Thursday, January 5, 2012

Teenage Self-Defense in Florida

Daniels in the Gunblogger Conspiracy IRC channel, posted this link about the criminal charges brought against a teenager who used a pocket knife lethally in self-defense against another teen in Florida.

The short version is that one fourteen year old boy, who had a pocket knife, attempted to avoid a fight with another older boy by getting off the bus several stops before where the fight was supposed to take place. Unfortunately, the aggressor exited the bus with some friends at his back and assaulted the victim cravenly from behind and continued the attack. This caused the victim to draw a pocket knife and begin to fight back. Out of twelve knife strikes, two managed to be lethal for the still attacking older teen. The local authorities charged the fourteen year old with second degree murder and went to court. However, under Florida's "Stand your ground law", a judge threw out the charges.

The judge made it clear that the boy had attempted to avoid the fight, while armed, and was under assault from the first hit to the fatal blow with his blade in a place he had every single right to be in. He had reason to believe that his life was in danger and he acted in a legal fashion.

Of course plenty of people are calling the victim a murderer. People have some sort of weird idea that it was the boy's duty to accept his 'beat down'. That he was a girl to avoid the attack. Those people are so very wrong.

The boy acted exactly how a CCWer should act. He was armed for his own protection, and took steps to avoid conflict knowing that. That failed. He was chased down and assaulted, sucker punched from the onset.

The attacker also had friends with him. When things go south for the attacker, friends often step in. Then it would have degraded into a gang beating. To me that's a big motivator to fight back with everything. I've been in situations similar. Being at the total mercy of teenagers is nothing anyone wants.

Lastly, in the end the victim fought back with an utterly inadequate weapon. Then he only made two lethal hits out of twelve. His blade will have been in the range of 2.5 to 3.5 inches. Almost impossible to deliver an instant fight stopping hit. When knives come out there are often far more hits than that.

People just don't understand the world of a youth. It is not so much sunshine and smiles. Horrible things happen and never get reported. There is a weird code of honor and a lot of fear to back it up. Children are extorted, tortured, sexually assaulted, and robbed. Crimes that merit violent and lethal self-defense among adults are laughed off as kids being kids. Teenagers are not totally children, but not totally adults. They often have the physical power of adults, but not the brains in their skulls to keep them from misusing it.

One kid is dead, he might have made something of his life, I'd rather he have gotten some good wounds and learned. Yet, he reaped what he sowed. When cornered people fight. That kid that fought back will have to live with his actions. He is one of us. One of the CCWers out there. He's no murderer, but he's a killer. Any one of us could be him one day.

1 comment:

Dan said...

Well, I'm glad the judge upheld the stand your ground defense but the case is still unfortunate. Maybe other bullies and cowards will see this and think twice about their actions. And at least the right to defend yourself is still respected in FL.