I just read the most interesting article today and it really gave me pause. Apparently, in Florida, the handgun lobby has become so powerful that they were able to get a law passed that gives you the right to use deadly force if you think that someone is a serious threat to you or someone else, with no obligation to try to avoid the conflict. Add to that the already existing regulations that make it easy to carry a concealed handgun in that state, and it all starts sounding like the Wild West has come back to us again!
Of course, this brings up some serious questions. For instance, since the law specifically states that “a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:... He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another,” does that mean that it is legal to set up a sniper station on a highway overpass in order to pick off drunk drivers? Is it legal to stalk and kill unarmed 17-year olds who are NOT black? Since you can also use deadly force to “prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony,” should we not have the right to shoot creepy-looking people who we might see at a place that handles large sums of cash? How about capping a few parents whose children don’t want to come home from the mall or somewhere, so they are forcing them into a car? Can’t be too careful!
Okay, I admit that that could all sound a bit offensive or over the top, but that is also the nature of laws. Once you place them on the books, people will start pushing such boundaries and/or using them to justify their own unacceptable behaviors. We know all that because that is how our society has always worked.
And that begs another question: are we so far-gone in our fear and greed that it is now acceptable to place laws on the books that can be interpreted as a license to kill? We already live in the country that executes the most people, per capita, in the world. Do we really need to make it easy to execute the incompetent and defenseless or to find ways to justify our homicidal impulses in the name of “self-defense” and “castle laws?” If that’s so easy to do, why are we wasting time talking about Jesus? Just point me to the nearest armory.