In Self-Defense of Florida, and the Ironies of Gun Violence

I grew up in Florida, and I’m damn proud of it. Sure, we have our crazies and wackos and all the shenanigans that you read about in the news, but we also have miles and miles of glorious oceanfront property; beautiful and untouched ecosystems in the form of fragile swamplands; we boast the best Key Lime Pie; and we are lucky enough to still hold tight to some liberties that other states have revoked. As I write this, I’m reeling from some of the hatred that I’m reading about the state that I call home. Call me crazy, because maybe I am (am from Florida, that is), but I think that when you have an opportunity to protect yourself, or your family from harm, you damn well take that chance.

It is true that Florida has some of the most liberal gun laws—I’ve talked about this in previous posts on my blog. Florida considers “in fear for your life” against a reasonable threat a sufficient cause for use of deadly force, oftentimes meaning that you can shoot to kill an aggressor. I know that arguments for both sides are swirling around the mainstream media and office water cooler, but I cannot for the life of me understand what is wrong with this logic. Call it the endless sunshine and too much orange juice, but I respect the fact that my State has allowed me reprieve from the aggressive hand-holding that you find in other places around the country. I’m not saying that every person who carries a gun is a prudent and responsible individual, and I’m not calling out specific cases, I’m just trying to lay down the logic when it comes to self-defense, and when it comes to a State that believes I have a right to it.

Florida
Florida

Apparently, Florida needs a little self-defense at the moment. The backlash against the laws of the State is scathing, the protests are violent, and the hatred is spewing out of the mouths of people who have possibly never found themselves in a situation worthy of the use of self-defense. The irony of gun violence in the context of self-defense is that without one’s ability to protect himself with deadly force, the bad guy always wins. If it is you against him, and he has a gun, and you are not legally allowed to use yours: game over…for you.

As a woman, I have always been acutely aware of the dangers lurking outside the walls of my home, and even, unfortunately, the potential for that danger to find its way into the safety of the house where I live. I was raised in South Florida. Yes, I grew up in Miami—not exactly your idyllic city of comfort and safety, but I grew up, unscathed for the most part. However, there was never a moment, either at home or away, that I was not on my highest alert for any type of aggressive encounter with someone who wished to cause me harm. Let’s call it “street smart.” I knew of families who lost loved ones to gun violence, and of course, there were the stories on the news. To those of you who grew up in perfect little Stepford-wives communities in New England or somewhere in the Midwest, I envy you. I lived a very different life, and one that was not sheltered to the capacity for evil that humans have against one another. But I took solace in the face that my State allowed me the opportunity to protect myself, if God-forbid that moment of evil ever presented itself.

So here I am, defending the right to defend; seems silly to me. It seems absurd that I hear so much Florida bashing over laws that make so much sense. It is ironic that taking away the right to self-defense would most definitely be an ultimate victory for the bad guys, especially in the context of gun violence. Revoking an individual’s ability to shoot when presented with a situation that causes fear for his life is like telling someone that he has no hope of survival as he is staring down the barrel of a gun pointed at him by an intruder who wishes to cause harm.

Will I ever use my right to self-defense? I hope I’m never put in that situation. But you better believe that if someone is threatening my life, or the life of someone I love, I choose the life of my family over whomever is threatening harm. I thank states like Florida for allowing me the right of self-defense without bureaucratic, liberty-stealing, nonsense legislation. Although, from the shouts of the holier-than-thou in states far away, I can only hope that these ideals aren’t on the chopping block in the homeland. Stand your ground, Florida.

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