2014/12/23 ~ Stand Your Ground Essay

STAND-YOUR-GROUND-ASHLEY-PETERSON-EEW-MAGAZINEExamination of Stand Your Ground Laws and Rulings

            There have been a lot of media attentions in the news recently regarding the Stand Your Ground rulings involving many very questionable cases. These cases are confused by interpretations by lawyers and judges and others because the lines and clarity has not been defined within these laws. Individual states also have their own laws written so confusion can happen from one state to another with no Federal umbrella to confine the limitations of the laws. There are a few current cases that are raising major legal questions and concerns and are in great debate by lawmakers and those directly concerned with them. Stand Your Ground laws need clarity and confinement by Federal definitions to create cohesion with the United States between different states so the populous and the court systems can rule and reside over cases effectively.

In Laveen, Arizona, where a similar law is called “Make My Day”, Daniel Jr. Adkins was walking his dog past a local Taco Bell drive thru when a driver in a SUV, with his pregnant wife in the front passenger seat, came around the corner narrowly avoiding Adkins. The 22 year old driver and Adkins exchanged words and the driver later told investigators that Adkins air swung at him and his vehicle but never came into contact with either. He said he was still afraid of Adkins actions and what he might do with the weapon that he thought Adkins was carrying, described as a 3 foot bat or pipe. When Adkins had lifted his arms for the last time, the driver pulled out from his sweatpants a .40 caliber handgun and pulled the trigger. Adkins was struck in his chest and fell to the ground dead. While Adkins and his very faithful canine stay where they were the driver and his fiancée drove to the front of the Taco Bell and called authorities. The driver told police he had no choice but to shoot because the dog was in the way and he claimed to have no other options.

This case raises concerns about what someone would perceive as a threat and what actions they have to protect themselves, others and their property. The laws don’t describe “victims” requirements to not use lethal force if he/she has the option to flee to safety. The shooter chose to not drive away because a canine was in the way and he could not avoid hitting and possible killing the dog. However, he didn’t seem to have a problem with killing a human that he perceived to be threat to himself and his fiancée, because Adkins had a pipe, even though the shooter was well confined within his SUV. A choice was made between the life of a canine and Adkins, and whether to drive to safety to avoid Adkins even if striking the man, dog or both with his SUV. This is an example of where these laws fail both “victims” and “perpetrators”.

Stand Your Ground “allows those who feel a reasonable threat of death or bodily injury to “meet force with force” rather than retreat” (Bill Of Rights Institute, 2010). The “Castle Doctrine”, also known as a Castle Law or a Defense of Habitation Law, is a set of laws that define your right to protect yourself, your property and loved ones; but on your property. It also states and clarifies that if you as a victim have the opportunity to retreat you should do so and in some states if the “perpetrator” is in the act of fleeing you do not have the right to use deadly force. So why don’t Stand Your Ground laws enact the same legalities. The basis for these laws has been with humanity since the dawn of mankind because it is an instinctual trait that you have the right to defend yourself and simply keep what is yours.

The case of Jose Luis Gonzales and 13-year-old Francisco Anguiano raises questions about Stand Your Ground and how it relates to the “Castle Doctrine” and the confusion of Stand Your Ground are further questioned. In this case Gonzales was vacationing in Texas in his small ranch home during the summer. He had grown tired of repetitive break-ins into his home which construed of theft of mainly junk food. One night he confronted the thieves, ranging in age from eleven to thirteen, with a shot gun with the outcome being Anguiano dead and the others beaten with what looks to be the butt of the rifle. The young men tell a tale of being confronted by Gonzales with a rifle, beaten, told to lay on the ground face down, and then of Anguiano being told to “drop it” (referring to a bag of chips) and then being shot in the back. Gonzales explains that Anguiano started to raise his body away from the ground and he thought the young man may go for his legs and try to take him off his balance to take over the situation.

