The PJ Tatler

Kirsten Powers, Stop Lying About 'Stand Your Ground' Laws and the Marissa Alexander Case

Democrat strategist Kirsten Powers is using the Zimmerman verdict to showcase willful obtuseness on “stand your ground” laws. Appearing on Fox News today, she equated the Trayvon Martin shooting with the case of Marissa Alexander. Powers said that Alexander is “an African American woman who was denied ‘stand your ground’ and was convicted.”

That is simply a false accounting of the Alexander case, a case which bears almost no resemblance to the Zimmerman case.

The facts of the Alexander case are as follows, according to the official court case document. “Gray” here is Alexander’s husband, Rico Gray.

[Gray] moved to the living room where his children were. Subsequently, [Alexander] emerged from the master bedroom and went into the garage where her car was parked. [Alexander] testified she was trying to leave the residence but could not get the garage door to open. (The Court notes that despite [Alexander’s] claim she was in fear for her life at that point and trying to get away from [Gray], she did not leave the house through the back or front doors which were unobstructed. Additionally, the garage door had worked previously and there was no evidence to support her claim.) [Alexander] then retrieved her firearm from the glove box of the vehicle. [Alexander] returned to the kitchen with the firearm in her hand and pointed it in the direction of all three victims. [Gray] put his hands in the air. [Alexander] shot at [Gray], barely missing his head. The bullet traveled through the kitchen wall and into the ceiling in the living room. The victims fled the residence and immediately called 911. [Alexander] stayed in the marital home and at no point called 911.

“Stand your ground” does not apply here for several reasons. Alexander was in no fear for her own life. She knew where the gun was because she brought it, retreated from the scene to get the gun, and then came back to fire the warning shot. When you retreat and return, “stand your ground” does not apply. You’re no longer standing your ground, and if you return with a deadly weapon, you are the aggressor. “Stand your ground” could come into play if Gray had then attacked her after her return, but he did not do that. She chose to fire a warning shot near Gray, and their children. It barely missed Gray’s head. Gray responded by fleeing with the kids and calling 911. Further complicating Alexander’s case, she had not even lived at the house where the fight with her husband occurred for two months. She drove herself there with the gun in her car, the fight ensued because of a question of paternity over Alexander’s newborn baby, and she went out to the car to get the gun. That’s obviously not even in the same galaxy as “stand your ground.”

Firing a warning shot may fall within Joe Biden’s anti-crime advice, but it’s usually regarded as unlawful discharge of a firearm (a felony) and can also be considered endangering others. Both of those are frowned upon as a matter of basic law. If Powers doesn’t really know the facts of the case, perhaps it’s time to bone up on them.

I think she is aware of it but doesn’t care. Powers draws her popularity from trolling both sides of the political aisle. She trolled Democrats as they went nuts protesting Texas’ modest new abortion law, and those of us who agreed respond with approval. Now she’s trolling on Zimmerman by insisting things that are not true, such as linking the Alexander case to Zimmerman, to draw approval from the left. The only problem for her here are the facts of both cases. Both cases happened in Florida, but that’s where the similarity ends. Zimmerman did not invoke “stand your ground.” Alexander did, mainly because defense attorneys often throw up every conceivable defense of their clients in the hope of creating enough reasonable doubt to avoid conviction. Alexander did not lose because she’s black, she lost because the evidence against her was enough to convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt that she was guilty of the crime for which she was prosecuted. Zimmerman did not win because he’s a “white Hispanic” or because Martin was black, but because the prosecution never produced convincing evidence that he intended to commit second degree murder or even manslaughter. Perhaps Powers didn’t watch the trial.

Now, I agree with Powers that a 20 year sentence for Alexander’s actions is excessive. That’s a more difficult argument to make in a cable news hit than “The system is raaacist!” so Powers doesn’t bother with it.

Alexander’s sentence is part of mandatory minimum sentencing passed in the wake of decades of liberal judges abusing their power and returning violent criminals onto our streets via token sentences. “Stand your ground” laws were passed in response to criminals who met deadly force from their victims, and then sued their victims in civil court. If liberal judges had not done that, minimum sentencing laws would not have been passed, and Alexander would be facing a more reasonable sentence in her case. Ironically, had Alexander killed Gray should would probably be facing a more serious charge that could potentially carry a shorter sentence. If Powers were to protest that, she would get no argument from me.

If Powers wishes for criminals to resume victimizing society via the courts, and for judges to resume handing down token sentences for violent offenders, she should stand up and say so.

More: By the way, the particular mandatory minimum sentence that Alexander faces is a result of the gun control left’s efforts to increase sentencing for gun-related crimes. So Alexander faces decades in jail because of misguided leftists’ efforts to break down the Second Amendment.