Stand Your Ground? Yes or No.

The Florida State law, often called the “Stand Your Ground Law”  is one that has been needed for years.  Prior to the new law, if someone broke into your home that laws at the time stated that you must retreat, and that you could only defend yourself if you were backed into a place from which you could NOT retreat, such as a closet, or bathroom, that had no other exit.  Then, fearing for your life, you could defend yourself.

If someone attacked you, such as a fight that you did not start, you could defend yourself, though if they then broke off the attack and attempted to flee, you would be the aggressor if you continued to fight and you could be the one charged.

As I understand it the main change is that you do NOT have to retreat if attacked.  For example, if someone breaks into your home you no longer are required to flee them, and can “Stand Your Ground”.

The recent death of Trayvon Martin, in the City of Sanford, Fl., is putting the Stand Your Ground Law under public scrutiny, and raising question about the the law itself.

George Zimmerman admits to having shot Martin but claims he did it in self-defence.  The Sanford PD claims they did not arrest him at the scene because, at the time, circumstances seemed to agree with Zimmerman.

I would hate to be the person charged with making the determination of whether it was a justified act on the part of Zimmerman.  Sure he was supposed to be some kind of Captain, or whatever, with a Neighborhood Watch group, though reports say he was NOT on duty at the time of the shooting.

I have a number of questions:  what did Zimmerman think he was doing by chasing Martin?  Did Zimmerman ID himself as part of a neighborhood watch?  Did Martin confront a suspicious person, who was following hm for no apparent reason?  If Zimmerman was injured, Sanford PD says he had blood on his lip and the back of his head, which of the two started the scuffle.  As a neighborhood watch member he had the legal authority of the average citizen, the right to citizen’s arrest, though there did not appear to be an apparant offence to arrest for.  The would most likely have resulted, saying that he had detained the person, in his arrest for either “false arrest”, “unlawful detention”, or even impersonating a police officer, if he had given the impression that he acted in such a capacity.

I have never been in a neighborhood watch program but, I had worked for about 20 years in the Security field, both in the Air Force, where I got out as a Security Police SSgt.  Now Mr. Zimmerman might have had a concealed weapons permit but, that would not give him the legal standing to carry it as part of his neighborhood watch.  When I did private security, after 7 years in the Air Force, I worked for a number of private security companies.  Mostly with an unarmed security license, where state law said that even if I had a carry permit, or other authorization, that, unless I had an armed guard licence, I was still not allowed to carry the weapon.  Basicly that would mean that, say I was a Deputy Sheriff and wanted to do security work while off duty, I would have to have a Guard License and and Armed Guard License.  So why was he carrying?  Did the Law Enforcement Co-ordinator for the group know he carried?  If so why didn’t they expel him from the program.

From what I have seen of this story, so far, I would have to say that I do NOT think it was a justified shooting.  The “Stand Your Ground Law’ might protect him from an aggressor but, if it turns out he was doing something he had NO legal right to be doing, or if he was the aggressor, then he has no protection under the law, even this one.

To me the law is clear.  He has to have a reasonable belief that his life is in danger.  The keyword would be “reasonable belief”.  At this point I don’t see it.  What I do see is poor judgement on the part of a gung-ho wannabe cop, who charged in where he had NO training, or legal authority.

What we have here is a mess, and what we don’t need is the Rev. Al Sharpton stirring up the pot.  Sometimes the question is not “black or white” but “right or wrong”, and this is a question that must be answered by law and not because some publicity seeking Rev. Al Sharpton says so.

Protest or Vandalism?

Is Chris Young, credited with being a member of the Occupy Sarasota group, a protester, or a Vandal.  He himself stated, in a televised interview, that he did not know they were going to be there so, does that make him a member of the group, or just a cause that they can take up for more publicity?

Chris Young was arrested by Sarasota Police when he refused the order to stop writing on the sidewalk, by the officer who arrested him.  He has since be claimed by the Occupy Sarasota group, and the American Civil Liberties Union, as a sort of poster child for tree speech.

This, to the left, is a photo of Chris Young’s work,  published in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.  I take it that he was arrested before the completion of his  work of ART,  and so that might explain why the point of his protest is unclear.

This is a photo of Truman Adam, in another photo published by the Sarasota Herald.  This was taken as he was using chalk, much like Chris Young, to portray the United States Constitution.  This protest, of the earlier arrest, was carried out WITH A PERMIT.

Mr. Young‘s doodling have been compared to the recent Art Festival where a section of downtown road was closed off to allow chalk drawing, which were later washed away.  The second protest, with chalk, was permitted because the groups had promised to clean up after themselves.

Sarasota City commissioner Shannon Snyder, and ex-cop, had this to say about the chalk, “The city has an obligation to control its property,” Snyder said. Protesters have been doing the chalk thing for weeks, and “they weren’t cleaning it up. They were leaving it there, as part of their protest.”

In this country we believe in exercising out right to free speech.  My question would be : Does this give us the right, whether in chalk or paint, to deface other people’s property, be it that of a private citizen or government?  If I were to go to the homes of the Occupy Sarasota people to write slogan on THEIR sidewalks, or driveways, would they, or the ACLU, support my freedom of speech of would the have me arrested.

The most probable outcome would be my arrest, rightly, with both the Occupy Sarasota and ACLU telling me that they could NOT support a right to deface property.

In THIS I support the Sarasota City Police Department whole heartedly.