The question for this case comes from Texas laws stating Texans have the right to use deadly force in your home, workplace or vehicle to prevent a violent crime such as rape or murder. Did Gonzales have the boys subdued and had he had control over the situation where he had the ability to contact authorities and had reasonable conclusion he could keep them under control until the authorities arrived? Why were the boys bodies covered with what testimony said was repeated strikes from the butt of a rifle. Why was Anguiano shot in the back killing him almost instantly? Did Gonzales have an option to retreat when the boy “created a threat”? These questions seemed to be placed out of mind as the ruling gave Gonzales exoneration when Stand Your Ground was used, maybe inappropriately as a defense.

Stand Your Ground laws, also known as “Line in the Sand” and “No Duty to Retreat”, states that a person can use deadly force in defending themselves where there is a threat. They can do this without obligation to retreat before using deadly force which includes private and public property. Some situations justify a person using the Stand Your Ground law in court to defend themself in both criminal and civil courtrooms. It can also be used in immunity so someone can never be charged, detained and bars suit and arrest in the first place. Stand Your Ground laws “laws have increased the number of murder and manslaughter cases – rather than serve as a deterrent to crime” (Mulvaney, 2012).

The “Castle Doctrine states that a person has no duty to retreat when they or their home are attacked and some states go even further stating that a person doesn’t have to retreat even in the confines of their own home. Stand Your Ground type laws give a person the right to not abandon the area they stand upon if provoked or attacked as long as he/she has the right to be there in the first place. Some states state that the person must be carrying a firearm legally whether it be concealed or openly. “Today most states have some kind of castle law. The stronger laws do not require homeowners to attempt to retreat before using force to protect their domicile, and there are a select few states that have very strong stand-your-ground laws allowing citizens to use force in their car or at work without first trying to retreat” (Purves, 2011)

Stand Your Ground laws have been openly criticized as “Shoot First” laws by critics. These laws have given results of self-defense claims more than tripling in many states. The critics of the law as well as District Attorney’s offices say it is very difficult to prosecute individuals who kill or wound others and claim their actions in self-defense. Opponents to this law say the “victim” can say they are threatened with the only witness being the “perpetrator” who is now dead and can’t testify.

Stand Your Ground laws, whether you are completely opposed or in complete support of them, should be clarified to direct lawyers, judges and others how to rule, use and preside correctly and efficiently when it comes to cases where Stand Your Ground can be appropriately applied. Laws need to clarify and distinguish between cases of clear self-defense and un-needed violence towards individuals that were committing non-violent crimes or when retreat should have been made to prevent further crimes. This law is certainly a law of this day and age and is still very young, which shows in case after case of people committing crimes from assault and battery to murder and getting away with it because they use Stand Your Ground incorrectly and inappropriately.


{Copyright Jeffrey Scott Thomas – The Jibber Jabber Journal}


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Posted by on December 23, 2014 in Essy I Wrote


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2014/06/05 ~ Mom Words of Wisdom Speech

Here’s a “Cherished Lesson” from my Mom. You see, she never drank alcohol, smoked cigarettes, partied, gambled, or did anything people would consider loose. She was firm, loving, and very disciplined.

The military had nothing on her! Seriously!

She once told me, “Son, whatever you end up doing, be the best!”

“If you end up being a drug dealer, you better be the best drug dealer that’s ever lived!”.

I looked at her shocked and confused for a moment. Then asked, “What do you mean Mom? You know that isn’t going to happen because I don’t want to be and do that.”

She explained, “Life sometimes puts you in hard situations.You never know what you may have to humbly do to make it.”

“Of course, I would prefer you to be a doctor, lawyer, scientist or engineer. It’s what I prefer though! I don’t know what the future holds for you. I am a mother and I can only guide you.”

“Just remember that whatever happens be sure to hold your head high and do your best. Of course, I don’t ever want you to be a drug dealer I said that to get your attention and it worked.”

Gotta give it up to moms for pattern interrupts, wisdom and leaving behind lessons for eternity. I was a young teen when we had this discussion. It’s memories such as these that have helped me to endure anything…

{Copyright Jeffrey Scott Thomas – The Jibber Jabber Journal}


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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Some Thoughts


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2014/05/08 ~ Freeloaders

freeloader t-shirtCan not stand people who do nothing to improve their lives and do not work to maintain their lifestyle or work to get things they need or want only to use people for handouts.


