Marissa Alexander Case: Blame "10-20-Life" More Than "Stand Your Ground"
"Stand Your Ground" may be a problematic law that may actually increase the homicide rate in states that have enacted it, but is it in and of itself a racist law? Activists and journalists calling renewed attention to the case of Marissa Alexander, a Florida woman who unsuccessfully tried to use a "Stand Your Ground" defense after she claimed she fired a warning shot at her abusive husband, seem to think so.
But Alexander's fate actually illustrates the occasional absurdity of Florida's unique "10-20-Life" law more than it illustrates racism at play in the application of "Stand Your Ground."
The parallels between the George Zimmerman case and the Alexander case are pretty much limited to this: Both happened in Florida, both claimed self-defense, and both had charges levied against them by prosecutor Angela Corey.
Alexander attempted to have her charges thrown out before the trial, citing the "Stand Your Ground" law, something Zimmerman's attorneys opted to ultimately forgo.
As CNN points out, the details of the Alexander case are tricky.
Alexander and her husband, Rico Gray, have three children, one of whom was a newborn and still in the hospital at the time of the 2010 incident. The two had not been living together for two months, but while Alexander was in Gray's home, the two got into an argument about the paternity of the newborn.
Gray has an extensive history of domestic-abuse charges and the previous year had sent Alexander to the hospital with a head injury after shoving her into a bathtub. On that morning, Gray tried to keep Alexander in the bathroom, but she eventually escaped. She could have left the house at that point but instead went to her car and retrieved her licensed and registered handgun and returned to the house.
While Gray was standing in a room with the couple's other two children, Alexander fired a shot that just missed Gray's head.
Alexander claimed that Gray had threatened to kill her that morning and she had fired the shot as a warning.