An elderly James Workman in Pensacola, Florida was the impulse for the National Rifle Assn. (NRA) to devise and advance Florida’s, the nation’s first, “Stand Your Ground” law in 2005. It was November 3, 2004, at 2 a.m., seven weeks after Hurricane Ivan made landfall, when FEMA worker Rodney Cox came to the Workman’s door and asked for a drink of water. Workman and his wife were in a temporary RV in the driveway of their unlivable home.
Residents were on edge following an earlier incident where police had to subdue a man with a machete at the house next door. Rodney Cox approached the workman’s front door as Kathryn Workman—awake because she couldn’t sleep—watched, then woke her husband who grabbed his .38 pistol and confronted Cox. After mumbling and asking for a drink of water, Workman ordered him off his property, firing a warning shot.
At that point they say Cox dashed toward the trailer where Kathryn was waiting, a phone in one hand, her own .38 in the other. She screamed at the 911 operator who heard a struggle, then was told by the wife that her husband had shot the intruder, who apparently got up after being shot. In the hours before being shot Cox had called 911 himself to report he had been a victim of domestic violence, his skull fractured, possibly explaining his disoriented condition.
It was this particular episode that was the motivation for “Stand Your Ground.” But, interestingly, the Workmans were never asked to testify at the legislative session considering the law. They had to find out about it on the evening news. It would almost appear that the NRA saw the incident as an excuse to enact another stupid law that is now being questioned in many of the states where it has been passed.
Then on to another loose gun state, Texas, where Jose Luis Gonzales, fed up with burglaries at his house, shot and killed Francisco Anguiano, 13, when he broke into Gonzales’ house around midnight. He was with three other kids ranging in ages from 11 to 15, and was shot in the back with a shotgun. Looking for snacks, the boys were told to “drop it” referring to a bag of Cheetos, then said they were smacked with the shotgun. They ended up on the floor face-down.
Uriel Druker, Webb County district attorney said the kids were subdued and “weren’t going to go at him.” Gonzales was screaming at them to stay down, all of this which Druker said disproves Gonzales’ claim of self-defense. Gonzales said he thought the 13-year-old was about to “lunge” at him. Now common sense would tell most of us that, assuming the kid was on his stomach on the floor, and was shot for lunging at Gonzales, how did he get shot in the back?
The medical examiner even confirmed this, and, according to Druker, the homeowner didn’t even mention the kids lunging at him until he retained a lawyer. It only took three hours for a jury to acquit Gonzales. When Druker later confronted jurors meeting them around town, he asked why the jury agreed to acquit. The standard answer was that they feared losing their right to protect their own homes. That is gun mentality at its worse. The statute was on trial.
The CNN article in the above link says, “The shooters feel remorse but are resolute in the belief that the law is on their side.” I say that is a double-edged sword, and one these self-styled vigilantes should have to fall on instead of their victims.