NUMBER OF FIREARM-RELATED CRIMES IN ORANGE COUNTY IN 2012; 58 OF THEM RESULTED IN MURDER
NUMBER OF FIREARM-RELATED CRIMES IN FLORIDA IN 2012; 721 OF THEM RESULTED IN MURDER
AMOUNT THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION SPENT IN THE 2012 ELECTION CYCLE ON CAMPAIGN COLLATERAL IN FAVOR OF PRO-GUN FLORIDA POLITICIANS
“WE HAVE A JURY SYSTEM THAT IS A SACRED PART OF OUR COUNTRY, AND THESE SIX WOMEN [JURORS] PUT THEIR LIVES ON HOLD AND IT HAD TO BE A TOUGH, EMOTIONAL CASE. THEY DID THEIR JOB.”
– GOV. RICK SCOTT
Sources: Florida Department of Law Enforcement, CNN, Tampa Bay Times
NOWHERE TO RUN
Many of us spent the better half of the past week watching as the remnants of our faith in the human condition – mama, we’re all crazy racist Internet commenters now! – were whittled to nothing. The stark realities of the fallout from the bizarro Zimmerman acquittal began to come to bear in the political arena with a certain severity that appears to be making some wealthy white men uncomfortable. “Look, this thing should not be politicized,” Gov. Rick Scott whimpered at a Bradenton junket on July 18, according to the Bradenton Herald-Tribune. Oh, really?
We’ve already explored the political and sociopolitical nature of the Zimmerman case and Stand Your Ground extensively in this paper, most recently with last week’s cover story (“The past isn’t even past,” July 17) and this week’s Soapboxer column (page 9), which argues for a repeal of the “self-defense” measure, so forgive us our redundancy. But the far-reaching implications of both the decision and the eight-year-old law have yet to be fully realized, it would seem, and there’s a sad-sack game of political avoidance currently besieging key conservatives and backing Scott into a catch-me-if-you-can corner.
Last week, Scott made pseudo-psychotic headlines for avoiding the fact that there were more than three dozen protesters – or “Dream Defenders” – camping outside his office at the capitol with pillows and pizza for three days. Calls from the NAACP and Democratic legislators for Scott to get back to work and confront the obvious racial tensions welling up were initially deemed unworthy of even being acknowledged. But by Thursday, when it became apparent that “hide and watch” probably wasn’t the best political calculation – especially with words like “boycott” swirling around – Scott went on the defensive. He had done everything in his power to give the law the appearance of being vetted, it turns out.
“I put together a task force of 19 bipartisan individuals, and they took testimony from ordinary citizens and experts around the state,” he said in Bradenton, according to the Herald-Tribune. “They concurred with the existing law, so I agree with them.”
But what Scott seems unlikely to agree to is a renewed examination of the statute now that we know it encourages angry men to run with their guts and guns into a caustic situation that could likely end in the “self-defense” of murder. You know, call a special session and see if cooler heads could prevail in a hotheaded bicameral state legislature, just for the sake of looking like he gives a damn. Nope. Instead, Scott formally issued a statement on Friday calling for a day of prayer, because Jesus will fix this. Inaction now!
“I believe Stand Your Ground should stay in the books,” he told the protesters Thursday night, according to the Tampa Bay Times. “I agree with you, we should not have racial profiling.”
Which isn’t exactly true. Late last month, Scott seemed practically elated with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gutted the preclearance portion of the Voting Rights Act. Just three weeks after that decision, Scott’s administration worked to have a Tampa case challenging the state’s notorious racially charged voter purge of 2012 dismissed based on that decision, even as a congressional task force is drafting new provisions for preclearance as allowed by the Supreme Court ruling.
That racial line connecting the Zimmerman case and the Voting Rights Act wasn’t lost on U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton, who argued before a House Judiciary Committee on Thursday, according to the Palm Beach Post, that perhaps the two issues should be considered in tandem. Because, well, they are political, Governor.
Stand Your Ground laws, he said, “mainly protect white people who shoot a black person. Couldn’t one argue that Stand Your Ground laws and the use of such laws reflect modern racial bias in state laws and should be considered here in this context as we modernize our preclearance for (the) Voting Rights Act?”
Nope, that would make too much sense.