Sunday, February 16, 2014


One of the things I enjoy about living where I live, surrounded mostly by park land and outside of any incorporated area, is the ability to enjoy the sounds of nature, mostly unmixed with the raucous noise that other people seem to seek out the way vultures flock to garbage dumps.

To be sure, the main channel of the Intracoastal Waterway is a short distance away and from time to time you can hear the throb of some big diesel engine moving a vessel through the 'slow zone' behind my house, but there are times, sometimes fairly late or fairly early in the day when you'll hear the deafening, even from a quarter mile away, BOOM - Ka BOOM-BOOM in an obnoxious Hip-Hop ostinato from some Megawatt stereo system with boat attached.  It can take several minutes to fade away.  At times it will cause flocks of birds to rise from a thousand acres of wildlife preserve in terror and confusion.  At times I want to kill someone. 

It's not that I condone shooting up a car full of loud, rude and obnoxious teenagers intent on disturbing the peace in open defiance of the law and all decency, but hey -- the heart wants what the heart wants.

I'm a little disappointed that a jury here in Florida declared that it could not come to a decision that found Michael Dunn guilty of  murder in shooting 17 year old Jordan Davis in a Jacksonville convenience store parking lot on Nov. 23, 2012.  It's perhaps a moot point as four other felonies consisting of three counts of attempted murder and one count of firing a gun into a car should keep him behind bars for a long time -- quite possibly for life.

Opponents of the so-called "Stand your ground" legislation will certainly blame that for the failure to find him guilty of murder although that law was designed to protect the victim from the requirement that he flee the scene even though he had the right to be there.  I certainly does not give the assailant the right to accost anyone or to shoot repeatedly at unarmed people -- nor would it give the victim the right to brandish a weapon or to threaten Mr. Dunn as the defense claimed.   It wouldn't give him the right to get out of the car and confront Dun or in any way escalate the argument, It wouldn't allow Dunn to threaten Davis or to convince him to turn down the damned music either. but from what the public is given to know, it's hard to say exactly what did happen and of course a verdict needs to consider reasonable doubts despite the public's insistence.

The public still doesn't seem to understand the legal limits of a self-defense claim and it's possible that juries aren't being educated on that fact either.  To my eyes,  it doesn't seem that that controversial bit of legislation really played a role here, but it will be said that it did.  Of that I'm sure. and the confusion will persist.

If only they had simply turned it down.

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