Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Marissa Alexander had never been arrested before she fired a bullet at a wall one day in 2010 to scare off her husband when she felt he was threatening her. Nobody got hurt, but this month a northeast Florida judge was bound by state law to sentence her to 20 years in prison.
A lot of attention has been paid to Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law and far too little to the state's extreme gun sentencing laws. Less than a year ago, I told readers of this page about the outrageous case of Orville Lee Wollard, a lawful gun owner who fired a warning shot in his home to chase off a young man who had been abusing his teenage daughter.
In June 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment to the Constitution protects an individual's right to possess a firearm "and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home." Quoting the famous British jurist William Blackstone, the court held that "the right of self-preservation" permits a citizen to "repe[l] force by force" when "the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury." This grandiose language must ring awfully hollow to Orville Lee Wollard who, two years ago tomorrow was sentenced to two decades in a Florida prison for protecting his family with a firearm.
Wollard told the boy to leave, but instead, the boy attacked him, ripping out stitches from Wollard's recent surgery, and then ran off with Wollard's daughter.
For his part, Wollard told the court, "I'm amazed. I'm stunned. I have spent my life pursuing education [and] helped the community. [T]hen one day this person breaks into my house ... he continues to do this, he assaults my daughter, he threatens me, I protect myself. [N]o one is injured in this whole thing, and I'm going to prison. ... And again, with all respect to [the court], I would expect this from the former Soviet Union, not the United States."