Welcome to Florida, Where the NRA Rules and We Proudly Stand Our Ground
by Carl Hiaasen
Don't hold your breath waiting for the state legislature to fix
Nothing will get done in
The jaw-dropping verdict in the
Dunn, who is white, got into an argument over loud music with some black teenagers who were parked beside him at a gas-station convenience store. He pulled a handgun and fired into the teens' SUV, then crouched and continued shooting as it sped away.
In all, Dunn fired 10 times.
Oddly, Dunn didn't call the police. He checked into a motel with his girlfriend and ordered pizza. The next day he was arrested in
At the trial, Dunn said he saw a shotgun being pointed at him from the SUV, and that he fired in self-defense. He also said Davis got out of the vehicle and threatened him.
No weapon was found in the SUV. Dunn's own girlfriend testified that, contrary to his account, he never once mentioned to her that he'd seen a shotgun. Moreover, a medical examiner said Davis' wounds indicated he'd been seated inside the vehicle, leaning back, when he was fatally struck by Dunn's bullets.
The jury voted unanimously to convict Dunn on three counts of attempted second-degree murder for continuing to blast away at the SUV as it raced off.
However, the panel deadlocked 10-2 on the first-degree murder charge, the majority favoring conviction. Then it was 9-3.
The sticking point was
True or not, practically anybody who shoots another person can say they feared for their lives, whether it's a barroom fight, a domestic brawl or a traffic altercation. Self-defense claims in homicides have skyrocketed since 2005, when the Stand Your Ground was passed.
Gang members, in particular, are big fans of the law.
No verdict was reached on the killing of
Coming less than a year after
It hasn't, although there's another one looming that should bring more heat. This time the victim was white, a
The two men argued. Oulson stood up and turned around. Police said he threw popcorn at Reeves, who pulled a gun and shot Oulson in the chest. The bullet nicked the hand of Oulson's wife.
Reeves, a retired
No punches are visible on surveillance video from the movie theater, and even Reeves' wife said she didn't see Oulson hit her husband. Reeves' attorney said the video shows a small shiny object striking Reeves and falling to the floor.
After the popcorn was flung at him, he whipped out a .380 semiautomatic and fired point blank. Then he sat back in his chair while Oulson died.
Oulson's wife said Reeves had taunted her husband about using his phone even after he'd put it away. She said Chad had been texting the family babysitter to check on their daughter, who wasn't feeling well.
This is life in
Kids playing rap music too loud? Lock and load.
Some guy texting at the movies? Teach him some manners.
Don't walk away from an argument when you can end it with a bullet. Stand your ground and hope you get the right jury.
Welcome to Planet NRA.