The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

The real perpetrator in the Trayvon Martin murder: Florida law

So George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Trayvon Martin (claiming “self-defense,” though Martin was carrying nothing more threatening than some candy and an iced tea!) will be tried for murder in Florida. It took this long to charge him, because they had to figure out how to deal with Florida's “stand your ground” law. Zimmerman should, I agree, be tried, and if the facts are as we have been told, convicted and sentenced (Florida law would not, it seems, give him the death penalty for this crime. Too bad). But just the fact that Florida law encouraged Zimmerman to “stand his ground” and permitted him (a known overreactor, who once called 911 because a neighbor left his garage door open!) to own and carry a gun, makes me feel that the true villain of the case is the State of Florida.

I still feel, even if this puts me at odds with every other person who generally shares my “conservative/libertarian” philosophy, that no person, other than the military and law-enforcement personnel, has a genuine need to carry a gun. If Zimmerman had no gun in his possession, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. And he is not the first person, regardless of the race of the shooter or the victim, to be shot by someone believing he was acting in “self-defense,” who in fact was not threatened. (And then, there are accidental shootings, where nobody was even trying to kill someone!)

But some will argue that we need to be able to defend ourselves from really threatening people carrying guns. My response is: if guns were only made in quantities necessary to supply the police and military, how would the bad guys get them? Right now, perhaps, an insignificant minority of the guns circulating around were lost by police or military warehouses. Most were manufactured for private sale, intended of course to be sold to people who can, under today's laws, own them legally. If nobody could buy a gun (except the police and military), these criminal-owned guns would never have been manufactured. So there simply would not be a need for “self-defense.”

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