Written By: Daisy Hoover
On July 17, a Clearwater man was killed in front of his five year-old son over a parking dispute. His killer initially walked free from the scene and it took three weeks and considerable public pressure before he was even arrested. Such inaction in the face of tragedy like this is only possible in our home state of Florida, with its scarily loose Stand Your Ground law.
While many states have stand your ground laws, Florida’s stands out. Here, Stand Your Ground allows shooters a ridiculous amount of leeway. First of all, a shooter “does not have a duty to retreat” (the exact wording in the Florida constitution). They have no responsibility to deescalate a situation, even when they have the opportunity to do so. Second, the burden of proof in a Stand Your Ground Case lies with prosecutors, not the defendant. It is presumed a shooter is justified in killing another human being. It is up to the prosecution to prove they are not.
The Clearwater shooting is a reminder of the dangers of the Stand Your Ground Law. An altercation over a convenience store parking spot turned fatal, raising concern that similar minor disagreements could result in a loss of life.\
It should not be that easy for someone to be killed over something as inconsequential as a parking space, and yet in Florida it is. In a time of heightened scrutiny over gun control, Stand Your Ground should not be overlooked. We put all this energy into making schools safer, yet we put little effort in making our day-to-day interactions safer as well.