Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis could potentially solidify his status as a Republican icon with his new project. He’s currently working to expand the state’s stand your ground laws, taking an “anti-mob” turn to help residents to protect themselves from looters and rioters.
DeSantis began to explore this option after a shocking amount of damage and loss of life went largely ignored by many in politics and the focus of the riots was shifted to make conservatives and law enforcement the enemy. Once the public opinion was shifted to make it appear that those bashing in widows and sculls were somehow divinely justified because of injustice perpetrated not toward them and by people not suffering their judgment, everyone was unsafe.
Death and destruction took a chokehold on the countries major cities, including St. Louis where a couple has been famously indicted for standing on their own lawn with firearms to ward off the hordes of rioters who had breached the gated neighborhood in search of the mayor’s home.
Conservatives came face to face with how they would actually be treated if there were to try to defend themselves against invaders on their person or property: like criminals in a backward and upside-down world of social injustice.
Multiple Republican state leaders have called for harsher judgment on attackers and leniency on those defending themselves, but DeSantis took matters into his own hand putting forward a proposal that would expand his state’s self-defense laws that would justify force against rioters, looters, and arsonists if they perpetrate an act that “results in the interruption or impairment of a business operation.”
“The draft legislation put specifics behind DeSantis’ pledge in September to crack down on ‘violent and disorderly assemblies,’” the Tampa Bay Times reported. “Other key elements of DeSantis’ proposal would enhance criminal penalties for people involved in ‘violent or disorderly assemblies,’ make it a third-degree felony to block traffic during a protest, offer immunity to drivers who claim to have unintentionally killed or injured protesters who block traffic, and withhold state funds from local governments that cut law enforcement budgets.”
This is still just a draft that was obtained by the Miami Herald and has not been filed as an official bill in the Florida House or Senate. As it stands now Florida’s Stand Your Ground law “eliminated the duty of a person to retreat before using force to counter a threat — which critics say fosters a Wild West shoot-first, ask-questions-later mentality,” the Miami Herald reported. “It also gave judges more leeway to grant ‘immunity’ to someone they believed acted in self-defense before ever letting a case get to the jury.”
“In 2017, Florida lawmakers changed the law, forcing prosecutors to shoulder the burden of disproving a defendant’s claims of self-defense,” the paper added. “Prosecutors must prove by ‘clear and convincing’ evidence that someone was not acting in self-defense.”
Even though these laws might seem like common sense to many, not everyone was delighted with the proposed changes:
“It allows for vigilantes to justify their actions,” former Miami-Dade County prosecutor Denise Georges said according to The Daily Wire. “It also allows for death to be the punishment for a property crime — and that is cruel and unusual punishment. We cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly.”
“What’s interesting to see is Gov. Ron DeSantis has so much time on his hands that he can craft legislation to address an imaginary issue in the state of Florida,” state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith (D-Orlando) said. “We don’t have a crisis with riots or with looters. What we do have is millions of Floridians pushed into poverty and unemployment as a result of the economic consequences of coronavirus.”