Beware of Tourist-Hating Floridians
By Scott Editor | Scott's Archive
September 30, 2005

George Romero should hire the imaginative folks at Brady Campaign to help write his next zombie film which would take place in the no-longer-a-sunshine-state of Florida if their version of reality pans out as a result of a new law passed this Saturday allowing Florida residents to use deadly force without having to first run away.

Reeking of arrogance, the new press release put out by the leading gun control advocacy group in America manages to not only offend us gun owners, but us Floridians in general with whom you better not start fight because we're a "nervous" and easily "threatened" people.

From the 9-27-05 release (my emphasis in bold):

Washington DC – The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is beginning a public education effort to educate Florida tourists and potential Florida tourists that effective October 1, they face a greater risk of bodily harm within the state of Florida.

That is the date that the state’s new "Shoot First" law also known as the "Stand Your Ground" law, goes into effect.

Individuals who are unfamiliar with Florida’s roads, traffic regulations and customs, or who speak foreign languages, or look different than Florida residents, may face a higher risk of danger – because they may be more likely to be perceived as threatening by Floridians, and because they are unaware of Florida’s new law that says individual who feel their safety is threatened or their possessions are at risk are legally authorized to use deadly force.

Just what the hell does a non-Floridian look like? Every other person you run into here is of a different color, religion, nationality, political affiliation, and age generation. We're one of the most diverse states in the union.

And although tourists "who speak foreign languages" may encourage us to reach for the trigger just because we're so gun-happy, the high Cuban population in Miami and Hispanic population in Orlando have taught us that there are humans who speak languages other than English. Moreover, and this personally took a little while for me to get used to, not all foreigners want to harm my family!

"We think people visiting Florida should be aware of this law, and act accordingly," said Sarah Brady, Chair of the Brady Campaign." Visitors should be very careful about getting into an aggressive argument with anyone during their stay."

The Brady Campaign is placing advertisements to educate these tourists and potential tourists in key U.S. gateway cities feeding tourists to Florida, starting with Chicago, Detroit and Boston, and in selected overseas markets beginning with the United Kingdom beginning Sunday, October 2. Educational materials about the law were shipped to more than 120 leading U.S. and international journalists as well as trade publication editors in the travel industry and editors at consumer travel magazines.

The ad reads "Thinking about a Florida vacation?

Please ensure your family is safe. A new law in the Sunshine State authorizes nervous or frightened residents to use deadly force. In Florida, avoid disputes. Use special caution in arguing with motorists on Florida roads. Police and prosecutors are concerned about the potential for unnecessary violence."

Before the law was passed, Floridians could carry concealed guns in public places, but they could only use those guns as a last resort when safe avoidance of injury was otherwise not possible. The new law eliminates the duty to avoid the threat and, instead, allows the gun user to "shoot first" to eliminate the threat.

It is not difficult to imagine likely situations in which individuals may use lethal force where they did not before. An argument on the highway, or a disagreement in a restaurant or nightclub, or a dispute over belongings in a public place such as a beach could lead to unnecessary use of force.

The flyer suggests specific steps visitors should take: Avoid unnecessary arguments with local people; stay in their cars and keep hands in plain sight if involved in a traffic accident or near-miss; and maintain a positive attitude and avoid shouting or threatening gestures if someone appears to be hostile toward them.

My, my. Well this doomsday scenario is nothing new. Gun-control hysterics were shouting the same thing in 1987 when we passed the revolutionary CCW law that allowed law-abiding citizens to carry concealed weapons in the first place. Funny thing is, crime actually dropped, and blood didn't spill into the streets.

Only one permit holder out of the 350,000+ permits issued from 1987-1997 was convicted of homicide according to firearms scholar and professor at Florida State University, Gary Kleck. But don't expect academic research to dissuade Brady Campaign from labeling concealed carriers "nervous," "anxious," and willing to shoot people who speak "foreign languages" or "look different than Florida residents."

This shameful press release is just another line of propaganda meant to slander and deceive. Only fools would take Brady Campaign seriously, and fear for the lives when traveling to Disney World.

Want to debate this issue and make your own aggressive voice heard? Head over to my blog, Aggressive-Voice Daily, and join in on the discussion.

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