“Stand Your Ground” Law Underscores Need for Competent Representation
For any good lawmaker, making a “yeah” or “nay” decision on a controversial piece of legislation is arduous. One has to think about the short- and long-term impact the bill will have on the State of Florida, as well as how it affects the constituents he or she serves.
Take Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, which was debated and passed in 2005. Many believed it would provide those faced with deadly force the ability to stand their ground instead of retreating.
But unfortunately for so many, it just simply has not worked out that way.
There are many versions of “Stand Your Ground” nationwide, but Florida’s law came into focus after the Trayvon Martin case garnered national attention. Martin’s confessed killer, George Zimmerman, stated that he believed his life was in danger, which is why he chose to stand his ground.
If one feels threatened, that individual can meet deadly force with deadly force. This makes the law subjective in the eyes of many, which births the idea of shooting first and asking questions later.
That moment in time back in 2005 when legislators labored through the thought process of whether or not “Stand Your Ground” was worth passage, is an excellent example of why it is so important that the electorate chooses competent politicians.
Don’t get me wrong – we can’t get it right every time. In fact, many of those we know and love have voted for a bill that we disagreed with. However, so many lawmakers on that voting day back in 2005, voted with their wallets instead of their intelligence.
Two cases are bringing national attention to Florida because of “Stand Your Ground,” the first was Trayvon Martin and now it is Marissa Alexander, a young woman who recently received a twenty-year prison sentence after her “Stand Your Ground” defense was rejected.
If more of our elected officials took the time to consider the repercussions of their votes, instead of how it will impact them financially or how bad it will make the opposing party look, then our state might be in better shape today.
Hindsight will forever be 20/20, so it can be rather treacherous to pass judgment on those who said that “Stand Your Ground” was a good idea back in 2005. But good decisions needed to be made at the time – after all, people’s lives are on the line – and it has become abundantly clear that the Florida Legislature made some terrible choices and many lives have been ruined and extinguished in the process.
I feel that I do have the power of common sense and political intelligence that was lacking back in 2005, and, if elected, I will be sure to rely on those attributes when making the tough decisions. They didn’t, but I will.
Simply put, we need competence back in Tallahassee, as too many of those who claim to represent our needs are too far removed from everyday realities.
Jason Henry is a candidate for the Florida House, representing District 46.