Go to school!!!

Improve yourself!!!!!

If you do not have the money for something do without it until you do. Don’t panhandle to people around you that fight to obtain what they need/want and keep what they have.

What values do you teach your children? What will you do when people who provide to keep your lifestyle (who aren’t the ones who should be doing this) are no longer amongst the living or run away because they are tired of being used?

One day you will wake up and realize the mistakes you made BUT will it be too late?


{Copyright Jeffrey Scott Thomas – The Jibber Jabber Journal}


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Posted by on May 9, 2014 in Some Thoughts


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2014/02/23 ~ School Shootings: Victims

bullySCHOOL SHOOTINGS: Yes, they are very sad and a terrible new reality to our everyday living (along with other public shootings) but I just got through reading about a victim who was shot who just came home. Now I have read a lot about this case and know better – although the press has made him to be a victim – school shootings often start with bullying and the inadequate handling of these activities by administration with the ineffectiveness of stopping said activities. This kid and the other ‘victim’ were no innocent bystanders – no they shouldn’t have been shot that should go without saying – but the latest article states the two are these angelic ‘victims’ when it has been shown that the shooter came through other people and could have shot them but had specific targets in mind and only shot these two which by all accounts terrorized the shooter. Yes, the shooter needs to pay for his crimes BUT don’t make people who are not victims be victims. Administrations need to deal with all forms of bullying swiftly and harshly to prevent children from being tortured in schools that lead to these shootings. Make administrations accountable for such behaviors and make people who society wants to make victims answer for their self-righteous self-centered mentality – don’t put them on a pedestal and act like they did no wrong – because THAT is wrong.

{Copyright Jeffrey Scott Thomas – The Jibber Jabber Journal}

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Some Thoughts


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2014/01/31 ~ The Cost Of College

College-CostsI am approaching my fourth year at college attending CNM (Central New Mexico Community College) and now can see why college costs so much. I have been following prerequisites – one after the other because you have to take them in sequence.

I have earned an Associates of General Studies and an Associates of Liberal Arts – neither did I need to attain I just ended up with them as side degrees. Like it matters because they won’t help me get a job anyways. I will also be getting an Associates of Communications.

I had originally wanted to get a degree as a DMS (Diagnostic Medical Sonographer – Ultrasound Technician). When I started out I knew it was a limited entry program with 16 applicants accepted per year but at the start of my fourth year I found out they revamped the program and now the 16 was every other year. I was crushed. If i didn’t get in the first year – and probably wouldn’t since there are thirty registered people looking to obtain this degree.

I did find they had actually developed a degree for psychology and was happy because it was what I had originally wanted to do but with no program I settled for something else. But still I was so close to the DMS program – something I had worked on now for the four years. It was like my baby.

I changed the degree – I feel happy about my decision now but had to struggle with making it. I am a few classes away from getting an Associates of Psychology and oddly enough I am about seven away from a Bachelors of Psychology. Upon further inspection of my transcript I am actually five years away from obtaining a Masters of psychology and a PHD of Psychology or Sociology.

So I am in almost 30K in damage when it comes to the financing I have had to obtain to get this far and figure another 30K before I am done. Which brings to questions of WHY?

Why have I had to take such high levels of math? Why have I taken classes that are required that even the teachers themselves question why the degree is requiring them? The schools answer to this is that they intend to make you a more well rounded individual who will look at life differently when you are done. Is that just a way to justify the fact of how much a student must pay to have to make a better life for themselves?

Does it justify the 250K salary of a president of a community college – not to mention the almost 200k in bonuses and benefits? What about the cost of the new buildings they are building which has an estimated 20% cost for architectural add-ons that are not needed. I also have questions of why does a lab manual look to teach you about equipment that the lab does not even have? …… and then test you as if you have had hands on experience with it. This is not to mention the broken equipment and chairs and the fact that supplies constantly run out with professors sometimes buying supplies out of their own pockets.

So when I am done with my ‘experience’ I will be at minimum of 60K in debt. I will have to find employment and work a years value of salary to pay back this debt (even though it will take me around twenty years to pay it back).

