Columnist makes use of nonsense

Published 10:20 am Thursday, July 25, 2013

A recent column by Donald Kaul in the Albert Lea Tribune jumps to conclusions about Stand Your Ground laws in Florida and elsewhere.

First, Stand Your Ground is a pre-trial hearing that would preclude a criminal or civil matter from going forward to trial. This was waived in the George Zimmerman case and was not part of the trial in this matter.

Second, the columnist makes presumptions that someone who is not a criminal but wants to avoid becoming one pre-plan a murder in order to get away with it. This is absurdity of the law in its worst. Stand Your Ground is a change to self-defense in that removes the duty to retreat. It does not open up the law to a fantasy world of Columbo that letter writer assumes.

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Third, the columnist wants to make the Zimmerman case a bunch of “what ifs” and “hypotheticals,” which is the same nonsense the prosecution used in the case they tried in Florida. Under the Constitution a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The accused do not have to prove anything — it’s the state’s burden to prove with “beyond a reasonable” doubt. The state had to overcome self-defense first and then prove the facts of the case (elements of the crime) to convict of murder. The state in this case did neither — per the verdict.

So while we all like to play Monday morning quarterback, the simple assertion the columnist uses to review and amend laws that were not even at play in the case at hand is absurd. Florida Gov. Rick Scott appointed a task force after the Martin shooting. That task force concluded there was no need to amend Florida’s Stand Your Ground laws.

Know the facts before muddying the waters with conjecture and opinion.


David Anderson