If we took a 30,000 foot view of the Earth we’d find it to be smoldering. Okay, that is not completely accurate, however if we’ve added up the collective events over the last number of years, dating back as far as the Obama administration, there is a symbolic smoldering that is perceptible. As violence waxes and wanes in the United States due to unrest in the name of social justice, there is not much many can do to really protect themselves from mob rule and riots. Florida Governor DeSantis signed into law a very pro-law and order piece of legislation that will offer up some much needed relief to Floridians, but really a policy that could be emulated across the country. HB 1, the “Combating Public Disorder Act” is in response to such instances of unrest.
Florida being a “shall issue”, if not the god-daddy of the concealed carry movement, does afford private citizens the ability to protect themselves with a firearm if need be. That is not to say that every Floridian is packing heat in the Gunshine state. The ability to do so is there, however should someone not elect to do so (or say they are prohibited?), what is their recourse in the event of being swallowed up in a moment of civil unrest? The state’s new anti-riot law is a challenge to peace officers to continue to serve and protect, as well as a promise to the people that they will in fact do as much as their powers will allow them.
As reported in The Orlando Sentinel, not everyone is clicking their heels over the passage of this new law. Some of the nay-sayers state this will have a chilling effect on the First Amendment:
“The problem with this bill is that the language is so overbroad and vague … that it captures anybody who is peacefully protesting at a protest that turns violent through no fault of their own,” said Kara Gross, the legislative director at ACLU Florida. “Those individuals who do not engage in any violent conduct under this bill can be arrested and charged with a third-degree felony and face up to five years in prison and loss of voting rights. The whole point of this is to instill fear in Floridians.”
Democratic state Sen. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, who is Black, said the new law “undermines every Floridian’s constitutional rights, and it is disgusting that the GOP would rather empower vigilantes and silence voices than listen to the majority of Floridians who oppose this dangerous bill. The governor’s spectacle is a distraction that will only further disenfranchise Black and brown communities.”
This farfetched grasping at straws from detractors does need to be picked apart a little. In reading the text of the law, it really just outlines what should not have to be, “don’t riot, and if you do, there will be consequences.” Every mention in the law revolves around violent and criminal acts, not just loitering as Gross would have us believe. A very novel idea that perhaps got lost on Jones, et.al. is that no, people cannot block streets and byways while leaning on the First Amendment as an affirmative defense. Anyone that has watched countless hours of footage that is available has seen rioters attacking cars, trucks, motorists, etc. But no, Jones wants to lean on race to poo poo the law.
The videos of motorists being pulled from their vehicles and violently attacked during some of these mostly peaceful protests illustrates the importance of taking responsibility for one’s own self-defense. With this new law, it does offer up some leniency in giving victims the ability to remove themselves from such hairy situations:
The law, which goes into effect immediately, grants civil legal immunity to people who drive through protesters blocking a road…
Would Jones rather a motorist get killed by a mob because they were not able to escape attack because they were trying to be a “responsible” and not run over rioters? Or if the person was legally and responsibly armed, unload their firearm on those that are attacking them, only to be engulfed by the same mob after they’ve run out of ammunition? Perhaps, just like the possibility of a firearm being with a potential victim serving as a crime deterrent, the possibility of getting run over by a car will make protesters that go native think twice about breaking the law in such a manner.
DeSantis had this to say about signing HB 1 into law:
“In Florida, we are taking an unapologetic stand for the rule of law and public safety. We are holding those who incite violence in our communities accountable, supporting our law enforcement officers who risk their lives every day to keep us safe and protecting Floridians from the chaos of mob violence. We’re also putting an end to the bullying and intimidation tactics of the radical left by criminalizing doxing and requiring restitution for damaging memorials and monuments by rioters. I am proud to sign this bill into law and appreciate the diligence of our elected leaders in the state legislature, especially Senator Stargel, Senator Burgess, Representative Fernandez-Barquin, Representative Perez and Representative Byrd, for getting this proposal to my desk so swiftly.”
Call me old fashioned but a law that penalizes bad actors with civil and criminal liability is about as common sense as it gets. Laws that protect citizens from violence is all what the progressives are about, are they not? With pushes for freedom limiting provisions that strip people of their Second Amendment rights in the name of public safety, should they not celebrate a more collective approach to defense of individual citizens and the rest at large? Push back on this law is just another big steaming cup of hypocrisy, where the pinkos want to eat their cake and have it too.