Column: Culture of life

By David Solana

Thankfully, the culture of life is not as pervasive as I had previously feared. I’ve always harbored doubts about the truth of such a culture what with the death penalty and all that, but now we can all rest assured that some lives just aren’t as valuable as others – now even ordinary citizens like me have been legally granted the power to kill.

Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida has promised to sign into law a bill that was resoundingly passed in Florida’s legislatures last week. It allows potential victims of about-to-occur crimes to protect themselves up to the ultimate defense – by shooting a threatening figure.

Some of this bill’s opponents claim it will lead to daily shootouts in the Sunshine State. While it is not hard to imagine some people will now claim self-defense when they were not in fact threatened, it is far more likely people will die as the result of misunderstandings.

The true danger is the possibility of a shooting based on an incorrectly perceived threat. I could see myself arguing with my roommate, for example, about how she washes the dishes, which could lead to a deadly night at the homestead.

If we were to have a heated discussion about it, I could imagine she’d be pretty upset. The danger lies now in this law combined with the slippery properties of dish soap. Case in point: she knows I’m angry because she doesn’t know how to wash dishes. I’m in the kitchen muttering under my breath about how she should have learned how to wash a coffee cup at some point in the last 23 years, etc. She comes storming down the hallway of our apartment ready to let me have it, when the coffee mug – covered in warm, sudsy bubbles – flies out of my hands and smashes into the wall. I’m not throwing it at her, it just slips out of my hands at high velocity because I’m scrubbing with ferocity to remove a week-old yogurt crust from its interior. Yes, I have mistakenly turned slippery dishes into projectiles while washing them. She, nearly decapitated by the flying ceramic mug, might grab a pistol and blow my head off to protect herself from my dish-throwing violence.

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    Thankfully we have precautions against such an occurrence: she’s not allowed to wash the dishes anymore, and I promised not to buy a gun – or at least to not buy ammunition for a gun if I happen to win one in a raffle. She also steadfastly claims to be nonviolent. I have to say that or she’ll hurt me.

    Perhaps the problem in this example is lost on those who either know my roommate or hate me, but the situation is far more frightening if you put yourself in my place. Rep. Don Brown (R-Fla.) said the law promotes a culture of life – his life when some criminal threatens him. In some ways he’s right. But in more important ways, he’s wrong. Since the change reflects the elimination of a prior legal restraint – citizens used to have to run away before resorting to violence – it does allow for the death of a criminal instead of simply making a potential victim run away.

    In reality, this law probably won’t change much. People are already allowed to carry concealed weapons in Florida. What’s disturbing is how Florida legislators look to this as a good manner to curb violent crime. A more appealing move would be to improve education across the board – in elementary schools through colleges and into prisons – to better educate people to live peacefully together.

    As someone who is considering at least one employment opportunity in Florida, I am toying with mental images of wielding a handgun to protect myself. Thankfully, I have a shot at rectifying my weaponless state this afternoon when I can try to win a gun raffle on our very own Quad.