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I don’t think I will ever vacation in Florida.

I have been told time after time that my size is intimidating. And, in Florida, intimidating can be cause for quick and decisive “stand your ground” action.

Intimidating can be justification for firing ten bullets into a car of teenagers – or just a couple of shots into an unarmed teenager. At least, this seems to be the case in Florida.

Not guilty for shooting and killing an unarmed teenager – because the shooter felt “threatened.”

Stand your ground.

Round two.

Ten shots into a car loaded with four unarmed teenagers. One dead, three wounded. The shooter claims he feared for his life. Video with sound indicates there were several seconds between bursts of shots – perhaps while the scared and intimidated man reloaded his pistol so he could continue to “stand his ground.”

The trial involved the same prosecutor who watched George Zimmerman walk after his “I shot and killed an unarmed teenager because I have the right to ‘stand your ground’ trial.”

The results of round two are even more bizarre.

Michael Dunn, the man who fired ten shots into a car filled with teenagers was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder. The jury felt that he fired into the car with willful intent to kill the three teenagers that were wounded.

That same jury failed to convict Dunn for the murder of the fourth teenager.

I guess the right to “stand your ground” gives you the right to kill, but not the right to injure.

At least if you are a white man shooting a black teenager.

While I will admit, both juries have claimed race did not play a role in either verdict, I have to wonder if the results would have been the same if the black teenager shot and killed the white adult.

I think we all know the answer.

A black teenager who, with claims of fearing for his life, shoots and kills an unarmed white man not only would be convicted, but in Florida he better hope he is under the age of 16 – otherwise he will face the death penalty.

I saw a political cartoon the other day showing a white man facing a black teenager wearing a “hoodie.” Next to this picture is one of a black teenager facing a hooded Ku Klux Clan member.

Which image is threatening? Which is a legitimate reason to “stand your ground?”

The answer seems to be that the teenager wearing a “hoodie” is a threat to mankind while the hood of the Ku Klux Klan signifies freedom of speech.

I don’t think the “stand your ground” issue is a gun rights or a second amendment issue. I do think it is an excuse to kill.

Is it a racist excuse?

I don’t know. What I do know, is that the high level of publicity – and the failure to convict – have been white man against unarmed black teenager.

It is time to eliminate anything that approaches “stand your ground” laws. Or, at least make the language eliminate the ability to hide behind the law after a wanton murder.

I realize mine is probably not the most popular position. I also realize that as long as a “jury of your peers” has the ability to make decisions based on social issues rather than legal issues, some killers will continue to escape punishment while others will lie down on a couch and have poisonous drugs pumped through their veins.

Several years ago “if the glove does not fit you must acquit” carried more weight for a California jury that found O.J. Simpson “not guilty” of killing two people, than did the introduction of overwhelming evidence showing that Simpson had to be the killer.

“The glove did not fit.”

The jury did acquit.

Michael Dunn fired 10 shots into a car – several as the car was driving away in an attempt to escape the shots.

The jury did not convict.

Stand your ground.

Bring up the O.J. Simpson verdict simply to show that jury decisions that appear to be farcical do not only favor whites. At the same time, I do think you can question whether the jury decisions involving George Zimmerman, Michael Dunn, and yes – O.J. Simpson, were racially motivated.

Or were they?

I have often written about my belief that the second amendment allows “responsible” gun ownership – not absolute gun ownership.

I am not sure that “stand your ground” laws require “responsible” gun ownership. And, I think the recent Florida jury decisions enhance the belief that the “right to bear arms” includes the right to “stand your ground” – no matter how ridiculous the claim of fear may be.

I have to wonder as I read articles about “stand your ground” laws for Indiana and Ohio if the record number of shootings and killings in Indianapolis and Cincinnati can be defended as “stand your ground.”

Let’s face it. The great majority of news reports indicate the victim of a shooting was either armed, or had a criminal history. Does this mean the shooter had the right to be “in fear for his life?” Does this mean the shooter had the right to “stand his ground?”

If I read and understand the “stand your ground’ laws correctly, in many cases the shooter could easily claim “in fear of his life.” In fact, using this concept, I can see where gang shootings and drug shootings will almost always involve both a shooter and a victim “in fear of his life.”

Maybe there is a silver lining to this concept.

While the number of killings increases at an alarming rate, the number of murders will actually go down.

After all – a “stand your ground” killing is not murder.

If you don’t believe me – ask those two Florida juries.

– Mike Cooney