said “If in Act I you have a pistol hanging on the wall, then it must fire in the last act.”

      There is also the expression “money burning a hole in your pocket” which while not literal, does have some actuality.
      Having a gun in your belt changes the solution set you will contemplate, and situations you will enter into.

  33. Yeah, I think we went over the distinction between artistic truth and truth in another thread…

    1. keep setting it up and knocking it over all you like but that straw man isn’t your interlocutor here.

  34. If this is the best you can come up with, brace yourselves to lose on “stand your ground” as decisively as you lost on concealed carry. Animus isn’t an argument, and to many of your ‘arguments’ depend on an underlying animus in order to seem plausible.

    Most people actually do think that, if you’re attacked, you shouldn’t have an obligation to run away. The law is eventually going to reflect that again, despite the temporary victories you had in imposing duties to retreat.

    You’re going to lose this front in the culture war, just like you did the last.

    1. since you provide no prrof of your assertion that “most people actually do think that, if you’re attacked, you shouldn’t have an obligation to run away” i feel perfectly within my rights to assert that most people also actually think that a self-defense law shouldn’t justify pursuing an unarmed individual walking down a sidewalk, and that the deaths of bystanders to a gunfight shouldn’t be justified either. i’m not sure what you mean by animus but i don’t insist that you explain it.

      1. The policy is repeatedly being enacted by democratically elected legislatures, which don’t get decimated in the next election. That constitutes evidence of the public agreeing with it. Rebuttable evidence, admittedly, but I haven’t seen anyone here rebut it.

    2. Brett, anyone who thinks that is is a fair fight between an adult armed with a handgun and a child armed with a bag of Skittles is just as much a pussy as George Zimmerman.

      I am unsurprised, though. Walking around unarmed takes a combination of brains and testicular fortitude that not everyone has been blessed with.

  35. “Brett, anyone who thinks that is is a fair fight between an adult armed with a handgun and a child armed with a bag of Skittles is just as much a pussy as George Zimmerman.”

    I’m not sure who’s supposed to have claimed it was a fair fight.

    1. speaking of fair fights, what if mr. martin had been carrying a concealed firearm also and had managed to kill mr. zimmerman before he was shot?

      i wonder two things about that possibility–

      first, would this make any difference to how you, brett bellmore, feel about the case and the law?

      second, would mr. martin have been given a pass the way mr. zimmerman was?

      i can tell you that my answer to the first would be no, i would still tend to believe that the “stand your ground” concept is not a benefit to public safety and i also believe that it would be much less likely for mr. martin to have been given an immediate pass on the killing.

      1. I would say that “a fair fight” is a concept which has no application outside sporting events. People carry guns in order to keep fights from being “fair”.

        I hear a witness has emerged. Zimmerman may very well have reasonably supposed his life was in danger at the time he pulled the trigger.

        Then again, we don’t permit self defense to criminals in the act, I don’t suppose it should apply to altercations you yourself initiated. But it is interesting to learn this wasn’t really a case of a guy walking up to some kid and blowing him away in cold blood.

          1. Yes, well, as I remarked above, if one gang member sets out to murder another, the intended victim IS capable of acting in self defense, even if they’re a member of a gang, and even if this makes life harder on prosecutors. Joining a gang doesn’t repeal your right to self defense. It doesn’t make people who join gangs into a mass noun, they remain individuals.

            By the standard law concerning deaths during the commission of a crime, IIRC, you could go after the person who initiated the attack for murder, even if the bystander was actually killed by his intended victim, so long as that death was an accidental consequence of the attempt at self defense. So maybe they’re going after the wrong person?

        1. 1) The report cites an unidentified witness and comes out of Fox news. I’ll wait for confirmation.

          2) I’m having a hard time believing the guy on the left was beating the crap out of the guy on the right, who felt he needed deadly force to defend himself. As usual, the gun-toting shooter seems to be a complete pussy.

          1. Yeah, why do you think that the police released Zimmerman at the time? It’s not because the Florida law legally obligates them to let you go if you claim it was self defense. That’s scarcely true. It’s because he had bloody head wounds consistent with that claim. According to the police, the person screaming on the 911 call was Zimmerman, not Martin.

