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Response to RainDog (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 08:14 PM

1. I actually clicked the link and read the whole thing. This part nails it:

Obviously the details of what happened between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman matter to the adjudication of that singular incident.   But regardless of whether Zimmerman is convicted or not, what matters far more – and requires greater attention from the media, from legislators, from the public – is that there is now a sea change in American criminal justice.

Where once it was incumbent on people who take a life to prove that they did so in self-defense, now – in Florida and nineteen other states – hundreds of years of American jurisprudence and English common law are reversed so that the burden of proof is on the state.  Now, Florida must prove that someone who takes human life did not have reasonable cause to believe they were in grave jeopardy.

Previously, this was a legal standard that we extended only to sworn and trained law officers.  If they had reason to believe that they, or fellow officers or citizens were in jeopardy – even if they were wrong in that assessment – then grand juries were routinely told not to indict. Our legal system has long understood that even good police – those not prone to excess, those fully trained in the use of lethal force – can still give you a bad shoot in a decision that is often made in a short second or two.

And now, quietly, by dint of both cash infusions from the gun lobby to legislators and scant attention from a hollowed-out press corps, this cautious standard is gone in twenty states.  Now, anyone — regardless of their role, training or ultimate purpose —  can bring a gun to an argument and take a life.  And then, if they can manufacture enough of a threat to their person, they can justify the act.  Maybe witnesses will be present to contradict their version of events; maybe not.  Maybe there will be physical evidence to invalidate their claims; maybe not.  But now, the baseline for responsibility lies not with the shooter, but with the state.

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RainDog Apr 2012 OP
LineNew Reply I actually clicked the link and read the whole thing. This part nails it:
Skinner Apr 2012 #1
RainDog Apr 2012 #2
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