In 2011, 26-year-old U.S. Air Force active duty member Michael Giles was sentenced to 25 years in jail after being found guilty of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon in a shooting incident at a Tallahassee nightclub. After a melee involving 30 to 40 young men broke out in the parking lot, Giles went to his car to retrieve his handgun, then returned to the site of the fight to collect his friends. At some point, a brawler named Courtney Thrower punched Giles and knocked him to the ground. Giles, later claiming he had feared for his life, fired into the crowd and hit Thrower in the leg. Two other men were injured by bullet fragments. Giles was immediately arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder.
Buoyed by recent national attention given to Florida’s Stand Your Ground law via the George Zimmerman and Michael Dunn murder trials, Giles supporters have been reviving their case and petitioning Governor Rick Scott for clemency.
As has been pointed out numerous times, Stand Your Ground was irrelevant to the Zimmerman trial, and state prosecutors didn’t even invoke it. Zimmerman testified that shooting victim Trayvon Martin was straddling him and beating his head into the concrete. In such a situation, there was no opportunity for Zimmerman to retreat, and therefore no way for him to stand his ground.
Similarly, Stand Your Ground is completely irrelevant to the Giles case. Thrower punched Giles and knocked him to the ground. If Giles had decided to stand his ground, he literally would have stood up, brushed himself off, put his hand on his firearm, and refused to let Thrower assault him again. But Giles didn’t stand his ground, which is why his lawyer properly counseled him not to invoke that defense—a fact Giles supporters now cite as proof that he had an incompetent defense and that his conviction should be thrown out.
But Giles didn’t aim his gun at Thrower and declare his intent to defend himself. He simply pointed his gun into a closely-packed crowd and fired. That’s not cold-blooded first-degree attempted murder, but it’s awfully close to second-degree attempted murder. And it certainly rises to the level of aggravated battery with a deadly weapon.
Thrower, in contrast, didn’t have a weapon. He admitted that, in the midst of the melee, he was simply itching for a fight and had decided to punch the first person who got in his way. Thrower didn’t know Giles, have a vendetta against him, or threaten further violence against him.
Michael Giles didn’t bring a gun to a knife fight, he brought a gun to a fistfight.
Actually, he safely left a fistfight, then went to retrieve his gun, then charged back into the fistfight with a gun.
Meanwhile, the left’s brazen hypocrisy in applying Stand Your Ground to the Zimmerman vs. Giles cases is stunning.
Replay the Zimmerman case with Zimmerman and Martin in the roles of Giles and Thrower. Suppose Martin had jumped Zimmerman and punched him, knocked him to the ground, and turned to leave, posing no further threat. Imagine if Zimmerman had whipped out his gun and shot Martin, hitting him and two innocent bystanders. Does anyone seriously think the same crew that’s now sending Zimmerman death threats would be signing a clemency petition by the tens of thousands demanding that Governor Scott commute Zimmerman’s sentence?
How about this scenario: Suppose Giles had been white, and Giles had shot his black assailant in the leg and wounded two other black bystanders. Do you think those signatures would still be rolling in at change.org for the white Giles to be set free?
There is not a single conservative in America who thought Zimmerman was guilty but favored acquitting him because Martin was black, and now thinks Giles is innocent but supports finding him guilty because he is black. In contrast, the left ignored the evidence in the Zimmerman case and favored finding him guilty because they believed the jury was racially biased, and now support Giles’s random act of shooting because he is black.
In liberals’ minds, smashing someone’s skull into the concrete isn’t grounds for fighting back, if the perpetrator is black; but drunkenly taking a random swing at someone in a parking lot brawl is justification for a black interloper to fire shots into the crowd.
I’m sorry that Martin was straddling and beating Zimmerman, whereas Thrower was no longer acting threatening when Giles shot him. I’m sorry that Martin was killed in the scuffle, whereas Giles is serving a prison sentence because Thrower was merely injured. But we can’t rewrite the facts of cases to ensure the racial balance of verdicts we’d like to see.
In their upside-down conception of justice, liberals once opposed Stand Your Ground in a case that didn’t invoke it, and now support Stand Your Ground in a case in which it isn’t relevant.
I suppose it’s nice that liberals are finally coming around to supporting a reasonable gun-rights law. But don’t be surprised if Gloria Allred misapplies it to defend Satanic killer Miranda Barbour by arguing that Barbour killed the man she met on Craigslist to stand her ground against Male Oppression.
- Justice? Black 26-Year-Old Military Vet & Father Of Three Gets 25 Years For Non-Fatal Shooting During Massive Club Brawl (bossip.com)
- US airman stands his ground in Florida, sentenced to 25 years (thetrialdivas.com)
- Here’s What Happens in Florida When A Black Man Stands His Ground (addictinginfo.org)
- What Happens When A Black Man ‘Stands His Ground’ In Florida (disinfo.com)
- Michael Dunn, George Zimmerman and the Cult of ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws (usnews.com)