Stand Your Ground laws shouldn’t be that controversial. They remove an individual’s “duty” to retreat from a threat rather than defending themselves, which no one should be required to do in the first place. No one has a right to threaten another individual, an as such, no one should have to retreat away from a threat against their person.
However, a case over the weekend in Clearwater, Florida has put the law in the spotlight again.
Thursday’s shooting at the Circle A Food Store at 1201 Sunset Point Road near Clearwater started about 3:30 p.m. when Jacobs, 25, parked in a handicap spot while McGlockton and their 5-year-old son went inside to buy snacks and drinks.
Drejka, 47, confronted Jacobs about why she was parked there without a permit, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. The two started arguing heatedly. McGlockton, 28, caught wind of the confrontation.
He left the store, walked up to Drejka and shoved him to the ground with both hands. Drejka pulled out a handgun and shot McGlockton in the chest. McGlockton was soon pronounced dead.
Gualtieri said the next day that he was precluded by law from arresting the shooter and seeking charges against him, saying Drejka told deputies he was in fear of further attack.
It’s important to remember that Florida law is a little different than most laws in that it also limits the police’s ability to arrest someone who claims self-defense. This change in Florida law was probably because of what happened to George Zimmerman following his encounter with Trayvon Martin, where he was arrested and prosecuted despite clear evidence that he acted in self-defense.
Unsurprisingly, though, there are those who take issue with what happened.
Friends, family and supporters filled the sanctuary at Mt. Carmel Baptist Church on Sunday night calling for justice in the death of Markeis McGlockton last week.
The vigil and protest, organized by the Clearwater/Upper Pinellas County Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, rallied more than 150 people riled by a shooting Thursday that started with an argument over a parking space.
“It was wrong for Mr. Drejka to shoot and kill Markeis. It was wrong for him to even antagonize Britany. It was definitely wrong for Mr. Drejka not to be arrested,” said Pastor Carlton Childs, president of the Upper Pinellas County Ministerial Alliance. “We refuse to remain quiet while laws are being made and constructed to permit shooting and killing human beings.”
Now, let’s take a look at that last paragraph and we can see part of the problem here.
Britany is Britany Jacobs, the girlfriend of the deceased. In other words, the one sitting outside at a car parked illegally in a spot designated for particular people. Jacobs and McGlockton weren’t legally allowed to park that, so it’s unsurprising that Drejka confronted her. Hell, more people need to be confronted for parking in handicap spots without a permit in my mind.
The fact that they call someone calling another on something like that–remember, those spots are designated for people who generally can’t walk significant distances–is considered “antagonizing” is pathetic.
Now, I’m not saying that this was all on Jacobs. I don’t know how the exchange went and I don’t know if Drejka was being an ass or what. I don’t know and I’m not saying he didn’t cross any lines. Maybe Jacobs told him she didn’t have the keys so she couldn’t move the car and Drejka didn’t want to hear that. I don’t know. I wasn’t there.
But to say Drejka “antagonized” Jacobs without more evidence? No, I’m not buying that.
Of course, this is part of the ongoing efforts by those who lose loved ones in self-defense shootings to go on about how their beloved was a good boy and he didn’t deserve what happened to him. Well, if Drejka was out of line, there needs to be punishment. If he wasn’t, there won’t be. Based on a news story, there’s not enough information to tell.
What I can tell you is that coming out of a store and shoving a man to the ground is probably not the best way to show your nonviolent intentions.