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Sarasota News Leader September 27, 2013 OPINION sioners Suzanne Atwell and Susan Chapman voted with Shaw to add the request, while Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioner Paul Caragiulo opposed it. Page 90 ten, the Stand Your Ground law allows entirely too much latitude in the application of deadly force, making a claim of self-defense virtually impossible for prosecutors to disprove. Only a minor revision, removing immunity if the threatened person became an aggressor, could put the burden back on those threatened individuals to retreat if that was an option. For example, Zimmerman had been ordered by police not to get out of his vehicle Republican Party leaders were united in their or to follow Martin. He ignored them and did condemnation of the proposal. And the dis- so anyway, leading to the fatal confrontation dain of the members of the county's legisla- with Martin. Had the law been different in only one small way, Zimtive delegation upon merman likely would receiving the city's have been convicted recommendations left Vice Mayor Willie Shaw only pointed of murdering Martin. little doubt as to their own dismay at the out what many reasonable people have been saying in Florida: As written, the What three couracity's meddling. Stand Your Ground law allows entirely too geous commissioners for the City of SaraAs we observed last much latitude in the application of deadly sota have suggested December following the Sandy Hook mas- force, making a claim of self-defense is that the law can be sacre of schoolchil- virtually impossible for prosecutors to improved to provide more protection for all dren and again in July disprove. people, while retaining following the acquittal the spirit of the presof George Zimmerman ent statute. And for in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the National that suggestion they have been pilloried in the Rifle Association seems to have a stranglehold court of public opinion. not only on our Congress and many state legislatures in this country, but also on the col- They were not suggesting an outright repeal lective sanity of the people of our nation. The of the law, although a clerical error at the NRA apparently has tapped into the atavistic meeting created that impression. They were zeitgeist of the country, exalting weapons as not suggesting special requirements for the holy relics. It has made the Second Amend- purchase, ownership or carrying of a firearm. ment as sacred as the Ten Commandments or They simply were being good stewards of the Apostle's Creed. their city's welfare, seeking to improve a law Shaw only pointed out what many reasonable that, in its current form, could increase street people have been saying in Florida: As writ- violence rather than diminish it. A tsunami of remonstrance washed over the city in the days that followed. Several petition campaigns were begun, either to seek the recall of the three offending commissioners or to urge them to renounce their apostasy.

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