Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sue Carlton column: The stand your ground law's sad Florida legacy



For the families of two men whose paths crossed this week, Thanksgiving 2011 will probably forever mark a time when everything changed, and for no better reason than somebody cut somebody else off in traffic.

And because of Florida's stand your ground law — the one police and prosecutors warned us about because it doesn't require common sense — it may turn out to be perfectly legal for one man to have stabbed the other with an ice pick over this.

It sounds like classic road rage. On what should have been a routine Monday, according to Hillsborough Sheriff's officials, 62-year-old Alcisviades Polanco was driving down Manhattan Avenue when he cut off Wathson Adelson, 20. The younger man sped around him, stopped and got out. They argued. At some point, the older man grabbed an ice pick from his car. Deputies say he stabbed the younger, larger man in the head and arm. He was in critical condition this week.

And, really, an ice pick? These days, I guess we carry around all kinds of things to protect us from the world.

It's early in the investigation, and details haven't been released, but this will soon land in the lap of the Hillsborough State Attorney's Office. Prosecutors will likely consider whether what Polanco did falls under the stand your ground law.

Though Florida already had perfectly good law on when someone could use deadly force to protect themselves, the 2005 law said you can stand your ground and meet force with force just about anywhere, taking away the sensible part about retreating if you can reasonably and safely do so.

Read the entire column here.

[Last modified: Friday, November 25, 2011 2:56pm]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours