Sunday, July 29, 2018

No Gun Debate Forthcoming

At a Circle A Food convenience store in Clearwater, Florida on July 19, Markeis

McGlockton's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, parked in a handicapped-accessible spot while McGlockton and their 5-year-old son went inside. (Michael) Drejka approached the vehicle and began a heated argument with Jacobs over parking in the spot without a permit.

Surveillance video shows McGlockton leaving the store, walking up to Drejka and shoving him to the ground. Just seconds later, Drejka, who has a conceal-carry permit, pulled out a gun and fired one shot at McGlockton, killing him.

Two days later, Michael Smerconish- who as a lawyer is a fine radio and television talk show host- spoke to Benjamin Crump, who represented the family of Trayvon Martin and now the family of Markeis McGlockton.

Immediately afterward, Smerconish talked to Mark O'Mara, who famously represented George Zimmerman, acquitted in the shooting death of young Mr. Martin. The old joke runs "What happens when you put 10 economists in a room? You'll get 11 opinions." In this case, the joke could be "What happens when you get two lawyers talking to each other? You'll get two opinions, they'll agree with each, and both be wrong."

It's not pithy enough to be funny, but it applies. O'Mara stated

I think that if you're going to exercise the Second Amendment rights and we have them- we'll always have them- but you have to do it responsibly and here's the problem: someone like Drejka who used their weapon in my opinion unreasonably really affects the rest of us in our abilty to utilize our Second Amendment rights because he used it inappropriately and now the focus is again on that.

"Great observation," Smerconish responded.

It wasn't. No one will deny that fatally shooting someone over a parking space is "inappropriate." However, O'Mara  argued also a) the response to the killing  will focus on Second Amendment rights; b) said response will be misplaced. (Smerconish seconded his statement.)

No, and no. Though noting "we have all these laws for gun rights in the State of Florida," Benjamin Crump a moment earlier was not emphasizing gun safety when he contended

You know, that's troubling for many in communities of color, that you can pick a confrontation, you can be the initial aggressor, you kill the unarmed black person that you say it was self-defense, I was standing my ground, and you get to go home and sleep in your bed at night.

We think it's a bad law. It encourages people to take the law into their own hands. It's a license to kill black people and people of color because many times when black people make the stand your ground argument, it's behind the bars of a jail cell. But white people make their stand our ground arguments a week later after they've been  in their bed comfortably. So the law has been applied racially and calculated, we believe it's a terrible law that Florida needs to address...

It's likely that Crump's focus is common in Florida. He did not indicate whether there has been a comparison of the outcome when a white kills a black (as in this case) and when a black kills a white, but nevertheless emphasized the notion that the law has been applied in a racially discriminatory manner.  It's not clear whether he would be opposed to a stand your ground law which protect black assailants as much as it does white assailants or what he thinks of what he benevolently labels "gun rights."

O'Mara- and Smerconish, who agreed with him- likely will be proven wrong that this will spark a debate on alleged "Second Amendment rights."  But he's wrong, additionally, in believing that debate would "unreasonably" affect those highly misunderstood privileges.

That's a diversion, though. Central to the confrontation in Clearwater was that Drejka, with or without Second Amendment rights, did not pull out a knife. If he had, McGlockton (and Drejka) would in all likelihood now be alive. Yet, O'Mara seems to believe that Drejka's possession of the firearm and even his decision to threaten the victim with it can be cleanly separated from his unreasonable decision to fire it.

Drejka is a mere civilian, who may not understand that one does not draw a weapon without a willingness to use it if necessary.  Were he a firearms instructor, law enforcement employee, or trained in the use of a firearm, he would realize that if appearance of the weapon does not have the desired deterrent effect, the desire to fire it might overtake common sense.

Drejka did not understand the implication of drawing the weapon or even of possessing it for a routine trip to a store. That's understandable- neither do lawyers Mark O'Mara or Michael Smerconish.

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