With everything Americans have seen over the course of the 2020 Election season, perhaps the must unsettling thing in a developed country is the “protests” that notoriously turn into riots.
After thousands of businesses were damaged and entire neighborhoods nearly leveled by arson, state officials are beginning to draft legislation that would combat the violence seen across the country.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is the pioneer behind that legislation.
According to the New York Post:
Florida’s governor has drafted “anti-mob” legislation to expand already controversial Stand Your Ground laws — to allow people to shoot looters, according to a report.
A draft of Gov. Ron DeSantis’ proposed bill expands the list of “forcible felonies” under Florida’s self-defense law to include criminal mischief causing “interruption or impairment” of a business, according to the Miami Herald, which obtained a copy through a records request.
It also specifically allows force against those looting, which the draft defines as burglary within 500 feet of a “violent or disorderly assembly.”
DeSantis also wants to make it a third-degree felony to block traffic during a protest — and offer immunity to drivers who accidentally kill or injure protesters who do so, according to the Herald.
Numerous other sections enhance criminal penalties for people involved in “violent or disorderly assemblies,” and withholds state funds from local governments that cut law enforcement funding, the report said.
Most can agree that blocking traffic as a way of “protest” is generally a bad idea – especially when the protests were never sanctioned. While many Americans agree that more stringent enforcement is necessary in most cases of large-scale disorderly conduct, others feel as if the proposal will result in more dangerous situations.
Here’s what critics had to say, according to the Miami Herald:
“It allows for vigilantes to justify their actions,” said Denise Georges, a former Miami-Dade County prosecutor who had handled Stand Your Ground cases. “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.”
A number of attorneys are already raising concerns about the governor’s draft, including the expansion of Florida’s Stand Your Ground law.
The 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. 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.
Expanding the list of “forcible felonies,” as proposed by the governor, to include strictly property crimes like criminal mischief that results in “interruption or impairment” of a business is vague and could lead to unnecessary violence, said Reid Rubin, a retired Miami-Dade homicide prosecutor.
“Any number of things could occur. ‘Interruption or impairment’ to what degree? You could have people who are peacefully assembling who go in and out of a store — and a store owner or even a passerby could get nervous and misinterpret something and think they have the right to use unnecessary physical force — or even deadly force,” Rubin said.
Former Miami-Dade prosecutor Aubrey Webb was aghast at the proposed expansion of the state’s Stand Your Ground law.
“It dangerously gives armed private citizens power to kill as they subjectively determine what constitutes ‘criminal mischief’ that interferes with a business,” Webb said. “Someone graffiti-ing ‘Black Lives Matter’ on a wall? Urinating behind a dumpster? Blocking an entrance?”
Needless to say, the bill has received the expected amount of backlash and criticism. Many advocates and law-makers openly choose the side of anarchy rather than order. Other left-wing politicians and law-makers cite constitutional rights like the 1st Amendment.
DeSantis’ proposal, as far as we can tell, does in infringe on the 1st Amendment – which is the right to peacefully protest. Different states and jurisdictions have their own laws that give direction on how and when such protests can be held.
What many liberal law-makers fail to realize is that once a “protest” turns into the destruction of property, it is no longer a protest. We’ve seen how activists will excuse violent behavior and defend those who are violent without any regard for the victims of said violence.
DeSantis’ proposal gives citizens the legal backing to be able to defend themselves and their property – something most business owners can appreciate.