            Since I’ve taken the time to look into this, I’ve been struck by the degree to which opponents of the law have had to omit details from the account to make Zimmerman look bad enough for their purposes. The actual truth not being good enough. To read opponents’ accounts of the incident, it’s inexplicable why Zimmerman was released on the spot, why he’s not in jail now, awaiting trial. Once you get the omitted details, it’s not inexplicable at all.

            Even if it’s a Fox affiliate that is reporting the actual truth of the matter.

          2. Since I’ve taken the time to look into this, I’ve been struck by the degree to which opponents of the law have had to omit details from the account to make Zimmerman look bad enough for their purposes. The actual truth not being good enough.

            Funny, up until now you’ve omitted those same “details” too, since a lot of them haven’t been available to any of us during previous discussion. I guess the “actual truth” wasn’t good enough for you either, until now.

            According to the police, the person screaming on the 911 call was Zimmerman, not Martin.

            According to his family, it was Martin. Don’t go omitting details now, Brett.

            Once you get the omitted details, it’s not inexplicable at all.

            It’s never been inexplicable. The police have said all along they didn’t have any evidence to dispute Zimmerman’s story, the victim being dead and all.

            Even if it’s a Fox affiliate that is reporting the actual truth of the matter.

            So now a single unidentified source is “actual truth”? Not in my book. Not when I’ve seen other eyewitness reports claiming “[Witnesses] dashed out to find a boy face down on the ground and a man standing over him, a foot on each side of the body on the ground, with his hands pinning the shooting victim down.”

            It’s undisputed who was chasing whom, and who was trying to avoid whom. It’s undisputed that Martin was a skinny lad and Zimmerman is a larger-than-average man. It’s not uncommon for someone who chases down and attacks another to suffer defensive wounds delivered by their victim, or self-inflected accidentally. Perhaps he attempted a head-butt or was head-butted in defense. There are numerous reasonable explanations for all the undisputed facts we know so far that don’t require us to pretend we’re willing to believe that big bad Zimmerman was skeered for his life and screaming for help like a little girl while skinny little Martin was beating the crap out of him.

          3. Since I’ve taken the time to look into this, I’ve been struck by the degree to which opponents of the law have had to omit details from the account to make Zimmerman look bad enough for their purposes.

            Dude, get real! Why have you omitted the inconvenient (to your cause) fact that Zimmerman had prior arrests for such things as “resisting arrest with violence and battery on law enforcement officer” and “domestic violence”.

            In order for you to make Martin look bad enough for your purposes, you’ve been busy trying to convince us that multiple identified eyewitnesses* who claim to have seen the shooter still pinning down Martin immediately after hearing the gunshot mean nothing and one unidentified witness who purportedly says the little guy had the big guy pinned down and was beating him up is “the actual truth of the matter.”

            Trayvon Martin is reported to have been 6’3″ 140 lbs. Zimmerman is reported to be 5’9″ 250 lbs. The reported facts simply don’t support your version of the “actual truth” very well at all.

            *
            “You heard the gunshot?” Cooper interjected.

            “Yeah, I run away from my backyard and when I just get into the point of my — like my screen, it stopped me, I look at the person on his knees on top of a body,” Lamilla elaborated.

            “So you saw Mr. Zimmerman on top of Trayvon Martin?” Cooper questioned.

            “Trayvon, exactly,” Lamilla said.

            “When you say on top of, how so?” the CNN anchor pressed.

            “Straddling him,” Cutcher replied.

            “His legs were straddling him?” Cooper followed up.

            “One on each side, on his knees, with his hands on his back. I immediately thought, okay, obviously if it’s the shooter, he would have ran,” Cutcher detailed. “I thought he’s holding the wound, helping the guy taking a pulse, making sure he’s okay. When she called to him three times, everything okay, what’s going on? Each time he looked back, didn’t say anything and then the third time he finally said, ‘just call the police.’”

    1. According to the law’s author, it doesn’t apply. If the courts decide otherwise, I expect the law will be amended.

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