America 2.0: The Wild Frontier

I’m not an anti-gun nut; my brother-in-law is a hunter, who hunts only what he can eat, wasting nothing, and I have no compulsion whatsoever to take his rifles away from him. But this is just fucking madness:

In the last year, 15 states have enacted laws that expand the right of self-defense, allowing crime victims to use deadly force in situations that might formerly have subjected them to prosecution for murder.

…The Florida law, which served as a model for the others, gives people the right to use deadly force against intruders entering their homes. They no longer need to prove that they feared for their safety, only that the person they killed had intruded unlawfully and forcefully. The law also extends this principle to vehicles.

In addition, the law does away with an earlier requirement that a person attacked in a public place must retreat if possible. Now, that same person, in the law’s words, “has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force.” The law also forbids the arrest, detention or prosecution of the people covered by the law, and it prohibits civil suits against them.
In one case, a guy was shot twice “during a dispute over how many garbage bags [he] had put out.” The shooter, his neighbor, wasn’t arrested. Give me a fucking break. What defines being “attacked” and having “force” used against you? If someone verbally threatens you, or even throws a punch, you now have the right to use “deadly force” to defend yourself? Yeesh. Does this mean I get to shoot aggressive panhandlers? Can I shoot a guy at a bar who won’t leave me alone? It seems to me the defensibility of either of those acts is determined singularly by my own assessment of how at risk my personal safety is, giving jumpy, prejudiced fuckwits a rationale for shooting to assuage their own cultural anxieties. The same idiot knob-ends who feel compelled to lock their car doors when driving through a poor neighborhood now have carte blanche to shoot first and ask questions later. Superb.

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