When Florida's Legislature prepared to pass its now-infamous "Stand Your Ground" law in 2005, gun-control advocates and Democrats predicted the worst. They said it would bring a "wild West" mentality to an already wild state.
That didn't quite happen. Often, the debate over guns devolve into doom-and-gloom scenarios. Gun-rights advocates depict a dark world of shadowy assailants who can often be checked only by an armed-to-the-teeth citizenry. Gun-control advocates warn that mass shootings and armed lunatics will over-run and bloody the streets.
But one longtime state Senator, Democrat Steve Geller of Hallandale Beach, struck just the right note when the state Senate prepared to pass the legislation in 2005. In retrospect, with the killing of Trayvon Martin, his comments seem eerily prescient about the expansion of the so-called "Castle Doctrine" -- the concept that a man's home is his castle and that he owes no duty to retreat when someone breaks in. The Legislature declared that people had no duty to retreat anywhere. And Geller fretted it was going too far.
"We never said . . . that the street is your castle," he said on the Senate floor.
"I don't think you ought to be able to kill people that are walking toward you on the street because of this subjective belief that you're worried that they may get in a fight with you."