{Copyright Jeffrey Scott Thomas – The Jibber Jabber Journal}

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Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Some Thoughts


2013/12/24 ~ Holiday Thoughts

HappyHolidaysI sit tonight realizing just how fortunate I really am. I may not be where I would like to be in life and may not have everything I want but I do have a wonderful family, a house I call home and I know I have enough to take care of my own.It is always this time of year I sit and ponder about those who are less fortunate then I am, who are not with their loved ones for one reason or another, our military members so very far away in a land that can only be described foreign. I also carry burden of guilt that I have a lot under the tree even though I give a lot during this time of year as well.

There are people this very moment that society has given up on or pushed away because they are different – many simply needing proper medications and someone overseeing that they take it. These same people would be productive members of society with a steady dosage of this or that. But they line our streets, ally’s and craw spaces under bridges and underpasses. I often see them and wonder what their story is, do they have no family and how does a person become what society deems a nuisance? Could it happen to me? I have been known to buy five dollar gift cars and McDonald’s and will keep them in the car and give them to people of the streets as a symbolic message to say somehow that I am sorry society does not care. I do not know if this really helps but it helps me.

Our military stuck in a land nothing like that of their own with the burden of trying to safe in a war that seems unwinable. Many not even having proper beds and certainly not mama’s home cooked meals that always make holidays that much more special. I think of them eating their meals out of bags and the cookies and small trinkets of gifts that their families and concerned people send to them with greeting cards with messages of thanks. Why are humans always finding the need to conquer and dominate because we are always right? Why do we step on another countries soil and play dictator? I know it was mainly a response to 9-11 but it soon became almost a humanitarian mission – to save countries that have gone awry – at least in our eyes.

I also think of the hard working families with children that struggle daily with expenses that we all must have burden of. Some families have more than one parent working full time to stay afloat and they still have so little to offer their children this time of year. Some depending on churches or agencies to provide a little more for their children then they can themselves. How sad that hard workers must face the embarrassment of having to ask for help. It is different for people who have chosen the path of living on government assistance and handouts when they can readily work but choose not to.

I have known people receiving disability with shoulder injuries claiming they can’t work. I also make the situation uneasy when I ask them why they could not use their good arm to answer phones somewhere but always get no answer. The hard workers incomes barely provide for their families and many are just beyond the income and resource guidelines that welfare and similar agencies have in their guidelines. How about we help those who help themselves or those who really can not help themselves. People who are having problems finding jobs really should have to work for their money from these programs that are just giving handouts. I notice many streets that need cleaning – parks that need cleaned and their buildings repainted – how about qualified individuals who can’t find jobs who receive handouts give their craft to those who are working hard like plumbing, drywall, daycare etc.

Another portion of society that I have become blatantly aware of is senior citizens. You know the ones that society and families have passed on only to give them to agencies and greedy corporations to make money on – err – I mean to care for. I ask myself questions about them similar to those who are on the streets. What your story? How did you get here? Where is your family? Some families of course are simply no longer alive because children die before parents, parents never have children and do not have siblings etc. That is sad but understandable. BUT what about those who have families and how they just release what should be a beautiful opportunity to give back to parents who gave them their all. I am not talking about those medically in need of course, but about those who may have mobility problems or long term illnesses that are not terminal. Why do families not care?

I care. I adopt two or three individuals that are in their later years with no family and deserve respect and the right to also enjoy a nice Christmas. I buy everyone of their items on their wishlist and so much more. A box filled with goodies and special treats and little extras for them to share with those around them. I had the opportunity to adopt an older lady and was allowed to deliver my gifts personally. She cried on my shoulder for several minutes and told me I was a gift from God and praise Jesus. I told her I was none of that – just simply someone who wanted to make a beautiful YOUNG woman have a wonderful Christmas. Before I left she hugged me again and she told me she would never be able to say thank you enough. I kept in contact with her for a couple months and then our communication stopped. I wondered why one day not long after our last conversation and stopped by her residence. A moving truck was in the drive and I was told a company had been hired by the ladies son to liquidate her assets. That sweet young lady who blessed me with the opportunity to give her happiness in such a small way was gone. She didn’t deserve to have all of her keepsakes and memorabilia just gone the way of a estate sale.

