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College editorial calling ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws racist ignorant on all counts

Pocket knives, like any other tool, can be used for good or ill.
Pocket knives, like any other tool, can be used for good or ill.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Claiming “Stand Your Ground” laws are “reminiscent of old Jim Crow laws,” a Monday editorial in the University of South Florida’s The Oracle demonstrates ignorance on many levels, but especially when it comes to lawful and appropriate self-defense.

Citing the case of Michael Dunn proves nothing, as the case is still being considered, albeit a verdict may come soon. Dunn is accused of shooting to death black teenager Jordan Davis in a dispute that reportedly began over loud music, and in which the defendant says hostilities escalated to where he feared for his life. If the prosecution succeeds in proving first degree murder, then complaining about the law providing a biased “out” will prove unwarranted. Should a jury find Dunn not guilty, all that will prove is that a panel including “three black women, two Asian women and one Hispanic male” was able to evaluate evidence in depth greater than those second-guessing from news accounts.

Regardless, the outcome of one case hardly justifies unfounded allegations of a Jim Crow-based trend, and what’s quickly obvious is a clumsily transparent agenda to equate defensive gun use with white racism against blacks.

Desperate to justify its race-based protest, the editorial makes obligatory mention of George Zimmerman. It’s a common misconception, perpetuated by citizen disarmament advocates and “Authorized Journalists,” that the “white Hispanic” was acquitted based on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law. While some “progressive” media sites continue to beat that drum based on one clause in Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson’s jury instructions, Media Trackers noted “even the prosecution said during the trial that ‘Stand Your Ground’ had nothing to do with the case. During his closing argument, prosecutor John Guy explicitly told the jury, ‘This case is not about standing your ground.’”

To show discriminatory application of the law, the Zimmerman outcome is juxtaposed against that in the Marissa Alexander case, ignoring that Alexander was not under attack when she left her house, went to her garage, retrieved a gun from her vehicle’s glove box and returned to the house to point the gun “in the direction” of her alleged abuser who had his hands in the air, and then fired a shot. To cry Jim Crow racism here, especially since all involved were black, is at best misguided.

So that, naturally, is what the editorial does.

“If anything is learned from Florida courts in the past year, it is that courts rarely work in the favor of minorities when concerning the Stand Your Ground law,” it asserts without foundation, basing that conclusion on the Dunn, Zimmerman and Alexander anecdotes and because “Half of these states, such as Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas, are in the former Jim Crow South.”

“Actually, since poor blacks who live in high-crime urban areas are the most likely victims of crime, they are also the ones who benefit the most from Stand Your Ground laws,” economist and author John Lott argued in a Chicago Tribune op ed. “The laws make it easier for would-be victims to protect themselves when the police can't arrive fast enough. Therefore, rules that make self-defense more difficult disproportionately impact blacks.”

But The Oracle piece is not really about "Stand Your Ground" anyway -- it's really about disparaging the ability and judgment of ordinary people to assess life-and-death situations and defend themselves.

“Unfortunately, most people in society are not trained enough to properly gauge a situation, assuming their actions are always just in the moment, but later coming up with excuses such as seeing a shotgun where there may have only been a pocket knife to build their self-defense claim,” the college author pronounces.

If that’s true, mere untrained citizens have no business having guns anywhere. And that, of course, is the goal of the people who influence young minds with the garbage being regurgitated here.

Disregarding well-documented statistics on defensive gun uses, most of them occurring without ever firing a shot, were one to be attacked with a pocket knife, they would have more than ample justification to defend themselves with a gun. One doesn’t even need special training to recognize the lethal danger such tools used as weapons would present. All that’s needed is the curiosity to do a Google search of the terms “murdered with pocket knife” to bring up headlines including:

Queens woman stabbed to death by husband with pocketknife: cops

Kid stabs bully to death with pocket knife, gets away with it

Husband accused of killing wife with pocket knife

Man stabbed to death with pocket knife over unreturned movies

Homeland Park teen kills coyote with pocket knife

Attacking cougar killed with pocket knife

That’s merely the first page of returns. Which may be moot anyway, since the pocket knife in the Davis shooting was reportedly found in the teen's clothing, although another account reported "Dunn's defense attorney, Cory Strolla, had argued in opening statements that Davis had threatened Dunn with a 4-inch knife."

That case will be in the hands of a jury, reportedly expected this afternoon. Whether they come back with a conviction or an acquittal, it will hardly be an indictment against legitimate "Stand Your Ground" claims. And it will certainly have nothing to do with old segregation laws that were ended before Dunn and Davis were born.

The only thing obvious from all of this is, the sophomoric editorial writer appears to have all the right qualifications to join the ranks of “legitimate media” as a “real reporter.”

UPDATE: Dave Workman reports on the verdict.


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