Picard Facepalm

An open letter to Floridian Jurors

Dear Floridian Jurors,

I won’t pretend to know what’s going on in your head, what evidence you were presented with, or how you came to your decision. But from an outsider’s perspective, you’re fucking nuts.

Just in case it isn’t presented to you at your murder trials (Zimmerman, Dunn): I’d like to take a moment to introduce you to the reasonable person test.

When presented with, say, a teen at a gas station whose music is much too loud for your taste, what would you suppose a reasonable person would do?

My guess is: mind your own damn business.

Gas stations are truly a melting pot of humanity. Almost everybody (except for tree-hugging hippies) needs gas. Undoubtedly, people of all creeds, colors, religions, whatever – are gonna get gas, which is an activity that takes 10 minutes max. You’re almost certainly not going to agree about something with most, if not all of the folks getting gas. You know how you can avoid most interpersonal conflicts (especially fatal ones) at gas stations?


Most pumps are set up so you can avoid talking to anyone if you’re paying with a credit card. You can even ignore the machine’s questions for the most part.

So here’s my series of questions:

Would a reasonable person ask said teen to turn it down a bit? Maybe. That might be reasonable if you were tired, trying to drive somewhere, the dog was barking, and were taking your fiancé’s drink order.

A reasonable person might get a little fussy and ask politely – “Hey, would you mind turning your music down for a minute, I’m having trouble hearing my fiancé…”

Granted, a teen – grandstanding in front of their friends – might flip you the bird (a la Star Trek: The Voyage Home) and turn it up.

Would a reasonable adult start a fight if said teen mouthed off? Unlikely.

I find it much more likely a reasonable adult would, you know, take the higher ground and forget about it because they’re a fucking adult and know that teens will be teens – even if the teen kept mouthing off or was being disrespectful. That’s what teens do sometimes.

How about a reasonable person – any person? Would they have pushed the issue? Why bother when you can finish pumping your gas and drive off? All you have to do is drive away and you’re removed from the situation.

Would a reasonable person continue pushing the issue until said teen (allegedly) flashed a gun or started threatening the guy? Pretty damn implausible.

Would a reasonable person, threatened with the imminent harm of their fiancé, dog, and self, return to their car, whip out a gun from the glove box, and shoot across the threatening car 10 times? Possibly, but keep in mind that a good portion of escalation had to occur before this point. More likely: a reasonable person would have returned to the car and driven away without firing a shot, probably to a police station. Or gone somewhere safe and called 911 as soon as possible if they felt there was an imminent threat to their safety with the gun at the ready if they were being chased. Or, having put a stop to the threat after firing their 10 shots, waited around for the police to explain the situation and clear their good name – or having driven away after firing, call 911 immediately after getting to a safe location – or even hand their fiancé the phone to call 911 while they drove away like crazy to avoid pursuit by any remaining threat…

Any of those things would have been more reasonable than what happened.

Would a reasonable person, having to justify their actions to a freaked out fiancé, explain about the (alleged, yet still missing) shotgun as to why they just fired 10 shots at a car full of teens? You bet your ass. I can’t walk past a Salvation Army bell-ringer without explaining on-the-spot that I don’t ever carry any change. Most reasonable people can’t. You’re telling me, if you shoot 10 times at a car full of teens, even in self-defense, you’re not immediately calling the cops to explain yourself?

If a reasonable person ends up with a totally different response to this situation, what kind of person are we left with?

My guess: a psychopath.

That’s the kind of person you’re giving carte blanche to.

It’s open hunting season on teens in Florida – and you’re giving these stone cold killers a free pass.

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