Our right to Endanger other people

While most people may not be able to quote the precise   wording of the Bill of Rights, they will still be able to tell you what rights they have..

Some of these rights have been limited, for reasons of safety, such as the Supreme Court having ruled that you may NOT yell “FIRE” in a crowded theater if there is NO FIRE.  You may have the right, with permit, to carry a concealed weapon, though most states will prohibit the carrying of weapons in certain locations…  and example is if I have a Concealed Weapons Permit that does not mean that I can carry it through the Airport.

Some people seem to think that their rights are more valuable than yours.  An example of this would be the guy who complained to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that, while he was sitting on his Harley and listening to his music, he was given a ticket for a noise violation.  I can almost sympathize with the man…    Imagine how loud your music would have to be, if you were sitting on a Harley, for you to hear it over the engine noise.  So what if those people in their cars can not hear their radios over the sound of your radio, you have YOUR rights!

Some years ago, when I was still working Security I had a young co-worker tell me about an experience he had.  He was driving his Camero on US-41 when he happened to notice a white colored vehicle behind him with rotating red and blue lights.  Once he noticed the lights he started to pay attention, and heard the faint sound of a siren.   It wasn’t even a patrol vehicle, it was one of those support, or supervisor units.   Once the kid was pulled over   the Deputy explained that the sound from his speakers was drowning out the sound of the officers radio INSIDE his vehicle.  The Deputy had planned to just pull him over and give him a warning.  But once it became clear that the kid could not hear the siren blast the Deputy turned on the whole shebang and then had to follow the kid for at least a mile with lights and siren before the kid noticed him there…  He got a ticket.    There are plenty of times when, as your are driving, you must be able to hear what is going on around you in traffic.  Times when sounds from outside your vehicle could warn you of danger, such as a siren of an emergency vehicle trying to pass through an intersection.   Who wants their first warning sign to be when they look up to see that big red truck getting ready to T-bone their car?

There are too many danger in life as it is.  Lets look at people who text on the phones while driving.  Think about how quickly traffic conditions can change, and then think about looking at your phone as you punch in you text message.  Consider how much of you concentration is focused on that text message rather then where you are going, and you can understand why pedestrians have walked out in front of traffic and become roadkill.  One of the laws that Nancy Detert, of Florida, has been trying to get passed for several years is a ban on textting while behind the wheel.  In the 1970s, when the Sarasota Country Sheriffs Department was getting the computer units installed the their patrol units, the state had to exempt Law Enforcement vehicles from a law that said a video monitor, or TV, would not be positioned in a vehicle so that it could be seen by the driver.  This was so that the driver would not divert his attention away from what he was doing, which was driving.

Most people will willingly refrain from activities that lessen their concentration, but others will insist their rights are more important and so will continue with this unsafe conduct.  These are the people for which we write laws.  Some people can use common sense, and others must follow laws.

So we need to be behind Nancy Detert and Senate Bill 416 to let out legislator know that if they can not do the right thing, then they should go home for good.

Thank you,

That Joe Guy.


While thy talk about a Balanced Budget

Politician a scary sight.

While the candidates talk about things like a bananced budget, what goes through your mind?

For me it is a wonder that anyone believe they would do it.  When the Supreme Court decided that Corporation had the right of free speech I think it is a wonder that they did not also give them the right to vote.  Right now they seem to have the right, one we don’t have, to BUY the vote.  Most of us can not afford to put  that kind of money into our candidate.

Why do I put that little gem in there?  Well, look at it this way.  I would seem that the one with the most money, and best attack ads, wins.  Most politicians know that a company will only give money to the one who is in the best position to help their interest.  This company can even hide it behind a PAC to make it harder to determine which politician owes his soul to which interest.

Any politician, even one who is trying to do what he thinks is right, must understand that if he wants to stay in the office, or even get into one, he has to make himself attractive to the people with the money.  One of the common forms of this was the earmark where they slip an extra into a bill that adds money for a local project, which would be a plus for some interest.  The could even appoint a representative of that interest to a board, of some kind, that helps to govern the interest.

Remember just after Katrina hit New Orleans?  We found out the only qualification the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency had was having been a fund raiser for Bush II?

The point is: as long as politicians can put things in the budget and not have to pay for the beyond printing more money, or selling some more IOU s {bonds} we should not expect to see a balanced budget in the near future.  Then, when the BILL pill up so that the country is underwater they will be gone, and our descendant will be screwed.

The last reason I give for this unlikely even is one of the simplest ideas there is: anything they cut our as being more then we can pay for, or not needed, is going to be someones pet cause, and that can get you put our of office.

We need to not only watch what we do with our vote but we should watch what they do with it as well.   When we hear the attack ads, or barbs cast in a debate, we should have paid enough attention to what they were doing to be able to say “thats a lie” or “thats true”.  Not because he is our candidate, or because some reporter told us it was but, because we paid attention to what they said and we knew how true it was.


The FUTURE belongs to us, we should elect people for the job not because we think they will be able to defeat the opponent.

Thank you,

That Joe Guy.



Dear Readers

For those of you who actually read my articles:  I thank you very much…

I love hearing from people who give  me the idea that they have REALLY read my material.

On the other hand, there are those who write generic praise which, most likely, is a result of cut and paste and could refer to anything…   I particularly liked the one that put a comment on my “About Me” page that said something along the lines of “this is a great idea, I never would have thought about it like that”.

While I look forward to your comments: if the comment does not indicate you have read the articles then I will DELETE it…