If a Story Doesn’t Fulfill Your Agenda Editorialize

Advocates of gun control spend time searching high and low for news stories that support their agenda. Unfortunately for them such stories are far and few between so they often have to resort to editorializing in order to shoehorn their agenda into an otherwise unrelated store. Take the recent shooting in Florida that AlterNet was so good to report on. Things are off to a bad start from the beginning:

Michael David Dunn, 45, was in Jacksonville, Fla., this Friday for his son’s wedding, when afterward he decided to stop at a convenience store with his girlfriend. Four unarmed teenagers were in an SUV near where Dunn parked. After Dunn’s girlfriend went into the store to buy a bottle of wine, Dunn made a comment to the teenagers about their music being too loud. An argument ensued, and then Dunn, a gun collector, pulled out his gun and fired at the SUV between eight to nine times. Two shots hit and killed 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

Emphasis mine. No evidence is given that indicates Dunn was a gun collector. He may be a gun collector or he may not be, either way the statement is not backed by any presented evidence and it has nothing to do with the story itself. Whether somebody collects guns or not has no bearing on whether or not a claim of self-defense is legitimate or not. Owning multiple firearms does not suddenly make a self-defense claim legitimate or illegitimate.

The real editorializing doesn’t come into play until the last few paragraphs though:

Davis’s death comes about a week after a Florida task force found that the state’s “Stand Your Ground” law is mostly fine as is and recommended only small changes. Florida governor Rick Scott created the task force after the death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in April. The task force made their conclusions despite research that shows “Stand Your Ground” laws actually increase homicides.

Where should I begin? The author managed to slip to Trayvon Martin case into the story. In fact the author not only slipped the name in but also slipped in the implication that Trayvon was unjustly gunned down even though evidence supports Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense. That’s some great emotional heartstring pulling right there.

Let’s consider the second implication that the stand your ground law will allow Dunn to get off. Florida’s stand your ground law states:

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—

A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or

(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

The legislation clearly states that one must have a reasonable belief that deadly force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm. If the story is accurate Dunn claims to have shot the teenager because he was listening to music that was too loud. It’s pretty unreasonable to believe loud music will cause imminent death or great bodily harm especially consider the fact that the teenagers were in the vehicle and neither dead or suffering great bodily harm.

Finally the story implies that stand your ground laws cause higher homicide rates. This claim confuses me because homicide is a criminal charge. If homicide conviction rates actually increased after the passage of stand your ground laws it would imply that more people were being successfully convicted of homicide which invalidates the claim that stand your ground laws allow people to get away with homicide. Which is it? Do stand your ground laws lead to higher conviction rates of homicide or do such laws allow people to easily get away with murder? Inconsistency from gun control advocates is par for the course.

Once again gun control advocates opt for dancing in the blood by editorializing a story so heavily that the actual story, a shooting supposedly being justified because somebody was playing their music too loud, is almost entirely lost.