In an effort to spice up a state known for old people and tourists, Florida passed the famous “Stand Your Ground Law,” allowing citizens kill anyone they fear might hurt them.
After the Trayvon Martin case, Florida is realizing its “Stand Your Ground Law”, which permits citizens to kill each other, is not quite as brilliant as it seemed. Under the law, a citizen fearing “great bodily harm” is not obliged to try to retreat from the heated situation and can use lethal force against the other party.
The law was passed in 2004 in an effort to spice up the image of a state known for old people and tourists. “If we required our citizens to remove themselves from dangerous altercations instead of just shooting the other guy in the face, we’d look even more like a bunch of pansies,” said one state legislator, “I mean, my god, we’re a state known for walking Disney characters!”
Many Floridians agreed: “The law is great!” enthused Alice White, a retiree who said she loves to watch fights develop outside her condo window. “It’s like living in an action movie -- regular arguments can legally become fights to the death! How intense. It’s so much better than TV.”
“Legally, it’s fascinating,” said Murray Smith, a local lawyer, “Take the Trayvon Martin case: Zimmerman’s in a fight with a teenager -- sounds like a reason to fear bodily harm. Martin’s being followed by a guy with a gun -- sounds like a reason to fear bodily harm. We actually live in a state where they are allowed to kill each other and go scot free. Isn’t that cool?”
New courts are taking into account the law’s emphasis on fear of bodily harm and admit that this skews rulings against most teenage killers.
“Can we really say a teenager is afraid of bodily harm?” argued Zimmerman’s lawyer, “Everyone knows kids are so out of touch with their own mortality that they do all kinds of risky thing: black-out drinking, unprotected sex, driving without a seatbelt, listen to Ke$ha . . . they’re clearly incapable of feeling that kind of terror.”
What both sides can agree on is that, in Florida, the only thing we have to fear is lack of fear itself. And, of course, each other.