It’s an unfortunate fact that certain states’ “Stand Your Ground” laws are getting tested more and more these days. In fact, in Florida alone, deaths that are ruled as “justifiable homicides” increased 283% between the time the law was enacted and 2010. This is now a sad reality, but many people would claim that the law is a good one since it allows people to defend themselves when they believe their lives are in danger. Much like the Jim Crow laws of the past, however, “Stand Your Ground” is beginning to look more and more like a racially biased law disguised in the cloak of legal necessity.
An obvious case of “Stand Your Ground.”
In what is quickly becoming a rallying call against the racial bias of “Stand Your Ground” laws, a young U.S. airman, Michael Giles, was sentenced to 25 years in a Florida prison after shooting a man, who happened to be attacking him, in the leg. That’s right: no death actually occurred in the incident, but Giles was sentenced to 25 years. What makes this even more disheartening is the fact that, in an unrelated case, a Missouri man only received 20 years for actually murdering a man who was only leaving a residence.
The Giles case began when the young man, who had just finished out a second tour in the Middle East, went to a nightclub with his friends. At the club, a fight suddenly broke out outside between 30 to 40 different individuals. The young man was not even part of the fight, but fearing for his safety since he couldn’t find his friends, he retrieved a gun from his vehicle, which he had a concealed carry permit for, placed it in his pocket, and went to find his buddies.
A random attack on an innocent victim
While searching for his friends, a stranger came out of nowhere and punched Giles to the ground. This assailant even admitted that he planned on punching the first person that he came upon. In an obvious act of self defense — what “Stand Your Ground” laws are supposedly for — Giles shot his assailant in the leg. Unfortunately, several fragments broke away from the bullet and injured two others.
The young father of three, who was looking forward to a promising career in the military, was quickly arrested, charged with second-degree attempted murder, and convicted of a lesser charge which landed him in prison for what equates to a life sentence. Somehow, Jack Campbell, a Florida assistant attorney general, was able to look at the jury with a straight face and say:
“There is no self-defense that is applicable based on the evidence that’s before the jury.”
Because an admission from the “victim” saying that he randomly attacked Giles doesn’t prove Giles needed to defend himself.