I decided to attend her estate sale and I bought the simple wooden clock that once had her tears drop on it as she opened it in front of me at Christmas. I also bought a small ballerina music box that she said her parents had given her on her sixteenth birthday. I wish I had had enough to buy more but money speaks louder than emotions and I spent what I had. I wished the people buying her things knew what a special woman she was and how she valued everything in her home. But they didn’t of course and these mementos and keepsake would never be anything more than that special buy they made or a thing they posses or plan to make more money on on eBay and the like. Her life and memories are somehow carried in my soul and i think about her often over the years as I look at that simple wooden clock and ballerina that twirls in the delight of sounds from the music ox beneath her has rung out for decades.

Take a moment and look for something to do for someone other than yourself – its simple – and any money you put out will be given back in a quantity that is priceless to your soul.

{Copyright Jeffrey Scott Thomas – The Jibber Jabber Journal}

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Posted by on December 25, 2013 in Memories, Some Thoughts


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2013/12/15 ~ College Tuition & Going Into Debt

studentdebtI looked forward to my first semester of Fall in 2010 of college with the outlook that I was going to attend two years of college and enter a program after a lot of hard work. I am now entering my fourth year trying to get prerequisites done and still have more to do. I have maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.54 and have just exceeded 30K in debt. I have repeated no classes and every semester I take all of the classes I am able to take – since you can’t take some classes without having taken others.

I still have Physics and a Physics Lab to go through along with a Pre-Health class and can put in my application in Spring 2015 semester which is the earliest I can do it. I am applying for one of the sixteen spots available that will start in Fall semester of 2015 of the Diagnostic Medical Sonography program. If I do not get into that semester I will have to wait for two additional years to reapply yet again.

It is beyond my belief that a school that is supposedly a community college set up to run two-year programs  can have you attending for a total of five years (which will be my minimum time in school to finish my program) and I figure I will be hitting 50K plus before I am done. I enjoy the fact that I am attending an accredited school which soars in excellence when it comes to perspective employers in this field but should the cost really be so much? Should I be paying so much and go into so much debt so that the President of the school can pull in more than 250K as a regular salary and almost 450K with bonuses etc.?

Why must a student take on so much personal debt? Are some of these classes pertinent to the program I am taking? I have talked to several Ultrasound Technicians and they told me what I need to know for the job will be taught within the program and that  95% of the information I have been forced to learn to even apply for my program useless information. So I ask myself why do I need to know it?

OK! So a college will respond with ‘it makes you think differently’ – I’t makes you a more well rounded individual’. Excuse me? I am 38 and do not need to be any more well rounded then I am ready am and I think well enough to get me through. Maybe this is a situation that benefits a student coming directly from high school but this old dog has little benefit from it.

I recently got an email from my school informing me that my funding will come to a close and that I should have finished my coursework for the degree I am working on now. Really? I have followed the recommended course outline supplied by this very school. So I go in and talk to a financial adviser and they laugh and say oh never mind the email, all I need to know is that I have three more semesters of funding and since I am on the same declared course from the beginning they will extend funding but only cover classes and needed materials that are directly needed for program graduation. I am also told I will not be able to change my concentration of the desired program or I will lose all funding.

Why do American college students go into so much debt? Society? Schools? Is it worth it? I worry about the economy and job availability. I understand that the healthcare field in specialty areas are still strong and employment is readily available for it in my area – but I still have fear. Am I going to load myself down with the burden of 50K plus of student debt only to not be able to pay it back?

Only time will tell – and I guess I will try to keep my head high and looking to the future and hope that my end dream I have been working so hard for is not a financial nightmare.

Are you in a similar situation? Have you already gotten past your school from a similar situation and can shed more light on how you got through it all and how you are doing now?

{Copyright Jeffrey Scott Thomas – The Jibber Jabber Journal}



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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Some Thoughts


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