Elections have consequences, even if the loser in a particular election refuses to recognize the results, which is a consequence in and of itself.
Sometimes, however, the consequences take a couple of years to manifest themselves.
Such is the case in Florida, where the 2018 election of Governor Ron DeSantis not only helped enable a barely eked out Trump victory in his state this year but also put him in a position to propose a clearly unconstitutional expansion of the state’s already reprehensible “Stand Your Ground” law to allow citizens to shoot looters on sight without any semblance of due process.
It’s no wonder that The Orlando Sentinal described G0vernor DeSantis as having “gone full fringe” and compared him to “a third-world dictator.”
The Florida governor’s “anti-mob” legislation “will allow armed citizens to shoot suspected looters or anyone engaged in ‘criminal mischief’ that disrupts a business,” according to The Miami Herald.
The proposed legislation “would also make it a third-degree felony to block traffic during a protest, offer immunity to drivers who claim to have unintentionally killed or injured protesters who block traffic, and withhold state funds from local governments that cut law enforcement budgets,” the newspaper reports.
“It allows for vigilantes to justify their actions,” claimed Denise Georges, a former Miami-Dade County prosecutor with experience handling Stand Your Ground cases. “It also allows for death to be the punishment for a property crime — and that is cruel and unusual punishment. We cannot live in a lawless society where taking a life is done so casually and recklessly.”
“It’s clear that the Trump beauty pageant is still going on with governors and senators, who all want to be the next Trump. And the governor is clearly a very good contestant,” said Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber, a former federal prosecutor and Democratic state legislator who was a fierce critic of the Stand Your Ground law, when it first passed in 2005 and subsequently allowed the killer of Trayvon Martin to go free.
“It dangerously gives armed private citizens power to kill as they subjectively determine what constitutes ‘criminal mischief’ that interferes with a business,” former Miami-Dade prosecutor Aubrey Webb said. “Someone graffiti-ing ‘Black Lives Matter’ on a wall? Urinating behind a dumpster? Blocking an entrance? The Boston Tea Party members would have been lawfully shot under Florida’s law by the British East India Tea Company,” he said.
So far the legislation has not yet been formally introduced in the Florida legislature, remaining as a proposal at this point.
it will be interesting to see, however, how many Republican state representatives will support a bill that could conceivably also allow for citizens to legally torpedo a flotilla of boats in a pro-Trump demonstration if an individual citizen makes the determination that such an assembly poses a threat to their business.
DeSantis’ efforts show that fascism in this country looks more likely to be introduced from above than percolate upward from some populist, nationalist movement.
Raise your voices in outrage now, before it’s too late and you find yourself on the wrong end of a firearm.
Original reporting by Ana Ceballos and David Ovalle at The Miami Herald.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.