"Fleeing when you're attacked places the life of the criminal above the life of the victim"- State Sen. David Simmons
Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection...pre-meeting
Family of Trayvon Martin rally with group looking to repeal "Stand Your Ground" law (officially Florida Statute 776: Justifiable Use of Force)
I spent a good bit of today attending the meeting of Florida's Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection. It was an enlightening time (to say the least). As virtually anyone who knows me will tell you, I have long been a supporter of law enforcement- and I'm a supporter of Florida Statute 776, also known as our "Stand Your Ground" law.
The committee welcomed and encouraged public comment, and I took advantage of the opportunity to speak on behalf of our law and its application. I also spoke in support of the Sanford Police Department, and against those who look to use one young man's death for their own gain.
Video is found by using the following link, with my words 270 minutes into the video: http://thefloridachannel.org/video/61212-task-force-on-citizen-safety-and-protection/
Transcript of my comments:
All here know well the criticism of the "Stand Your Ground" law itself, and the criticism of those in law enforcement who have applied it.
Rep. Baxley, I feel you sponsored FS 776- the "Justifiable Use of Force" statute- in order that we citizens might better protect and defend ourselves- and I thank you kindly. The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and other folks of their self-serving ilk call the law and similar ones "Shoot First" laws. Such mischaracterizations of the laws themselves and of their authors' intentions are inflammatory, irrational, reckless- and far from productive.
The Coalition rails against "Stand Your Ground" laws- and specifically alleges they are a "naked assault on the rule of law" for "divesting police of the power to settle disputes"- yet they also complain about the Sanford Police's use of their sole discretion in applying the law as it now exists.
A thorough, unbiased and common sense review of "Stand Your Ground" is surely reasonable. Your review should remain a rational one- free from both the influence of emotional public sentiment- and of outside agitators looking to stoke the fires of racial divisiveness for their own sake.
If your review is an honest one that leads to substantial reform or repeal of "Stand Your Ground", it is well. But if your review is a tainted one that allows one tragic death in Sanford to bring forth change solely for change's sake that ultimately costs ONE homeowner their life down the road, shame on you all-- and may the Lord have mercy on you for the blood on your hands.
Laws and policies exist not for perfection- but for the fact that society has deemed them better than any known alternatives. "Stand Your Ground" is no different.
Absent any viable or appropriate alternative- and as I stand here I don't yet know one- I pray upon you and over you to let Florida Statute 776 remain as is.
May God bless you, may God bless America, and may God bless the Sanford Police Department.
Florida Meeting- Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection
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