It needs to go.
That's how Michael McGlockton feels about Florida's stand your ground law.
McGlockton's 28-year-old son, Markeis McGlockton, was shot and killed outside a convenience store near Clearwater on July 29. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri did not arrest his son's shooter, Michael Drejka, 48, saying stand your ground tied his hands in the matter. The decision sparked outrage and reignited debate over the law. Nearly three weeks after the shooting, Drejka was charged with manslaughter by the State Attorney's Office and placed under arrest.
In the days following his son's death, Michael McGlockton became a vocal opponent of the law, saying reaction to his son's death "opened up my eye to see the injustice of this law."
"If this law continues here in the state of Florida, it's going to be like the Wild, Wild West," McGlockton said. "That's exactly what it's gonna be."
In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times, McGlockton described his feelings watching security camera footage of the incident that led to his son's death and how losing his son and only child has shaped his views in the weeks since.
"When a man is backing up, he has no weapon. How is that stand your ground?" He now wonders.
Security camera footage of the incident shows Drejka approach a car driven by Markeis McGlockton's girlfriend, Britany Jacobs, as he was inside the store. Two of their three children were with Jacobs in the idling car. Their third, 5-year-old Markeis Jr., was in the store with his father. Jacobs said Drejka was confronting her over being parked in a handicap space. She said he was yelling and cursing at her. Then Markeis McGlockton came out, saw the confrontation and pushed Drejka to the ground. Drejka pulled a gun and shot him.
Knowing the outcome, McGlockton said he wishes his son would have maintained his composure a bit, but he understands his decision to stand up to a stranger he saw yelling at someone he loves.
"Markeis came outside the store, saw this man standing up there confronting his girlfriend and Markeis did what I say any man would do to protect his family," he said. "You're gonna walk up and try to get this guy away from your family."
Before finding himself at the center of a debate regarding one of Florida's most controversial laws, McGlockton said his family was normal. They'd all gather for parties and holidays as "one big happy family." He said his son was a loving father and one of the best men he knows, "a really good man."
"Moving forward, it's gonna be a big void there," McGlockton said. "There's no Markeis. Plus, that was my only child, so I don't know how I'm gonna be able to deal with that."
Daniel Figueroa IV can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @danuscriptsko