Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Florida Law Goes too Far

Florida Governor Jeb Bush earlier this week announced his intention to sign legislation that allows those who feel threatened to “meet force with force” and defend themselves without fear of prosecution. Bush believes the measure is "a good, common sense, anti-crime issue."

According to CNN,
The measure essentially extends a right Floridians already have in their home or car. Under present law, however, people attacked anywhere else are supposed to do what they can to avoid escalating the situation and can use deadly force only after they've tried to retreat.

The measure was “the top priority of the National Rifle Association in Florida this year.”

While individuals should have the ability to defend themselves, this law goes beyond what is necessary. It is not unreasonable for someone to attempt to diffuse a situation prior to resorting to force. Nor is it unreasonable for an individual to attempt to retreat prior to using deadly violence.

ALAN ADDS: Whatever happened to the values of restraint? Jeb Bush quotes his faith in relation to Terri Schiavo, but seems to think Christ's words on restraint are not important. In Matthew 5:39, Christ said "Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." We certainly have the right to defend ourselves, but should we have the right to use force when merely "threatened" or should we, as a society, promote a more restrained ethic that avoids violence whenever possible? Social Conservatives need to stop picking-and-choosing which Biblical teachings they think are important, and start living Christ's message much more fully.


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